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Richard Armitage : Theatre career

“Live acting is a kind of adventure sport. I don’t go abseiling or snowboarding, but I sometimes think that stepping out on stage can have the same kind of adrenaline rush.” [1]

Richard Armitage began his career in musical theatre, spending several years in West End and touring productions in his late teens and early twenties.  (Dates and roles are given where known.)

1990-1991, 42nd Street, Dominion Theatre and UK tour, Ensemble Member

1991, My One and Only, London Palladium

June 1992, Mr Wonderful, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

June 1992, Nine, Royal Festival Hall

1992-1993, Annie Get your Gun, Prince of Wales Theatre and tour, Ensemble Member; understudy Wild Horse, Ceremonial Dancer

1993, 1994, 1995 (non-continuous), Cats, UK tour, Macavity, Admetus

1995 Cats, New London Theatre, Drury Lane, Macavity, Admetus

Before enrolling at LAMDA in 1995, Richard Armitage appeared in a number of non-musical theatre productions. These, and his post-LAMDA work, include the following (dates and roles given where known);

1995? The Long and the Short and the Tall, The Actors’ Centre, Macleish.

Willis Hall’s two-act play explores the tensions between soldiers isolated in the Malayan jungle in early 1942.  Richard Armitage played ‘Mac’ Macleish, a Lance-Corporal insecure in his role as a non-commissioned officer.

1995?, The Real Thing, The Old School, Manchester, Henry. 

Richard played Henry, the cuckolded writer at the centre of Tom Stoppard’s 1982 romantic comedy about marital and artistic infidelity. 

1995?, Six Degrees of Separation, The Old School, Manchester, Flan. 

John Guare’s play was inspired by a real case of imposture; it tells the story of wealthy art dealers ‘Flan’ and Ouisa Ketteridge, whose lives are changed when they meet a young con-man.  

1995?, Death of a Salesman, The Old School, Manchester, Biff Loman.

In Arthur Miller’s intense, complex exploration of family relationships, Richard played Willy Loman’s troubled but favoured elder son Biff, who at the end of the play achieves autonomy only through the death of his father.

1998?, The Woolgatherer, Edinburgh Festival, Cliff

In William Mastrosimone’s 1979 two-hander, Richard played Cliff, the hard-drinking truck driver to whom Rose, a daydreaming shop assistant, reveals a secret past.

1998?, The Real Thing, Edinburgh Festival, Henry.

Richard reprised his role in Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed play.

Information about Richard Armitage in Hamlet

1998, Hamlet, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Barnardo,Voltemand.  

This was was Richard’s first professional engagement after graduating from LAMDA.  Following previews, the production ran from 22 September to 10 October 1998.  As well as the roles of Barnardo and Voltemand, Richard  played the non-speaking parts of a Lord’s Attendant and Lucianus, a Player.

  1998?  A Light Swell, Bridewell Theatre, London.

 Richard appeared in this new play by Dylan Ritson.
Information about Richard Armitage in The Four Alice Bakers

1999 The Four Alice Bakers, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Young Richie. 

Richard played the young scientist Richie Baker in Fay Weldon’s play about human cloning.  Following previews, it ran from 19 February to 13 March 1999.

Information about Richard Armitage in Macbeth

1999/2000 Macbeth,  Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon; Young Vic, London and on tour (Royal Shakespeare Company),   Angus.

Starring Antony Sher and Harriet Walter, Macbeth opened at the Swan in November 1999. It then toured in Britain and Japan, before opening at the Young Vic in April 2000. A visit to the USA followed in June 2000. It was also filmed for television, at the Round House in London. Richard Armitage played Angus, initially an ally of Macbeth who transfers his loyalty as he comes to realise Macbeth’s perfidy.

Information about Richard Armitage in The Duchess of Malfi

2000/2001 The Duchess of Malfi, Barbican Theatre, London; Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (Royal Shakespeare Company), Delio. 

Opening  at the Barbican in November 2000, the production transferred to Stratford where it ran during February and March 2001. Richard played the part of Delio, courtier and confidant of Antonio, the secret husband of the Duchess.


2002, Use Me As Your Cardigan, Charm Offensive/ Infinity Productions/Jacksons Lane, Jez

Richard Armitage played Jez in a comedy by Samantha Ellis in February/March 2002. It was his first leading role in the theatre.

The play was produced as part of the 10xTen Festival at Jacksons Lane in north London.

  2002, Annie Lee, Tristan Bates Theatre (The Operating Theatre Company/ The Actors’ Centre).

Richard Armitage appeared in this play by Lucy Edkins, directed by Kirsty Bushell as part of a ‘cutting edge new writing’ programme in November/December 2002.

2010, The Twenty Four Hour Plays Celebrity Gala, Old Vic

Richard was one of 23 celebrities appearing in the Old Vic's annual fundraising gala on 21st November 2010. A group of actors, writers and directors are given 24 hours to write, rehearse and perform six short plays. Richard played the role of Dennis in The Third Wish, by Stephen Beresford.




[1] Sunday Times, 30th April 2006

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