Welcome to The Shakespear Guild
As another memorable year draws to a close, we extend both gratitude and holiday greetings to everyone who has contributed to the Guild's many successes. For details we invite you to browse this site, clicking on the blue links that serve as navigation devices. We'll be particularly grateful if you feel inclined to support our endeavors by providing a tax-exempt donation. by enrolling as a member, or by registering for one or more of our events.

One of the highlishts of a richly varied 2017 occurred on Sunday, October 15, when the Guild bestowed its prestigious GIELGUD AWARD on playwright DAVID HARE. Sir David is the first dramatist to receive a Gielgud, and attendees were deeply moved by the eloquent remarks he delivered as he accepted this year's elegant Clive Francis trophy. The ceremony took place as part of a UK THEATRE AWARDS luncheon in London's venerable GUILDHALL, and as usual it received extensive media attention, with coverage in such news sources as Broadway World, What's On Stage, The Stage, and Theatre News.

Among the things that made this presentation special was that it reinforced an event that Sir David had graced with his presence on April 27, when he joined a previous Gielgud recipient. Dame Judi Dench, in a gathering at which an ENGLISH HERITAGE plaque was placed on the Cowley Street residence that had been Sir John's home from 1945 to 1976. The man behind this memorial to Sir John's legacy was John Miller, a distinguished biographer and arts presenter who serves on the Guild's Advisory Council; he presided over a festive occasion that included eloquent remarks not only by Sir David and Dame Judi, but by actor Michael Pennington. Click here to watch the unveiling in a Facebook video that has been kindly made available by Christian Bace of English Heritage.

The Guild's next engagement will be a SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE program at 8 p.m. on Monday, January 29, in Manhattan's NATIONAL ARTS CLUB (15 Gramercy Park South). This conversation will focus on the efforts of STEPHEN BURDMAN, founder and artistic director of the New York Classical Theatre. Three days later, as part of a February 1 luncheon gathering at the WOMAN'S NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CLUB in Washington, we'll talk with actor and director KEITH BAXTER, who'll be playing the Gravedigger in a production of Hamlet that Michael Kahn will be directing as part of his concluding season at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

We opened our 2017-18 SOS season on Friday, October 6, with educator JOANNA READ, who heads the London Academy of Dramatic Art (LAMDA). A few days later, on Wednesday, October 18, we enjoyed a delightful evening with Washington Post theater critic PETER MARKS. Then on Monday, November 6, we chatted with WNET executive STEPHEN SEGALLER, who offered a sneak preview of this spring's attractions in a series called SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED, a three-year, 18-episode co-production with the BBC that provides scintillating introductions to the most popular plays in the dramatic repertory. More SOS dates, guests, and enticing topics will be announced soon. For information about programs that took place in the first half of 2017, click here.

As we look forward to the Guild's upcoming engagements we're savoring a presentation of The Tempest that took place August 23-31 at the SANTA FE BOTANICAL GARDEN. More than 1500 enthusiastic attendees applauded a production that featured superb acting, entrancing music and special effects, and an extraordinary stage and set by architect Jay Bush. To learn more about SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN, read the informative background article by Jennifer Levin and the judicious review by James M. Keller in Pasatiempo, an impressive cultural supplement of the Santa Fe New Mexican.

This production was brilliantly directed by Nagle Jackson, who helped artistic director Rachel Kelly preside over several seasons of Shakespeare in Santa Fe between 1997 and 2002. Mr. Jackson returned to La Tierra Encantada in 2013 for a sprightly St. John's College medley that proved to be a complete Delight, indeed one that Mr. Keller described in Pasatiempo as that summer's "most endearing revival." Mr. Jackson's 2017 Tempest took place in a magic circle that evoked such predecessors as the amphitheaters of Greek antiquity, the "Wooden O" that Shakespeare evokes in his prologue to Henry V, and the Zia Sun Symbol that adorns the New Mexico flag. Pulsating with reminders that an aging playwright was scripting his valedictory drama at the same time that Spanish warriors were seeking to establish a "brave new world" in a terrain that had long been occupied by earlier settlers, this rendering of a classic score proved especially engaging for residents of the American Southwest.

For background about The Tempest, see the foreword that Sir John Gielgud generously contributed to Mr. Andrews' 1994 Everyman Shakespeare edition of the play, as well as the Editor's Introduction that followed it. You might also enjoy listening to Ellen Berkovitch's KSFR radio feature about Shakespeare in the Garden, as well as conversations with KVSF host Richard Eeds and KBAC host Honey Harris. And finally, you might be interested in letters that appreciative attendees published in the New Nexican, as well as in some "Reflections on The Tempest" that Mr. Andrews presented in late September at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

On Friday, February 24, As a prelude for its August 2017 Tempest, the Guild co-sponsored a resonant February entertainment in what may well be America's oldest church. On this occasion we co-hosted SHAKESPEARE AT SAN MIGUEL. A co-production with Severall Friends, an early-music ensemble that draws its name from Elizabethan composer Matthew Locke, this concert took place in a chapel whose foundations date from the poet's lifetime. Highlighted by acclaimed instrumentalists and singers, the program featured eleven of Shakespeare's sonnets, which were artfully interspersed with thematically-related lyrics by Thomas Campion, William Dowland, and other composers. Click here for musicologist James M. Keller's detailed preview in Pasatiempo.

A few weeks later, on Saturday, March 25, the Guild played a role in a WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL memorial service for renowned author E. R. BRAITHWAITE, best known for To Sir, With Love, a 1959 best-seller that became a celebrated 1967 film with Sidney Poitier in the role that Mr. Braithwaite's eloquent memoir had made famous. Mr. Braithwaite died at the age of 104 on December 12, 2016, and Guild president John Andrews was one of the three speakers who eulogized him in the Cathedral's intimate Bethlehem Chapel. The service concluded with an organ rendering of Lulu's musical tribute to "Sir," a single that had been popular music's number-one recording a half-century earlier. Click here to watch a February 2007 conversation between Mr. Andrews and Mr. Braithwaite that has been telecast several times on C-SPAN's weekend Book TV service.