Ann Street Barry

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Ann Street Barry (1734 – 29 November 1801), second wife of Spranger Barry, was born in Bath, England in 1734, the daughter of an apothecary. Early in life she married an actor by the name of William Dancer, and it was as Mrs Dancer that she made her first recorded appearance in 1758 as Cordelia to Spranger Barry's Lear at the Crow Street theatre.[1] In 1759 she appeared, singing and dancing as well as acting, in Dublin.[2][3] During the next nine years she played all the leading tragic parts, but, without any great success, and it was not until she came to Drury Lane with Barry that her reputation advanced to the high point at which it afterwards stood.

After his death, she remained at Covent Garden and married a man much younger than herself, named Crawford, being first billed as Mrs Crawford in 1778.[4] Her last appearance is said to have been as Lady Randolph in John Home's Douglas at Covent Garden in 1798. This part, and that of Desdemona, were among her great impersonations; in both she was considered by some critics superior to Sarah Siddons, who expressed her fear of her in one of her letters. She was buried in Westminster Abbey.[5]


  1. Highfill, Philip H. (2006). A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800: 004 (Corye to Dynion). Southern Illinois University Press. pp. 136–138. ISBN 978-0809306930. 
  2. Greene, John C. (2011). Theatre in Dublin, 1745-1820: a Calendar of Performances. Lehigh University Press. p. 595. ISBN 978-1611461084. 
  3. Genest, John (1832). Some Account of the English Stage: From the Restoration in 1660 to 1830. H. E. Carrington. p. 474. 
  4. Rosenfeld, Sybil Marion (1939). Strolling Players & Drama in the Provinces, 1660-1765. CUP Archive. p. 145. 
  5. "Spranger Barry". Retrieved 29 December 2013.