FINDING SAMPSON PENLEY
Sampson Penley founded his theatre company in the last decade of the 18th century and built up a circuit of provincial theatres mainly in Kent and Sussex.
His was the first troupe to visit the continent after the defeat of Napoleon, and he headed the first English actors to play in Paris since Elizabethan times.
The father of seven children who all became actors or managers themselves, Penley, forced into bankruptcy in 1822, ended his days selling potted shrimps.
The book, covering a half-century and two generations of the Penley family, is a fascinating read.
"This well-produced volume . . . is a real eye-opener."
British Theatre Guide
"A very full picture of the life of one family's involvement with the theatre . . . sympathetically and with not a little humour put into the context of its times." The Journal of Kent History
"a research masterpiece." Family Tree Magazine