Richard Burbage

Richard Burbage
  • Interesting Facts and information about Richard Burbage in Elizabethan Times
  • Short Biography about the life of Richard Burbage - the famous Elizabethan actor
  • Facts and History about the life and times of Richard Burbage
Richard Burbage

Interesting information about the life and times of Richard Burbage and the
Globe Theatre of Elizabethan London, England

Short Biography of the life of Richard Burbage - Elizabethan actor
The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Richard Burbage:

  • Nationality - English
  • Lifespan - Richard Burbage (1567 - 1619)
  • Family - Son of James Burbage and younger brother of Cuthbert
  • Acting Troupes: Member of the Earl of Leicester's company, The Chamberlain's Men and the King's Men
  • Career - Actor, theatrical entrepreneur and painter
  • Famous as : The most famous actor of the Globe Theatre of his time. Principal actor in plays written by both Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare
  • He was named as one of the leading actors who performed in the plays which were listed in William Shakespeare's First Folio
  • The First Folio was published in 1623 and contained approximately 900 pages containing 36 of the plays by William Shakespeare. It was entitled "Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories & Tragedies"

The reputation of the early Elizabethan Actors was not good and any were viewed as no better than rogues and vagabonds - actors were not trusted. The standing of actors improved when the purpose-built theatres were introduced and some Elizabethan actors became the equivalent of today's superstars.

Facts & History about the life of Richard Burbage - Elizabethan Actor
The following are additional facts about the life and history of Richard Burbage:

  • Richard Burbage was believed to have been born in 1567 at Stratford-on-Avon, like his friend William Shakespeare
  • He was the son of James Burbage who founded the first theatre and a famous theatrical entrepreneur
  • In 1576 James Burbage obtained the lease and permission to build The Theatre in Shoreditch, London
  • Richard Burbage started acting in leading roles by the time he was twenty years old
  • Richard Burbage played all of the most celebrated lead roles of of William Shakespeare including Hamlet, Richard III, Othello and King Lear
  • His acting style was similar to the method actors of today. He assumed the identity of the character he was playing
  • He especially excelled in plays themed in tragedy
  • In 1596 Richard and his brother Cuthbert, pulled down the Shoreditch house and used the materials to erect the Globe theatre
  • Cuthbert and Richard Burbage were able to raise half of the cost - giving them each a 25% share in the Globe
  • William Shakespeare, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips and Thomas Pope were co-owners of the Globe Theatre
  • Richard Burbage was performing at the Globe Theatre on the 29th of June 1613, when the original theatre caught fire and was destroyed
  • He died in March 13, 1619
  • He is buried at St Leonard's, Shoreditch. St Leonards Church was often frequented by Elizabethan actors as it was located near to the first purpose built theatre called 'The Theatre' and also in close proximity to the 'Curtain Theatre'.
  • His gravestone simply reads "Exit Burbage"

The Chamberlain's Men Acting Troupe
The Chamberlain's Men, of which Richard Burbage was a member, were the most important company of players in Elizabethan England and led by the Burbage family and William Shakespeare. Initially known as known as Hunsdon's Men, whose patron was Henry Carey the first Lord Hunsdon. Hunsdon then took office as the Lord Chamberlain. The Chamberlain's Men were taken under the royal patronage of James I in March 1603 and were then known as the King's Men. The main rivals of the Chamberlain's Men were the Admiral's Men Acting Troupe led by Edward Alleyn and Phillip Henslowe.

Documented facts about Richard Burbage - Elizabethan actor
The following documented facts are related to Richard Burbage and his life as an Elizabethan actor together with details of his relationship with fellow actors including William Shakespeare.

The Lord Chamberlain's Men were licensed as the King's Men on 19 May 1603. The document lists "Lawrence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, Augustyne Phillippes, Iohn Heninges, Henrie Condell, William Sly, Robert Armyn, Richard Cowly" as members of the troupe.

On 15 March 1604 King James, Queen Anne, and Prince Henry rode through the City of London in a royal entry postponed from the previous summer because of the plague. An account by Sir George Home, who was Master of the Great Wardrobe, lists the names of "Players" who were each given four yards of red cloth apiece for the investiture of King James in London on 15 March 1604. The actors who were named were "William Shakespeare, Augustine Phillipps, Lawrence Fletcher, John Hemminges, Richard Burbidge, William Slye, Robert Armyn, Henry Cundell, and Richard Cowley."

On 15 March 1595,the Treasurer of the Queen's Chamber paid "William Kempe William Shakespeare & Richarde Burbage servants to the Lord Chamberleyne" for their performances at court in Greenwich on 26th and 27th December 1594

In his will, William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon left a bequest "to my ffellowes John Hemynge Richard Burbage & Henry Cundell a peece to buy them Ringes."

The cast list for Jonson's Sejanus, performed in 1603, includes "Ric. Burbadge, Aug. Philips, Will. Sly, Ioh. Lowin, Will. Shake-Speare, Ioh. Hemings, Hen. Condel, and Alex. Cooke."

The 1616 Folio of Ben Jonson's Works contained cast lists for his plays. The cast list for Jonson's Every Man in His Humor, which was performed in 1598, includes "Will Shakespeare, Aug. Philips, Hen. Condel, Will. Slye, Will. Kempe, Ric. Burbadge, Ioh. Hemings, Tho. Pope, Chr. Beeston, and Ioh. Duke."

Richard Burbage
Interesting Facts and information about the History, Life & Times of the famous Elizabethan actor, Richard Burbage. Additional details, facts and information about the Globe Theatre and other actors can be accessed via the Globe Theatre Sitemap.

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