Intelligent, thoughtful… a strong combination of actor's guide to interpreting text and more general reflections on Shakespeare, but it's the book's element of female empowerment - whether through cross-casting or making judicious choices - which makes this such a potent read… an invaluable tool for actors, but more than that, this is a battle cry for us all to demand better. --Broadwayworld
Delightful... Great fun.... Intelligent, entertaining and informative for general readers, and should also provide much food for thought for aspiring actresses, actors and directors --British Theatre Guide
Enlightening and entertaining... Harriet Walter has a real gift for an account which is part personal journey and part practical analysis of Shakespeare's words and how they can be interpreted by someone who really knows... if you want insights into playing Shakespeare's roles for women in the widest sense then look no further than this penetrating, very readable book. --Susan Elkin in Ink Pellet
No book has given me a greater insight into the mind of an actor and I thoroughly enjoyed flicking through the pages to find out about the next character to sink her teeth and magnificent mind into. --Female Arts
One of those startling one-offs that seem to resist categorisation… it asks lively questions, and Walter is restless and intelligent in pursuit of answers... this is a clever, energetic, principled mind at work... her book fits life so tight I couldn't see the join where it stopped and the world began. --The Oldie
What Harriet Walter has to say about acting and the insight into the roles she has played will be of great interest not only to actors but to anybody studying Shakespeare and searching for clues about the characters. --Mature Times
The Donmar's Shakespeare Trilogy is one of the most important theatrical events of the past 20 years... Harriet Walter is the linchpin. A riven Brutus. A desolated Henry IV. A Prospero haunted by ideas of freedom. Her face seems to have more moving parts than anyone else's. She scarcely gestures; she is sleek as a needle. Yet she is liquidly graceful when, in a moment of what might have been, she waltzes with Jackie Clune's self-advertising, Trump-alike Caesar... Something else binds these disparate plays together. All are presented as if performed in a prison by inmates: statements by actual prisoners connecting their lives to the stories on stage are read out. Suddenly you see that everyone in The Tempest is a captive, physically or emotionally. Suddenly you see that Henry's crown is a jailer. Suddenly these plays are wired unforgettably into the 21st century. --Susannah Clapp in the Guardian on Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest.
About the Author
Besides the Shakespearean characters listed in this book, Harriet Walter has played many other great classical stage roles, including the Duchess of Malfi (RSC), Hedda Gabler (Chichester and tour), Nina in Thomas Kilroy's Irish version of Chekhov's The Seagull with Anna Massey and Alan Rickman (Royal Court), Masha in Three Sisters (RSC; Olivier Award), Anna Petrovna in Ivanov with Ralph Fiennes (Almeida), Hester in The Deep Blue Sea (Theatre Royal Bath and tour), and Elizabeth I in Schiller's Mary Stuart (Donmar Warehouse, West End, and Broadway; Evening Standard Award and Tony Award nomination). She has also performed in several contemporary classics including Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine (Royal Court), Harold Pinter's Old Times (West End), Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour (National), and as Linda in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman with Antony Sher (RSC, Stratford and West End).
Harriet has created roles in new plays including Arcadia by Tom Stoppard and Yasmina Reza's Life x 3 (National), Timberlake Wertenbaker's Three Birds Alighting on a Field (Royal Court), Stephen Lowe's adaptation of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Joint Stock), Moira Buffini's Dinner (National and West End), Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes, Stephen Poliakoff's Sweet Panic, Tamsin Oglesby's US 'nd Them (Hampstead), and Clara Brennan's Boa opposite her husband, Guy Paul (Trafalgar Studios).
Her films include The Sense of an Ending, Mindhorn, Denial, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Suite Française, Man Up, The Wedding Video, Young Victoria, Babel, Villa des Roses (British Independent Film Award nomination), Sense and Sensibility and Louis Malle's Milou en Mai. Her television work ranges from The Imitation Game by Ian McEwan and The Cherry Orchard (both directed by Richard Eyre), The Price (Channel 4 and RTÉ), Harriet Vane in the BBC's Lord Peter Wimsey series and The Men's Room, via guest appearances in Inspector Morse, Waking the Dead, Spooks, Poirot, Midsomer Murders and New Tricks, to more recent appearances as D.I. Natalie Chandler in Law and Order: UK, Little Dorrit, Downton Abbey, Black Sails, Call the Midwife and as Clementine Churchill in the Netflix series The Crown.
Her other books are Other People's Shoes (Nick Hern Books), Macbeth (Faber and Faber's 'Actors on Shakespeare' series) and Facing It: Reflections on Images of Older Women (Facing It Publications).
Harriet is an Honorary Associate Artist of the RSC, an Honorary D.Litt at Birmingham University, and was awarded a CBE in 2000 and a Damehood in 2011.