Joseph Farren Soutar (17 February 1870 – 23 January 1962), known professionally as Farren Soutar, was an English actor and singer who became known for his performances in Edwardian Musical Comedies in the West End and on Broadway. Later he acted in some serious plays. His mother was Nellie Farren, the famous principal boy in Victorian burlesque.
Born in Greenwich in London, he was the son of the actor, stage manager, and director Robert Soutar and the actress and singer Nellie Farren, known for her roles as the "principal boy" in musical burlesques at the Gaiety Theatre. His older brother was Henry Robert Soutar (1868–1928). A boyhood friend (and with whom he was later to work on the 1934 film The Iron Duke) was George Arliss, for whom Soutar found his first acting job in 1886.
A baritone leading man, he played a number of roles in Edwardian Musical Comedies, including Bobbie Rivers in A Gaiety Girl (1894), Algernon St. Alban in An Artist's Model at the Lyric Theatre (1895), the parody A Model Trilby; or, A Day or Two After Du Maurier, based on the popular play Trilby, staged at the Opera Comique and produced by his then-retired mother in 1895, Dick Cunningham in The Geisha at Daly's Theatre (1897), Lieut. Crosby in The Wrong Mr. Wright at the Strand Theatre (1899), Jack Hemingway in The Girl from Up There at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway (1901), and Michael Brue in Sergeant Brue at the Royal Strand Theatre (1904).
Further stage appearances included Tom Hatherton in Howard Talbot's hit musical A Chinese Honeymoon at the Royal Strand Theatre (1903), the Duke of St. Jermyns in The Catch of the Season at Daly's Theatre in New York (1905), and Hon. Raymond Finchley in The Belle of Mayfair at the Vaudeville Theatre (1906). In June 1906 he was one of a group notable comedians who took part in a 'Minstrel Entertainment' as part of the jubilee celebrations for Ellen Terry.
Now in his 40s, Soutar played the Hon. James Bendoyle in Peggy at the Casino Theatre in New York (1911), appeared in the London revues Review of Revues (1912), and Everybody's Doing It at the Empire Theatre (1912), acted in Who's the Lady? at the Garrick Theatre (1913), and played Stephen Gale in The Greatest Wish at the Garrick (1912–1913).
In December 1914, during World War I, Soutar was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 8th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. After the war, he resumed his stage career, acting in Her Husband's Wife at the Globe Theatre (1920–1921), appearing in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife at the Prince's Theatre, Bristol (1923–1924), and two decades later was an extra in Hamlet at the Drury Lane Theatre (1944) and acted in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Haymarket Theatre (1944–1945).
His final recorded appearance was as Gentleman with gout in Crime and Punishment at the New Theatre (1946). Soutar also made three film appearances, all in 1934: Metternich in The Iron Duke, Lord Louis in The Crucifix, and John Hillcrest in The Black Abbot.
On 27 July 1908 Soutar married Edith May Hobson (1884–1954) at St. Paul's church in Hammersmith in London. In July 1921 Soutar began divorce proceedings against his wife claiming she had committed adultery with the actor Robert Leonard (1888–1948) during the run of the comedy Business Before Pleasure (1918–19) at the Savoy Theatre. The case was dismissed because of lack of any evidence of adultery. Following his wife's death in 1954 he married the actress Dorothy Lane (born 1890) in the same year.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). 2. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 12–14.
- Joseph Farren Soutar, England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837–1915, Ancestry.com
- The Times obituary for Nellie Farren, The Straits Times, 28 May 1904, p. 2
- The George Arliss Archive
- Farren Soutar on the Opera Scotland website
- A Gaiety Girl, The Sketch, 10 October 1894, p. 569
- "Kate Cutler in A Model Trilby; or, A Day or Two After Du Maurier", Footlight Notes, accessed 10 October 2013
- The Times, 18 November 1895, p. 3
- The Wrong Mr. Wright, The Sketch, 6 December 1899, p. 257
- Soutar on Broadway World.com
- Johnson, Colin. "Original Cast of Sergeant Brue (1904)", The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, 2003, accessed 31 March 2018
- "Souvenir Programme given by the Theatrical & Musical Professions as a Tribute to Miss Ellen Terry on the Occasion of her Jubilee, Tuesday afternoon, June 12th, 1906", archive.org, accessed 10 October 2013
- "Peggy, At Casino, Is Queer Mixture", The New York Times, 8 December 1911, accessed 10 October 2013
- Review of Revues, The Play Pictorial, No. 127 (1912)
- "Everybody's Doing It", Daily Mail, 27 February 1912
- Who's the Lady?, The Play Pictorial, No. 139 (1913)
- "A Midsummer Night's Dream", The University of Bristol Theatre Collection, accessed 10 October 2013
- "Commissions", The London Gazette, 1 January 1915, p. 66
- "Farren Soutar", Theatricalia, accessed 10 October 2013
- Farren Soutar on the Internet Movie Database
- Wedding certificate of Soutar and Hobson, Ancestry.com, accessed 10 October 2013
- Joseph F Soutar, England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005, Ancestry.com(subscription required)]
- "Joseph F Soutar", England & Wales, Death Index, 1916–2007 for Ancestry.com, accessed 10 October 2013
- "Farren Soutar grave restored", Latest News, The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America, 2 October 2014