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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
The 2000 Gielgud Award Festivities
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2165  Tuesday, 7 December 1999.

From:           John F. Andrews <
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Date:           Monday, 06 Dec 1999 11:29:21 -0500
Subject:        The 2000 Gielgud Award Festivities

I'm pleased to announce that the 2000 Gielgud Award ceremony will take
place on January 16th at 7:00 p.m. in London's historic Middle Temple
Hall.

We'll salute Shakespeare as the poet a recent BBC survey identified as
"The Man of the Millennium." In that context we'll pay tribute to Sir
John (whom we're expecting to attend, even though he's now approaching
96) as the dramatic artist who has probably done the most to keep the
classical tradition vibrant for 20th-century audiences. We'll then honor
Kenneth Branagh, our fifth Gielgud laureate, as the actor, director, and
producer who is probably doing more than anyone else today to extend Sir
John's legacy and convey a continuing appreciation for Shakespeare to
future generations.

You'll perhaps recall that the Gielgud Award was established in April of
1994 to mark its namesake's 90th birthday and preserve Sir John's
"character" and heritage with "golden quill" (Sonnet 85). The first
three presentations of John Safer's gleaming trophy took place at the
Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, with Sir Ian McKellen (1996),
Sir Derek Jacobi (1997), and Miss Zoe Caldwell (1998), as recipients.
Our most recent ceremony occurred on May 17th at Broadway's Barrymore
Theatre, where the Guild's 1999 awardee, Dame Judi Dench, was earning
her first Tony in "Amy's View."  Participants in that sparkling program,
which was emceed by television journalist Robert MacNeil, included
performers Keith Baxter, Brian Bedford, Zoe Caldwell, Hal Holbrook,
Ronald Pickup, Christopher Plummer, and Toby Stephens, director Sir
Richard Eyre, producer Rebecca Eaton (who brings us "Mobil Masterpiece
Theatre" and "Mystery" from WGBH/Boston), and playwright Sir David Hare.

We're expecting a cast of at least equal eminence in January, and we've
already received commitments from actors Keith Baxter, Richard Briers,
Richard Clifford, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, and John Sessions.
We're also expecting to welcome producer David Parfitt (who gave us
"Shakespeare in Love"), composer Patrick Doyle (who has composed the
music for "Henry V," "Much Ado About Nothing," and several other films),
and a broad array of the honoree's other friends, professional
associates, and loved ones.

It gives me great pleasure to report that in addition to the Middle
Temple festivities-a 90-minute potpourri of Shakespearean vignettes,
music, anecdotes, and tributes, to be followed immediately by an elegant
buffet reception-there will also be a special afternoon preview
screening of Kenneth Branagh's long-anticipated film of "Love's Labour's
Lost." Those who sign up for the 2000 Gielgud celebration will have a
choice of times- either a 1:30 or a 3:30 showing, each accompanied by a
light reception- and they'll have a chance to enjoy the comforts of
BAFTA's beautiful Princess Anne Theatre at 195 Piccadilly. I'm delighted
to acknowledge that these arrangements are being made possible through
the generosity of Intermedia and Pathe, the film's U.K. producer and
distributor, respectively.

For those not familiar with it, BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and
Television Arts) is the organization that bestows the U.K.'s
counterparts to the U.S.'s Oscar and Emmy awards. In addition to the
hospitality the Guild and its guests will be receiving from BAFTA,
moreover, we'll also benefit from the cooperation of a wide array of
other institutions, among them The British Council, Chicago Shakespeare
Theatre, The English-Speaking Union, The National Press Club
(Washington), The Royal National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company,
The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and
Commerce, Sadler's Wells, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust,
Shakespeare's Globe, The Shakespeare Institute, The Shakespeare Society
(New York), The Shakespeare Theatre Association of America, The Society
of London Theatre (the organization that bestows the annual Olivier
Awards), The Theatre Communications Group (U.S.), and The Theatre
Museum.

As most readers of the SHAKSPER list will of course know, the site of
our January Gielgud presentation, Middle Temple Hall, is one of the four
Inns of Court that Shakespeare would have known and visited, and it has
two significant connections with the playwright's work. First, the
garden beside Middle Temple was the site the dramatist chose for the
scene (II.iv in "Henry VI, Part 1") in which he depicted the
commencement of the Wars of the Roses. And, second,  the Middle Temple
dining hall was the setting for a production of "Twelfth Night" on
February 2, 1602, that remains our earliest surviving record of the
play's being performed. In all likelihood, the author of the comedy that
Middle Temple resident John Manningham noted in his diary for this date
would have been among the actors who presented it.

Because Middle Temple can accommodate no more than 300 -- many of whom
will be dignitaries, friends of the honoree, and luminaries of the stage
and screen-we're expecting the 200-225 tickets that we'll be selling to
go quickly. We'll hope, then, to hear soon from SHAKSPER subscribers
who'd like to attend.

For further information-including a roster of price categories (listed
either in dollars or in pounds sterling), a special 15% discount offer,
and order forms that permit attendees to register by e-mail-please
direct your inquiries to 
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 .

Many thanks,
John Andrews
 

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