On Shakespeare anniversary weekend, Richard Armitage in Hamlet (1998)
In all the furor over Richard Armitage’s childhood interest in Tolkien, it’s gotten a little lost that Armitage had said a number of times that visits to the Royal Shakespeare Company played an important role in motivating him to become a stage actor: “I remember having that moment of finally understanding what was going on. They were having such a good time and the audience was having such a good time and I just thought that was where I wanted to be. I remember thinking they were doing something they loved and they were getting paid for it.”
One of these visits was to Adrian Noble’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Stratford.
Directed by Bill Alexander and starring Richard McCabe, ‘Hamlet’ opened for a three-week run at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 22 September 1998. This was Richard Armitage’s first professional engagement in the theatre since graduating from LAMDA in the summer of 1998 and it took him back to his home turf in the Midlands. He appeared in eleven scenes, playing the small roles of Barnardo, the officer of the watch who sees the ghost of Hamlet’s father in the play’s opening scene, and Voltemand, ambassador to Norway, as well as the non-speaking parts of a Lord’s Attendant and Lucianus, a Player.
Pictures of Richard Armitage in his Birmingham Rep days: