Janet Suzman: Cleopatra and the Boys – an unfashionable essay

An online event beginning at 7.00 pm

Janet will talk about her take on directing Antony and Cleopatra (many years after her own Cleo at Stratford) with Sex and the City’s liberated Kim Cattrall, which will ring bells for those interested in Shakespeare’s inherently super-aware feminism. Who did Shakespeare have in mind with this part, unique among all the parts he wrote for women?



Janet Suzman, a longstanding Patron of The Rose, was made DBE in 2011 after a long career that began with the ground-breaking Wars of the Roses productions when Sir Peter Hall established the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964. Major roles for the RSC for the next ten years culminated in Cleopatra. She has always kept strong links with the country of her birth, South Africa, where her directing career began in 1987 by breaking the Equity boycott with a production of Othello — seen as a protest play — at The Market Theatre, Johannesburg. This was three years before Mandela was freed. 
Films include Nicholas and Alexandra (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations), The Draughtsman’s ContractA Dry White Season with Donald Sutherland, Priest of Love with Ian McKellen, The Black Windmill with Michael Caine and Fellini’s E La Nave Va. TV series include Clayhanger, Mountbatten — Last Viceroy of India and The Singing Detective. Wrote The Free State, based on The Cherry Orchard and dedicated to Nelson Mandela, for Birmingham Rep in 1997 (TMA Best Direction Award). Directed Kim Cattrall in Antony and Cleopatra for Liverpool Playhouse and Chichester. Plays in London include Hedda Gabler, Hello and Goodbye, The Three Sisters, The Greeks, The Sisters Rosensweig, Andromache, Another Time, Dream of the Dog and Solomon and Marion. Opera includes The Marriage of Figaro for RAM. Books include Not Hamlet
Evening Standard Best Actress (twice), Critics’ Circle, Manchester Theatre, Liverpool Echo Best Production Awards (twice) and Pragnell Shakespeare Prize. Life Fellow of the Shakespeare Association of Great Britain, Honorary Associate Artist of the RSC, Freedom of the City of London and Chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. Honorary D. Litt. degrees from Cape Town, Warwick and London (QMW), among others.  


Tickets are £6 (£5 for Friends) and can be booked through TryBooking by clicking here. You will receive a link to this Zoom event via email. Any additional contributions for The Rose Playhouse will be much appreciated and go towards funding the Rose Revealed Project.

Please note that booking for this event will close at 6.00 pm on 27 April.

The Rose is an indoor archaeological site; it is advisable to dress warmly because there is no heating. There are no toilets, so please use those at Shakespeare’s Globe, which is 200 metres away.

Booking Information

Box Office

020 7261 9565