1940s

Druid’s Rest

Burton makes his first professional stage appearance as Glan, the elder son of publicans in a comedy set in the back parlour of a small public house in Wales, early in the 20th century. Gladys Henson and Roddy Hughes play his parents.

Writer:
Emlyn Williams
Director:
Emlyn Williams
Theatre:
Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool

Druid’s Rest

A comedy set in the back parlour of a small public house in Wales, early in the 20th century. Burton is cast as Glan, the elder son of publicans. Gladys Henson and Roddy Hughes play his parents.

Writer:
Emlyn Williams
Director:
Emlyn Williams
Theatre:
St Martin’s Theatre, London

Measure for Measure

Originally the understudy to Angelo in this Oxford University Dramatic Society production, Burton takes over the role when the actor cast as Angelo falls ill.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Nevill Coghill
Theatre:
Christ Church, Cloisters, Oxford

Castle Anna

Set in the drawing room of a country house in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century, Burton plays Mr Hicks, young officer stationed nearby. Hazel Terry, Richard Leech and Arthur Sinclair also star in this drama.

Writer:
Elizabeth Bowen, John Perry
Director:
Daphne Rye
Theatre:
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith

The Lady’s Not For Burning

Burton plays an orphaned clerk in Christopher Fry’s period comedy, set in the house belonging to the Mayor of Cool Clary, a small market town. John Gielgud and Claire Bloom are also cast in this production.

Writer:
Christopher Fry
Director:
John Gielgud, Esme Percy
Theatre:
Globe Theatre, London

1950s

The Boy With a Cart

This play is initially set in a Cornish village before moving on to Steyning in Sussex. Burton plays the role of Cuthman alongside Mary Jerrold, Hazel Terry and Diana Graves. This production is part of a double bill which includes Shall We Join The Ladies? by J M Barrie.

Writer:
Christopher Fry
Director:
John Gielgud
Theatre:
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith

A Phoenix Too Frequent

As Tegeus the Roman soldier, Burton comforts a grieving widow in a mausoleum.

Writer:
Christopher Fry
Director:
Christopher Fry
Theatre:
Dolphin Theatre, Brighton

The Lady’s Not For Burning

This is Burton’s first stage appearance in New York.

Writer:
 
Director:
John Gielgud
Theatre:
Royale Theatre, New York

Henry IV, Henry V

Burton plays Prince Hal, Henry IV and Henry V in the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre’s season for the Festival of Britain.

Writer:
Anthony Quayle, John Kidd, Michael Redgrave
Director:
 
Theatre:
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Tempest

Burton plays Ferdinand, son of the King of Naples. Alan Badel plays Ariel.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Michael Benthall
Theatre:
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Happy to return to Broadway
Happy to return to Broadway

© NYPL

Legend of Lovers

Happy to return to Broadway, and happier still when the US critics applaud the young Welsh actor’s work. Burton is cast as the musician in Jean Anouilh’s adaptation of Eurydice. Dorothy McGuire and Hugh Griffith join him.

Writer:
Jean Anouilh
Director:
Peter Ashmore
Theatre:
The Plymouth Theatre, New York

Montserrat

This play is set in the Governor’s Palace in Valencia in Venezuela during its fight for independence in 1812. Burton takes the title role of Captain Montserrat with Noel Willman as Colonel Izquierdo.

Writer:
Emanuel Robles
Director:
Noel Willman, Nigel Green
Theatre:
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith

Hamlet

Burton is cast for the first time as Hamlet in the Old Vic Company production for the Edinburgh Festival. Claire Bloom plays Ophelia.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Michael Benthall
Theatre:
Assembly Hall, Edinburgh

Coriolanus

Burton plays Caius Martius (Coriolanus). William Squire is cast as Menenius Agrippa.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Michael Benthall
Theatre:
The Old Vic

Hamlet

Burton plays the title role.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Michael Benthall
Theatre:
The Old Vic

King John

Burton plays Philip, the Bastard, with Michael Hordern as King John.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
George Devine
Theatre:
The Old Vic

The Tempest

Burton plays Caliban, Michael Hordern is Prospero with Claire Bloom as Miranda.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Robert Helpmann
Theatre:
The Old Vic

Twelfth Night

Burton is cast as Sir Toby Belch alongside John Neville as Orsino and Claire Bloom as Viola.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Michael Benthall
Theatre:
The Old Vic

Henry V

Burton takes the title role with John Neville as the Chorus.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Michael Benthall
Theatre:
The Old Vic

Othello

In this production the roles of Othello and Iago were alternated between Burton and John Neville.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Denis Carey
Theatre:
The Old Vic
Burton, with his infectious energy, builds his reputation both on and off the stage in New York
Burton, with his infectious energy, builds his reputation both on and off the stage in New York

© NYPL

Time Remembered

Burton plays Prince Albert in Patricia Moyes' adaptation of Time Remembered from Jean Anouilh’s Leocadia. This romantic comedy is about a Duchess, a Prince, a ballerina and a milliner. Susan Strasberg is the milliner and Helen Hayes the Duchess of Pont-au-Bronc.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Albert Marre
Theatre:
Morosco Theatre, New York

1960s

Camelot

Burton plays King Arthur in the Lerner and Loewe musical. Originally based on T H White’s version of the legend of King Arthur, The Once and Future King. Julie Andrews stars as Guinevere.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Moss Hart
Theatre:
Majestic Theatre, New York
Award

New York Drama Critics Award for the best performance

Hamlet

Burton stars in the title role of John Gielgud’s production. The cast includes Hume Cronyn as Polonius, Linda Marsh as Ophelia, Alfred Drake as Claudius, John Cullum as Laertes, Eileen Herlie as Gertrude and Gielgud plays the ghost. This production was filmed and shown across the USA during one weekend.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
John Gielgud
Theatre:
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York

A Poetry Reading

Burton and Elizabeth Taylor appear on stage reading a selection of poetry including Marvell, DH Lawrence, Hardy, Frost and Barrett Browning. It is the first time Elizabeth appeared ‘live’ and on stage.

Writer:
 
Director:
 
Theatre:
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York

Doctor Faustus

In this Oxford University Dramatic Society production Burton plays the title role with Elizabeth Taylor as Helen of Troy. Later this year Burton co-directed and co-produced the film version of the production in Rome.

Writer:
Philip Marlowe
Director:
Nevill Coghill
Theatre:
Oxford Playhouse

1970s/80s

Special Tony Award, ‘Welcome Back to Broadway’
Special Tony Award, ‘Welcome Back to Broadway’

© NYPL

Equus

Burton takes over the role of the psychoanalyst Martin Dysart from Anthony Perkins. He later re-creates the part for the film version.

Writer:
Peter Shaffer
Director:
John Dexter
Theatre:
Plymouth Theatre, New York
Award

Special Tony Award, ‘Welcome Back to Broadway’

Camelot

Burton plays King Arthur with Christine Ebersol as Guinevere and Richard Muenz as Lancelot.

Writer:
William Shakespeare
Director:
Frank Dunlop
Theatre:
American tour including New York State Theatre, Lincoln Centre, New York

Private Lives

Burton appears as Elyot Chase with Elizabeth Taylor as Amanda Prynne in this comedy about a divorced couple who fall in love with each other even though they are on honeymoon with new partners.

Writer:
Noël Coward
Director:
Milton Katselas
Theatre:
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York