Thomas Betterton

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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).

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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.
Even Wilson allows a "possible exception" for Thomas Betterton whose abilities were extolled by all (598).
The camera closely follows seven teenage girls growing up in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn--two sisters, Ginger and Dusty, and their friends, who are neighbours of American husband-and-wife team Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton.
Tenders are invited for Architectural Consultant Services for Renovation of Betterton Beach Bathhouse
Betterton - Tammy Lee Betterton, 55, of Eugene, died Aug.
Joseph's GP Dr Michael Betterton, of the Hillside practice, Skelton, said he'd been seen in February and was in "good health, with no particular concerns".
A good starting point would be to join The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2 (Tel.
Hair-raising encounter: HRH Duke of Edinburgh meets Ian "Spike" Betterton, Chair of The Friends of St George's Park, Kidderminster.
Betterpr managing director Juliet Betterton is a Worcestershire LEP business board member and is tasked with the communications brief.
A Cavalli shirt donated by Angharad Mair and modelled by Jo Betterton * Above, the Issa dress donated by Lucy Owen, modelled by Laura Buchan.