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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: December ::
Peggy Ashcroft ODNB Bio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.2146  Monday, 27 December 2004

From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Dec 2004 01:50:29 -0800
Subject:        Peggy Ashcroft ODNB Bio

The new Oxford DNB has daily free email bios that have included some
really choice figures--fabulous courtesans are preferred over dull
clergy--and today's life is about Dame Peggy Ashcroft.  The substantial
bio, by Michael Billington, highlights her role in the founding of the
Royal Shakespeare Company.  In the 60s, she apparently got Peter Brook
to go back to work after he collapsed while producing The Wars of the
Roses:  "At the same time she was fashioning her own monumental
performance as Margaret of Anjou. It began with her as an auburn-haired
French bride of startling girlishness; progressed in the middle section
to the isolated foreign queen and maddened, blood-streaked,
battle-hungry she-wolf; and ended with her as a sad, bedraggled figure,
haunting the court she had once entered as a young bride. It was not
merely her protean range that astonished-it was the revelation of an
untapped demonism lurking within Ashcroft herself and of an overwhelming
imaginative power. Her performance finally laid to rest the accusation
that she was simply an exquisite miniaturist: this was acting on the
'the Big Bow-Wow' scale."

More at and you can
subscribe at You can
still catch the last week's bios including of a roguish baron once in
all the headlines, Lord Lucan, the suspected murderer.

Happy hols,
Al Magary

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