We are thrilled to announce that Dame Janet Suzman, one of the greatest Shakespeareans of our time, is our new patron and will support our development over the coming years.
At our recent special edition of Shakespeare Night - our monthly programme of public participatory workshops and discussions - Dame Janet visited us at QUAD to share her experiences of being a Shakespearean actor, director, editor, writer, teacher and philosopher.
In front of an audience of about 100 people, she talked to our artistic director Ben Spiller, who also opened up the conversation to include members of the audience.
Ben said, "Dame Janet is one of the greatest Shakespeareans of our time. She's played nearly every female role in the playwright's complete works, 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.
She is one of the most inspirational people I have met and I'm delighted that she returned to Derby to share her experiences of working on Shakespeare's plays as actor, director, teacher, writer, editor and philosopher with Shakespeare Night regulars and newcomers.
It was a professional and personal highlight for me 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 offer to become 1623's patron is a dream come true."
Dame Janet said, "It is my honour to be a patron of 1623 theatre company in the esteemed company of playwright Mark Ravenhill and academic Professor Carol Rutter. Ben is one of the most passionate, creative and generous people I have had the pleasure to meet and I look forward to advising him as an artistic mentor over the coming years.
1623 is one of those rare companies that invests in artists, audiences and participants equally through a diverse programme of performances and workshops mainly in its home city of Derby, which is lucky to have such an exciting theatre company at its heart. I look forward to seeing how the company grows to engage more people with Shakespeare in new ways."
To listen to Dame Janet in conversation with Ben at Shakespeare Night, click here.