Betterton, Thomas, 1635?-1710, English actor and manager. He joined Sir William D'Avenant's company at Lincoln's Inn Fields theater in 1661 and became the leading actor of the Restoration stage, the theatrical leader of his time. In the role of Hamlet he was acknowledged as the greatest since Burbage. After D'Avenant's death (1668), he became the head of the company and moved to the Dorset Garden theater (1671), which he partially managed, and where he was especially successful in adaptations of Shakespeare by Dryden, Shadwell, Tate, and himself. Betterton managed the Drury Lane theater from 1682 until 1695, at which time he reopened a theater in Lincoln's Inn Fields, with Congreve's Love for Love as his first production. In 1705 he moved his company to the new Haymarket theater, built for them by Sir John Vanbrugh, where he made his last appearance in 1710. Sent to Paris by James II to study French technique, Betterton adopted new ideas in his theaters, especially in regard to scene design. His wife, Mary Saunderson Betterton, d. 1711, was the first woman to act Shakespeare's great female characters, most notably Lady Macbeth. Both are buried in Westminster Abbey.

See R. W. Lowe, Thomas Betterton (1891, repr. 1972); B. Marinacci, Leading Ladies (1961).

Betterton is a town in Kent County, Maryland, United States. The population was 376 at the 2000 census.


Betterton is located at the mouth of the Sassafras River on the upper Chesapeake Bay. More precisely, Betterton is located at (39.367863, -76.060877).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²), all of it land.


Betterton is governed by a mayor and a town council with four members. Town council meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month at 7:00pm in the town hall. The town hall is located on Third Avenue.

Betterton Beach

Betterton Beach is located at the foot of Main Street. The beach has of frontage for swimming. The water is generally free of sea nettles because the water is not very salty. The beach has public restrooms, a boardwalk, a fishing jetty, a public landing, and ample parking. A picnic pavilion is nearby. Lifeguards are on duty Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00am to 6:00pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day. The beach is maintained by Kent County Parks and Recreation.


As of the census of 2000, there were 376 people, 164 households, and 102 families residing in the town. The population density was 423.9 people per square mile (163.1/km²). There were 277 housing units at an average density of 312.3/sq mi (120.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.29% White, 2.13% African American, 4.52% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.24% of the population.

There were 164 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $36,477, and the median income for a family was $38,750. Males had a median income of $31,250 versus $27,188 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,848. About 6.1% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.


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