William Charles Macready

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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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The crisis, which extended over several days, was ostensibly provoked by a dispute between two Shakespearean actors, the American Edwin Forrest and the Englishman William Charles Macready, who were appearing in different theaters in New York City.
As writing about the theatre is often skewed by the demands of publicity and the star system, it is easy to forget that Drury Lane's management was not a line from Garrick to Druriolanus Harris which was punctuated only by the well-known figures of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, John Philip Kemble, and William Charles Macready.
Charles Mayne Young played the title role, with Eliza O'Neill as his daughter Urilda, Charles Kemble as Adelmar the Swiss guard in love with Urilda, and William Charles Macready as the sadistic Governor Wallenberg.
Six years later, he was inspired to follow a life on the stage by watching William Charles Macready as Macbeth.
The new owner will follow a distinguished line of residents, the most notable William Charles Macready who took over the lease from 1850 to 1860.
From these earlier meetings to the year of Macready's retirement from the stage, when Maclise exhibited William Charles Macready as Werner in Byron's Play (1851), the literary painter and the Shakespearean actor articulated their interpretive ideas and gave them artistic form, each in his distinctive medium.
Hastening toward two bright lights, he discovers that what he thought might be "some moral or religious meeting" was really a theater where the well-known actor William Charles Macready (1793-1873) was playing the part of Cardinal Richelieu.
William Charles Macready (1793-1873), great English actor and manager of Covent Garden and Drury Lane theaters in London, made lasting contributions to theatrical practice by insisting on the principle of unity, by which all aspects of a performance were organized according to the playwright's intentions, rather than by individual actors' whims.
The two most prominent characters in this instance were William Charles Macready and Charles Kean.
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The most notable rivalry was between the American Edwin Forrest and William Charles Macready of Great Britain.