Portrait of Richard Burbage

Portrait of Richard Burbage

Richard Burbage was the leading player in Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which later became the King's Men. Burbage created many of the leading roles in Shakespeare's plays. He specialised in tragic roles and was the first Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Richard III. Burbage's family was also involved with the London theatre. His father, James Burbage, became an actor and then a theatre builder. He rented land in Shoreditch and built The Theatre, the first amphitheatre playhouse in London. His sons, Richard and Cuthbert, inherited The Theatre but after problems with their landlord, they dismantled The Theatre and transported the pieces across the River Thames where they rebuilt it and called it the Globe. Richard Burbage acted there until his death in 1619.