Gregory Doran sends birthday wishes to our Honorary Associate Artist, Sir Patrick Stewart, who celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday.
Patrick Stewart joined the RSC for the 1966 season, and his first role was Sir Walter Blunt in Henry IV Part One, with Ian Holm as Prince Hal. He stayed with the company until 1982, and played a huge variety of Shakespeare parts including Shylock, Oberon, Leontes, Titus Andronicus, Enobarbus, Cassius, Tullus Aufidius, King John, Edward IV, Hector, Cornwall, as well as Launce, Stephano, Borachio, Grumio and Touchstone, and as Snout in the North American tour of Peter Brook’s legendary A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1972.
Patrick also played many non-Shakespeare roles with the company including Eilert Lövborg in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler with Glenda Jackson; Astrov opposite Nicol Williamson in Uncle Vanya; as well as appearing in Enemies by Gorky; The Silver Tassie by Sean O’Casey; The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill, and The Balcony by Genet. He created roles in modern classics such as Shakespeare in Edward Bond’s Bingo, and Basho in Bond’s The Bundle. He was in That Good Between Us by Howard Barker, Trevor Griffiths’ Occupations, Hippolytus By David Rudkin and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour by Tom Stoppard. As well as appearing in The Hollow Crown.
Patrick then shot off around the galaxies finding huge popular success as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek, and of course Professor Charles Xavier in The X-Men. But we persuaded him back to his beloved RSC in 2006 to play Mark Antony opposite Harriet Walter as Cleopatra; and Prospero in The Tempest, directed by Rupert Goold. Rupert also directed him as Shylock here in 2011. His astonishing performance as Claudius in Hamlet opposite David Tennant in 2008, earned Patrick his second Olivier Award.
We wish him and his wife Sunny all the very best as we emerge from lockdown, and congratulate him on his big birthday.
Happy Birthday Patrick
RSC Artistic Director
Gregory will be Talking Shakespeare with Patrick on Monday 3 August.