A welcome return from the acclaimed actor, director, and writer
Michael Pennington who will be joining us Sunday 17th October at 6.00pm to talk about his memoir In My Own Footsteps – the life and times of an extraordinary stage career.
Recently a triumphant King Lear in New York and the UK, Michael has been a leading actor for over fifty years. He co-founded the English Shakespeare Company and is an Honorary Associate Artist for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has played Hamlet, Timon of Athens, Edgar in King Lear, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Coriolanus, Macbeth, Henry V, to name just a few of the great roles. Recently he appeared as Prospero in The Tempest.
He has also played leading roles in, Chekhov, Ibsen, Euripides, Moliere, Congreve, Osbourne, Pinter, Tolstoy, Wilde, Stoppard, Shaffer, Orton, Strindberg – the list is endless. He has played Oedipus on BBC TV, Jude the Obscure on radio and Michael Foot in The Iron Lady. He has directed Twelfth Night in the UK, Tokyo and Chicago, and The Hamlet Project for the National Theatre Bucharest. He continues to play his solo shows on Shakespeare and Chekhov around the world.
Circular rather than chronological, this memoir follows Michael’s life and the many people he has known and worked, loved, or shied away from. Joining the RSC straight out of Cambridge as the 16th supernumerary from the left and unceremoniously let go a year later, only to return in 1974 as their leading actor; travelling round the Circle Line twice before getting off the tube when his heart was first broken; marrying in Trinity Church over Shakespeare’s dead body; drink and drugs in Marrakesh; touring the world with the theatre company he founded, the English Shakespeare Company (ESC); starring in countless West End premieres; four on stage marriages to Dame Judi Dench; jamming in Tuscany with Cillian Murphy and Iain Glen; Antony to Kim Cattrall’s Cleopatra; to working with John Gielgud on many occasions – whose dilapidated Prospero cloak, Michael had worn in a school production of the Tempest many years earlier. Plus a wry look at the jobs he lost out on from The Forsyte Saga, to The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and more painfully as the Artistic Director of the RSC……
“A life well lived in a ‘generous profession…. I’m secretly proud to have been working now for a longer period than Shakespeare’s own mortal life – and I’m still available.”