Anne Marie Milan Desguillons

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Anne Marie Milan Desguillons
Born Anne Marie Milan
1753
Died 1829
Spouse(s) Joseph Sauze Desguillons

Anne Marie Milan Desguillons (1753–1829) was a French stage actress, active in Sweden. She was also active as an instructor and director of the theatre school Dramatens elevskola jointly with her spouse, and as such had a great influence over the development of the Swedish theatre.

Biography and career[edit]

Anne Marie Milan debuted in Le Havre 1773, and was active in Lille 1774–75. She arrived in Sweden from France as a member of the French theatre troupe of Jacques Marie Boutet de Monvel in 1781, which had been invited by king Gustav III of Sweden. The French Theatre performed at the court theatres Drottningholm Palace Theatre and Confidencen at Ulriksdal Palace in the summers, and, from 1783 onwards, for the public at Bollhuset in Stockholm in winters.

In 1789, she married her colleague Joseph Sauze Desguillons, and thus required the name Desguillons. Anne Marie Milan Desguillons was described as heavily overweight and not a beauty to her appearance. She was foremost a tragedienne and performed in tragedies and mére noble-roles. Among her parts was Merope, Semiramis and Athalie. She did occasionally perform comedies, such as Madame Turcaret. She enjoyed great respect as a stage artist and was popular especially within the court.

After the death of Gustav III in 1792, the French Theatre in Stockholm was dissolved and the actors fired. Desguillons retired as an actor but preferred to remain in Sweden. In 1793, she and her husband were appointed joint principals for the acting school Dramatens elevskola. The school was founded in 1787, but the Desguillons couple was responsible for giving it a proper organisation. Their organization was kept by the later principal Sofia Lovisa Gråå.

The two Desguillons were also instructors at the school; they instructed the students in drama, while the lessons of music was undertaken by Johann Christian Friedrich Hæffner and L. Piccini and the lessons of dance were given by Julie Alix de la Fay and Jean-Rémy Marcadet. She was responsible for the female students, and her husband for the male students. Together, they developed many great talents of the contemporary Swedish theatre. The students was accepted at the age of nine or ten and performed as child-actors in student-plays. Among her students was Jeanette Wässelius, Sofia Frodelius, Ulrika Wennerholm and Carolina Kuhlman. Anne Marie Milan Desguillons retired as a principal in 1798.

In 1803, Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden hired a French theatre company to perform, and the Desguillons couple were made responsible directors of the company during its stay in Sweden until it was fired in 1806.

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