Acclaimed actress Dame Janet Suzman to appear in Portland Shakespeare Project’s The Wars of the Roses

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Acclaimed actress Dame Janet Suzman

to appear in Portland Shakespeare Project’s

The Wars of the Roses


Portland, Oregon, May 4, 2015 – Portland Shakespeare Project is thrilled to present staged readings of the first two plays of The Wars of the Roses trilogy, Henry VI on June 1 and Edward IV on June 2, both  starring Dame Janet Suzman, on the Alder Stage at Artists Repertory Theatre. Portland Shakes Co-Artistic Director Grant Turner will direct both staged readings. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Portland audiences to witness not only two seminal works of theatre, but also see world-class Shakespearean actress Dame Suzman on stage.


Dame Janet Suzman will reprise the role for the first time in fifty years that launched her career – Joan La Pucelle (Joan of Arc) in the original 1963 Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of The Wars of the Roses. The RSC’s groundbreaking collaboration between Sir Peter Hall and John Barton combined Shakespeare’s three Henry VI plays into two and paired them with Richard III, marking the first time the plays had been performed in a cycle. The seminal production not only revealed the value of Shakespeare’s early history plays, but helped define the RSC as the premiere Shakespeare company in the world.


“Few plays can match the cultural significance or theatrical impact of The Wars of the Roses,” says Grant Turner. “These plays introduced the idea of mining Shakespeare’s histories for their political and societal aspects rather than simply playing them as pageant plays (an approach that is still in practice today). They also launched the careers of many actors whom I revere, one of whom is the incomparable Dame Janet Suzman. I am thrilled to be involved in staging these plays again fifty years after their premiere and doing so with a theatrical legend who started her career in them playing Joan of Arc – a role she will be reprising on our stage. It will be a memorable theatrical event.”


Throughout a successful career as a stage, screen and television actor, the Johannesburg, South African-born Dame Suzman has played almost all of Shakespeare’s leading female roles. She is also a writer and director, and was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to drama. In 1971, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA, and the Golden Globe for her portrayal of the Empress Alexandra in Nicholas and Alexandra.


All general admission tickets are $20.00, available online at Performances are presented on the Alder Stage at Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder Street in Portland, Oregon.


2015 Portland Shakespeare Project Season Schedule


Twelfth Night is a sparkling, romantic comedy of loss, love, desire and revelry. Lisa Harrow will direct the production featuring Allen Nause as Feste and Michael Mendelson as Orsino.

Performances: July 8 – August 2, 2015. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 pm., Sundays 2:00 p.m.


The Wars of the Roses – Staged Readings will feature Dame Janet Suzman as Joan La Pucelle in the first two plays of the triology. Directed by Grant Turner.


Monday, June 1 @ 7:30pm – Henry VI

Tuesday, June 2 @ 7:30pm – Edward IV


The Turn of the Screw is the famous gothic ghost story by Henry James as adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, presented just in time for Halloween.

Performances: October 15 – November 1, 2015. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 pm., Sundays 2:00 p.m. 


Tickets and information available online at All performances are presented at Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison Street in Portland, Oregon.


About Portland Shakespeare Project


Portland Shakespeare Project is a resident, nonprofit theatre company at Artists Repertory Theatre dedicated to educating, enriching and entertaining audiences by producing classical works and contemporary works associated with classical material. Since its founding in 2010 by Michael Mendelson and Karen Rathje, more than 4,000 people have enjoyed the company’s productions of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest.


Portland Shakespeare Project offers classes and educational programs for students, actors and audience members designed to raise proficiency, broaden knowledge and enrich understanding of classical material and contemporary works that honor the traditions of classical theatre.


Portland Shakespeare Project

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