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Richard McCabe (born William McCabe; 1960) is a Scottish actor who has specialized in theatre. An Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), since 2005 he has also regularly performed at Chichester Festival Theatre. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Olivier Award in 1994 and again in 2013, winning the second time.
He was born in Glasgow in 1960 to a Scottish father and French mother. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Following the early death of his father and his mother's remarriage, he grew up in Sussex, where he lives. He adopted Richard McCabe as his Equity professional name.
On 28 April 2013, McCabe won an Olivier award as Best Supporting Actor for his role as PM Harold Wilson in Peter Morgan's 2013 play The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre. He had previously been nominated (but not won) in 1994 in the same category for his role as Autolycus in Adrian Noble's 1992 RSC production of The Winter's Tale (further details are below).
From December 2013, McCabe starred alongside Iain Glen in Turgenev's Fortune's Fool at The Old Vic. McCabe headed the bill at Bath Theatre Royal's Summer Season, playing the leading role of Monsieur Pinglet in Georges Feydeau's farce A Little Hotel on the Side, (originally L'Hotel de libre echange) translated by John Mortimer and directed by Lindsey Posner. This opened on 15 August and played until 31 August 2013.
Last year, McCabe appeared in The Audience by Peter Morgan at the Gielgud Theatre in London's West End. He played Prime Minister Harold Wilson alongside Helen Mirren as HM The Queen. For this role he won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 2013 awards. The play closed on 15 June 2013. According to The Daily Mail, the producers took the play to Broadway with Dame Helen Mirren. McCabe won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance.
Richard McCabe is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). He is best known for his roles with them, ranging from comedy (Puck, Autolycus, Thersites, Apemantus) to villains (Iago, Flamineo) and the title role in King John. He established his reputation as a classical actor mainly through performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). He first gained major attention as Puck in the 1989 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with a production that featured punk fairies and a scrapyard set.
As Autolycus, McCabe entered Act III in The Winter's Tale, hanging from a bunch of huge balloons (1992–93, Adrian Noble, RST, Barbican, UK and international tour). McCabe was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Olivier Award in 1994 for this role. His first leading part was creating the role of Christopher Marlowe in Peter Whelan's School of Night, a new play commissioned for 1993 by the RSC to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Marlowe's death.
Major roles with the RSC have been the title role in King John (2006 Complete Works Festival, Josie O’Rourke, Swan); Iago opposite Ray Fearon in Othello (1999, Michael Attenborough, RST then Barbican); Flamineo in John Webster’s White Devil (1996–97, Deborah Warner, Swan and The Pit). In September and October 2012, he played an older Romeo in Ben Power's A Tender Thing (2009), which updates Romeo & Juliet. Since 2005 McCabe has played a range of contrasting roles in productions originated by the Chichester Festival Theatre: in 2011 he played the lead character of Jim Hacker in Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn’s new play of Yes, Prime Minister (2010, directed by Jonathan Lynn), commissioned by Chichester to mark the 30th anniversary of the television original. After a UK tour in spring 2011, the play ran at the Gielgud and then the Apollo theatres in the West End.
Most recently he was Ben Jonson in the Chichester production of Edward Bond's play Bingo, which moved to The Young Vic in early 2012. Other roles at the Chichester have been the title role in "Scapino or The Trickster" by Moliere (originally Les Fourberies de Scapin, 1671, translated by Jeremy Sams, 2005) (Festival Theatre, 20 May to 9 September 2005), directed by the Romanian, Silviu Purcarete. In the summer of 2010, McCabe played the critic Moon in The Real Inspector Hound (by Sir Tom Stoppard) at The Minerva in a double bill with The Critic (1779, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, directed by Jonathan Church).
Awards and honours
- 1994, nominated as Best Supporting Actor, Olivier Award
- 2013, won Best Supporting Actor, Olivier Award
- 2015, won Best Featured Actor in a Play, Tony Award
- 2013 Olivier Award winners and all previous nominations
- Charlotte Marshall review of "The Audience", 6 March 2013
- The Official Facebook page of "The Audience" including a photo of McCabe as Harold Wilson