Colley Cibber

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Colley Cibber
BirthplaceSouthampton Street, London, England
actor, theatre manager, playwright, poet
Known for Works include his autobiography and several comedies of historical interest. Appointed Poet Laureate in 1730

Cibber, Colley

(sĭb`ər), 1671–1757, English dramatist and actor-manager. Joining the company at the Theatre Royal in 1690, Cibber became successful as a comedian, playing the fops of Restoration comedy. His first play, Love's Last Shift (1696), is a landmark in the history of the theater and is regarded as the first sentimental comedy. Of his 30 dramas, She Wou'd and She Wou'd Not (1702), The Careless Husband (1704), and The Nonjuror (1717) are the most notable. From 1710 to 1740 he was the manager of Drury Lane. He was appointed poet laureate in 1730. An extremely unpopular, social-climbing, and insolent man, he was ridiculed by the critics and bitterly attacked by Pope, who made him the hero of the final version of The Dunciad. Cibber's Apology (1740) is a mine of information about the theater of this period.


See R. H. Barker, Mr. Cibber of Drury Lane (1939); L. Ashley, Colley Cibber (1965).

Both his son, Theophilus Cibber, 1703–58, and his daughter, Charlotte (Cibber) Clarke, d. 1760?, went on the stage with some success, earning wild and eccentric reputations in the tradition of the family. The wife of Theophilus, Susannah Maria (Arne) Cibber, 1714–66, sister of the composer Thomas Augustine Arne, sang in opera and appeared with great success in tragic roles.

References in periodicals archive ?
See Colley Cibber, Richard III, Shakespeare Made Fit: Restoration Adaptations of Shakespeare, ed.
35) Colley Cibber, An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber: With an Historical View of the Stage during His Own Time, ed.
36) The comment is that of Colley Cibber; see An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, 92.
55) Colley Cibber, Myrtillo: A Pastoral Interlude as it is Performed at the Theatre Royal (London, [1715]).
To complete his attack on Continental corruption, Pope refers by name to the locally situated Sir Henry Jansen, Charles Fleetwood, and Colley Cibber, all managers of Drury Lane:
We meet the actors and singers, from the lively and salacious Letitia Cross to the handsomely paid soprano Catherine Tofts who was admired by Colley Cibber for "her fine proportion'd Figure, and [the] exquisitely sweet, silver Tone of her throat" (333).
In late December in London 1699, the twenty-eight-year-old comic actor, Colley Cibber, had made a laughing-stock of himself.
By stark contrast, the particular performance skills of Colley Cibber worked disastrously against the survival of Restoration villain tragedy.
1668-1714), who, according to Colley Cibber (1671-1757), was "in some degree of Favour with the Publick.
To which is prefix'd, a sketch of the author's life, written by himseff, (17317: Eighteenth Century Collections Online) and "A Brief Supplement to Colley Cibber, Esq; His Lives of the late Famous Actors and Actresses," (1747), Colley Cibber, An Apology for the Life of Mr.
Their personal quarrels, which spill into print, are notorious: Pope and Colley Cibber, Johnson and Lord Chesterfield, Ruskin and Whistler, Wells and Henry James, Wilson and Nabokov.
Her lively writing is full of humor and empathy for her subject, and she's not afraid to enliven it further with fictional touches--for example, imagining a performance of Fielding's Pasquin with Colley Cibber in the audience watching himself be lampooned.