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Richard McCabe (born William McCabe; 18 August 1960) is a Scottish actor who has specialised in classical theatre. He is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).


McCabe is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), best known for his roles, ranging from comedy (Puck, Autolycus, Thersites, Apemantus) to drama (King John, Iago, Flamineo). 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; RST, Barbican, UK and international tour). His first leading part was creating the role of Christopher Marlowe in Peter Whelan's School of Night, a new play commissioned by the RSC to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Marlowe's death in 1993 (1993–94). Other major roles with the RSC have been the title role in King John (2006; Josie O’Rourke, Swan); Iago opposite Ray Fearon in Othello (1999-2000; Michael Attenborough, RST & Barbican); Flamineo in John Webster’s White Devil (1996–97; Gale Edwards, Swan & The Pit).[citation needed]

McCabe has also been associated with Chichester's Festival Theatre, playing a range of contrasting roles including the title role in Scapino or The Trickster by Molière (Festival Theatre 2005), directed by Silviu Purcarete. In 2010, McCabe played the critic Moon in The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard, and Mr. Puff in The Critic by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in a double bill at the Minerva theatre, as well as Jonson in Bingo by Edward Bond that subsequently transferred to the Young Vic.

In 2011 McCabe played Jim Hacker in a nationwide tour of Yes, Prime Minister which then transferred to both the Apollo and Gielgud theatres. He played Tropachov in Fortune's Fool by Turgenev at the Old Vic theatre.

In September and October 2012, he played an older Romeo opposite Kathryn Hunter's Juliet in Ben Power's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, called A Tender Thing (2009), directed by Helena Kaut-Hausen. He also played Hamlet over a period of three years (1999-2001) for Birmingham Rep's production directed by Bill Alexander. This included appearing at the Hamlet Festival at Elsinore Castle in Denmark in 2001.

At the 2013 Olivier Awards, McCabe won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role as PM Harold Wilson in the original production of Peter Morgan's The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre.[1] He had previously been nominated for the same Olivier Award in 1994 for his role as Autolycus in the 1992 RSC production of The Winter's Tale.[2][3]

On 7 June 2015, at the 69th Tony Awards, McCabe won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for the Broadway production of The Audience, starring Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. Mirren won the Best Actress Tony Award.[4][5] He also won awards for Outstanding Featured Actor (Outer Critics Circle Awards)[6] and Distinguished Performance (Drama League Award).[7] In 2017, McCabe acted in the role of Major General David Harding in the Bollywood film, Rangoon.[8]

McCabe also played Cicero in the Imperium cycle of plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2017/8.[9]

The 2022 English National Opera production of The Yeomen of the Guard at the Coliseum Theatre, London, featured McCabe as Jack Point.[10]


Described by Michael Billington of The Guardian as "One of our finest actors" and Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph as "One of the best actors of his generation", McCabe has received Olivier[11] and Tony Awards.[12]

On television McCabe played Frank Gresham Senior, owner of Greshamsbury Park, in Julian Fellowes' adaptation for ITV of Anthony Trollope's novel Doctor Thorne.[13] He has also appeared in Poldark, Peaky Blinders, all four series of Wallander, Indian Summers, and The Best of Men. On film McCabe has appeared in Eye in the Sky, Mindhorn, The Constant Gardener, Master and Commander, Notting Hill, and Persuasion. Other films include Cinderella, The Invisible Woman, The Duchess, Vanity Fair, and Nightwatching.



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Persuasion Captain Benwick
1999 Notting Hill Tony
2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Mr. Higgins, Surgeon's Mate
2004 The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 2: Vaux to the Sea Horace
2004 Vanity Fair The King
2005 The Constant Gardener Arthur Hammond
2007 Nightwatching Bloemfeldt
2008 The Duchess Sir James Hare
2012 Epithet Alan Short
2013 National Theatre Live: The Audience Harold Wilson Recorded theatre performance
2013 The Invisible Woman Mr. Mark Lemon
2015 Cinderella Baron
2015 Eye in the Sky George Matherson
2016 Mindhorn Jeffrey Moncrieff
2017 Rangoon Major General Harding
2017 Goodbye Christopher Robin Rupert
2018 The Little Stranger Dr. Steely
2019 From Preacher to Prophet A Sam Kinison Story Limo driver Short
2019 1917 Colonel Collins
2020 The Duke Rab Butler
2021 SAS: Red Notice Callum
2021 Cyrano Priest


Year Title Role Notes
1985, 1990,
The Bill Steve Naylor/Darryl/Colin 3 episodes
1987 Bulman Eddie
1991 For the Greater Good Trusty
1994 Between the Lines Philip Skinner
1997 Bramwell Osborne
1997 A Prince Among Men Tubby McFinnon
1998 Heat of the Sun Theodore Watcham Serial
1998 Killer Net D.I. Colby Serial
1999 The Vice Michael Walden
2000 Trial & Retribution Roger Barker
2003 The Family Jeremy Davison
2003 Waking the Dead Karl Meerman
2003 Family Jeremy Davison Serial
2003 Foyle's War Colin Fowler
2004 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Theatre Manager
2005 To the Ends of the Earth Mr. Brocklebank Serial
2006 Midsomer Murders Rev. Anthony Gant
2006 Jane Eyre Mr. Brocklehurst
2007 The Whistleblowers Charles Radford
2007 Heroes and Villains Barras TV series documentary
2008 Lewis Gavin Matthews
2008 Einstein and Eddington Frank Dyson TV movie
2008–15 Wallander Nyberg
2009 Spooks Matthew Plowden
2010 Masterpiece Mystery Nyberg
2012 Playhouse Presents Tim Szabo
2012 The Best of Men Dr Cowan TV movie
2013 Legacy Gerry TV movie
2013 Borgia King Federigo d'Aragona
2014 Peaky Blinders Winston Churchill
2014 The Great Fire Lord Hyde Serial
2014 The Game Prime Minister Serial
2015 Indian Summers Stafford Armitage
2016 Doctor Thorne Frank Gresham Snr Serial
2016–17 Poldark Mr. Trencrom
2017 Harlots Justice Cunliffe
2017 Electric Dreams Dr. Thaddeus Cutter
2017 Doc Martin Trevor Dodds
2018 Collateral Peter Westbourne Serial
2020 The English Game Colonel Jackson
2021 Death in Paradise Professor Roger Harkness
2021 A Very British Scandal George Whigham
2022 The Pentaverate Exalted Pikeman Higgins

Awards and honours

Year Ceremony Award Nominated work Result
1994 Laurence Olivier Awards Best Supporting Actor The Winter's Tale Nominated[3]
2013 The Audience Won[1]
2015 Tony Awards Best Featured Actor in a Play Won[12]
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Featured Actor Won[14]
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Award Nominated[15]


  1. ^ a b "Olivier Winners 2013". Olivier Awards. Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
  2. ^ "Olivier Winners 1994".
  3. ^ a b "Olivier Winners 1994". Olivier Awards. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
  4. ^ "The Audience – Awards". Theaudiencebroadway.com. Archived from the original on 3 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  5. ^ "BWW TV: THE AUDIENCE's Richard McCabe on His Tony Win - 'It's a Good Award When It's Got Some Weight to It' Video". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  6. ^ "2014-2015 Award Nominations". outercritics.org. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Drama League Nominations: Bradley Cooper, Helen Mirren, Jake Gyllenhaal (FULL LIST)". 21 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Shahid injured, 'Rangoon' shoot halted - Times of India". The Times of India.
  9. ^ "Imperium: About the Play". rsc.org.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  10. ^ Billington, Michael (4 November 2022). "ENO: The Yeomen of the Guard review – tonal uncertainties but G&S update has plenty to enjoy". the Guardian. p. 23.
  11. ^ "Olivier Awards with MasterCard". Olivierawards.com. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Richard McCabe Wins Tony Award: Best Featured Actor in a Play 2015". Hollywood Reporter. 7 June 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Richard McCabe". IMDb.
  14. ^ "Outer Critic Circle Awards 2015". Variety. 11 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Drama League Nominations: Bradley Cooper, Helen Mirren, Jake Gyllenhaal". Variety. 21 April 2015.