Jonathan Croall
Performing Hamlet and King Lear: Conversations with Actors and Directors
16 May 2018

In a long and varied career Jonathan has worked as a journalist and an editor in publishing, and has written many books, including biographies of John Gielgud and Sybil Thorndike. In the words of one reviewer Jonathan ‘has staked a convincing claim to being Britain’s leading theatrical commentator and biographer.’ His conversations with, among many others, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jude Law, David Tennant, Simon Russell Beale, Derek Jacobi and BLS patron Julian Glover, are the basis for his books, Performing King Lear and Performing Hamlet. The star actors revealed their mixed emotions at taking on a great Shakespearean role, how they worked on developing it in rehearsal, and their struggles to escape the shadow of legendary past performers.

Jonathan offers a very different and practical perspective from most studies of the plays, being centred firmly on the reality of creation and performance. He has also talked to many of the directors who have staged the plays in recent years, including Nicholas Hytner, Kenneth Branagh, Gregory Doran, Deborah Warner, Jonathan Miller, Dominic Dromgoole and Adrian Noble. Each reveals, in precise and absorbing detail, how they have dealt with the formidable challenge of interpreting and staging Shakespeare’s masterpieces.