Our popular annual Shakespeare Reading Retreat was held in the first week of the New Year and focused on the play Antony and Cleopatra.

We were pleased to welcome Dame Janet Suzman, who famously played Cleopatra at the Royal Shakespeare Company and in the acclaimed 1974 film version of the play. Dame Janet was joined by fellow Shakespearean actor Andrew French to lead participants in a dramatic reading of the play. 

They were joined by a distinguished group of retreat leaders and contributors, including:

  • Reverend Dr Paul Edmondson - Head of Research and Knowledge, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • Sir Stanley Wells CBE FRSL - Former Life Trustee (1975-2017) and former Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (1991-2011); Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham; Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Dr Amanda Piesse - Lecturer in English Literature and Children's Literature, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Rowan Williams PC FBA FRSL FLSW – Former Archbishop of Canterbury (2002 to 2012)

The event followed successful retreats on Othello in 2022, The Merchant of Venice in 2020, Macbeth in 2019 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2018. 

Dame Janet Suzman and Andrew French in conversation with Reverend Dr Paul Edmondson