The following are biographies of our Trustees and of some of our best-known Council members.
Sir Geoffrey Cass (Chairman & Trustee)
Sir Geoffrey is Chairman and co-founder of The Royal Theatrical Support Trust.
He was educated at Jesus College, Oxford (now, an Honorary Fellow) and at Nuffield College, Oxford, and he is a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, and a member of Jesus College, Cambridge. A life-long tennis player, Sir Geoffrey competed in the 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1959 Wimbledon Championships, and in 1978 won the the British Veterans’ Singles Championship at Wimbledon. He was President of the Lawn Tennis Association from 1997 to 1999, and a member of the Committee of Management of the Wimbledon Championships 1990 to 2002. He is President of the Tennis Foundation.
Sir Geoffrey was Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press from 1972 to 1992, and a Trustee of the Cambridge University Foundation. He was Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1985 to 2000, Deputy President (to HRH The Prince of Wales) from 2000 to 2011, and Emeritus Chairman since 2011. He commissioned the re-development of the RSC’s Stratford Theatres; chaired the Appeal which rebuilt Cambridge University’s ADC Theatre; and was heavily involved in the re-development of the Cambridge Arts Theatre and of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. He has been Chairman of The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (formerly The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Trust) since 1983, and he is a Life Trustee of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He was awarded a French Knighthood Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 1982 and a British Knighthood in 1992.
Mark Hawes (Director of RTST and Deputy Chairman)
Mark performs the lead executive role for the RTST.
Mark’s role (performed on a voluntary basis) includes managing the annual RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award scheme, which he originated.
He serves as Deputy Chairman of the RTST’s Board of Trustees.
In March 2020, Mark was appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees of internationally renowned theatre company, Frantic Assembly. He is currently involved in developing Frantic Assembly’s digital strategy and in promoting its unique, nationwide talent development programme. Ignition, which targets young people aged 16-24 in areas of low arts-engagement and of socio-economic deprivation.
Mark graduated in Law from King’s College London in 1983, and pursued a career as a solicitor, specialising in corporate law and charity law, from which he recently retired. He initially practised for six years as a corporate finance and investment banking specialist with international law firm, Freshfields. In 1993, he joined City of London law firm, Bristows LLP, where he was a Partner from 1996 to 2020, and head of the Corporate practice for some 14 years and head of the Charities practice for 10 years. He was recommended multiple times as a corporate lawyer and as a charity lawyer by the annual independent legal directory Legal 500. Notable matters on which he advised include: some of the earliest UK university biotechnology company spin-outs; an international media joint venture that created the world’s first digital interactive satellite platform, ultimately rolled into Sky Digital; and major governance reforms of some of the UK’s leading professional institutions established by Royal Charter and a United Nations-backed non-profit organisation.
Mark is a member of the Charity Law Association.
In 2020, Mark made the most of lockdown by successfully undertaking a unit of a degree course in contemporary theatre at Yale University.
Tony Hughes (Honorary Treasurer & Trustee)
Tony Hughes manages the RTST’s financial and accounting matters.
Tony qualified as a Chartered Accountant (FCA) in 1970 and, after various financial positions between 1971 and 1981 within the manufacturing/engineering industry, he initiated the role of Financial Director at The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, which is responsible for running the Wimbledon Championships. He held this role until 2007. His responsibilities included all financial matters for the Club, the Championships, the Ground Company, the Museum and the Club’s Long Term Plan.
Between 2007 and 2010, Tony was Finance Director of The Tennis Foundation, the country’s leading tennis charity responsible for the management of inclusive tennis delivery across the whole of the education sector and the areas of disability development and performance, and, during that period, all Local Authority tennis facilities.
Since relinquishing the above positions, he has held a number of positions as trustee of three charities (treasurer of two); independent examiner of a further charity (having helped to set it up); trustee of a pension fund; governor of the local primary school; and audit committee member of the local university.
Dr Mark Billinge (TRUSTEE)
For 30 years (from 1976), Dr Mark Billinge was a University Lecturer in Cultural Geography at Cambridge University, becoming inaugural Director of the University’s Undergraduate School in 1998. He was awarded a Pilkington Teaching Prize in 2000.
A Fellow of Magdalene, he was successively Dean, Admission Tutor, Tutor, Senior Tutor and, having retired early from University teaching, Fellow for Development at the College.
Since relinquishing his full-time posts, Mark has continued to pursue a keen interest in the theatre and is currently Chair of the Cambridge University Theatre Syndicate and Chair of the Executive Committee of the ADC Theatre, as well as Patron of an East Anglian Theatre Company and Chairman of Opera East. He was Senior Treasurer of the Cambridge University Opera Society. He has written on various aspects of European culture, harbouring an especial interest in opera in general, and 18th and 19th century Italian Opera in particular.
Miranda Cass (TRUSTEE)
Miranda Cass is a Partner at the City of London law firm Bristows LLP, where she heads the Tax practice. Before joining Bristows LLP in 1995, Miranda worked for five years as a tax lawyer with the international law firm Simmons & Simmons.
Miranda has substantial expertise in the full range of tax issues affecting charities and not-for-profit organisations. She has been a Trustee of the RTST for over 10 years and was formerly Honorary Secretary. As part of her role, she assists the RTST in matters concerning its tax and financial affairs.
In addition to advising charities, Miranda has considerable experience in advising clients from start-ups to multinational corporations on the plethora of tax issues that they face in conducting their businesses.
Miranda is a member of the Charity Law Association and is recommended as a charity tax lawyer by The Legal 500 directory.
Miranda has always had a strong interest in the theatre, both as a member of the audience and as an amateur performer. Tennis plays a major role in her life: a Cambridge tennis Blue, Junior Wimbledon Doubles Finalist, and County senior champion, Miranda has played county tennis for Cambridgeshire and then Hertfordshire for over 35 years. In 2015, she was in the winning team of the National Veterans Club Championships.
Neil Constable (TRUSTEE)
Neil Constable brings to the Trustee Board his expertise and insights as one of the country’s leading theatre executives.
Neil is the Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – a role he has performed since October 2010. He is a Trustee of the Theatre and a Member of the Board in both the UK and the USA.
Neil trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in stage management and technical theatre. He began his career working as ASM with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) on its 1987 Stratford Season. In his 16 years with the RSC, he became successively Stage Manager, Company Manager, RSC London Manager of the Barbican Centre, and RSC General Administrator. He managed the RSC company which the then RSC Chairman, Sir Geoffrey Cass, took over to Tokyo with The Winter’s Tale. After the RSC, Neil became Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive of the Almeida Theatre, Islington.
Sinead Cusack joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) as an actress in 1975, making her Broadway debut in 1984. Her best known theatres roles include: Beatrice in William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (1985), Roxane in Anthony Burgess’s translation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1985) and Mai O’Hara in Our Lady of Sligo (1998) on Broadway and at the National Theatre.
She was awarded the 1998 Evening Standard Award for Best Actress and the 1998 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress. She has received two Tony Award nominations, one for Best Leading Actress in Much Ado About Nothing (1985), and for Best Featured Actress in Rock ‘n’ Roll (2008). In 2014, she appeared as Polly in Other Desert Cities at the Old Vic. She is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Television appearances include the 2004 BBC mini-series North and South, as Mrs Thornton, and the BBC sitcom Home Again (2006). In 2016, she appeared in the TV series Marcella. Recent film credits include Queen and Country (2014) and Stonehearst Asylum (2014).
Niamh Cusack’s extensive theatre work includes: ‘Lady Macbeth’ in Macbeth (RSC and Barbican), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre & West End), Playboy of the Western World, Cause Celebre and Dancing at Lughnasa (The Old Vic), The Enchantment, His Dark Materials (National Theatre) and Breathing Corpses (Royal Court). She is currently in Barney Norris’ adaptation of Remains of the Day at the Barbican.
Her most recent feature film work includes: The Ghoul and James Kent’s Testament of Youth (Heyday Films).
Television acting credits include: Bobbie Wickham in the ITV series Jeeves and Wooster (1990–1993), the role of Kate Rowan in the television series Heartbeat (1992–1995) and Christine Fletcher in Always and Everyone (1999–2002). Other recent credits include: The Virtues (Channel 4), Rebellion (RTE/Netflix), The Best of Men (BBC), and The Hollow Crown (BBC).
She was nominated in the category of Best Actress in a TV Drama in 2004 at the Irish Television and Film awards IFTA for her role in the Cartlon Television TV film Too Good to be True. Niamh was also nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award in 2012 in the Best Supporting Actress in a Play category for her role in Playboy of the Western World at the Old Vic. In January 2013, she was nominated for a BBC Audio Drama Award in the Best Supporting Actress category for The Man with Wings by Rachel Joyce, produced by Gordon House, Goldhawk Essential Productions for Radio 4.
Dame Judi Dench CH, CBE
Since her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company, Dame Judi Dench has established herself as one of the world’s best known actors, working, amongst other theatre companies, for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. On stage she has played many roles, including Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. She is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
She has achieved success in television with the series A Fine Romance from 1981-1984, and in 1992 in the romantic comedy series As Time Goes By. Her film credits include: A Room with a View (1986), Mrs Brown (1997), for which she received her first Oscar nomination, Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Philomena (2013). She also played the iconic role of M in the James Bond films from Goldeneye (1995) through to Skyfall (2002).
Dame Judi has received many awards and award nominations for her acting in theatre, film and television. These include ten BAFTAs, six Olivier Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award. She has also received the BAFTA Fellowship (2001) and the Special Olivier Award (2004). In December 2015, Judi appeared in The Winter’s Tale, as part of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at London’s Garrick Theatre. In 2017, she appeared in Victoria and Abdul and Murder On The Orient Express. In 2018, she appeared in Red Joan and All Is True.
Noma Dumezweni (TRUSTEE)
Noma Dumezweni is a leading British actress. She is currently starring as Hermione in the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, for which she was awarded both the Olivier Award and the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2017. Prior to this role, Noma received acclaim for the title role in Linda at The Royal Court.
Her other theatre credits include Feast and Belong also for the Royal Court, A Human Being Died That Night at the Hampstead Theatre, The Fugard and The Market theatres in South Africa and Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY, Carmen Disruption for the Almeida Theatre, ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore for Shakespeare’s Globe, Henry V at the Noël Coward Theatre, President of an Empty Room and The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other for the National Theatre, Macbeth, Breakfast With Mugabe, The Winter’s Tale and Romeo and Juliet for the Royal Shakespeare Company, A Raisin In The Sun for the Young Vic at the Lyric Hammersmith, for which she was the recipient of the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role and The Bogus Woman for The Red Room, Traverse and Bush Theatres.
Her film credits include The Incident, Dirty Pretty Things and Macbeth.
Her television credits include Casualty, Capital, Frankie, Doctor Who, Summerhill, EastEnders, Fallout and Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.
She made her directing debut at the Royal Court Theatre in 2016 with I See You by Mongiwekhaya. She reprised her role of Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway at the Lyric Theatre in 2018. She also appeared in the film Mary Poppins Returns as Miss Penny Farthing.
Daniel Evans (TRUSTEE)
Daniel Evans was born in South Wales and trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2016, Daniel was appointed Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre following some 7 years as the Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres.
At Sheffield, his work as a director included Show Boat, Flowers for Mrs Harris (both were joint winners of the Best Musical Production at the UK Theatre Awards 2016), The Effect, Anything Goes, The Sheffield Mysteries, Oliver! (Best Regional Production, WhatsOnStage Awards 2014), This Is My Family (Best Musical Production, UK Theatre Awards 2013), An Enemy of the People, Racing Demon, Othello, Macbeth, My Fair Lady (Best Regional Production, WhatsOnStage Awards 2013) and The Full Monty (Best Touring Production, UK Theatre Awards). As an actor, Daniel appeared in Company, The Pride, Cloud Nine and The Tempest, which transferred to the Old Vic Theatre, London. Sheffield Theatres won Regional Theatre of the Year Award for an unprecedented two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014.
Daniel’s West End productions include Show Boat (New London Theatre), The Full Monty (Coward Theatre) and American Buffalo with Damian Lewis, John Goodman and Tom Sturridge (Wyndham’s Theatre).
Daniel is also a double Olivier Award-winning actor. His theatre work includes Henry V, Coriolanus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure For Measure and Cymbeline for the Royal Shakespeare Company; Cardiff East, Peter Pan, Troilus and Cressida, Candide, The Merchant of Venice for the National Theatre; Merrily We Roll Along (Olivier Award) and Grand Hotel for the Donmar Warehouse; Ghosts (English Touring Theatre); Other People, Cleansed, Where Do We Live and 4.48 Psychosis for the Royal Court; Total Eclipse and Sunday in the Park with George (Olivier Award, Tony nomination) at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the West End and on Broadway.
Television credits include The Passion, Doctor Who, The Virgin Queen, Spooks, Love in a Cold Climate, Great Expectations, Daniel Deronda and To The Ends of the Earth. Film credits include Les Misérables.
Daniel is a Fellow of the Guildhall School and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University in 2012. Daniel is also co-founder of Act For Change. He was Chair of the Selection Panel for the RTST Director Award 2016.
In 2017, he directed Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. It ran from July 10 to August 26 at the Festival Theatre.
Clive Francis (TRUSTEE)
Actor Clive Francis made his first West End appearance in 1966 in There’s a Girl in My Soup at the Globe Theatre. His many other London appearances since include: The Servant of Two Masters, The Importance of Being Earnest, What the Butler Saw, Single Spies, Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Madness of George III and, more recently, his own reworking of Ben Travers’ farce, Thark, and the lauded West End revival of An Inspector Calls.
In 1987, Clive joined the National Theatre, appearing in ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and A Small Family Business (for which he won the Clarence Derwent award) He has also had two seasons for the Royal Shakespeare Company: Three Hours after Marriage, Troilus and Cressida, and A Christmas Carol. In the past four years, he has toured in several productions including his own adaptations of Three Men in a Boat and Our Man in Havana. His numerous television appearances include: Poldark, Yes, Prime Minster, Lipstick on Your Collar and Mike Leigh’s, Mr Turner.
Clive began adapting for the stage in 2002 with his one-man show of A Christmas Carol. This was followed with The Lavender Hill Mob, Three Men in a Boat, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Our Man in Havana, The Loved One, Alice the Musical!, Thark and Susan Hill’s The Small Hand. Recent theatre includes: The Woman Hater, The Skin Game, 84 Charing Cross Road and The Gathered Leaves.
In addition to being a playwright and adapter, Clive is a brilliant caricaturist and book illustrator. His work is displayed in the foyers of the Gielgud Theatre, and he has had two exhibitions at the National Theatre.
In 2016, he played the part of Lord Salisbury in the Netflix series The Crown. In 2017, he appeared in The Slaves of Solitude at Hampstead Theatre, London as Mr Thwaites.
Elizabeth Geffen (TRUSTEE)
Elizabeth Geffen is patron to Watts Gallery in Surrey and a fundraising committee member of The Myotubular Trust, a charity raising money to fund medical research into the condition.
Educated with an MA in History from Jesus College, Cambridge and an MBA from Imperial College Business School, Elizabeth worked for 11 years as a Management Consultant for Newchurch & Company, a boutique consultancy specialising in organisational strategy and development, particularly in the health sector. Whilst at Newchurch, she worked on a strategic review of The Prince’s Trust and its fundraising, and subsequently joined them as a volunteer working in London for a number of years assessing grants for disadvantaged young people to help them further their education or get into work.
Now on a career break to raise two boys who are very keen on cricket, rugby and tennis, she spends many hours on the touchline and the boundary. Recently, Elizabeth has been working for a prep school in Surrey developing its website, fundraising and organising events, including a Ball and Auction. She has also recently written a book celebrating 75 Years of Aldro in Shackleford, charting the school’s history since 1940 when it was evacuated from Eastbourne during the Battle of Britain. Elizabeth is a theatre, opera and ballet enthusiast.
Alexandra Gilbreath is an RSC Associate Artist.
Alexander’s theatre credits include: The Provok’d Wife, The Rover, Shakespeare Live!, RSC/Google A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night (Olivier Award Nomination – Best Supporting Actress), Merry Wives -The Musical, The Taming of the Shrew (Helen Hayes Award Nomination – Best Actress), The Tamer Tamed, As You Like it, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, Cyrano de Bergerac, Ghosts, The Country Wife, Love’s Labour’s Lost (RSC); God’s Dice, Shallow Slumber (Soho Theatre); Mother Christmas(Hampstead Theatre Downstairs); The Lie (Menier Chocolate Factory); Dessert (Southwark Playhouse); The Wars of the Roses, Hayfever (Rose Kingston); The Invisibles (Bush); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hong Kong Philharmonic); The Village Bike, Disappeared (Royal Court); Othello (Sheffield Crucible); Playhouse Creatures (Chichester); Lucky You(Magic Key); Hedda Gabler(Ian Charleston Award, TMA and Manchester Evening News Nomination – Best Actress) (ETT/Donmar); Blood Wedding (Young Vic);The House of Bernarda Alba (Gate); King Lear (Ian Charleston Nomination) (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Hackney Empire); A Woman In Mind, Wild Oats, Company (Exeter); The Importance of Being Earnest, How The Other Half Loves, Hamlet (Harrogate).
Television includes: Father Brown, Casualty, WPC56, In Search of Shakespeare, Rites of Passage, Inspector George Gently, The Commander, The Waltz King, Happiness, The Project, Trial and Retribution, Midsomer Murders, Absolute Power, Life Begins, The Bill, Monarch of the Glen, Out of Hours, A Wing and a Prayer.
Film includes: Lair, Dead Babies, The All Together, A Hundred Streets, Tulip Fever.
Lee Hall (TRUSTEE)
Playwright and screenwriter Lee Hall studied English Literature at Cambridge University before embarking on a career in theatre, TV, radio and film. He has been writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne. His most commercially successful work is Billy Elliot, the story of a North Eastern English boy who, in the face of opposition from his family and community, aspires to be a ballet dancer.
Initially a 1999 film directed by Stephen Daldry, for which Lee wrote the screenplay, and for which he received an Academy Award nomination, Billy Elliot was later turned into a stage musical, with music by Elton John and lyrics by Lee. It is enjoying a long run in the West End – it won the 2004 Olivier Award for Best Musical – and it opened on Broadway in 2008 where it won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. Other career highlights include the play Spoonface Steinberg, originally performed on Radio 4 in 1997 and subsequently staged in the West End, and The Pitmen Painters, which premiered at the Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2008 and later transferred to the National Theatre in London, winning the 2008 Evening Standard Award for Best Play, and opened on Broadway in September 2010. Lee was co-writer of the screenplay for the film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse directed by Steven Spielberg, and of the films The Wind in the Willows, Pride and Prejudice and the BBC1 film, Toast. He also wrote the stage adaption of Shakespeare in Love. Lee recently adapted The Sopranos by Alan Warner to create Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, winner of the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, which went on a national tour before its West End run.
Matt Harvey (TRUSTEE)
Matt Harvey is a CIM-certified marketing and brand specialist, with over 18 years experience working in marketing communication and brand management.
He joined Springer Nature, the world’s largest academic publisher in 2016, as Brand Director, managing the brand portfolio, which includes the leading science journal Nature. Before Springer Nature, Matt worked for 7 years as Marketing Director at Cambridge University Press, which including overseeing the market-leading Cambridge School Shakespeare series.
Matt assists the RTST in matters concerning marketing, including managing the RTST website. He’s been a committee member for 7 years for one of the oldest Amateur Dramatic Societies in the UK, Ely Amateur Dramatic Society. As well as treading the boards in amateur productions, he also directs – most recently The Importance of Being Earnest. Matt also writes, and performs, original comedy and drama, and has had material feature on BBC Radio 4’s The Show What You Wrote and BBC7’s Tilt.
Thelma Holt CBE (TRUSTEE)
Thelma Holt is one of the country’s leading producers.
Thelma founded the Open Space Theatre in Tottenham Court Road, London, which became the forerunner of the London fringe. In 1977, she joined The Round House in Chalk Farm as Artistic and Executive Director and instigated a policy of bringing the best of regional theatre to London.
In 1985, Thelma joined the National Theatre as Head of Touring and Commercial Exploitation, and was responsible for major tours of National Theatre productions to Paris, Vienna, Zurich, North America, Moscow, Tbilisi and Tokyo. Thelma also produced INTERNATIONAL 87, a series of four visits to the National Theatre by international theatre companies. For this international season, Thelma received the Olivier/Observer Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre and a special award from Drama Magazine.
Thelma has played an important role in the promotion of British theatre in Japan in her role as Patron of the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS), through which she has instigated and coordinated several successful OUDS tours in Japan. In 2004, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays and Rosette was presented to Thelma in recognition of her efforts to foster cultural exchange between Japan and the UK through theatre exchange.
Thelma is currently the Producer and Managing Director of Thelma Holt Ltd, a performing arts company created in 1990, and Associate Producer of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Sir Derek Jacobi CBE
Recognised by Laurence Olivier, actor Sir Derek Jacobi was one of the founding members of the Royal National Theatre in 1963 and went on to play key roles in the National’s productions of Hamlet (1963), Othello (1965) and Three Sisters (1970).
Leaving the National Theatre in 1971, he continued his theatre work with the touring classical Prospect Theatre Company, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) 1982-85 where he won an Olivier Award for Cyan de Bergerac and a Tony Award for Much Ado About Nothing. He also starred in The Tempest and Peer Gynt. He won a second Olivier Award for his Malvolio in Twelfth Night in 2009. In 1995, he was appointed Joint Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival for three years, and was involved in many productions. In 2014, he played Don Carlos at the Sheffield Crucible.
Sir Derek has also enjoyed a successful television career starring as: Don John in Much Ado About Nothing (with Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens 1967); as Claudius in the adaptation of Robert Graves’s I, Claudius (1976) for which he won a BAFTA; the titular role in the medieval drama series Cadfael (1994-1998); as Stanley Baldwin in The Gathering Storm (2002); as Alan Buttershaw in Last Tango in Halifax (2012-present); and in Vicious (2013 – present) with Sir Ian McKellen. In 1989, he won an Emmy Award for his role in Frasier.
Sir Derek has appeared in many films, including The Day of the Jackal (1973), Henry V (1989), Dead Again (1991), Gladiator (2000), Gosford Park (2001), The Riddle (2007), The King’s Speech (2010), My Week with Marilyn (2011) and Cinderella (2015). In 2001, he won an Emmy Award for his role in The Tenth Man. In 2017, he starred alongside Judi Dench in Murder On The Orient Express. In 2018, he appeared in Tomb Raider and in 2019 will feature in Horrible Histories: The Movie.
Sir Derek is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Sir Ben Kingsley CBE
Actor Sir Ben Kingsley studied at the University of Salford and at Pendleton College (which later became home to the Ben Kingsley Theatre) before making his London theatre debut at the Aldwych Theatre in 1967. In 1970, he played Demetrius in Peter Brook’s acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in 1971 made his Broadway debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the same play. He is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Sir Ben has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards in theatre, film and television career spanning over forty years. He is best known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Other film credits include: Schindler’s List (1993), Sexy Beast (2000), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Shutter Island (2010), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Hugo (2011) and Iron Man 3 (2013). In 2013, he received the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment. Recent film roles include Nun in Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) and Merenkahre in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014).
Jonathan Lane OBE (TRUSTEE)
Jonathan was co-founder and Chief Executive of Shaftesbury PLC, a property company with assets of over £3 billion in the West End of London, from 1986 until 2011. He is now the Chairman of Shaftesbury PLC. Jonathan is also a Lawn Tennis Association Councillor (nominated by the Tennis Foundation) representing the Tennis Foundation. He has been Chairman of the Tennis Foundation since 2007.
An Oxford graduate, Jonathan is Chairman of Tregarthens Hotel, Scilly Isles, and he was formerly Managing Director of Stock Conversion PLC, Chairman of the Porthminster Hotel, St Ives, Deputy Chairman of the Crafts Council, and a member of the Committee of the Art Fund. He advised on the building of the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and of the National Tennis Centre. Jonathan acts in an advisory capacity to a number of charitable bodies, including The Art Fund, The Royal Shakespeare Company (of which he is a former governor), the Theatres Trust, and Cambridge University.
Christopher Luscombe (TRUSTEE)
Chris Luscombe is a leading theatre director.
Chris read English at Cambridge University. He began his career as an actor, spending seven years with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and went on to appear at the National Theatre and in the West End.
His directing credits in London include The Shakespeare Revue, which he co-wrote (RSC and Vaudeville); Star Quality and The Madness of George III (Apollo); Home and Beauty (Lyric); Fascinating Aïda – One Last Flutter (Harold Pinter, Olivier Award nomination for Best Entertainment); The Comedy of Errors, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Nell Gwynn (Shakespeare’s Globe); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park); Enjoy (Gielgud); Alphabetical Order (Hampstead); When We Are Married (Olivier Award nomination for Best Revival, Garrick); Travels with My Aunt (Menier Chocolate Factory); The Rocky Horror Show and Spamalot (Playhouse).
Other directing credits include Masterpieces (Birmingham Rep); Little Shop of Horrors and The History Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Things We Do for Love (Harrogate); Candida (Oxford Stage Company); The Likes of Us (Sydmonton); Arms and the Man (Salisbury); A Small Family Business (Watford); Hobson’s Choice (Sheffield); Hay Fever (Minneapolis); Henry V (Chicago) and tours of The Importance of Being Earnest, Tell Me on a Sunday, The Lady in the Van, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, Single Spies, Dandy Dick and Blue/Orange.
Chris recently directed Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won for the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, and these productions have been seen in cinemas worldwide; they have just been released on DVD. He has directed The Rocky Horror Show in this country and abroad for the last nine years, and his production will be touring the UK throughout 2016. Chris recently directed Gemma Arterton in Nell Gwynn at London’s Apollo Theatre. He will be directing Twelfth Night for the RSC in Stratford later this year.
Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE (TRUSTEE)
Sir Ian read English at Cambridge (with lectures by C S Lewis and F R Leavis) and acted in 21 productions at the ADC Theatre and for the Marlowe Society of which he was President (his contemporaries included Trevor Nunn, Derek Jacobi, Clive Swift, and Margaret Drabble). John Barton directed him in Three Sisters.
Ian did not go to drama school. Belgrade Theatre, Coventry was duly impressed with his 21 undergraduate productions and took him on in 1961. He had three seasons in regional repertory theatre, including at Ipswich and Nottingham.
In 1965, he joined Olivier’s National Theatre Company at the Old Vic. He played Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (with Robert Stephens, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, Albert Finney and Edward Petherbridge).
In 1966, he starred in There Very Own and Golden City at the Royal Court, and then in The Promise at the Oxford Playhouse and on Broadway (with Judi Dench and Ian McShane).
From 1968 to 1972, he directed and acted at Prospect Theatre Company, Liverpool Playhouse, Cambridge Theatre Company (CTC), and Sheffield Crucible; then in 1972, he co-founded the Actors Company.
From 1976 to 1978, for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), he starred in Dr Faustus, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet (with Francesca Annis) and in Trevor Nunn’s legendary Macbeth (with Judi Dench); also in Twelfth Night and Three Sisters in the RSC’s Small Scale Tour (1978-79).
Between 1977 and 1990, he presented his solo show, Acting Shakespeare, in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe. At times during this period, he acted in Bent at the Adelphi and Amadeus (1989), Trevor Nunn’s Othello for the RSC, and, with the National Theatre, in a variety of productions including Wild Honey, Coriolanus, The Cherry Orchard, Richard III and King Lear (both on world tour), Uncle Vanya, An Enemy of the People, and Peter Pan. In 1998/99 he was at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in The Seagull, Present Laughter, and The Tempest.
Between 1993 and 1997, he performed his second solo show, A Knight Out, in the UK, USA, South Africa and Europe. 2004 to 2009 saw him in Aladdin (as Widow Twankey) at the Old Vic, King Lear and The Seagull at the RSC, and Waiting for Godot (with Patrick Stewart) at the Haymarket Theatre (and in the USA in 2013). He also starred alongside Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land, on both Broadway in 2013 and in the West End in late 2016. In July, he is performing an exclusive one man show at Park Theatre for nine performances only. In September 2017, Ian will play King Lear as part of Chichester Festival Theatre’s new season.
His many major films include: Richard III, The Da Vinci Code, Gods and Monsters, The Golden Compass, Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy and four X-Men movies.
His many television appearances include: The Last Journey (1972, with Peggy Ashcroft), The Recruiting Officer (1973), Hedda Gabler (1974), Macbeth (1979, with Judi Dench), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), Cold Comfort Farm (1995), Rasputin (1996), David Copperfield (1999), Coronation Street (2005), Vicious (2013 – present, with Derek Jacobi), and The Dresser (2015, with Anthony Hopkins). In 2019, Ian undertook a national tour for his 80th birthday called Ian McKellen on Stage: Tolkien, Shakespeare and You! The tour ran until September 2019, going onto to do a West End run. In 2021, he will play the title role in an age-blind production of Hamlet, followed by playing Firs The Cherry Orchard at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. Photo – Sarah Dunn.
Sir Sam Mendes CBE
Sir Sam Mendes is one of the world’s leading film and stage directors.
He achieved a first class degree in English at Cambridge University, played cricket for the University, and also directed many plays for the University’s Marlowe Society including a much admired Cyrano de Bergerac (with Tom Hollander).
He did not go to drama school, but after graduation secured an entry-level position as assistant director at Chichester Festival Theatre (1987-88). There, he was asked to fill in as a director for a stage production which proved to be a great success. In 1989, he was Artistic Director of Chichester’s Minerva Studio Theatre, where his productions included Summerfolk and Love Labour’s Lost.
At the age of 24, he directed Judi Dench in the Cherry Orchard (with Tom Hollander) at the Aldwych Theatre in 1989. Also in the late 1980s, he was engaged as a director by both the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the National Theatre. For the RSC he directed three productions, all involving Simon Russell Beale: Troilus and Cressida (with Ralph Fiennes), Richard III, and The Tempest. For the National Theatre, he directed The Birthday Party, The Sea, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, and Othello (with Simon Russell Beale as Iago).
In 1990, Sam was appointed Artistic Director of the Donmar Theatre. He spent the first two years re-designing and transforming the theatre. In 1992, his opening production was Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. While at the Donmar, his productions included Translations (1993), Cabaret (1993 and also in 1998 in New York, which won four Tony Awards), the Glass Menagerie (Olivier Award 1995), Company (Olivier Award 1995), The Front Page (1997, with Alun Armstrong), The Blue Room (1998, with Nicole Kidman and Iain Glen, and in New York in 1999), and finally Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya (2002, and in New York in 2003, both with Simon Russell Beale).
As a freelance director, he directed London Assurance at the Haymarket Theatre (1998), Kean at the Old Vic (1990, and in Toronto in 1991 with Tom Hollander), Oliver! at the Palladium (1994, with Jonathan Pryce), Gypsy (2003 in New York), The Winter’s Tale and The Cherry Orchard (2009, at the Old Vic and in New York, with Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack and Rebecca Hall), The Tempest and As You Like It (2010, at the Old Vic with Stephen Dillane and Juliet Rylance), Richard III (2011, at the Old Vic with Kevin Spacey), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013, at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane with Alex Jennings), King Lear (2014, at the National Theatre with Simon Russell Beale). He recently directed Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman at the Royal Court Theatre prior to its transfer to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.
In 1989, for his theatre work, Sam won the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Since then, he has won three Olivier Awards, the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Director, the Society of London Theatre Special Award, and numerous other awards.
Sam’s film directing career has been no less illustrious. His first film, in 1999, American Beauty (with Kevin Spacey), won five Academy Awards including for Best Director and Best Picture. It also secured the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, and the Directors’ Guild of America Award for Best Director. There followed, in 2002, Road to Perdition (with Tom Hanks). In 2003, Sam co-founded Neal Street Productions – a production company for his screen and stage work.
His subsequent films included Jarhead (2006), Revolutionary Road (2009, with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio), Away We Go (2009), Skyfall (2012, with Daniel Craig) and Spectre (2015, with Daniel Craig again). Sam is the first Oscar-winning director to direct a James Bond film. His television work includes The Hollow Crown (2012) and two series of Call the Midwife (2013, Neal Street Productions). In 2019, he will direct and produce the film 1917.
Michael Nabarro (TRUSTEE)
Michael Nabarro is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Spektrix Ltd, a provider of cloud-based ticketing and marketing systems to nearly 200 theatres and arts organisations across the UK.
Michael graduated from Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 2003 with a first class degree in Computer Science. He then became Manager and Licensee of the Cambridge University ADC Theatre for three years during the major re-development of the theatre building. He also studied Stage Electrics and Lighting Design at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
James Norton (TRUSTEE)
Actor James Norton graduated from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. While there, he took the lead in many Marlowe Society and ADC Theatre productions, including Noises Off (2005), Another Country (2006), The Seagull (2007, with Max Bennett and Tom Attenborough), and Cymbeline (2007, directed by Trevor Nunn at Cambridge Arts Theatre). He then studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) for three years until 2010. At RADA, he played Ramsden in Man and Superman (2009). That same year, James went on to play Miles in Posh at the Royal Court Theatre, and Henry in That Face at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Further theatre work included Journey’s End (2011) at the Duke of York’s Theatre (and a UK tour), as Captain Stanhope, and The Lion in Winter at the Haymarket Theatre (2012, with Joanna Lumley and Robert Lindsay, directed by Trevor Nunn). In 2016, he appeared in a West End production of Bug written by Tracy Letts.
His television roles include Onegin in an episode of Doctor Who (2013), Henry Alveston in the BBC historical drama Death Comes to Pemberley (2013), and Tommy Lee Royce in the BBC crime drama, Happy Valley (2014 – 2016). For his role in Happy Valley, he was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor, and he won the Crime Thriller Award for Best Supporting Actor. In October 2014, he began playing Canon Sidney Chambers in the ITV period drama Grantchester. In 2015, he starred in Life in Squares, a BBC drama mini-series about the Bloomsbury Group; and also in the films Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In 2016, James starred as Prince Bolkonsky in the BBC’s epic new serialisation of War and Peace (with Jim Broadbent, Lilly James, Greta Scacchi, Jesse Buckley, Ken Stott and Gillian Anderson). In 2018 he took the lead as Alex Godman in the TV series McMafia.
His films include: An Education (2009), Rush (2013), Belle (2013), Mr Turner (2014), Northmen – A Viking Saga (2014), Bonobo (2014), Flatliners (2017), Little Women (2019) and Mr Jones (2019).
Sir Trevor Nunn CBE
Sir Trevor Nunn is regarded by many as the outstanding all-round stage director of his generation, and he served as leader of both the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the National Theatre. He has won four Olivier Awards and three Tony Awards, and many other awards and nominations, including three Drama Desk Awards.
He went to Northgate Grammar School, Ipswich, and at age 13 got work with a local professional repertory company. He went on to study English at Downing College Cambridge, and was a “disciple” of F R Leavis. His stage career began at Cambridge University, and he was involved in 34 productions, acting, directing and writing. In 1962, he directed Macbeth for the Marlowe Society and he directed that year’s Footlights. He was contemporary with Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi.
In 1962, he won an ABC Director’s Scholarship to the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry as a trainee director, where as resident director, his productions included The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Peter Gynt, and a musical version of Around the World in 80 Days. In 1964 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and in 1968 he was appointed its youngest-ever Artistic Director and Chief Executive. In 1978, Terry Hands joined him as Joint Artistic Director, and Trevor remained as Chief Executive and Joint Artistic Director until 1986. During Nunn’s leadership, he opened The Other Place, the RSC’s studio theatre, in 1974. In 1977, he converted a fruit store in Covent Garden into the Donmar Theatre; in 1982 he opened the RSC’s new London home at the Barbican with Henry IV Parts I and II; and in 1986 he created and opened the RSC’s new Swan Theatre, with his production of The Fair Maid of the West (with Simon Russell Beale and Imelda Staunton).
His productions for the RSC – both of Shakespeare and other dramatists – were numerous and brilliant. Most notable perhaps were his legendary Macbeth (1976, with Judi Dench and Ian McKellen); The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1980, 5 Tony Awards, John Caird, co-director, with Ben Kingsley, Graham Crowden and Timothy Spall); the superb musical adaptation, with Guy Woolfenden, of The Comedy of Errors (with Judi Dench); Othello (1989, with Willard White, Ian McKellen and Imogen Stubbs); and of course the history-making musical Les Miserables (1985), co-directed by John Caird, which moved from the Barbican Centre into the West End – where it still is, 30 years later, as well as overseas. It won 8 Tony Awards and is the most performed musical in the world. His Les Miserables “legacy” brought the RSC tens of millions of pounds over the next 30 years.
In 1994, Trevor directed Arcadia at the National Theatre, with Rufus Sewell, Felicity Kendal, Emma Fielding and Harriet Walter.
He was the Artistic Director of the National Theatre from 1997 to 2003. His major productions there included four musicals: Oklahoma (1998), My Fair Lady (2001) South Pacific (2001) and Anything Goes (2002). His plays included: Summerfolk (1999, with Simon Russell Beale, Henry Goodman, Roger Allam); The Cherry Orchard (2000, with Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Roger Allam); and The Relapse (2001, with Imogen Stubbs and Brian Blessed); also Enemy of the People (1997), Troilus and Cressida (1999), Albert Speer (2000), A Streetcar Named Desire (2002), The Coast of Utopia trilogy (2002), and Love’s Labour’s Lost (2003).
In 2003 he directed Natasha Richardson in The Lady from the Sea at the Almeida; in 2004, Ben Whishaw as Hamlet at The Old Vic; in 2006, Alun Armstrong and Paterson Joseph in Royal Hunt of the Sun at the National Theatre; in 2007, RSC productions of King Lear and The Seagull (which went on a world tour) with Ian McKellen, Frances Barber and Romola Garai. King Lear was also screened on TV on Boxing Day 2008.
In 2007, Trevor found time to return to Cambridge to direct the Marlowe Society undergraduate production of Cymbeline, with James Norton and Max Bennett, at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. In 2008, he returned to the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, where he directed Scenes from a Marriage, Gone with the Wind, and A Little Night Music (which transferred to Broadway with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury). In 2009, he directed Inherit the Wind at The Old Vic (with Kevin Spacey, Ken Bones and David Troughton). He became Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal, Haymarket in 2011, where he directed Flare Path (2011); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (2011); The Tempest (2011, with Ralph Fiennes); and The Lion in Winter (2012, with Robert Lindsay and Joanna Lumley). Also in 2012 he directed A Chorus of Disapproval at the Harold Pinter Theatre. In 2015, he staged a revival of The Wars of the Roses at The Rose Theatre, Kingston. Trevor recently directed Love in Idleness at the Menier Chocolate Factory and is directing Lettice and Lovage at the same Southwark venue this Summer.
In Opera, Trevor directed at the Royal Opera House: Porgy and Bess (1992), Katya Kabanova (1994), and Sophie’s Choice (2002). At Glyndebourne, he directed: Idomeneo (1983), Porgy and Bess (1986 revival), Cosi Fan Tutte (1991) and Peter Grimes (1992).
His Television work includes: Macbeth (1978); BBC2 Playhouse (1979); Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1979); The Three Sisters (1981); Nicholas Nickleby (1982, Emmy Award); Othello (1990); Porgy and Bess (1993); Oklahoma (1999, Emmy Award); The Merchant of Venice (2001); and King Lear (2008). His films included: Hedda (1976); Lady Jane (1986); and Twelfth Night (1996).
Trevor Nunn is internationally known for his direction of musicals. Over some 30 years he directed Cats (1981); Starlight Express (1984); Les Miserables (1985); Chess (1986); The Baker’s Wife (1988); Aspects of Love (1989); Sunset Boulevard (1993); Oklahoma (1998); My Fair Lady (2001); South Pacific (2001); Anything Goes (2004); The Woman in White (2004); Gone with the Wind (2008); and A Little Night Music (2008). Most of them were enormously successful and many transferred to Broadway and to other countries. At one point, Trevor was the director of the three longest running shows of all time; and at another stage he had half-a-dozen shows simultaneously in different theatres in the West End of London – musicals and drama. From 1994 to 1996 he was also a Member of the Arts Council of England. Sir Trevor is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Dame Patricia Routledge DBE
Patricia Routledge is an English actress and singer.
Patricia made her professional stage debut at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1952 and her Broadway debut in How’s the World Treating You in 1966. In 1968, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in Darling of the Day. Other theatre credits include Candide – for which she won the 1988 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
On television she appeared as Kitty in Victoria Wood As Seen On TV (1985-86), in Alan Bennett’s A Woman of No Importance (1982) and Talking Heads (1988). For the latter, she was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress. For her role as Hyacinth in BBC comedy series Keeping Up Appearances (1990-1995) she received two further BAFTA nominations. She also starred as Hetty Wainthropp in the BBC television series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1995-99).
Her film roles include To Sir, with Love (1967) and Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968).
The Rt Hon. The Lord Mayor, Alderman William Anthony Bowater Russell
William has over thirty years’ experience in the financial and business City including holding senior positions in the national and international Banking sector. In 1987 he went to work for First Boston Corporation before joining Merrill Lynch in 1992 as an Investment Banker in Institutional Equity Sales, working in Asia, New York and London. William is currently Chair of CDAM, a London based Asset Management business and Senior Advisor to STJ Advisors.
William served on the Board of Innovate Finance, the industry body for the UK based Fintech community and is also an educational entrepreneur, as the co-Founder and Chair of Knightsbridge School and a Director of Knightsbridge School International (KSI). William is also a member of the Campaign Board for Durham Inspired.
Alderman Russell has a number of charitable interests: he has served as Chair of the Development Board of the Royal Court Theatre; he is a Board Member of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; he is also on the Council of the Royal Theatrical Support Trust. He is immediate past Chair of Prostate Cancer UK and is currently Deputy Chair of Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity. As of July 2019 he is a member of the Barbican Centre Board.
William was elected Alderman for the Ward of Bread Street in March 2013 and has since served on a number of the City of London Corporation Committees including the Policy & Resources Committee and the Education Board. William is also a Governor of the City of London School for Girls and is a past Governor of the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, Adams Grammar School and Abraham Darby Academy. William is a Court Assistant to both theHaberdashers’ and the Feltmakers’ Livery Companies, as well as an Honorary Liveryman of the Paviors’ Company.
Sir David Suchet CBE
Sir David Suchet began his career at the Watermill Theatre in Berkshire before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973. His theatre work includes: playing Bolingbroke in Richard II (1982), John in Oleanna at the Royal Court Theatre (1993) and Salieri from 1998-2000 in the Broadway production of Amadeus. In 2007, at the Chichester Festival Theatre, he played Cardinal Benelli in The Last Confession. In 2015, he starred as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde at the Vaudeville Theatre. He is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
David has made many appearances in television. After making his first TV appearance in 1970, he appeared in the 1980 made-for-TV film version of A Tale of Two Cities. In 1989, he took the title role of Hercule Poirot for the long-running ITV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, a role he played until 2013. He was knighted in 2020.
Sir Mark Rylance
One of the finest actors of his generation, Sir Mark Rylance was the first Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, from 1995 to 2005.
He spent much of his youth in the USA, and starred in most of his school’s plays at the University School of Milwaukee, including the lead in a 1976 production of Hamlet, and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.
He trained at RADA for two years, and at the Chrysalis Theatre School in Balham, London. He was given his first professional job at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, in 1980. In 1982 and 1983, he performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon and London (Ariel in The Tempest 1982).
In 1989, after touring Ron Daniels’ production of Hamlet in Ireland and Britain during 1988, he achieved the almost unique feat in the RSC repertoire of playing Romeo in the Swan Theatre in the afternoon and Hamlet in Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the evening.
Between 1991 and 1993 he was in the USA performing his RSC Hamlet, and also playing Treplev in The Seagull for the American Repertory Theater, followed by Henry V in New York. Mark and his future wife, playwright Claire van Kampen, then founded their own theatre company, Phoebus Cart, and the following year they staged The Tempest on tour.
In 1994, he played Benedick in Mathew Warchus’s Much Ado About Nothing at London’s Queens Theatre, and won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. Then followed, in 1994 and 1995, As You Like It (Touchstone) in New York, True West at the Donmar Warehouse, and Macbeth at the Greenwich Theatre.
In 1995 he was appointed as the first Artistic Director of the new Globe Theatre on the South Bank (Sam Wanamaker’s vision realised), a post which he held until June 2005. At the Globe Theatre, he directed and acted in every season, playing both male and female roles – including Proteus, Henry V, Bassanio, Cleopatra, Hamlet, Cloten, Olivia, Richard II, Duke Vincentio, and Prospero. He introduced new plays, too, by Peter Oswald – Augustine’s Oak, The Golden Ass, and The Storm. He organised historical first nights, such as Twelfth Night performed at Middle Temple in 2002, and Measure for Measure at Hampton Court in summer 2004.
In 2007, he received a Sam Wanamaker Award together with his wife Claire van Kampen, Director of Music, and Jenny Tiramani, Director of Costume Design, for their founding work during the opening 10 years at Shakespeare’s Globe. Rylance’s strategic direction and the fine quality of his own performances created a firm foundation for the Globe’s future. In 2005, he won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor for his role in The Government Inspector on Channel 4. He performed in Boeing Boeing in London in 2007 which moved to Broadway in 2008 where he won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award.
In 2007, he wrote and co-directed and acted in a Chichester touring production of I am Shakespeare. In 2009, Sir Mark won the Critics Circle Award for Best Actor as Johnny Byron in Jerusalem at the Royal Court. In 2010, the same role at the Apollo Theatre won him the Olivier Award for Best Actor, followed by a Tony Award on Broadway in 2011. In 2012, he alternated as Olivia in Twelfth Night and Richard III at the Apollo Theatre. These two all-male plays then moved to the Belasco Theatre on Broadway, where Mark won his third Tony Award for Twelfth Night in 2014, and a nomination for Richard III.
2013 saw him in Nice Fish, co-written by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins, at the Guthrie Theatre, then later in St Ann’s Warehouse in 2016. He performed in 2015 in Farinelli and The King, written by his wife Claire van Kampen, at the Globe and then the Duke of York’s Theatre.
Sir Mark Rylance has won many awards in North America and London for his performances in films including: The Grass Arena; Prospero’s Books; Institute Benjamenta; Angels and Insects; Intimacy; The Other Boleyn Girl; Blitz; Anonymous; Days and Nights; and The Gunman.
In 2015, he co-starred with Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda in Bridge of Spies, winning the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA, and numerous other nominations at home and abroad. In 2015/16, he is in the title role of Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s BFG. In 2018 he featured in Dunkirk and in 2018, Ready Player One.
Sir Mark has performed regularly on television. In addition to The Government Inspector, he has appeared – usually in the lead – in Wallenberg (1985); Love Lies Bleeding (1993); Loving (1995); Hamlet (1995); Henry V (1997); Changing Stages (2001); Leonardo (2003); Richard II (2003); Bing( voice)(2014); and of course in Wolf Hall as Thomas Cromwell, for which Mark received a Critics Choice Television Award, a Prime Time Emmie Award, and nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Wolf Hall won a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Miniseries or Film.
Sir Mark Rylance is a supporter of Survival International; a patron of Peace Direct, of the Outside Edge Theatre Company, and of LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre). He is a Friend of the Francis Bacon Research Trust; Chairman of the Shakespeare Authorship Trust; Trustee of the Murray Cox Foundation; Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple; and an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Actor David Tennant studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and in 1995 first appeared at the Royal National Theatre playing the role of Nicholas Beckett in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw. His first Shakespearean role for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) was playing Touchstone in As You Like It (1996). He went on to play Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.
In television, David appeared in Randall and Hopkirk (2000), He Knew He Was Right (2004), Blackpool (2004), Casanova (2005) and The Quatermass Experiment (2005). In 2005, he became the tenth actor to play the title role in Doctor Who, a part he played until 2010. He has also starred in ITV drama Broadchurch from 2013. In January 2015, he received the National Television Award for Special Recognition. In 2017, he starred in comedy series W1A and voiced Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales.
He played Hamlet at the RSC in 2008 and again in the 2009 BBC film version. In January 2012, he was appointed to the Royal Shakespeare Company Board. In 2013, David returned to the RSC for the company’s 2013-winter season, playing the title role in Richard II at Stratford-upon-Avon, and then transferring to the Barbican Centre. In February 2019, Tennant launched his own podcast, titled David Tennant Does a Podcast With…
David is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Sylvana Tomaselli, The Countess of St Andrews
The Countess of St Andrews is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Sir Harry Hinsley Lecturer in History at St John’s College, Cambridge. She has supported the efforts of a number of charities and charitable activities, including the Depaul Trust for homeless young people, and the Children’s Trust, Tadworth, and the Women of the Year Lunch. At present, she is the Patron of the Addenbrooke’s (Hospital) Charitable Trust (ACT) as well as Patron of the Sick Children’s Trust at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and of the Von Hügel Institute, and is Co-Patron with her husband, the Earl of St Andrews, of the Cambridge Folk Museum. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Hume Graduate School London.
Actress Rachel Weisz began her acting career in the 1994 revival of Design for Living, which earned her the London Critics’ Circle Award for the most promising newcomer. She went on to work in television and film, appearing in the British mini-series Scarlet and Black, and made her film debut in the science fiction movie Death Machine (1994). Other film credits include: Chain Reaction (1996), The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2001), Enemy at the Gates (2001), About a Boy (2002), Constantine (2005), The Fountain (2006) and Oz the Great and Powerful (2013).
For her supporting role in the drama thriller The Constant Gardener (2005), she received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors’ Guild award. In 2006, Rachel received the BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year. Recent film work has included Youth (2015) and the Cannes Jury Prize winner, The Lobster (2015). 2016 brings the release of her latest film, Youth, in which she stars with Michael Caine, Jane Fonda and Harvey Keitel. In 2017, she appeared in My Cousin Rachel. In 2018 she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Favourite.
Rachel’s theatre performances include the 1999 Donmar Warehouse production of Suddenly, Last Summer, and its 2009 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which her portrayal of Blanche DuBois earned her the Olivier Award for Best Actress. In 2013, Rachel performed in Betrayal on Broadway.