Killigrew, Thomas (kĭlˈəgrōˌ) [key], 1612–83, English dramatist and theater manager, b. London. Before the closing of the theaters by the Puritans in 1642, he wrote several tragicomedies, including The Prisoners and Claracilla. His most popular play was the coarse comedy The Parson's Wedding (1637). In 1647 he followed Prince Charles into exile and at the Restoration was rewarded by being made groom of the bedchamber to Charles II and chamberlain to the queen. Charles granted to Killigrew and to Sir William D'Avenant exclusive patents in 1660 to build two new theaters and to form companies of players. Killigrew was first to establish his company, the King's Servants, at Gibbon's tennis court, Vere St.; three years later he moved to his new building, the Theatre Royal, in Drury Lane. He produced garbled versions of Shakespeare, the plays of Dryden and Aphra Behn, and his own plays.
See study by A. B. Harbage (1930, repr. 1967).
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