Anne Clarke

Hobart in the 1840s (AOT, PH30/1/403)

Anne Clarke (née Remans, born about 1806), actress, singer and theatre manager, performed in London, and arrived in Hobart in 1834. She married Michael Clarke and joined various theatrical companies, playing in Hobart and Launceston, and enjoying 'breeches' roles. After a visit to Sydney, she became manager of Hobart's Theatre Royal in 1840, the first woman to manage an Australian theatre for a significant period.

She returned to England in 184142 and recruited more actors, who gained excellent reviews, and newspapers praised Clarke for introducing 'a better class of performer and a superior style of management' and making the theatre respectable, though these achievements did not always translate into paying audiences. Estranged from her husband, Clarke retired from the stage in 1847, and nothing is known of her later life.

Further reading: E Webby, 'Anne Clarke', in P Parsons (ed), Companion to theatre in Australia, Sydney, 1995.

Alison Alexander