William Charles Macready

(redirected from W. C. Macready)
William Macready
BirthplaceLondon, England, UK

Macready, William Charles


Born Mar. 3, 1793, in London; died Apr. 27, 1873, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. English actor and director.

Macready came from a family of actors. He made his debut in 1810 in Birmingham and later played in provincial theaters; he appeared in London for the first time in 1816, at Covent Garden. In 1823 he began work with the Drury Lane Theater. He toured in Paris (1822; 1828) and New York (1826; 1848). From 1837-39, Macready joined the management of Covent Garden, staging such productions as Shakespeare’s Henry V, Byron’s The Two Foscari, Browning’s Strafford, and Bulwer-Lytton’s The Lady of Lyons and Richelieu, and playing the leading roles in them. From 1841 to 43 he was one of the managers of the Drury Lane Theater. He acted for the last time in 1851, playing the title role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Macready strove for historical authenticity in his productions; he advocated the actor’s detailed study of his role, and he himself trained actors to act as an ensemble. He was one of the first to bring back the original Shakespearean texts to the stage. Among Macready’s roles were the title roles in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Hamlet.


Reminiscences and Selections From His Diaries and Letters, vols. 1-2. London, 1875.


Archer, W. W. C. Macready. London, 1890.
Trewin, J.C. Mr. Macready. London, 1955.
Joseph, B. The Tragic Actor. London, 1959. Chapter 7.
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