The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs over 1,000 staff and produces around 20 productions a year. The RSC plays regularly in London, Newcastle upon Tyne and on tour across the UK and internationally.
The company's home is in Stratford-upon-Avon, where it has recently redeveloped its Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres as part of a £112.8-million "Transformation" project. The theatres re-opened in November 2010, having closed in 2007. The new buildings attracted 18,000 visitors within the first week and received a positive media response both upon opening, and following the first full Shakespeare performances. Performances in Stratford-upon-Avon continued throughout the Transformation project at the temporary Courtyard Theatre.
As well as the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the RSC produces new work from living artists and develops creative links with theatre-makers from around the world, as well as working with teachers to inspire a lifelong love of William Shakespeare in young people and running events for everyone to explore and participate in its work.
The RSC celebrated its fiftieth birthday season from April–December 2011, with two companies of actors presenting the first productions designed specifically for the new Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatre stages. The 2011-season began with performances of Macbeth and a re-imagined lost play The History of Cardenio. The fiftieth birthday season also featured The Merchant of Venice with Sir Patrick Stewart and revivals of some of the RSC's greatest plays, including a new staging of Marat/Sade.
In 2013, the company began live screenings of its Shakespeare productions – called Live from Stratford-upon-Avon – which are screened around the world. In 2016, the company collaborated with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios to stage The Tempest, bringing performance capture to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for the very first time.
There have been theatrical performances in Stratford-upon-Avon since at least Shakespeare's day, though the first recorded performance of a play written by Shakespeare himself was in 1746 when Parson Joseph Greene, master of Stratford Grammar School, organised a charitable production to fund the restoration of Shakespeare's funerary monument. John Ward's Birmingham-based company, the Warwickshire Company of Comedians, agreed to perform it. A surviving copy of the playbill records that the company performed Othello. The first building erected to commemorate Shakespeare was David Garrick's Jubilee Pavilion in 1769, and there have been at least 17 buildings used to perform Shakespeare's plays since.
The first permanent commemorative building to Shakespeare's works in the town was a theatre built in 1827, in the gardens of New Place, but has long since been demolished. The RSC's history began with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, which was the brainchild of a local brewer, Charles Edward Flower. He donated a two-acre site by the River Avon and in 1875 launched an international campaign to build a theatre in the town of Shakespeare's birth. The theatre, a Victorian-Gothic building seating just over 700 people, opened on 23 April 1879, with a performance of Much Ado About Nothing, a title which gave ammunition to several critics.
The Memorial, a red brick Gothic cathedral, designed by Dodgshun and Unsworth of Westminster, was unkindly described by Bernard Shaw as "an admirable building, adaptable to every purpose except that of a theatre." From 1919, under the direction of William Bridges-Adams and after a slow start, its resident New Shakespeare Company became one of the most prestigious in Britain. The theatre received a Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1925, which gave it status.
On the afternoon of 6 March 1926, when a new season was about to commence rehearsals, smoke was seen. Fire broke out, and the mass of half-timbering chosen to ornament the interior provided dry tinder. By the following morning the theatre was a blackened shell. The company transferred its Shakespeare festivals to a converted local cinema. Fund-raising began for the rebuilding of the theatre, with generous donations arriving from philanthropists in America.
In January 1928, following an open competition, 29-year-old Elisabeth Scott was unanimously appointed architect for the new theatre which became the first important work erected in the United Kingdom from the designs of a woman architect. George Bernard Shaw commented that her design was the only one that showed any theatre sense. Her modernist plans for an art deco structure came under fire from many directions but the new building was opened triumphantly on William Shakespeare's birthday, 23 April 1932. Later it came under the direction of Sir Barry Jackson in 1945, Anthony Quayle from 1948 to 1956 and Glen Byam Shaw 1957–1959, with an impressive roll-call of actors. Scott's building, with some minor adjustments to the stage, remained in constant use until 2007 when it was closed for a major refit of the interior.
1932 – new Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opens, abutting the remains of the old.
1961 – chartered name of the corporation and the Stratford theatre becomes ‘Royal Shakespeare.’
1974 – The Other Place opened, created from a prefabricated former store/rehearsal room in Stratford.
1986 – the Swan Theatre opened, created from the shell of the 1879 Memorial Theatre.
1991 – Purpose-built new Other Place, designed by Michael Reardon, opens.
September 2004 – The vision for the renewal of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre transformation is announced.
July 2006 – The Courtyard Theatre opens with a staging of Michael Boyd’s Histories.
November 2010 – The Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres re-open following their transformation.
March 2016 - The Other Place was reinstated as a 200-seat studio theatre.
In 1959, while still the director-designate of the Memorial Theatre, Peter Hall announced that the formation of a permanent company would be a primary objective. David Addenbrooke wrote of Hall's belief that Shakespeare, more than any other dramatist, needed a 'style', a tradition and unity of direction and acting. On 14 January 1960, Hall's first policy statement as director also proposed the acquisition of a second theatre, in London, to be used as a city outlet for selected Stratford productions. The RSC was formally established on 20 March 1961 with the royal announcement that the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre would henceforth be known as the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the company as the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The critic Michael Billington, summarising these events, wrote: "In 1960 the twenty-nine-year-old Peter Hall formally took charge at Stratford-upon-Avon and set about turning a star-laden, six-month Shakespeare festival into a monumental, year-round operation built around a permanent company, a London base and contemporary work from home and abroad. Looking back, it is difficult to realise just how radical Hall's dream was at the time; or indeed how much opposition there was to the creation of what became officially known in March 1961 as the Royal Shakespeare Company."
John Barton had been appointed associate director in January 1960, and was followed in 1962 by Michel Saint-Denis, Peter Brook and Clifford Williams who joined the company as resident directors. John Bury was appointed head of design in 1964. The repertoire was also widened to take in modern work and classics other than Shakespeare.
In 1962, strong opposition to the establishment of a London base for the RSC came from the Royal National Theatre which – led by Viscount Chandos and Laurence Olivier – wished to be the sole subsidised company operating in London. Following a deal with Prince Littler, managing director of Associated Theatre Properties, the RSC established the Aldwych Theatre as its London base for productions transferred from Stratford to London, its stage redesigned to match the RST's apron stage.
Twenty years later, in the summer of 1982, the company took up London residence in both the Barbican Theatre and The Pit studio space in the Barbican Centre under the auspices of the City of London. The RSC was closely involved in the design of these two venues. In 2002 it left the Barbican after a series of allegedly poor seasons, partly because the then artistic director Adrian Noble wanted to develop the company's touring performances. His decision means the company has no regular London home.
The RSC had first tackled its need for a small auditorium in 1971. At the insistence of Sir Trevor Nunn (who had taken over as artistic director in 1968), the company hired The Place off the Euston Road in London and constructed its own theatre space for an audience of 330, seated on raked wooden benches. Two seasons of plays were staged in 1972 and 1973, none suitable for the Aldwych. In December 1973 Buzz Goodbody, the company's first female director, drew up a plan for what would become The Other Place studio theatre in Stratford, designed by Michael Reardon to seat 140 people, which opened to a first and highly successful season in 1974. The name chosen for the new studio space was favoured within the company because it implied an alternative theatre, but also because it is a quotation from Hamlet.
In August 1976, Nunn staged Macbeth with a minimalist set at The Other Place, playing for 2 hours 15 minutes without an interval. The small, nearly round stage focused attention on the psychological dynamics of the characters. Both Ian McKellen in the title role and Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth received exceptionally favourable reviews. The production transferred to London, opening at the Donmar Warehouse in September 1977 before its further transfer to the larger Young Vic venue for a two-month season. It was also recorded for transmission by Thames Television. In 2004, members of the RSC voted Dench's performance the greatest by an actress in the history of the company.
Summing up this triumphant period, The Guardian critic Michael Billington later wrote: "[In 1977] the RSC struck gold. This was, in fact, the perihelion of Trevor Nunn's ten-year reign as the company's sole Artistic Director and Chief Executive (in 1978 he began to share power with Terry Hands. In London, the company opened a new studio space at the Donmar Warehouse with plays by Barker, Taylor, Bond and Brecht. Its Aldwych repertory combined the usual Stratford transfers with Nichol's Privates on Parade, Ibsen's Pillars of the Community and Brecht's The Days of the Commune. At the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Terry Hands and actor Alan Howard had a marathon year working on Henry V, a virtually uncut, Henry VI, part 1, Henry VI, part 2 and Henry VI, part 3 and Coriolanus. And the action at The Other Place included Jonson, Ford, Musset, Gems and Rudkin. No other company in the world could match that output for quantity and quality".
Nunn and Hands were joint artistic directors of the RSC when the company opened The Swan, its third theatre in Stratford. The Swan Theatre, also designed by Michael Reardon, has a deep thrust stage and a galleried, intimate 450-capacity auditorium. The space was to be dedicated to playing the works of Shakespeare's contemporaries, the works of European writers and the occasional work of Shakespeare. The theatre was launched on 8 May 1986 with a production of The Two Noble Kinsmen by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher (not published until 1634 and thought to be Shakespeare's last work for the stage). It was directed by Barry Kyle.
Nunn (who had been appointed to follow Hall's tenure at the National Theatre in 1986) ceded his RSC executive directorship to his co-artistic director Terry Hands, who took the brunt of media hostility during a difficult few years for the company. Hands took the decision to suspend the RSC's residency at The Barbican Theatre and The Pit during the winter season of 1990–91, thus vacating the capital for the first time in 30 years. This was seen as essential if the RSC was to secure an increase in subsidy from the Arts Council.
Shortly after that decision Adrian Noble returned to the RSC to take over from Hands as artistic director and chief executive. The company had serious funding problems. Noble's decision to sever all RSC connections with the Barbican Centre, funded by the Corporation of the City of London, was widely condemned, and towards the end of his tenure things began to go terribly wrong, partly through his pursuit and support of the so-called Project Fleet, a radical scheme aimed at rescuing the RSC from its financial crisis by replacing the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a crowd-pleasing 'Shakespeare Village' and streamlining the company's performance structure and ensemble principle.
None of Noble's plans came to fruition. He left the job, an unhappy man, in March 2003. Michael Boyd then assumed control of the RSC, now burdened with a deficit of £2.8 million. By a combination of artistic excellence and quiet husbandry, including a year-long Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival (begun in April 2006 in collaboration with other theatre companies) plus a financially successful London season at the Novello Theatre in 2006, Boyd slowly rebuilt the company's fortunes and reputation.
In 2007 he launched the long-awaited Stratford theatre redevelopments, including construction of the temporary Courtyard Theatre while work was in progress, designed to house his RSC Histories cycle before its transfer to the Roundhouse in London in 2008. Talking of these achievements with typical modesty he told the Evening Standard in December 2007 ('The Man Who Remade the RSC'): "There was a bit of gardening to do, but we are now beginning to show signs of walking the walk." 'The Histories' ensemble went on to win three Olivier awards in 2009. In addition, that same year the RSC commissioned a completely new edition of Shakespeare's First Folio, titled "William Shakespeare Complete Works" and published by Modern Library.
The RSC is the sole British member theatre of the Union of the Theatres of Europe.
In March 2008, the RSC launched a manifesto 'Stand up for Shakespeare', a campaign to promote a positive experience of Shakespeare for children and young people. The tenets of this manifesto, Do It on Your Feet, See It Live, Start It Earlier form the basis of the work of the Education department.
In 2010, the RSC opened a new suite of education spaces on Waterside.
In summer 2011 the company undertook a residency in Park Avenue Armory, New York, running a series of performances and an accompanying education programme in partnership with the NYC Department of Education.
In 2012, the RSC produced the World Shakespeare Festival, a celebration of 'Shakespeare as the world's playwright' working with UK and international arts organisations, and including the Globe to Globe Festival by Shakespeare's Globe. The same year, planning permission was granted by Stratford District Council to reinstate The Other Place. Funding for the new theatre came from a £3 million grant from the Arts Council England, raised through the National Lottery. Funding was also received from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, The Backstage Trust, and from public donations; this is the final phase of the Transformation project.
Live from Stratford-upon-Avon, a new project to broadcast the company's productions in cinemas around the world and stream them into schools was announced in May 2013. The project began with Shakespeare's Richard II, starring David Tennant, in November 2013, and followed up with Henry IV parts 1 and 2 and The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2014.
In February 2016, Artistic Director Gregory Doran's productions of Henry IV Part I & Henry IV Part II, and Henry V went on tour in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong as part of the King & Country Tour. The same year, the Royal Shakespeare Company also opened their first permanent exhibition, entitled The Play's The Thing.
The RSC has three permanent theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon:
The Courtyard Theatre was built as a temporary replacement for The Other Place theatre to house the Company's work when the RST and Swan were closed for the Transformation project. It provided a full-scale working prototype for the new RST's auditorium, seating 1,045 people around a thrust stage. It was also used in 2012 for productions in the World Shakespeare Festival including Much Ado About Nothing in an Indian setting. The Courtyard Theatre was replaced by The Other Place, which was reinstated as a 200-seat studio theatre in 2016.
The company's London presence has included tenancies of the Aldwych Theatre, The Place in Duke's Road, Euston, the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden, the Barbican Theatre and The Pit at the Barbican Centre in the City of London. There have also been seasons at The Mermaid Theatre, the Almeida Theatre (1988 and 1989), the Roundhouse in Camden, the Young Vic, the Playhouse Theatre, the Novello Theatre and the Gielgud Theatre.
The Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne is the third home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, alongside Stratford-upon-Avon and London.
Adrian Noble, the Royal Shakespeare Company's artistic director, wants to demolish the main, unloved theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and replace it with a £100m theatre village
Alex Jennings (born 10 May 1957) is an English actor, who has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. A three-time Olivier Award winner, he won for Too Clever by Half (1988), Peer Gynt (1996), and My Fair Lady (2003). He is the only performer to have won Olivier awards in the drama, musical and comedy categories. He played Prince Charles in the 2006 film The Queen. His other film appearances include The Wings of the Dove (1997), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Babel (2006) and The Lady in the Van (2015). He also played Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, in the critically acclaimed Netflix series, The Crown.Charles Dance
Walter Charles Dance, (born 10 October 1946) is an English actor, screenwriter, and film director. Some of his highest profile roles are Tywin Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones (2011–2015), Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Sardo Numspa in The Golden Child (1986), Jonathan Clemens in Alien 3 (1992), Benedict in Last Action Hero (1993), the Master Vampire in Dracula Untold (2014), Lord Havelock Vetinari in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal (2010), Alastair Denniston in The Imitation Game (2014), and Emperor Emhyr var Emreis in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015).Damian Lewis
Damian Watcyn Lewis (born 11 February 1971) is an English actor and producer. He played U.S. Army Major Richard Winters in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and also portrayed U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland (which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award). His performance as King Henry VIII in Wolf Hall earned him his third Primetime Emmy nomination and fourth Golden Globe nomination. He currently plays Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions (2016–present).David Tennant
David John Tennant (né McDonald; born 18 April 1971) is a Scottish actor and voice actor. He is best known for his roles as DI Alec Hardy in ITV's Broadchurch, the Tenth Doctor in the BBC television series Doctor Who, Giacomo Casanova in the TV serial Casanova, Kilgrave in Netflix's Jessica Jones, and Barty Crouch, Jr. in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In addition to his appearances on screen, he has worked as a voice actor and in theatre, including Prince Hamlet in a critically acclaimed 2008 stage production of Hamlet and as the voice of Scrooge McDuck in the DuckTales reboot which began airing in 2017. In January 2015, Tennant received the National Television Award for Special Recognition.Diana Rigg
Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, (born 20 July 1938) is an English actress. She is best known for playing Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers (1965–68), Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, wife of James Bond, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), and Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones (2013–17). She has also had an extensive career in theatre, including playing the title role in Medea, both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She was made a CBE in 1988 and a Dame in 1994 for services to drama.
Rigg made her professional stage debut in 1957 in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959. She made her Broadway debut in the 1971 production of Abelard & Heloise. Her film roles include Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968); Lady Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper (1981); and Arlena Marshall in Evil Under the Sun (1982). She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the 1989 BBC miniseries Mother Love, and an Emmy Award for her role as Mrs. Danvers in the 1997 adaptation of Rebecca. Her other television credits include You, Me and the Apocalypse (2015), Detectorists (2015), and the Doctor Who episode "The Crimson Horror" (2013) opposite her daughter, Rachael Stirling.Emily Watson
Emily Margaret Watson (born 14 January 1967) is an English actress. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her debut film role as Bess McNeil in Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves (1996) and for her role as Jacqueline du Pré in Hilary and Jackie (1998), winning the BIFA Award for Best Actress for the latter. She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for playing Janet Leach in the 2011 ITV television biopic Appropriate Adult.
Watson began her career on stage and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1992. In 2002, she starred in productions of Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya at the Donmar Warehouse, and was nominated for the 2003 Olivier Award for Best Actress for the latter. Her other films include The Boxer (1997), Angela's Ashes (1999), Gosford Park (2001), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Red Dragon (2002), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), Corpse Bride (2005), Miss Potter (2006), Synecdoche, New York (2008), Oranges and Sunshine (2010), War Horse (2011), The Theory of Everything (2014) and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017).Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw (born Fiona Mary Wilson; 10 July 1958) is an Irish actress and theatre and opera director, known for her role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter film series and her role as Marnie Stonebrook in season four of the HBO series True Blood (2011). She has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, twice winning the Olivier Award for Best Actress; for various roles including Electra in 1990, and for Machinal in 1994. She won the 1997 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for The Waste Land. Her other stage work includes playing the title role in Medea, both in the West End and on Broadway (2001–02). She was awarded an Honorary CBE in 2001.Harriet Walter
Dame Harriet Mary Walter (born 24 September 1950) is an English stage and screen actress. Her film appearances include Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Governess (1998), Villa des Roses (2002), Atonement (2007) and Man Up (2015). On television she starred as Natalie Chandler in the ITV drama series Law & Order: UK (2009–14), as Lady Prudence Shackleton in four episodes of Downton Abbey (2013–15), and as Clementine Churchill in The Crown (2016). She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2011 for services to drama.
Walter began her career in 1974 and made her Broadway debut in 1983. For her work in various Royal Shakespeare Company productions, including Twelfth Night (1987–88) and Three Sisters (1988), she won the 1988 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival. Her other notable work for the RSC includes leading roles in Macbeth (1999) and Antony and Cleopatra (2006). She won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress for her role as Elizabeth I in the 2005 London revival of Mary Stuart, and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play when she reprised the role on Broadway in 2009. She reprised her roles of Brutus in Julius Caesar (2012) and the title role in Henry IV (2014), as well as playing Prospero in The Tempest, as part of an all-female Shakespeare trilogy in 2016.Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, (née Mironoff; born 26 July 1945) is an English actor. Mirren began her acting career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967, and is one of the few performers who have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen and received the Olivier Award for Best Actress and Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the same role in The Audience.
Mirren's other Academy Award nominations include The Madness of King George (1994), Gosford Park (2001), and The Last Station (2009). For her role as police detective Jane Tennison on the British television series Prime Suspect, which ran from 1991 to 2006, she won three consecutive BAFTA Awards for Best Actress between 1992 and 1994 and two Emmy Awards. She also received another Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the miniseries Elizabeth I (2005).
Some of her other notable film roles include Marcella in the 1984 film Cal, for which she won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress, 2010 (1984), The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), Calendar Girls (2003), Hitchcock (2012), The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), Woman in Gold (2015), Trumbo (2015), and The Leisure Seeker (2017). She played Victoria Winslow in the action-comedy films Red (2010) and Red 2 (2013).
In 2003, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to drama. In 2013, Mirren was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2014, BAFTA announced that Mirren would be the recipient of the Academy Fellowship.Ian Charleson Awards
The Ian Charleson Awards are theatrical awards that reward the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors under age 30. The awards are named in memory of the renowned British actor Ian Charleson, and are run by the Sunday Times newspaper and the National Theatre. The awards were established in 1990 after Charleson's death, and have been awarded annually since then. Sunday Times theatre critic John Peter initiated the creation of the awards, particularly in memory of Charleson's extraordinary Hamlet, which he had performed shortly before his death. Recipients receive a cash prize, as do runners-up and third-place winners.
The awards' current definition of a classical play is one written before 1918. The awards for the previous year's performances are presented the following year. The 2017 awards were presented on 18 May 2018, and the winner was Natalie Simpson.Ian McDiarmid
Ian McDiarmid (; born 11 August 1944) is a Scottish character actor and director. He has appeared in 47 films since 1976. He portrayed Emperor Sheev Palpatine in the Star Wars film series. He has received an Olivier Award for Best Actor and a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performances.Jennifer Ehle
Jennifer Anne Ehle (; born December 29, 1969) is a British-American actress. She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice. For her work on Broadway, she won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for The Real Thing, and the 2007 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for The Coast of Utopia. She is the daughter of English actress Rosemary Harris and American author John Ehle.
Ehle made her West End debut in Peter Hall's 1991 production of Tartuffe, and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1995. Other television credits include The Camomile Lawn (1992), A Gifted Man (2011–2012) and The Looming Tower (2018). She has also appeared in supporting roles in such films as Wilde (1997), Sunshine (1999), The King's Speech (2010), Contagion (2011), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), RoboCop (2014), and Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). Ehle also portrayed Lydia Marsh in The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018).Jeremy Northam
Jeremy Philip Northam (born 1 December 1961) is an English actor. After a number of television roles, he earned attention as Mr. Knightley in the 1996 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. He has appeared in the films Gosford Park, Amistad, The Winslow Boy, Enigma, Martin and Lewis, amongst others. He also played Thomas More in the Showtime series The Tudors. From 2016 to 2017 he appeared as Anthony Eden in the Netflix series The Crown.Joseph Fiennes
Joseph Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (; born 27 May 1970), known as Joseph Fiennes, is an English film and stage actor.
He is known for his portrayals of William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Sir Robert Dudley in Elizabeth (1998), Commisar Danilov in Enemy at the Gates (2001), and Monsignor Timothy Howard in the second season of the TV series American Horror Story (2012–2013). His role in the 2017 TV drama series The Handmaid's Tale was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.Julian Glover
Julian Wyatt Glover (born 27 March 1935) is an English classical actor, with many stage, television and film roles since commencing his career in the 1950s. He is a recipient of the Laurence Olivier Award.
Glover has performed many times for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His film roles have included General Maximilian Veers in The Empire Strikes Back, Aristotle Kristatos in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Brian Harcourt-Smith in The Fourth Protocol. He also voiced the giant spider Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Glover has also appeared frequently on television, especially in Britain, including guest appearances in cult series such as The Avengers, The Saint, Doctor Who, Blake's 7 and Remington Steele. From 2011 to 2016, he played the recurring supporting role of Grand Maester Pycelle in HBO's Game of Thrones, and in January 2013, appeared as General Beauvilliers in the BBC drama Spies of Warsaw.Juliet Stevenson
Juliet Anne Virginia Stevenson, (born 30 October 1956) is an English actress of stage and screen. She is known for her role in the film Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991), for which she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her other film appearances include Emma (1996), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), Being Julia (2004), and Infamous (2006).
Stevenson has starred in numerous Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre productions, including Olivier Award nominated roles in Measure for Measure (1984), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1986), and Yerma (1987). For her role as Paulina in Death and the Maiden (1991–92), she won the 1992 Olivier Award for Best Actress. Her fifth Olivier nomination was for her work in the 2009 revival of Duet for One. She has also received three nominations for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress: for A Doll's House (1992), The Politician's Wife (1995) and Accused (2010). Other stage roles include The Heretic (2011) and Happy Days (2014).Olivia Williams
Olivia Haigh Williams (born 26 July 1968) is an English film, stage, and television actress who has appeared in British and American films and television.
After studying drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for two years followed by three years at the Royal Shakespeare Company, her first significant role was as Jane Fairfax in the British television film Emma (1996), based on Jane Austen's novel. She made her film debut in 1997's The Postman, followed by Rushmore (1998) and The Sixth Sense (1999). Williams then appeared in several British films, including Lucky Break (2001), The Heart of Me (2002) and An Education (2009). In 2010, she won acclaim for her performance as Ruth Lang in Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer. Since 2017, she has played Emily Silk(s), on the television series Counterpart.Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart (born 13 July 1940) is an English actor whose work has included roles on stage, television, and film in a career spanning almost six decades. He has been nominated for Olivier, Golden Globe, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Saturn Awards throughout his career.
Beginning his career with a long run with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stewart received the 1979 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Antony and Cleopatra in the West End. Stewart's first major screen roles were in BBC-broadcast television productions during the mid-late 1970s, including Hedda, and the I, Claudius miniseries.
From the 1980s onward, Stewart began working in American television and film, with prominent leading roles such as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films, as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men series of superhero films, the lead of the Starz TV series Blunt Talk, and voice roles such as CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock in American Dad! and the narrator in Ted. Having remained with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in 2008 Stewart played King Claudius in Hamlet in the West End and won a second Olivier Award.
In 1993, TV Guide named Stewart the Best Dramatic Television Actor of the 1980s. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 16 December 1996. In 2010, Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to drama.Sinéad Cusack
Sinéad Moira Cusack (; born 18 February 1948) is an award-winning Irish stage, television and film actress. Her first acting roles were at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, before moving to London in 1975 to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has won the Critic's Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Sebastian Barry's Our Lady of Sligo and has received two Tony Award nominations: once for Best Leading Actress in Much Ado About Nothing (1985), and again for Best Featured Actress in Rock 'n' Roll (2008). She has also received five Olivier Award nominations for As You Like (1981), The Maid's Tragedy (also 1981), The Taming of the Shrew (1983), Our Lady of Sligo (1998) and Rock 'n' Roll (2007).
Cusack married British actor Jeremy Irons in 1978, and together they have two sons: Samuel James (b. 1978), and Maximilian Paul (b. 1985). Prior to her marriage she had given birth to another son, the Irish member of parliament Richard Boyd Barrett (b. 1967), whom she put up for adoption. They have since been reunited, and Cusack has supported him in his political campaigns.
Along with her husband, Cusack was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the British Labour Party in 1998.