English Actress
Born 1714 Died 1766

Susannah Maria Cibber, wife of Theophilus, was an actress of distinction. She was the daughter of a Covent Garden upholsterer, and sister of Dr Arne (1710-1778) the composer. Mrs Cibber had a beautiful voice and began her career in opera. She was the original Galatea in Handel's Acis and Galatea, and the contralto arias in the Messiah are said to have been written for her. She played Zarah in Aaron Hill's version of Voltaire's Zaire in 1736, and it was as a tragic actress, not as a singer, that her greatest triumphs were won.

From Colley Cibber she learned a sing-song method of declamation. Her mannerisms, however, did not obscure her real genius, and she freed herself from them entirely when she began to act with Garrick, with whom she was associated at Drury Lane from 1753. She died on the 30th of January 1766. She married Theophilus Cibber in 1734, but lived with him but a short time. Appreciations of Mrs Cibber's fine acting are to be found in many contemporary writers, one of the most discriminating being in the Rosciad of Charles Churchill.

Extracted from the entry for CIBBER, COLLEY in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.

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