BURBAGE, Richard

(1567-1619)
The greatest actor of his time, Richard Burbage originated many famous roles of the English stage, including Hamlet, Oberon, Othello, Lear, Volpone, Fer­dinand in John Webster's* Duchess of Malfi, and Hieronimo in Thomas Kyd's* Spanish Tragedy. Born into a theatrical family, the son of James Burbage, a theatrical entrepreneur, and younger brother to Cuthbert, a business manager, young Richard began as a boy actor at the Theatre, the first open-air playhouse, built by his father in 1576. In 1594 Richard Burbage joined the Lord Cham­berlain's Men, later the King's Men. William Shakespeare* also joined the company around this time. With Richard Burbage as the star and Shakespeare's plays as the major property, the Lord Chamberlain's Men became a profitable, popular company and a powerful force. Unlike their rivals the Admiral's Men, who employed a manager, eight actors of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, includ­ing Burbage and Shakespeare, invested in and received profits from the com­pany.
When the Theatre's lease expired in April 1597, Burbage decided to build a playhouse on land across the Thames. Legend has it that on 28 December 1598, workmen dismantled the Theatre and floated the oak timber frames across the Thames to build the Globe, which was completed in 1599. In 1608 Burbage and his brother gained control of Blackfriars, an indoor theater. With this ac­quisition, for the first time, one company had command of two theaters, enabling the Lord Chamberlain's Men to work both summer and winter, day and night.
Burbage's skill as an actor was one of superb voice and stage presence. Unlike his rival, Edward Alleyn, a large, physical, melodramatic actor famous for play­ing Marlowe's* Dr. Faustus, Burbage had range. Women swooned over him; men imitated him in the streets. The nature of the Renaissance stage provided a place for his genuine intimacy with the players and familiarity with the au­dience. His acting was considered realistic and sophisticated, so realistic, in fact, that playing the death of Hamlet, Burbage was thought to be truly dying. Not wanting to move into a more administrative capacity, Burbage worked as an actor until his death in 1619.
Bibliography
A. Gurr, Playgoing in Shakespeare's London, 1987.
Megan S. Lloyd

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Burbage, Richard — born с 1567, London, Eng. died March 9/13, 1619, London British actor. A popular actor by age 20, he was a member of the Earl of Leicester s company and the Chamberlain s (later King s) Men. Closely associated with William Shakespeare, he was the …   Universalium

  • Burbage,Richard — Bur·bage (bûrʹbĭj), Richard. 1567? 1619. English actor and theater manager. The foremost tragedian of his day, he was the first to play the title roles in Shakespeare s Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Richard III. * * * …   Universalium

  • BURBAGE, RICHARD —    English tragedian, born in London, associate of Shakespeare, took the chief rôle in Hamlet, King Lear, Richard III., &c. (1562 1618) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Burbage, Richard — ( 1567, Londres, Inglaterra–9/13 mar. 1619, Londres). Actor británico. A la edad de 20 años ya era un actor popular, y fue miembro de la compañía teatral del conde de Leicester y de Chamberlain s Men, que luego fue llamada King s Men. Mantuvo una …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Richard Burbage — Richard Burbage. Richard Burbage (6 janvier 1568 – 13 mars 1619) est un acteur anglais. Fils de James Burbage et frère cadet de Cuthbert Burbage, il est membre des Lord Chamberlain s Men, la troupe de William Shakespeare. Il est ainsi le premier… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Richard — /ri shahrd /; Fr. /rddee shannrdd /, n. Maurice /maw rees /; Fr. /moh rddees /, ( the Rocket ), born 1921, Canadian hockey player. /rich euhrd/, n. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Allen Richard Arkwright Sir Richard Attlee… …   Universalium

  • Richard — (as used in expressions) Allen, Richard Arkwright, Sir Richard Attlee, Clement (Richard), 1 conde Attlee de Walthamstow Avedon, Richard Ballinger, Richard A(chilles) Barton, Sir Derek H(arold) R(ichard) Bentley, Richard Bonington, Richard Parkes… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Richard Burbage — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Artista desconocido: Retrato de Richard Burbage, Galería de pinturas de Dulwich, Londres Sir Richard Burbage (h. 7 de julio de 1568 – 13 de marzo de 1619) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Richard Burbage — (January 7, 1568 ndash; March 13 1619) was an actor and theatre owner. He was the younger brother of Cuthbert Burbage.Burbage came from a poor family and was a popular actor by his early 20s. His early acting career is poorly documented. It has… …   Wikipedia

  • Burbage — is the name of several places: *Burbage Brook, river in Derbyshire, England *Burbage, Derbyshire, village in Derbyshire, England; now part of Buxton *Burbage, Leicestershire, parish in Leicestershire, England *Burbage, Wiltshire, parish in… …   Wikipedia


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