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.


‘A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM’ (Shakespeare – director: Adrian Noble),centre: Stella Gonet (Titania), Desmond Barrit (Bottom) surrounded by fairies,Royal Shakespeare Company / Barbican Theatre, London 04/1995. Source: Photostage.co.uk


Per RichardArmitageOnline:

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:

Richard Armitage in rehearsal, 1998. Courtesy of Armitage Global.

Richard Armitage in rehearsal, 1998. Courtesy of Armitage Global.

Richard-1998 Hamlet programme

Richard Armitage’s headshot from the 1998 Hamlet program. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Richard Armitage, at left, in rehearsal for Hamlet at the Birmingham Rep. Source: RichardArmitageOnline

Richard Armitage, at left, in rehearsal for Hamlet at the Birmingham Rep. Source: RichardArmitageOnline

Youthful [g]-d? Richard Armitage, while at the Birmingham Rep, photo tweeted by Andrew Whiteoak, April 18, 2013.

Richard Armitage, while at the Birmingham Rep, photo tweeted by Andrew Whiteoak, April 18, 2013. More information about the context of this photo is here.

~ by Servetus on April 24, 2016.

13 Responses to “On Shakespeare anniversary weekend, Richard Armitage in Hamlet (1998)”

  1. What a lovely post. And I just adore that photo of him in rehearsal, sitting on the stool. Baby Armitage showing all the promise of his grownup years 😊


  2. he looks very skinny in that rehearsal photo


  3. aw.. the RSC time… been a lot on my mind lately, theater in general and this weekend with the Shakespeare overdose especially… i couldn’t count the times i’ve thought this weekend : this and that he could do, or i’d love to hear him say these lines or ..if only he’d find his way again to the RSC or to some Shakespeare or other. It’s just so good… so human, so touching and timeless. Sigh. Not that i haven’t thought that a thousand times in the last 2 years since i’ve seen him as Proctor.
    But not just the RSC, just seen another Shakespeare by the hands of Jamie LLoyd, gutsy, fresh. I’d love to see him in any play 🙂 But there is something special about Shakespeare.
    If we hadn’t had the Proctor i would say maybe just wishful thinking, but at least for now i’ll hold to my favourite fantasy of more theater and hopefully some Shakespeare in the future.


    • He’s said things that imply he’d really like to do Macbeth. I’d love to see him as Prospero in The Tempest. I wouldn’t mind some history plays, either. I think he’d make a great Othello, the pallor of his skin not withstanding 🙂 or he could be a fantastic Iago. So, yeah. I totally agree.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes to all those 🙂 and he could still do Hamlet… and the Henrys and and and.. I love the thought of it 🙂 And it’s scary at the same time because either it would be far away, impossible to see or i’d want to see every single of 50-100 performances LOL And then again if he would do just one he’d fall for it again, i’m sure and couldn’t stop at just the one 🙂 (at least that’s how i feel after seeing a play well done)


        • That would be a dream. Dozens of performances. Night after night … I think the highest number I was aware that someone saw the Crucible was 21 times, and it was someone who qualified for cheap tickets.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I can totally understand that, because when it’s good it’s addictive really, especially knowing that each performance is different 🙂 I still regret not seeing more than 3 x Richard II with Tennant.. and i stood for Henry V at the Globe time after time after time just to see it again, especially on last night. The Globe especially is something of an experience, standing, hand folded leaning on the actual stage, nearly inhaling the stage dust 🙂 Being spoken to, so close. The more i enjoy a particular performance the more i think of him in whatever i am seeing or similar. Not necessarily in it, because some things would probably not suit him, but even just : i wish he could see this, i think he would like it 🙂


  4. Nice one, Serv – a topical reminder. And I don’t think I had ever seen that first picture before. Baby!RA, still quite lanky. And those track suit bottoms look very familiar…


  5. Great seeing posts of him doing theater. He always looks good in a beard or goatee.


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