Saker, Edward (DNB00)
SAKER, EDWARD (1831–1883), actor and theatrical manager, son of W. Saker, a well-known low comedian at the London minor theatres, was born in London in 1831. He was placed with a firm of architects, but early showed a strong taste for a theatrical career, which he adopted when about twenty-five years of age. In 1857 he joined the Edinburgh company, then under the management of Robert H. Wyndham, his brother-in-law. It was in this excellent school that he learnt his profession, and soon became a clever member of the company. In addition he filled the post of treasurer for several years. He made a tour in Scotland with Henry Irving, when the latter played Robert Macaire to Saker's Jacques Strop. With Lionel Brough he also gave an entertainment, under the name of the ‘So-Amuse Twins,’ which is said to have been exceedingly amusing. He first attempted management during a summer season in 1862, when he rented the Edinburgh Royal from Wyndham, and opened with the ‘Lady of the Lake.’ In 1865 he removed to Liverpool. After remaining as an actor there for two years he became manager of the Alexandra Theatre in December 1867, and carried on the enterprise till his death on 29 March 1883.
As an actor Saker had much talent, and was most successful in parts requiring drollery and facial expression. His Shakespearean clowns were wonderful exhibitions of low-comedy acting. As a manager, however, he made his chief reputation. His period of management at the Alexandra, Liverpool, was rendered notable by a series of splendid revivals of Shakespearean plays, including ‘A Winter's Tale,’ ‘Much Ado about Nothing,’ ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream,’ and the ‘Comedy of Errors.’ In all his undertakings he was ably assisted by his wife, who survived him.
Saker's elder brother, Horatio (fl. 1850), joined the Royal, Edinburgh, in 1850, when it was under William Henry Murray [q. v.] He also played low comedy. His farewell benefit was on 30 Aug. 1852 at the Adelphi, Edinburgh, after which he went to the Princess's, London, where he remained till his death. He never gained the front rank in his profession, but possessed a great fund of original humour, and was the father of several clever sons, who adopted the stage as a profession.
[J. C. Dibdin's Annals of the Edinburgh Stage; Brereton's Dramatic Notes; playbills and private information.]