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SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE OFFERINGS

Our next installment in a Speaking series that is now in its fourth decade will occur at 7 p.m. Monday, November 26, at The Players (16 Gramercy Park South) in Manhattan. We hope you'll join us for a fervent tribute to the Drama Book Shop, an institution whose vital assistance to Broadway, and to the nation's theater community as a whole, has been recegnized by a special Tony Award. Like most of our programs, this gathering will be admission-free; and for those who'd like to arrive early, a cash bar will open at 6:30 p.m.

After the holidays we'll launch our 2019 programming at 8 p.m. Monday, January 28, in the National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South), where we'll converse with actor, director, producer, and author Dakin Matthews. Dakin will be appearing in a Lincoln Center Theater production of To Kill a Mockingbird, and he'll be delighted to discuss that and the dozens of other modern plays in which he has appeared. He also plans to talk about how an accomplished performer approaches Shakespeare's verse. More details about this gathering, and about additional SOS attractions between late January and mid-June, will be announced shortly.

We launched the 2018-19 season of our signature SOS series in Manhattan with four remarkable evenings at The Players. On Monday, Seprember 17, we joined Stephen Segaller, WNET's Vice-President for National Programming, producers Richard Denton and Nikki Stockley, and such special guests as actor F. Murray Abraham and Folger director Michael Witmore for a memorable overview about Season Three of Shakespeare Uncovered, an evening that featured previews of the six installments that will conclude this impressive 18-play series in October.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, September 25-27, we joined the Players Foundation to host stage readings of the three segments of The Lives of Shakespeare, a new trilogy by playwright Mary Jane Schaefer in which she presents differing perspectives on what Shakespeare might have been like, drawing from historical facts, contemporary anecdotes, and suggestive details in the author's poems and plays.

On Wednesday, October 17, we moved next door to the National Arts Club for an engaging dialogue with Peter Marks, chief theater critic for The Washington Post. Mr. Marks is one of today's most influential arts journalists, and we enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion that addressed not only what is now happening in the Nation's Capital, but what audiences are experiencing in New York, London, and a variety of other theatrical settings.

OUR 2018 GIELGUD AWARD FESTIVITIES IN LONDON

We're delighted to report that the recipient of our 2018 Gielgud trophy, presented at a UK Theatre Awards luncheon on Sunday, October 14, in London's historic Guildhall, is director, producer, filmmaker, and author Sir Richard Eyre. Sir Richard's riveting television production of King Lear, with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the title role, debuted recently on Amazon Prime Video. Meanwhile his evocative feature film, The Children Act, co-starring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci, and featuring Fionn Whitehead in a screenplay by novelist Ian McEwan, is now gripping audiences in cinemas around the globe.

Bestowing this year's award was our inaugural Gielgud laureate, Sir Ian McKellen. When he received his own trophy, in a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library on May 20, 1996, Sir Ian used the occasion to recall a powerful admonition from The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore and relate it to what Justice Anthony Kennedy had said earlier that day as he delivered a pivotal Supreme Court ruling that "no state may 'deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.'"

Sir Ian is now earning plaudits in a resonant West End stage production of King Lear that is being shared with the rest of the world by means of HD technology. And as he presented this year's Gielgud trophy, he emphasized how much Sir John did, not only to exemplify meticulous standards in his own presentations of Shakespeare and other classics, but to encourage and support the efforts of other artists, including those who were new to the profession. Sir Ian extolled Richard Eyre for the same qualities, and talked about how much he and his theatrical colleagues have benefited from the efforts of so gifted and sensitive a director.

In response, Sir Richard praised McKellen as "a wonderful actor and a very good friend, and the natural artistic son of John Gielgud." And he amplified Sir Ian's remarks about Sir John, observing that Gielgud's focus on building strong repertory ensembles prepared the way for such extraordinary institutions as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. With this in mind, he noted, in an aside that was fervently applauded by an appreciative Guildhall audience, that he was "constantly bewildered by the fact that local authorities and government can't see what an extraordinary, unique asset" such cultural treasures are, not only in London but throughout the United Kingdom.

Among the numerous media accounts of the festivities were stories in BBC News, BT.com, Irish News, and York Press. Click here for some visual highlights of what turned out to be a deeply moving occasion. And click here for additional background on what has become one of the most coveted accolades in the profession it was designed to celebrate.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN 2018

This summer the Guild co-produced A Midsummer Night's Dream in collaboration with Shakespeare in Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. For details about a show that was warmly welcomed, click here. And for background on the production, see Jennifer Levin's article about "The Ecology of Shakespeare" in the August 17th issue of Pasatiempo. You might also enjoy interviews in which the Garden's Clayton Bass and the Guild's John Andrews talked with KTRC host Richard Eeds and with KSFR host Lynn Cline. And you might be interested in a conversation that Peter Lloyd hosted with musicologist Mary Springfels and Mr. Andrews on KSFR's "Classical Sunday."

To encourage audiences to help sustain the work of a playwright who's now in his 453rd year, we established a Bardtenders support group for SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN. And we offered cultivation events such as a TLC dialogue that took place Tuesday, July 31st. This gathering, under the auspices of Theatre Santa Fe, followed a March 29th Food for Thought dinner at La Fonda on the Plaza and a May 29th benefit, Ever the Twain, which took place at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Under the direction of Lois Rudnick and Jonathan Richards, this revival of a fantasia that enchanted attendees in January 2016 was enthusiastically applauded, and plans are now underway for additional presentations in other settings.

For more detail about the Guild's 2018-19 programming, click here. If you wish to join and receive periodic updates from The Shakespeare 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 register for events, enroll as a Guild member, or provide a tax-exempt DONATION.