Herbert Beerbohm Tree

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Tree, Herbert Beerbohm

 

Born Dec. 17, 1853, in London; died there July 2, 1917. English actor, manager, and producer.

Tree’s professional stage career began in 1876. He managed the Haymarket Theater from 1887 to 1896 and Her Majesty’s (later His Majesty’s) Theater from 1897 to 1915. Between 1888 and 1914 he staged 18 Shakespearean plays. As a producer, Tree continued the traditions of C. Kean and H. Irving. He staged visually spectacular productions, often including scenes of the fan :tastic or supernatural, musical numbers, and arias. He staged crowd scenes with particular care. Tree could be quite free in dealing with a written text, rearranging or omitting entire scenes.

Tree’s Shakespearean roles included Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, Richard II, and Hamlet. He also played Nekhliudov in a dramatic version of Tolstoy’s Resurrection and Henry Higgins in Shaw’s Pygmalion. Tree founded a school of dramatic art in 1904 in London that later became the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

WORKS

Thoughts and Afterthoughts. London, 1913.

REFERENCES

Beerbohm, M. Herbert Beerbohm Tree: Some Memories of Him and of His Art. London [1920].
Pearson, H. Beerbohm Tree: His Life and Laughter. London, 1956.

F. M. KRYMKO