John Wilkes Booth's RICHARD III
by Hidden Room Theatre

Jun. 15 - Jun. 30, 2018

The Hidden Room Theatre, the Harry Ransom Center & Austin Scottish Rite Theater Present:

Booth’s Richard III 

A 1699 re-working of William Shakespeare's Richard III by Colley Cibber, presented in 1860's Original Practices based on John Wilkes Booth's original promptbook, currently housed at the Harry Ransom Center. It is unlike any other Richard III you have ever seen...

“Ready trumpet. Boy ready with armor. Take time. More piano. Long flourish continued till discovery, next Sc. - and do not W Till Mr Booth is on stage.”

For The Hidden Room, a company that specializes in historically significant theatre, these and other handwritten notes inside an 1861 promptbook for Richard III are DNA hidden in the book’s rich amber. But the actor/director who wrote most of them, the man who is assisting this work from the beyond, is one of the most detested villains of American history: John Wilkes Booth. 

Join us as we explore lost theatre practices of the Civil-War era, glimpse into the mixing of 1860’s theatre and politics, and consider how rhetoric and fear turned a country against itself. The promptbook, darkly fascinating, is an unintentional gift - a magic mirror back into to a theatre in 1861, that a radicalized madman left behind.

Dubbed the "Blood and Thunder Richard" by its critics, this version of Richard III was adapted by Colley Cibber in 1699, and only retains about 800 lines from Shakespeare. It was written to be fast-paced, more audience friendly, and fueled by melodrama. The play was later further cut for the stage by celebrated actor Edmund Kean, and then again by John Wilkes Booth from whom we take notes on blocking, timing, music, costumes, and character. Despite being the Richard III that America grew up with Cibber's version fell out of favor and memory by the late 1800's, and this particular cut will not have been seen on the stage since the original in 1861.  

Running time: 120 minutes


Click to view webcast video discussion by Eric J. Colleary and Beth Burns, June 6, 2018 (42 min.) 

Feature by Wayne Alan Benner, Austin Chronicle, June 12, 2018


Webcast discussion by Eric J.Colleary and Beth burns, June 6, 2018 (42 min.)



Directed by Beth Burns 
Lead Research by Eric J. Colleary
Starring Judd Farris, Robert Matney, Lynn Mikeska, Kriston Woodreaux, Zac Crofford, Andrea Smith, Robert Deike, Brock England, Jill Swanson, Jeremy Rashad Brown, Kenneth Williams, Lily Pipkin, Andrew Rodriguez, Rachel Steed, Adam Miller Batteau
Music Research and Direction by Howard Burkett
Fight Choreography by Toby Minor
Gesture Direction by Kate Meehan
Costume Design by Jenny McNee
Prop Design by Amanda Perry
Light Design by Stephen Pruitt
Austin Scottish Rite Theater Scholarship by Susan Gayle Todd
Vocal Coaching by Justin Scalise
Prompter Duties by Andrew Rodriguez

John Wilkes Booth's RICHARD III
by William Shakespeare
Hidden Room Theatre

June 15 - June 30, 2018
Scottish Rite Theater
207 West 18th Street
Austin, TX, 78701


Tickets $15 - $30 plus service fees, available on-line HERE


Parking available in a lot behind the theatre or metered street parking
Theatre is wheelchair accessible
Find your public transit route to the theatre here:


[poster design by JennyMarie Jemison, Five and Four]