From Lady Macbeth to Cleopatra, Julius Caesar to Henry IV, Dame Harriet Walter has proven herself time and again to be among the finest Shakespearean actors of her generation.
With ‘her elegant, questing intensity and lightness of touch’ (Guardian) Harriet Walter has earned wide renown as one of Britain’s most accomplished and distinguished theatrical stars; while on-screen dramas from Sense and Sensibility to Succession, Downtown Abbey to The Crown have revealed her remarkable talents to a global audience.
Now she joins How To Academy for a free, livestreamed talk and audience Q&A, exploring Shakespeare’s legacy for female actors.
Elizabethan England was highly unusual in not permitting women to take to the stage – and yet Shakespeare’s empathy for his female creations seems miraculous. Was he a patriarch or a proto-feminist? How do his female characters rebel against the constraints of their age – and how does it stifle them? How would the canon be different if Shakespeare had written for women, not boys playing women? And most importantly of all, what does this mean for a modern actor interpreting his work?
Harriet says: “To perform the work of any great playwright is to be invited into their head. To speak their words is to get a taste of their mind on the tip of your tongue. To perform several of their works over the years as I have with Shakespeare is to feel a kind of intimacy with them, even at times a jealous ownership, as one does with a close friend. The trouble is that with dead playwrights the relationship is necessarily one-sided.”
In this unmissable talk, Harriet will transport us to Shakespeare’s world, introduce us to the political complexity of the Elizabethan theatre and the psychological richness of his female characters, and consider what Shakespeare’s legacy means for the female actor in the 21st century.
This event takes place at 6:30 British Summer Time.
About Our Digital Programme:
In response to the global pandemic, How To Academy is curating a not-for-profit programme of live-streamed talks and conversations bringing you advice, insight and entertainment. Tickets are offered on a Pay What You Can basis, including a Free option for those who cannot afford more at this difficult time. Thank you for your help sustaining How To Academy through the crisis — and for enabling us to share new thinking from across the globe at a time when it has never been more important.