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Method of theatrical production prevalent in 19th-century England and the U.S. In this system, an actor formed a theatre company, chose the plays he wanted to produce, played the leading roles in them, and managed the company's business arrangements. The first actor-managers emerged in the 17th century, and in the 18th century actor-managers such as Colley Cibber and David Garrick gained prominence. The system produced high performance standards, typified by 19th-century figures such as William Macready, Henry Irving, and Herbert Tree. It waned as actor-managers were replaced first by stage managers and later by directors.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on actor-manager system, visit Britannica.com.
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