Exit Burbage – The Perfect Epitaph

Celebrating actor Richard Burbage 400 years after his death

Shakespeare wrote giant tragic roles for Burbage – he was the best, most popular actor of his time. The 13th March 2019 sees the 400th anniversary of his death and the residents of Burbage Road, Dulwich, are following in his footsteps, with among other events, a walk (setting off from his resting place in St Leonards Church) commemorating his epic removal of  ‘The Theatre’ from Shoreditch to Bankside, rebuilding it as the Globe Theatre.

Louise Wood, Chair of the Burbage Road Residents’ Association says “Our project has quickly evolved into an enthusiastic partnership with Andrew Dickson, author of Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe, the Globe Theatre and St Leonards Church, Burbage’s final resting place.

Louise continues “Initially the aim was to make sure that every household knew the story of the man who gave his name to the road.  We’ve especially valued involving around 100 young local people through our partnerships with the Glove and MOLA.  This has given us the opportunity to bring the message to those in Southwark, home of great Shakespearian theatre.”

Burbage was a charismatic and as passionate in person as he was on stage and a colourful story exists showing Richard Burbage’s lateral thinking when the landlord refused to renew the lease of the Theatre site. In a flamboyantly daring move, at Christmas 1598, under cover of darkness, the Burbage brothers, Shakespeare and Co took down their wooden theatre plank by plank, ferried it across the river to the south bank and reconstructed. It was a new Playhouse, the finest yet. It was to be called the Globe. With his brother, Cuthbert, Richard set up an innovative system of theatre management. Burbage was an accomplished artist too. See his portrait in Dulwich Picture Gallery and judge for yourself the charisma, the confidence.

Find out more about Richard Burbage and other events at www.exitburbage.org.uk