Richard Burbage

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Burbage, Richard

(bûr`bĭj), 1567?–1619, first great English actor. The leading tragedian of the Chamberlain's MenChamberlain's Men,
Elizabethan theatrical company for which Shakespeare, a joint owner of the company, wrote his plays and served as actor. Organized in 1594, they performed at the Globe and at the Blackfriars theaters. Under the patronage of James I they became c.
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, he originated the title roles in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Lear, Othello, and Richard III. He may also have appeared in many of the first productions of plays by Thomas Kyd, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and John Webster. By contemporary standards, his acting style was considered realistic. Burbage's father, James Burbage, had built the first permanent theater in London in 1576, called the Theatre. In 1598 the building was removed to Bankside and set up as the Globe TheatreGlobe Theatre,
London playhouse, built in 1598, where most of Shakespeare's plays were first presented. It burned in 1613, was rebuilt in 1614, and was destroyed by the Puritans in 1644. A working replica opened in 1997. Bibliography

See J. C.
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 by Richard's brother, Cuthbert, on the death of their father. The brothers also inherited shares in the Blackfriars Theatre, built by their father in 1596, which became the winter home of the company.

Burbage, Richard


Born circa 1567; died in 1619 in London. English actor.

Richard was the son of James and the brother of Cuthbert Burbage, both of whom were figures in the English theater. Richard Burbage was one of the most important actors of the English theater during the Renaissance and a friend and permanent colleague of W. Shakespeare. Both he and Shakespeare belonged to the troupe known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Company. Burbage possessed a gift for tragic drama, and Shakespeare wrote such roles as Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, Lear, and Macbeth for him. Contemporaries provided evidence of his great mastery as an actor, his talent for transforming himself on stage, and the richness of his mimicry and gestures.