Award-winning actress and screenwriter Eileen Atkins will recreate the persona of the most famous British actress of the 19th century to deliver two timeless speeches on Shakespeare's Women at Theatre on the Fly in Chichester.
Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins shines a light on Shakespeare's portrayal of women with two addresses that remain as timeless and relevant as when they were first delivered over 100 years ago. Ellen Terry was born into a family of actors in the mid-1800s and was still a child when she first began acting in Shakespearean plays. She eventually joined the company run by actor-manager Henry Irving and for more than two decades was considered the leading Shakespearean and comic actress in Britain. Two of her most famous roles were Portia in The Merchant of Venice and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
In 1910 Terry embarked on a tour of America, delivering a series of lectures on Shakespeare's heroines. On her return to England, she continued to present these lectures between regular stage appearances over the next few years.
Eileen Atkin's career has encompassed award-winning roles on stage and screen. Her Chichester credits include The Cocktail Party, Vivat! Vivat Regina!, A Room of One's Own and Vita andVirginia, and West End productions of The Sea and The Female of the Species.
Film credits include Jack and Sarah, Gosford Park, Robin Hood, Vanity Fair, Cold Mountain and The Hours. Television credits include the role of Deborah Jenkyns in Cranford for which she won BAFTA and Emmy Awards, Psychoville, and Doc Martin. Writing credits include the film Mrs Dalloway and the popular television dramas, Upstairs, Downstairs and The House of Elliottwhich she co-created alongside Jean Marsh. During Christmas 2010 she featured in a new three-part mini-series of Upstairs, Downstairs.
In addition to presenting the orations first delivered by Ellen Terry, Atkins will also appear at Theatre on the Fly on Sunday 5 August to introduce a reading of Vivat! Vivat Regina! by Robert Bolt.This production first premiered at Chichester in 1970, when the cast also featured Michael Feast – currently appearing in Festival 2012's acclaimed production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Vivat! Vivat Regina! is Bolt's powerful dramatisation of the relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. The play later transferred to the West End and Broadway.
Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins is at Theatre on the Fly on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 August at 3pm. Vivat! Vivat Regina! is at Theatre on the Fly on Sunday 5 August. Theseevents are £5. Tickets can be booked online at cft.org.uk or from the Box Office on 01243 781312.