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Barrington, John

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Born in 1715 in County Cork, Ireland, Barrington was intended for the law, but he turned to acting by 1735, when he was engaged at the Rainsford Street Theatre in Dublin. During his long career his peregrinations took him throughout Ireland, during which time he established himself, as one critic put it, as ‘an excellent comic Actor of Infinite Humour, a much desir’d pleasing Companion.’ The first record of his playing Teague in “The Committee” – the character in which he is depicted in Garrick Club portraits G0045 and G0046 – was at Waterford in the summer of 1737. In this character he made his London debut on 5 April 1739 at Covent Garden. Tate Wilkinson, manager of the York circuit, called Barrington’s Teague the best stage Irishman he ever saw. Barrington was in and out of London for several years and in 1749-50 joined the company at Covent Garden, where he remained through 1762-63. During that period his wife also acted there. She was the former Mrs Sacheverel Hale, born Anne Hallam, the sister of the Hallams who acted earlier in London and were instrumental in founding the theatre in America. As the premiere stage Irishman of his time, Barrington played numerous such roles, including Foigard in “The Stratagem”, O’Cutter in “The Jealous Wife” and Macmorrice in “Henry V”. He died on 15 January 1773 and was buried in the ground of St George the Martyr, near the Foundling Hospital. (BDA)
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