Speaking of Shakespeare Link

Current Events
Those who had the good fortune to attend the most recent event in our signature conversation series, a February 28th engagement in Manhattan's National Arts Club with filmmaker and theater producer Eleanor Bergstein, are now savoring the vivid anecdotes she shared about "Dirty Dancing." We now look forward to a gethering at The Players (Tuesday, March 20) with founder and artistic director Jesse Berger of the Red Bull Theater, and to upcoming dialogues with playwright and director Nagle Jackson (Wednesday, March 21, at the NAC), historian Edward Tenner (Wednesday, April 18, at the NAC), director Sir Richard Eyre (Tuesday, May 15, at The Players), and New Yorker favorite Adam Gopnik (Thursday, June 14). We're also anticipating a festive evening at Hotel La Fonda in Santa Fe (Thursday, March 29). More attractions will be announced in the near future.

On Monday, January 29, we focused on the inspiring efforts of Stephen Burdman, founder and artistic director of the New York Classical Theatre. Three days later, as part of a luncheon gathering at the Woman's National Democratic Club in DC, we chatted with actor and director Keith Baxter, who is delighting Washington audiences in three roles (the Ghost, the Player King, and the Gravedigger) in a production of Hamlet that highlights Michael Kahn's concluding season as Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. One of our attendees, Leslie Weisman, generously shared some reflections on the portion of that conversation that focused on Orson Welles, the actor, director, and producer with whom Mr. Baxter worked when he portrayed Prince Hal in Chimes at Midnight, a 1966 film classic that starred Welles as Falstaff and Sir John Gielgud as King Henry IV.

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.

One of the highlights of an eventful 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 beautiful Clive Francis trophy. The ceremony took place as part of a UK Theatre Awards luncheon in one of London's most legendary institutions, an edifice Shakespeare refers to in Richard III. And as usual it received extensive media coverage, with illustrated stories in such news sources as Broadway World, What's On Stage, The Stage, and Theatre News.

As we look forward to the Guild's upcoming engagements, among them this summer's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in one of the most welcoming amphitheaters in the nation, we're savoring a presentation of The Tempest that took place August 23-31 at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. More than 1500 attendees applauded a production that featured superb acting, entrancing music and special effects, and an exquisite set by designer 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, the Santa Fe New Mexican's unique cultural supplement.

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 had 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." His 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 a Spanish army was seeking to establish its "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 more detail about our 2017 programming, click here; for links to highlights of previous seasons, click here. If you wish to join and receive periodic updates from The Shakespeare Guild, we invite you to visit our MEMBERSHIP page for types of affiliation. There you'll find a link to a page where you can register for events, enroll as a Guild member, or provide a tax-exempt DONATION.