Thomas Betterton

(redirected from Betterton)

Betterton, Thomas

(bĕt`ərtən), 1635?–1710, English actor and manager. He joined Sir William D'Avenant's company at Lincoln's Inn Fields theater in 1661 and became the leading actor of the Restoration stage, the theatrical leader of his time. In the role of Hamlet he was acknowledged as the greatest since Burbage. After D'Avenant's death (1668), he became the head of the company and moved to the Dorset Garden theater (1671), which he partially managed, and where he was especially successful in adaptations of Shakespeare by Dryden, Shadwell, Tate, and himself. Betterton managed the Drury Lane theater from 1682 until 1695, at which time he reopened a theater in Lincoln's Inn Fields, with Congreve's Love for Love as his first production. In 1705 he moved his company to the new Haymarket theater, built for them by Sir John Vanbrugh, where he made his last appearance in 1710. Sent to Paris by James II to study French technique, Betterton adopted new ideas in his theaters, especially in regard to scene design. His wife, Mary Saunderson Betterton, d. 1711, was the first woman to act Shakespeare's great female characters, most notably Lady Macbeth. Both are buried in Westminster Abbey.


See R. W. Lowe, Thomas Betterton (1891, repr. 1972); B. Marinacci, Leading Ladies (1961).

References in classic literature ?
Annals of the English Stage, from Thomas Betterton to Edmund Kean.
These Annals of the English Stage, from Thomas Betterton to Edmund [74] Kean, are full of the colours of life in their most emphatic and motley contrasts, as is natural in proportion as the stage itself concentrates and artificially intensifies the character and conditions of ordinary life.
On the other hand, the account of Betterton, "perhaps the greatest of English actors," is delightfully fresh.
Betterton on charges related to the illegal exportation and treatment of more than 3,000 tons of hazardous waste to Bangladesh and Australia in October 1991.
Catherine Maund, Juliet Betterton and Sara Bussey (marketing co-ordinator at Bromsgrove School)
Under-12: 1) Harry Tanfield (Cleveland Wheelers); 2 Tom Alder (Bishop Auckland CC); 3 Ashleigh Huntsman (Cleveland Wheelers); 4 Kirsty Raw (Hetton); 5 Catrina Betterton (Cleveland Coureurs).
I envy Tony Good who established Good Relations and even my old colleague Juliet Betterton who naturally chose Better PR.
Under 14: 1) Alex Stainsby (Cleveland Whs); 2, Ryan Grant (Hetton Hawks); 3, Stephen Betterton (Cleveland Coureurs); 4, Matthew Woods (Stockton Whs); 5, Josef George (Cleveland Whs); 6, Zoe Raw (Hetton Hawks); 7, Daniel Brown (Hetton Hawks); 8, William Brown (Cleveland Whs); 9, Aaron Cook (Cleveland Whs); 10, Keri Guymer (Cleveland Whs); 11, Tom Craddock (Cleveland Whs); 12, Max Wheatley (Stockton Whs).
In one of those spooky coincidences, as the American rock combo Counting Crows were playing at the NEC, PR babe Juliet Betterton and PR Barbarian Andy Skinner were out to dinner discussing a tricky problem she faces at her new Worcestershire home.
Dr Mike Betterton said: "It will be a great relief for us to move into the new building.
Under-16: 1, Ryan Grant (Hetton Hawks); 2, Alex Stainsby (Cleve Whs); 3, Stephen Betterton (Cleveland Coureurs).
NICE spokeswoman Lucy Betterton said offering three cycles would vastly improve couples chances of conceiving.