Richard Burbage, son of James Burbage and younger brother of Cuthbert Burbage, was the leading player of the Chamberlain's men as constituted in 1594; at his father's death (February 1597), Richard became the leading businessman with the company as well, having the Globe playhouse and later also Blackfriars Playhouse under his control (along with his brother Cuthbert).
- Richard Burbage first appears in theatrical records not as a player but as a brawler. The records are depositions by John Alleyn (brother of Edward Alleyn) in a 1589-90 lawsuit filed in the Court of Chancery concerning business at the Shoreditch playhouse, the Theater. Alleyn said that Burbage hurled abuse at two complainants in the suit (Margaret Brayne, Robert Myles) and threatened them with a broomstick. Theater historians have deduced from this testimony that Richard was "probably playing with the Admiral's men" at the time (Nungezer, p. 68). Burbage does not appear in theatrical records again until 1594, when he is named in the Declared Accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber for March 1594 along with William Kempe and William Shakespeare as payees of £20 for performances at court by the Lord Chamberlain's men on the previous holidays of St. Stephen's Day and Holy Innocents (26, 27 December 1594). In the absence of evidence for 1591 to mid-1594, theater historians have found it appealing to consider him with the earl of Pembroke's men (1592-3) in large part because that company had versions of several plays in which William Shakespeare had a hand including The First Part of the Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster and The True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York, and the Death of Good King Henry VI.
- An anecdote that probably belongs to Burbage's early years as a Chamberlain's man, and which displays a different kind of confrontational behavior, was told in 1602-3 by John Manningham, a student of Middle Temple in his 1602-3 diary: "Vpon a tyme when Burbidge played Richard III. there was a citizen grone soe farr in liking with him, that before shee went from the play shee appointed him to come that night vnto hir by the name of Richard the Third. Shakespeare ouerhearing their conclusion went before, was intertained and at his game ere Burbidge came. Then message being brought that Richard the Third was at the dore, Shakespeare caused returne to be made that William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third. Shakespeare's name William" (Manningham, 13 March 1601).
- transition from Theater to Curtain to Globe and Blackfriars, Christmas 1598-1619
other: character with Kempe in 2 Return from Parnasus; appears as self in Induction to The Malcontent 1604 (with Condell and Lowin; 1618, pageant celebrating the announcement of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales
Berry,"The Theatre," pp. 320-387; "The Curtain," pp. 404-18; "The first Globe," pp. 493-500; "The second Blackfriars," pp. 501-30.
St. Leonard's Shoreditch
- Julia (?Juliet), christened 2 January 1603; buried 12 September 1608
- Frances, christened 16 September 1604; buried 16 September 1604
- Anne, christened 8 August 1607
- Richard, buried 16 August 1607
- Winifred, christened 10 October 1613; buried 16 October 1616
- Julia, christened 27 December 1614; buried 15 August 1615
- William, christened 6 November 1616
- Sara, christened 5 August 1619; buried 29 April 1625
- Richard (himself) buried 16 March 1619
Numerous elegies and elegiac references followed Richard Burbage's death for years afterwards; the most succinct: "Exit Burbage" (Nungezer, p. 73).
Closeness with brother Cuthbert: bought houses together in 1608, also 1617 (Eccles, 43)
Presumably, Burbage was the lead adult male player in the Chamberlain's men after its formation by June 1594 as well as in the King's men; a list of those roles being lengthy, the focus here is on his roles in lost plays.
- ?Urganda ?King Egereon, ?Eschines, "The Dead Man's Fortune" (Guesses: Greg, "Urganda," pp. 102-3, note to ll. 34-6; McMillin, King Egereon, p. 239; Bradley, Eschines, p. 97).
- King Gorboduc ("Envy"), Tereus ("Lechery"), "The Second Part of the Seven Deadly Sins"
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