Booth, Sarah (DNB00)

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BOOTH, SARAH (1793–1867), actress, was born, according to Oxberry (Dramatic Biography), in Birmingham, in the early part of the year 1793. She is first heard of at Manchester, where, about 1804, she and her sister appeared as dancers. She remained there under the management of the elder Macready, who promoted her to the performance of characters such as Prince Arthur in ‘King John.’ In Doncaster, to which town as a member of Tate Wilkinson's company she subsequently went, a performance of Alexina in Reynolds’s ‘The Exile,’ a character resigned in consequence of illness by Mrs. Stephen Kemble (Miss Satchell), attracted attention. Elliston, then managing the Royal Circus, which he rechristened the Surrey, heard of her. Her first appearance in London was made at this theatre in 1810 as Cherry, in a burletta founded on the ‘Beaux' Stratagem,’ Elliston himself playing Archer. On November 23 of the same year she played for the first time at Covent Garden, enacting Amanthis in the ‘Child of Nature,’ an adaptation from the French by Mrs. Inchbald. She remained at Covent Garden playing in the ‘Miller and his Men,’ the ‘Dog of Montargis,’ the ‘Little Pickle,’ &c., and being occasionally allowed to assume a character like Juliet. The rising fame of Miss O’Neil wrested from Sally Booth, as she was always called, the hope of distinction in tragic parts, and she quitted Covent Garden until the retirement of her rival, when she returned and enacted Cordelia to the Lear of Junius Brutus Booth. She then played at the Olympic 19 Dec. 1821, at Drury Lane 2 Feb. 1822, at the Haymarket and Adelphi theatres, remaining long at none. Her powers were agreeable rather than impressive. She was small in stature, nervous, with hair inclining to red. In parts like Juliet she won favour by prettiness and girlishness. To the last her dancing remain a special attraction. Sally Booth claimed to be a descendant of Barton Booth [q. v.],and on the first appearance of Junius Brutus Booth [q.v.] desired him, it is said, to add a final e to his name, so as to prevent the suggestion of any connection between them. She died 30 Dec. 1867, having long quitted the stage.

[Genest's History of the Stage; Raymond's Life and Enterprises of Robert William Elliston, 1857; Oxberry’s Drmuatic Biography, 1826, vol. iv.; The Drama or Theatrical Magazine; Biography of the British Stage, 1824.]

J. K.