We were delighted to launch the Guild's 2016-17 series on Wednesday, September 14, with a remarkable brother-sister act. One of our most popular SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE guests over the last decade has been Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker. Many of Adam's admirers are unaware that his sister Alison, a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, is also a distinguished author, and one who publishes a widely-read column in the Wall Street Journal. Her latest book is one that focuses on the importance of play in early childhood development, and a preview of it appeared recently in the New York Times. Alison and Adam Gopnik occasionally allude to each other's work, but it is rare for them to appear together in conversation. So it was a great pleasure to be with them, and to enjoy an unusual amount of lively audience participation in what turned out to be another memorable evening at Manhattan's National Arts Club.
Our SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE series will resume with NYU's Louis Scheeder on Wednesday, October 5, and continue with his Tisch School of the Arts colleague Shane Ann Younts on Wednesday, December 20. We'll then proceed to engagements on Wednesday, January 18, with Professor Jean E. Howard of Columbia University, and on Wednesday, February 22, with director Karin Coonrod, who will talk about her historic production of "The Merchant in Venice" in the original Ghetto. This gathering will be a sequel to Ms. Coonrod's March 28 conversation with Mr. Andrews, and it will focus not only on the production and the context that gave rise to it, but on a symposium that preceded the July 27th performance, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presiding over deliberations that included remarks by F. Murray Abraham, Stephen Greenblatt, and James Shapiro and were covered by the New York Times.
Meanwhile, we're pleased to announce that our 2016 GIELGUD AWARD, to be presented in London's venerable Guildhall on Sunday, October 9, will be bestowed on Vanessa Redgrave, a legendary performer and political activist who has just completed a stirring performance as Queen Margaret in Rupert Goold's critically acclaimed Almeida Theatre production of Richard III, with Ralph Fiennes in the title role.
Last autumn we were in one of England's most beautiful ssettings for a Gielgud ceremony that took place in conjunction with a gala UK Theatre Awards luncheon on Sunday, Octover 18. Our 2015 trophy went to Dame Eileen Atkins, an artist whose versatility both as an acclaimed performer and as a gifted scriptwriter has become legendary. Presenting the 2015 Gielgud Award was our 2008 honoree, Sir Patrick Stewart, and among the many things that made the occasion special was the fact that it occurred only three days after the 94th birthday of a visionary leader who estasblished Actors From The London Stage, an influential educational program with which Sir Patrick has been associated from the outset. AFTLS is now celebrating its 40th anniversary, and the Guild saluted this milestone with a special tribute, not only to a highly influential initiative and its founder, Professor Homer "Murph" Swander (center, at a 1998 London reception with John Andrews and Sir Derek Jacobi), but to everyone who has been involved with the outreach it represents, among them such dedicated administrators as Alan and Cynthia Dessen, Peter Holland, Scott Jackson, and actress Eunice Roberts (pictured here in a Matt Humphrey photograph with Sir Patrick Stewart and the Guild's John Andrews).
For information about the first half of our 2015-16 season, which featured programs with John Lahr and James Shapiro, click here; for links to highlights of previous seasons, click here. If you wish to join and receive periodic updates from THE SHAKSPEARE GUILD, we invite you to visit our Membership page for types of affiliation. There you'll find a link to a page where you can enroll as a member, book for upcoming engagements, or do both.