Dame Janet Suzman has learned some amazing things from 50 Years of Shakespeare – listen to the full audio here!

For Ben Spiller, Artistic Director of 1623 theatre company, the Shakespeare Highlight of 2014 is the evening he hosted with Dame Janet Suzman in September.

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“Dame Janet is one of the greatest Shakespeareans of our time,” Ben says. “She’s played nearly every female role in the canon, directed Othello with a multiracial cast in South Africa when apartheid was in force, run masterclasses at LAMDA and in prisons, edited Antony and Cleopatra, and written books on performing Shakespeare and the role of women in drama.”

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Ben describes Dame Janet as “one of the most inspirational people I have met” and he was delighted when she visited his home city of Derby to share her experiences with his Shakespeare Night regulars and newcomers.

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“It was a professional and personal highlight for me,” he says, “to share the stage with this incredible woman, whose intelligence, skill and humanity are second to none. As if things couldn’t get any better, her acceptance of the invitation to become 1623′s patron was a dream come true.”

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You can listen to the complete audio of the evening with Dame Janet here.
You can find out more about 1623 theatre company here.

Vote for our Cleopatra cover star!

Cleopatra, Egypt’s famed Queen of the Nile, is quite possibly the most famous woman in history. Not even England’s greatest writer was immune from her fabled charms. Shakespeare fanned the flames of the world’s Cleo obsession with his play Antony and Cleopatra. Director Janet Suzman, who herself played the role at Stratford, describes it as “The best play for a woman ever written”.

We’re running a special feature on Cleopatra in Issue 2 of Shakespeare Magazine, and we want you to tell us your choice of Cleopatra cover star.

Choose the next Shakespeare Magazine cover star

Choose the next Shakespeare Magazine cover star

Should it be silent movie actress Theda Bara, nicknamed ‘The Vamp’, who portrayed Cleopatra on screen in 1917?

Or British film legend Vivien Leigh, star of the 1945 film Caesar & Cleopatra (by George Bernard Shaw).

Then there’s Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, who headlined the notorious 1963 epic Cleopatra.

Needless to say, some tremendous stage actresses have tackled the Shakespeare role, including Helen Mirren (1965), Glenda Jackson (1978) and Judi Dench (1987). More recently, in 2012, Kim Cattrall joined their ranks:

Who is your choice for Shakespeare magazine’s Cleopatra cover star?

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