"There's Something in the Writing:" Simon Russell Beale talks Shakespeare

Author: Caroline Lezny

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On February 8th the London Global Gateway hosted the 13th Notre Dame London Shakespeare Lecture: “There’s Something in the Writing": Simon Russell Beale Talks Shakespeare. In conversation with Professor Carol Rutter of the University of Warwick, legendary Shakespearean actor and Tony-winner Simon Russell Beale shared a retrospective on his over 40-year career playing some of the most iconic roles written by the Bard.

From the Young Shepherd in The Winter’s Tale at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1986, to his most recent turn as the titular role in the Almeida Theatre’s 2019 production of Richard II, Beale has been notable for his unique comic ability as well as his dramatic prowess.

Shakespeare scholar and London Global Gateway faculty member Boika Sokolova introduced Beale through the words of the lecture’s honoree, Professor Sir Stanley Wells: “Beale is an actor who defies classification, and who has won success in a wider range of Shakespearean roles than perhaps any actor since Richard Burbage himself.”

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Sokolova also used the occasion to call for support for the Ukrainian Shakespeare Center, which has continued to teach and celebrate Shakespeare while offering volunteer support to displaced Ukrainians since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

We would like to share a letter we received from the Ukrainian Shakespeare Center’s Nataliya Torkut, expressing her thanks:

"Dear friends, thank you for your solidarity and support for our country! We truly appreciate it! You help strengthen our faith in victory. Thank you so much for tonight! While it is impossible to forget that the war keeps raging on, for even the strongest human voice cannot drown out the sound of air raids and explosions, today we got a chance to nourish our souls from the inexhaustible source of Shakespeare's genius.

And souls need to be nourished - for us to be able to live and fight on, to BE rather than not. Simon and Carol have given us a true gift - an hour and a half of being in another reality - and we are convinced yet again that there is definitely something in the writing, a funny mixture of horror and delight, in Simon's words, and so much more - to keep us fascinated, mesmerized, hopeful and inspired. We are all looking forward to the happy moment when the horrors around us end and the delights begin.

Thank you once again for standing with Ukraine, dear friends!"

Nataliya Torkut, Ukrainian Shakespeare Center.

The Notre Dame London Shakespeare Lecture in Honour of Sir Stanley Wells was established at the London Global Gateway in 2011 and developed in close collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham. Find out more about the Notre Dame London Shakespeare Lecture.

Watch here or on our YouTube channel to witness Beale's career-spanning conversation with Prof. Rutter for yourself.