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Britton as Petruchio
11 December 1962 |
London, England, UK
Eva Skytte Birkefeldt
Jasper Britton (born 11 December 1962) is an English actor.
Britton is the son of veteran actor Tony Britton, and Danish sculptor Eva Castle Britton (née Skytte Birkefeldt). His half-sisters are television presenter Fern Britton and scriptwriter Cherry Britton.
Britton worked for six years as an assistant stage manager and sound operator until 1989 when, while working for Jonathan Miller at the Old Vic, he forced his way into Miller's office and refused to leave until Miller agreed to let him audition for King Lear. His King of France to Eric Porter's Lear was the beginning of a prolific stage career. Early plays included The Visit with Theatre de Complicite at the Royal National Theatre, The Cherry Orchard, Macbeth and A Flea in her Ear at Nottingham Playhouse. A season at the Royal Shakespeare Company included A Jovial Crew for Max Stafford-Clark, Tamburlaine for Terry Hands and The Beggar's Opera and Antony and Cleopatra for John Caird. There followed the Dauphin in St Joan at the Strand Theatre and an award winning[which?] performance as Rupert in Rope at Salisbury Playhouse.
Upon replacing Eddie Izzard in the title role in Brian Cox's 1995 Richard III, he garnered excellent reviews. He next played the groom role in Blood Wedding at the Young Vic, the first in a series of romantic leads, followed by Rupert Goold's adaptation of End of the Affair, Jonathan Church's Romeo and Juliet and Bill Bryden's Three Sisters.
Britton was part of Trevor Nunn's ensemble company at the National Theatre in 1999, playing Thersites in Troilus and Cressida, Ryumin in Maxim Gorky's Summerfolk, and Smooth in Money. Two seasons at the Shakespeare's Globe for Mark Rylance followed, first playing Palamon in The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Caliban in The Tempest. A year later he returned as Macbeth. After Simon Gray's Japes for Peter Hall at the Haymarket Theatre and Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce at the Aldwych Theatre came Britton's performance as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and The Tamer Tamed for Gregory Doran at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Kennedy Centre in Washington, D.C. respectively, which transferred to the Queen's Theatre in London.
In 2008, he played John Gielgud in Nicholas de Jongh's first play Plague Over England, Nansen in Tony Harrison's Fram and Creon opposite Ralph Fiennes in Oedipus the King, the latter both at the National Theatre. In 2009 he played Elyot in Private Lives opposite Claire Price at Hampstead Theatre, directed by Lucy Bailey. Most recently he played one third of Simon Gray's persona in The Last Cigarette at Chichester Festival Theatre and the Trafalgar Studios, with Felicity Kendal and Nicholas Le Prevost; and Jack Lawson in Mamet's Race at the Hampstead Theatre.
He will play the title role Barabas in The Jew of Malta production at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon-Avon in 2015. He will also replace Nigel Lindsay as Henry Bolingbroke when the RSC's 2013 production of Richard II is shown at the Barbican Centre as part of the King and Country Cycle, as well as reprising his role as the title character in Henry IV Parts I and II.
In 2017 he played Dr Rance in the Leicester Curve production of What The Butler Saw.
Britton played the Court Laureate in Terrence Malick's The New World alongside Colin Farrell, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Bale. He donned bells and hankies to play Will Frosser, the foreman of the Millsham Morris Side in the UK feature film, Morris: A Life with Bells On.
Britton's television credits include two series of My Dad's the Prime Minister, and Brief Encounters: Semi-Detached for the BBC, as well as Highlander: The Series. He appeared in two 2006 TV films: as pirate William Howard in Blackbeard with Mark Umbers and Stacy Keach, and alongside Oliver Dimsdale and Heathcote Williams in as Henry II in Nostradamus.