Richard Burbage and the Theater
When modern day people think about “The Theater”, most people think about going to the movies. In earlier times, people thought about one family, The Burbages. The Burbage family was very well known because of their success in the theaters. The purpose of this paper is to give facts about Richard Burbage’s life and to tell the influence he had on the theater.
Richard Burbage was the son of James Burbage and the brother of Cuthbert. He was born in 1567 at Stratford-on-Avon. His father was a famous theatrical entrepreneur. James Burbage built The Theater in Shoreditch, London. Later on, once deceased The Theater was inherited by Richard and Cuthbert. (“Richard Burbage”)
Richard Burbage is the most famous Globe Theater actor. Richard Burbage grew up in a theatrical family. Most of Richard Burbage’s inspiration came from his father. His father’s theater was where his acting began. By the time that Richard Burbage was twenty, he was acting in preeminent roles. Richard took over the person he was acting as, “becoming” the person. He
was an excelled actor and played in some very important people’s plays. Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare became close friends. Richard Burbage played in leading roles in Jonson, Kyd, Beaumont, Fletcher, John Webster, and William Shakespeare’s plays. It is believed to be that Richard played in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Richard III, Othello, and King Lear. Richard Burbage was the star actor in William Shakespeare’s first folio. The folio had nine hundred pages Richard Burbage was best at acting in tragedies. (“Richard Burbage”)
Richard Burbage was part of the troupe, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, with Lawrence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Augustyne Phillippes, Iohn Heninges, Henrie Condell, William Sly, Robert Armyn, and Richard Cowly. The troupe acted in the best theaters of that time including, The Curtain Theater, The Theater, Blackfriars Theater, and The Globe. They weren’t always known as The Lord Chamberlains men. They were first known as The Hunsdons. The name of the troupe changed many times. “Their only rival was a company known during Elizabeth I’s reign as the Admiral’s Men and after that as Prince Henry’s Men. From the summer of 1594 to March 1603 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men seem to have played almost continuously in London. They undertook a provincial tour during the autumn of 1597, however, and traveled again in 1603 when the plague was in London. The company went on tour during part of the summers or autumns in most years thereafter.” (Kathleen Kuiper) Burbage stayed with the troupe until his death, though his last performance was in 1610. Between 1580 and 1610 there was an estimate of twenty roles that had more than 800 lines. Thirteen out of those twenty roles were acted by Richard Burbage. (“Richard Burbage”)
When James Burbage left his theater to Richard and Cuthbert Burbage, they tore the theater down and used the materials to build The Globe in...