Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce an all-star line-up for ‘The Voice and the Echo’, a series of candlelit evenings in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in which work by some of the country’s greatest living poets is read alongside the poems of John Donne, George Herbert, William Blake and Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Performed by actors with musical accompaniment, the series is inspired by the practice of contemporary visual artists who create responses to old masterpieces. New poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Simon Armitage, Gillian Clarke and Nick Drake, and published work by writers like Alice Oswald, Vikram Seth, Helen Dunmore, Craig Raine and many others, will be intermingled with the poetry that influenced them, in a dynamic conversation between old and new.
On Friday 4 September, Alex Jennings and Hattie Morahan will read contemporary responses to George Herbert, accompanied by Jacqueline Thomas on the cello.
Alex is the winner of three Olivier Awards: Best Actor for his performance in the RSC’s Peer Gynt, Best Actor in a Musical for My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket and Best Comedy Performance for Too Clever by Half at the Old Vic. His screen credits include The Queen, Silk, Babel, The Wings of the Dove, The State Within and Cranford. He will also appear as Alan Bennett opposite Maggie Smith later this year in the forthcoming film The Lady in the Van.
Hattie recently starred as Elizabeth Aldridge in the BBC adaptation of The Outcast by Sadie Jones. In 2013, she won Best Actress at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and the Critics’ Circle Awards for her performance as Nora in the Young Vic’s A Doll’s House. Other theatre credits include The Real Thing (Old Vic) and The Seagull (National Theatre). Her screen work includes Mr Holmes, Sense and Sensibility, Outnumbered and The Golden Compass. Hattie returns to the stage of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse following her critically-acclaimed performance in The Changeling in January.
On Saturday 29 August, Tim Pigott-Smith will read contemporary responses to John Donne, accompanied by Richard Mackenzie on the lute. Tim’s recent stage work includes the title role in the Almeida’s multi-award-winning King Charles III and Frank in Educating Rita (Sonia Friedman Productions/Trafalgar Studios). He has also appeared in several major films, including Jupiter Ascending, Alice in Wonderland, V for Vendetta, Johnny English and Gangs of New York.
On Saturday 5 September, Meera Syal will read contemporary responses to William Blake. Meera’s recent credits include Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (RSC, West End) and Shirley Valentine (Menier Chocolate Factory/Trafalgar Studios). Recent appearances in film and television include Absolutely Anything, All in Good Time, Broadchurch, Crackanory and The Boy in the Dress. Meera was awarded a CBE this year for services to drama and literature.
On Wednesday 9 September, Jamie Parker will read contemporary responses to Gerard Manley Hopkins, accompanied by Gary Ryan on the guitar. Jamie returns to Shakespeare’s Globe following his critically-acclaimed performances in Henry VI parts I & II and Henry V. He is currently playing the role of Mike Connor in the Old Vic’s hit production of High Society. Other stage credits include the role of Scripps in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (National Theatre/Broadway), which he reprised in the smash hit film adaptation.