Speaking of Shakespeare Link

Current Events

Our next installment in an SOS series that is now in its third decade will occur at 8 p.m. Monday, January 28, in Manhattan's National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South), where we'll talk with actor, director, producer, and author Dakin Matthews. Dakin is charming audiences as Judge Taylor in an acclaimed Broadway presentation of To Kill a Mockingbird. During what promises to be a memorable evening, he'll discuss not only his key role in that play but his many contributions to the presentation of Shakespeare and other classics on stage and screen.

The following night, Tuesday, January 29, we'll move next door to The Players (16 Gramercy Park South) for a 7 p.m. gathering with Frog and Peach, a company that was founded by distinguished members of The Actors Studio to explore new approaches to Shakespeare's classics. Between February 22 and March 17 this innovative troupe will present Twelfth Night at the Sheen Center (18 Bleecker Street). In what promises to be a lively gathering, director Lynnea Benson and her cast will offer music, vignettes, and dialogue about the artistry of an ensemble that has featured such luminaries as Karen Lynn Gorney, Earl Hyman, and Austin Pendleton.

Meanwhile, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday the 29th at the National Arts Club, we'll initiate a new series of Afternoon Salons with Alice Quinn of the Poetry Society of America. That gathering will be followed Monday, February 25, at the NAC with sculptors Babette Bloch and Marc Mellon. We'll then resume our 2019 SOS engagements at the National Arts Club on Tuesday evening, February 26, with playwright and director Nagle Jackson. A few weeks later, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, we'll be back at the club for a SOS conversation with Ethan McSweeny, who has recently become Artistic Director of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia. Additional offerings, both at the NAC and at The Players, will be announced shortly.

For previous highlights in the Guild's signature Speaking series, click here.


During the last two summers the Guild has co-produced SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN, collaborating with the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and Shakespeare in Santa Fe on presentations of The Tempest in 2017 and A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2018. We're now teaming up with a new artistic partner, Santa Fe Classic Theater, for a Romeo and Juliet that will be directed by Patrick Briggs and presented in SFBG's beautiful amphitheater in June. Details will be forthcoming shortly, but in the interim we'll welcome support from Bardtenders who'd like to be involved in another season of theatrical enchantment. For background and additional information, click here.


We're delighted to report that the recipient of our 2018 Gielgud trophy, presented at a UK Theatre Awards luncheon on October 14 in London's venerable 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 gripping moviegoers around the globe.

Bestowing this year's award was Sir Ian McKellen, our inaugural Gielgud laureate, who was himself appearing in a West End staging of King Lear that had been shared cinematically with audiences throughout the world. When he received his own trophy, during a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library on May 20, 1996, Sir Ian had graced the occasion not only with praise for Sir John, but with a powerful recitation from The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore, relating the words that Shakespeare had composed for the script's title character to what Justice Anthony Kennedy had said earlier that day while he was delivering a pivotal Supreme Court ruling that "no state may 'deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.'" As he presented this year's award, Sir Ian recalled how much Gielgud did, not only to exemplify meticulous standards in his own presentations of Shakespeare and other playwrights, but to encourage and support the efforts of other performers, among them those who were just beginning their careers. Sir Ian extolled Richard Eyre for the same qualities, and he emphasized how much everyone who cherishes the dramatic arts has benefited from his many contributions to our cultural lives.

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 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 UK Theatre audience, that he was "constantly bewildered by the fact that local authorities and government can't see what an extraordinary, unique asset" such 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 visual highlights of what turned out to be a deeply moving occasion. And click here for background on the Award.

For more detail about the Guild's 2018-19 programming, click here. If you wish to join and receive periodic updates, 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.