Richard Armitage is a British actor best-known for his appearances on screen as well as many notable on stage roles, who is also preparing to take to the West End in Ian Rickson’s production of Conor McPherson’s version of Uncle Vanya from January 2020.
Having studied in Coventry specialising in music and dance, Armitage’s career began after he joined the Nachtcircus in Budapest to earn his Equity card. When he returned to the UK, he worked as an assistant choreographer and performing in ensembles of shows such as 42nd Street, Annie Get Your Gun and Cats.
As he doubted a career in musical theatre, Armitage enrolled at LAMDA to study acting, and later joined the RSC for productions such as Macbeth, The Duchess of Malfi and Hamlet. These led to his first television appearances in the series Sparkhouse, then Between the Sheets, Cold Feet and Ultimate Force.
Armitage saw later success with series such as North ad South, his first leading role in 2004. He played John Thornton, a mill owner who is the subject of the affections of a young woman from the south of England who moves to the north.
Having made a cameo appearance in Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and Captain America: The First Avenger, Armitage’s big-screen break really came in 2012 when he was cast as the leader of the dwarves Thorin Oakenshield in the three The Hobbit films.
On stage, Armitage toured the world at the turn of the millennium playing Angus in an RSC production of Macbeth which toured the country as well as excursions to Broadway and Tokyo. However, theatre work is relatively scarce throughout his overall career. One highlight came in 2014 when he played John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible at the Old Vic. Two years later, he appeared in Mike Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love in Kenneth at the Laura Pels theatre in New York.
Armitage will make a return to the London stage after five years when he appears in Ian Rickson’s version of Uncle Vanya alongside Toby Jones at the Harold Pinter Theatre in January 2020.