Commemorative events for John Barton and Peter Hall

Honorary fellows of the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute were well-represented at this September's commemorative events honouring the lives and achievements of the founders of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John Barton and Peter Hall.

Janet SuzmanAt a memorial symposium at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, on 8 September 2018, speakers included Dame Janet Suzman -- who recently donated her personal archive to the Shakespeare Institute library -- and Professor Sir Stanley Wells, a former director of the Institute, conducted an interview with Dame Judi Dench about her experiences of working with both Barton and Hall.

Professor Wells' account of Dame Judi's performance in John Barton's RSC production of 'Twelfth Night' in his 1977 book 'Royal Shakespeare', and the subsequent conferral of her honorary fellowship of the Institute, were milestones in the relations between the theatre and the academy, now formalised in the University's collaboration with the RSC at its studio theatre The Other Place.  

Dame Judi opened the memorial service for Sir Peter Hall at Westminster Abbey on 12 September with a spellbinding recitation of the 'I dreamed there as an Emperor Antony...' speech from the last act of 'Antony and Cleopatra' (in which Hall directed her at the National Theatre in 1987; see https://youtu.be/Hw9fPoV8MK8?list=PLQPAhlJf4zl1TOZvnPXBMud9wSf6xOpNY), and the service also featured two other Shakespeare Institute honorary fellows, Gregory Doran (the RSC's current artistic director) and Sir Kenneth Branagh.

Stanley Wells and Judi Dench