Mr. Ira Aldridge as Aaron in Titus Andronicus. Engraving, ca. 1850 (Detail). Folger Shakespeare Library.
Ira Aldridge, playbill illustrations, Theatre Royal Covent Garden. 1833. Folger Shakespeare Library.
S. Bühler. Ira Aldridge as Othello. Lithograph, 1854 (Detail). Folger Shakespeare Library.
Tradition has it that African American performer Ira Aldridge was linked to New York’s short-lived African Grove Theater as a young teenager. At seventeen, he left the United States to tour for many years in the British and Irish provinces. Then, in the final fifteen years of his career, Aldridge broke through to the world stage. He went on long, successful tours of Europe and Russia, winning high praise for parts that included Othello, Aaron the Moor, Shylock, Macbeth, and Richard III.
Select "Ira Aldridge in Europe" from the list at left to hear more about Aldridge’s European triumphs and his unique stage identity.