I have a long relationship with Shakespeare – we all do I suppose – but my career has danced and dallied around him, been propped up by him and enriched by him, so I do owe Shakespeare a commodity of thanks. I’ve been lucky too, inasmuch that along with what Dinos Aristidou colourfully describes as my “portfolio career”, I have had the opportunity to meet up with some of the leading scholars, practitioners and proponents of the Bard and his works. In fact, my second job out of drama school was touring English Heritage venues in a production called The Bard and the Blade, a collection of the exciting duels, melees and dust-ups from Shakespeare’s various plays. I’ve taught at many Stratford TaPS events over the years and regard the town and its bed and breakfasts with the familiarity of some well-worn pyjamas, that although a little frayed around the edges, you’ve come to think on with comfortable affection.
So, yes, over the years I’ve become quite fond of Will and his works and his home town. This year is a particularly big year for the business of Shakespeare. Four hundred years since he died and anybody with anything to do with Shakespeare has been busy dusting down their trunk hose, starching their ruff and conning the lines to Sonnet 18. I have not been the exception. So when I was asked by ISTA to pen an article for Scene, it all dovetailed rather nicely.
Earlier this year, I auditioned and was successful in landing an acting job in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Shakespeare’s very own house has been turned into a museum.