Susanna Verbruggen

Susanna Verbruggen bigraphy, stories - English actor

Susanna Verbruggen : biography

1667 – 1703

Susanna Verbruggen (née Percival) (c. 1667–1703), aka Susanna Mountfort, was an English actress working in London. Her first recorded stage appearance may have been as early as 1681 in D’Urfey’s Sir Barnaby Whig. In 1686 she married the actor William Mountfort, and after Mountfort’s infamous murder in 1692, she married the actor John Verbruggen.

She was a successful and popular comedian, known especially for her breeches roles. Her greatest success was as the main character Lucia in Thomas Southerne’s Sir Anthony Love, where Lucia partakes of the freedom of the roistering Restoration rake by disguising herself as "Sir Anthony". Both men and women in the audience loved her performance in these types of roles.

She was one of the leading actresses at the United Company, but when the company split in two in 1695 (see Restoration comedy) she was, however, not offered a share in the actors’ cooperative, but merely a salary. This may have been the biggest tactical mistake the actors’ company made: both the Verbruggens were dissatisfied with the offer, reasonably so since Susanna was extremely versatile and popular with audiences, and returned to the parent company, thereby substantially improving its odds in the competition between the companies (see The Relapse).