Welcome to The Shakespear Guild
We extend greetings to those who are new to the Guild, and thanks to those who have participated in and contributed to the success of our many programs. For details about recent initiatives -- many of them in historic settings such as San Miguel Church in Santa Fe, the Bethlehem Chapel in Washington's National Cathedral, The Players and the National Arts Club in Manhattan's Gramercy Park, and the Guildhall and Middle Temple Hall in London -- we encourage you to browse these pages, clicking on the blue links that serve as navigation devices. We'll also be pleased if you decide to support our educational and cultural endeavors by registering for one or more of our upcoming events, by enrolling as a Guild member, or by providing a tax-exempt donation.

SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE PROGRAMS IN MANHATTAN

Our next installment in a Speaking series that is now in its third decade will occur at 7 p.m. Monday, November 26, at The Players (16 Gramercy Park South) in Manhattan. We hope you'll join us for a fervent tribute to the Drama Book Shop, an institution whose vital assistance to Broadway, and to the nation's theater community as a whole, has been recegnized by a special Tony Award. Like most of our programs, this gathering will be admission-free; and for those who'd like to arrive early, a cash bar will open at 6:30 p.m.

After the holidays we'll launch our 2019 programming at 8 p.m. Monday, January 28, in the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South), where we'll converse with actor, director, producer, and author Dakin Matthews. Dakin will be appearing in a Lincoln Center Theater production of To Kill a Mockingbird, and he'll be delighted to discuss that and the dozens of other modern plays in which he has appeared. He also plans to talk about how an accomplished performer approaches Shakespeare's verse. More details about this gathering, and about additional SOS attractions between late January and mid-June, will be announced shortly.

We launched the 2018-19 season of our signature Speaking series with four remarkable evenings at The Players. On Monday, Seprember 17, we joined Stephen Segaller, WNET's Vice-President for National Programming, producers Richard Denton and Nikki Stockley, and such special guests as actor F. Murray Abraham and Folger director Michael Witmore for a memorable overview about Season Three of Shakespeare Uncovered, an evening that featured previews of the six installments that were to conclude this impressive 18-play series in October. The following week, on Tuesday-Thursday, September 25-27, we joined the Players Foundation to host stage readings of the three segments of The Lives of Shakespeare, a new trilogy by playwright Mary Jane Schaefer in which she presented diverse perspectives on what Shakespeare might have been like, drawing from historical facts, contemporary anecdotes, and suggestive details in the author's poems and plays.

On Wednesday, October 17, we moved next door to the National Arts Club for an engaging dialogue with Peter Marks, chief theater critic for The Washington Post. Mr. Marks is one of today's most influential arts journalists, and we enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion that addressed not only what is now happening in the Nation's Capital, but what audiences are experiencing in New York, London, and a variety of other theatrical settings.

For information about previous highlights in the Guild's two decades of Speaking engagements, click here.

OUR 2018 GIELGUD AWARD FESTIVITIES IN LONDON

We're delighted to report that the recipient of our 2018 Gielgud trophy, presented at a UK Theatre Awards luncheon on October 14 in London's venerable Guildhall, is director, producer, filmmaker, and author Sir Richard Eyre. Sir Richard's riveting television production of King Lear, with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the title role, debuted recently on Amazon Prime Video. Meanwhile his evocative feature film, The Children Act, co-starring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci and featuring Fionn Whitehead in a screenplay by novelist Ian McEwan, is gripping moviegoers around the globe.

Bestowing this year's award was Sir Ian McKellen, our inaugural Gielgud laureate, who was himself appearing in a West End staging of King Lear that had been shared cinematically with audiences throughout the world. When he received his own trophy, during a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library on May 20, 1996, Sir Ian had graced the occasion not only with praise for Sir John, but with a powerful recitation from The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore, relating the words that Shakespeare had composed for the script's title character to what Justice Anthony Kennedy had said earlier that day while he was delivering a pivotal Supreme Court ruling that "no state may 'deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.'" As he presented this year's award, Sir Ian recalled how much Gielgud did, not only to exemplify meticulous standards in his own presentations of Shakespeare and other playwrights, but to encourage and support the efforts of other performers, among them those who were just beginning their careers. Sir Ian extolled Richard Eyre for the same qualities, and he emphasized how much everyone who cherishes the dramatic arts has benefited from his many contributions to our cultural lives.

In response, Sir Richard praised McKellen as "a wonderful actor and a very good friend, and the natural artistic son of John Gielgud." And he amplified Sir Ian's remarks about Sir John, observing that Gielgud's focus on building strong repertory ensembles prepared the way for such extraordinary institutions as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. With this in mind he noted, in an aside that was fervently applauded by an appreciative UK Theatre audience, that he was "constantly bewildered by the fact that local authorities and government can't see what an extraordinary, unique asset" such treasures are, not only in London but throughout the United Kingdom.

Among the numerous media accounts of the festivities were stories in BBC News, BT.com, Irish News, and York Press. Click here for some visual highlights of what turned out to be a deeply moving occasion. And click here for background on the Award.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN 2018

This summer the Guild co-produced A Midsummer Night's Dream in collaboration with Shakespeare in Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. For details about a show that was warmly welcomed, click here. And for background on the presentation, see Jennifer Levin's article about "The Ecology of Shakespeare" in the August 17th issue of Pasatiempo. You might enjoy interviews in which the Garden's Clayton Bass and the Guild's John Andrews talked with KTRC host Richard Eeds and with KSFR host Lynn Cline. And you might be interested in a program that Peter Lloyd hosted with musician Mary Springfels and Mr. Andrews on KSFR's "Classical Sunday."

To encourage supporters to help sustain the work of a dramatist who's still electrifying audiences in his 453rd year, we established a Bardtenders support group for SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN. And we offered cultivation events such as a TLC dialogue that took place Tuesday, July 31st. This gathering, under the auspices of Theatre Santa Fe, followed a March 29th Food for Thought dinner at La Fonda on the Plaza and a May 29th benefit, Ever the Twain, which took place at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Under the direction of Lois Rudnick and Jonathan Richards, this revival of a fantasia that enchanted attendees in January 2016 was enthusiastically welcomed, and plans are now underway for transfers to other settings.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN 2017

As we savor the highlights of our 2018 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, we're also relishing an SFBG rendering of The Tempest that was presented in August 2017. More than 1500 attendees applauded a show that featured superb acting, charming music and special effects, and an exquisite set by designer Jay Bush. To learn more about SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN 2017, read the informative background article by Jennifer Levin and a review by James M. Keller in Pasatiempo, the Santa Fe New Mexican's weekly 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 that a Spanish army was seeking to establish its "brave new world" in a terrain which had long been occupied by earlier settlers, this rendering of a classic score proved especially engaging for residents of the American Southwest.

For an overview 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.

SHAKESPEARE AT SAN MIGUEL

The Guild is now in discussions with musicologist Mary Springfels about future programs that would be comparable to a February 2017 concert in what is said to be America's oldest church. A co-production with Severall Friends, an early-music ensemble that draws its name from Elizabethan composer Matthew Locke, Shakespeare at San Miguel took place in a chapel whose foundations date from the poet's lifetime. Highlighted by acclaimed instrumentalists and singers, this special evening 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 CENTENARY COMMEMORATION OF "THE GREAT WAR"

On Saturday, November 11, John Miller, a key member of the Guild's distinguished Advisory Council, produced an evocative memorial service at England's Theatre Royal Winchester that featured recitations by performers Pamela Miles and Michael Pennington. For details about a program that highlighted responses to World War I by such gifted poets as Rupert Brooke, John McCrae, Wilfred Owen, and Sigfried Sassoon, and by such eloquent statesmen as David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, click here. And for a look at the resonant script that John assembled for the proceedings, click here.

RECALLING A LONDON SPEECH BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN

A few months aqo, as his loved ones and admirers were eulogizing John McCain, a statesman who died on August 25, a number of Shakespeare Guild constituents were thinking back to July 4, 2005, when the Senator was at Dartmouth House in London to deliver the inaugural Alistair Cooke Memorial Lecture. Among the attendees at this occasion was John F. Andrews, who headed both the Guild and the Nation's Capital Branch of the English-Speaking Union at that time, and his wife Jan Denton. For background on the event, and for an account of the gathering that appeared in the ESU Washington newsletter for September 2005, click here and scroll down to the second page. For other coverage of Senator McCain's remarks about "An American Patriot Today" during what turned out to be a memorable occasion, see page 3 of the ESU London newsletter, and see the stories that appeared on the BBC website and elsewhere.

A FAREWELL SALUTE TO HOMER SWANDER

Because he requested that there be no memorial service or detailed obituary, many of his colleagues were late in learning that Homer D. Swander, known to most of his friends as "Murph," died in Santa Barbara at the age of 96 on February 15, 2018. Professor Swander served for many years on the Editorial Board of Shakespeare Quarterly, and he contributed seminal articles about the editing and performing of playwright's scripts. One of his many contributions to the teaching of dramatic literature lives on in Actors From The London Stage, a program now administered by the University of Notre Dame, and the Guild paid tribute to him and to AFTLS during the October 2015 UK Theatre Awards luncheon at London's historic Guildhall. For details about that ceremony, and about Dr. Swander's powerful influence, click here and scroll down to the paragraphs at the bottom of the page. Click here for a tribute to Murph that his devoted friend Sir Patrick Stewart published in The Guardian. And click here for a more extended homage that Guardian editors had to abbreviate because of limited space.

A TRIBUTE TO THE AUTHOR OF "TO SIR, WITH LOVE"

On Saturday, March 25, 2017, the Guild played a role in a Washington National Cathedral memorial service for E. R. Braithwaite, an author renowned for To Sir, With Love, a 1959 literary best-seller that became a celebrated 1967 film with Sidney Poitier in the role that Mr. Braithwaite's autobiographical novel 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 lovely Bethlehem Chapel. The service concluded with an organ rendering of Lulu's musical tribute to "Sir," a recording that had been popular music's number-one single 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. And click here for links to Mr. Andrews' C-SPAN appearances with other authors, among them ecologist Lester R. Brown, political leader Susan Eisenhower, Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells, and cultural historian A. N. Wilson.