James Faucit Cathcart

James Faucit Cathcart (1828–1902), British actor who gave lessons in dramatic expression and interpretation to the young F. M. Alexander.

F. M. Alexander mentions that he had received instruction from James F. Cathcart in UoS:

I observed that this condition of undue muscle tension affected particularly the use of my legs, feet and toes, my toes being contracted and bent downwards in such a way that my feet were unduly arched, my weight thrown more on to the outside of my feet than it should have been, and my balance interfered with. On discovering this, I thought back to see if I could account for it, and I recalled an instruction that had been given to me in the past by the late Mr. James Cathcart (at one time a member of Mr. Charles Kean’s Company) when I was taking lessons from him in dramatic expression and interpretation. Not being pleased with my way of standing and walking, he would say to me from time to time, “Take hold of the floor with your feet.” He would then proceed to shew me what he meant by this, and I did my best to copy him, believing that if I was told what to do to correct something that was wrong, I should be able to do it and all would be well. I persevered and in time believed that my way of standing was now satisfactory, because I thought I was “taking hold of the floor with my feet” as I had seen him do.[1]


James F. Cathcart started his acting career under his father, James Leander Cathcart (1800–1866), already as a child. In 1850 James F. Cathcart joined Charles Kean’s company. Charles Kean (1811–1868) created a name for himself with his lavishly staged productions of Shakespeare’s plays in the 1850s. Ellen Terry, who would later become a famous actress on the London stage, was also at one time member of Kean’s company. James Cathcart followed Kean’s company on tour in Australia and the US in the 1860s. Around 1879 James Cathcart settled in Australia, acting and teaching.[2]

In addition to teaching Alexander James Cathcart appeared in two of Alexander’s entertainments in Melbourne, 11th May 1898 and in a two week run of a show at the Athenaeum Hall, starting 26th August 1899.

James Faucit Cathcart * 20 December 1828 – †18 December 1902.


[1] The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1939), pp. 17–18.
[2] ‘James Faucit Cathcart (1828–1902)’ by Malcolm Williamson in STATNews vol. 8, no. 8 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2015), pp. 18–21.