Garrick Close, TW9

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David Garrick (February 19, 1717 – January 20, 1779) was an actor, playwright, and theatre manager, who was one of the outstanding men of 18thCentury theatre. He originated the easy, natural style of acting rather than the bombastic style that was entrenched when he first came to prominence, and made Drury Lane Theatre the European centre of dramatic art. His first acting success was as Richard III and he played all the leading tragic roles of Shakespeare, Johnson, and the Restoration dramatists. As the manager of Drury Lane, from 1747, he pioneered the use of naturalistic landscape backdrops and concealed lighting. At his death, three years after his retirement from Drury Lane and the stage, he was given a lavish public funeral at Westminster Abbey where he was laid to rest in Poets’ Corner. Although Garrick himself lived at Hampton he did have close connections here through his friend James Dance, who used the stage name James Love. When Love decided to open a new theatre on Richmond Green in 1765 he was encouraged by Garrick who offered the advice from the technical staff from Drury Lane. John Cloake in Richmond Past adds: “The prologue on the opening night, 15 June 1765, was written by Garrick and spoken by Love. At the Theatre Royal, as it was called with good reason for its had frequent royal patronage, appeared such famous players as Dorothy Jordan, William Macready, Sarah Siddons, Edmund Kean  and Helen Faucit.” The close of six houses was built in 1961 to 1962 on the site of an Edwardian residence known as Garrick House. It occupied a site adjacent to that of the Theatre Royal which jutted out to almost block the entrance of Old Palace Lane and was demolished in 1884 to widen the road.


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