Lewis Hallam

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Lewis Hallam
Born 1714
Died 1756 (aged 41–42)
Occupation Actor and theatre director
Years active mid-1700s

Lewis Hallam (circa 1714–1756) was an English-born actor and theatre director in the colonial United States.


He arrived in North America in 1752 with his theatrical company, organized by his brother William, who was joint owner of the company with him. Lewis had been an actor in William's company in England, but it had failed, prompting the North American venture. The new company landed at Yorktown, Virginia.[1]

The company began their performances in Williamsburg, then the capital of Virginia Colony. Here they hired a large wooden structure, which was roughly altered to suit their purposes. It was so near the forest that the players were able to shoot wild fowl from the windows of the building. Their opening performance was The Merchant of Venice. Music was supplied by a single player on a harpsichord. From Williamsburg, the troupe traveled to Annapolis and Philadelphia.[1]

In 1754, Hallam built the first theater in New York City, New York, on Nassau Street. He and his theatre company also toured throughout the thirteen colonies.[2]

Hallam died in Jamaica, where the company had gone to perform.[1] His widow (d. Philadelphia, 1773) married David Douglas,[1] with whom she formed the American Company in 1758.[2] Her son by Lewis, Lewis Hallam, Jr., known as Lewis Hallam the Younger,[citation needed] became an actor in his mother and step father's company.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1892). "Hallam, William". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  2. ^ a b "Lewis Hallam (see Columbia Encyclopedia text)". encyclopedia.com (a website run by HighBeam Research). Retrieved January 15, 2010. 

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