John Cunningham was a Dublin born playwright, poet and actor, who spent much of his life in, and according to Allan, "whose name and fame will for ever be identified with Newcastle."

His parents came from a modest background of Scottish descent, but had won the lottery. Soon after, however, they went bankrupt and their social status diminished. This affected Cunningham, forcing him to leave Drogheda Grammar School after his parents' wealth was lost.

Early on, the stage and acting attracted Cunningham. He wrote his first play at 17, called "Love in a mist", performed in Dublin.

The play was later performed at Newcastle, where Cunningham settled, working as a member of the local travelling drama company. He also befriended the owners of the Newcastle Chronicle, and supplemented his income buy writing articles for publication.

Cunningham gave his last performance in Darlington on 20 June 1773. He then returned to Newcastle, became ill, and died on 18 September 1773 at the age of 44, at his home in Union Street, Newcastle. He was buried at St John’s Churchyard.

John Cunningham's Works:

The Hawthorn Bower
A Pastoral in Three Parts
The Sheep and the Bumble-Bush
A Landscape

Poems by John Cunningham

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