Penelope Moore | Harriet Walter
Penelope Moore has lived in and out of Upottery since she was sixteen, when she was desperate to get away and into the theatre. Having seen a utility pantomime in Plymouth at the end of the war when she was five, she had been unable to recover from its impact.
Thirty years of acting followed in the theatre, on television and on the radio, which was full of surprises, with its lack of limitation in casting. During one week at the start of her radio career, she played Queen Elizabeth addressing the troops at Tilbury, and a pregnant cat who gave birth to five kittens. This resulted in fascination with the possibilities of radio acting. Reading Rose Macaulay's novel 'sThe Towers of Trebizond's on The Book at Bedtime lead to her writing a radio documentary feature on Rose. Other documentaries, written and directed by Penelope, followed for the BBC and Channel Four.
At around this time she inherited some buildings in Upottery, which were in very poor shape. She decided the only way to find the energy to restore them would be to start an arts Festival in the village. Throughout her acting career she sang in plays and musicals and on an Arts Council scholarship went to Aldeburgh to the Pears Britten school for singers. This put her in touch with fine musicians and resulted in The Upottery Festival which included music, theatre and painting: Elizabeth Frink, Yehudi Menuhin, Murray Perahia, Jacqueline du Pre, Timothy West, Prunella Scales and an Inter-school Monster Competition, hosted by Tom Baker as Doctor Who and many more all came to Upottery. In 1981 she went to China to find a group of musicians and dancers who came to Upottery to perform with two Chinese children from the Yehudi Menuhin school. The Chinese musicians then went on a national tour. The BBC transmitted a number of concerts from the Upottery Festival, produced by Philip Moore. Subsequently Penelope Lee and Philip Moore got married.
The documentaries included two made in Hong Kong's Walled City, focusing on the remarkable work of Jackie Pullinger, with Broken Triad drug addicts. The films became popular in prison and led to Penelope making a film in a prison in Brazil with a very low rate of re-offence. Further prison work has developed from ideas in the Brazillian prison and led to her involvement in related projects in prisons in England, America and Northern Ireland.
It is a joy and relief to return to Upottery, as a home for Shakespeare, in the hands of wonderful young talent under the direction of the incomparable Kate Littlewood.
Harriet Walter's theatre credits include:
At the National Theatre...
Women Beware Women (Lyttleton 2010) Dinner (also West End ) Life X 3 (also Old Vic)(Olivier Best Actress nomination) The Children's Hour, Lady Croome in the original production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia directed by Trevor Nunn, and A Fair Quarrel.
For the Royal Shakespeare Company...
Harriet is a governor and an associate artist with the RSC where her credits include Nicholas Nickleby, Helena in All's Well That Ends Well (both directed by Trevor Nunn, The Castle (Olivier Best Actress nomination), Imogen in Cymbeline, The title role in The Duchess of Malfi, Lady Macbeth opposite Antony Sher in Macbeth (also DVD filmed for Channel 4), Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Cleopatra opposite Patrick Stewart in Antony and Cleopatra. She won the Olivier Best Actress Award for Viola in Twelfth Night, A Question of Geography and Masha in Three Sisters.
Other theatre work...
Includes; Brutus in the all-female Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse (soon to tour to New York) Queen Elizabeth 1st in Mary Stuart (Donmar, West End and Broadway. Evening Standard Award Best Actress, Olivier and Tony Best Actress nominations) Fallujah, Julia in The Royal Family (Haymarket) with Judi Dench, Ivanov opposite Ralph Fiennes (Almeida and Moscow Maly Theatre) The Possessed (Almeida) US and Them, Sweet Panic, and La Musica (Hampstead Theatre) , Old Times (Wyndhams Theatre) Three Birds Alighting on a Field (Royal Court and Manhattan Theater Club, winning a World Theater Award) The Seagull, Cloud Nine, Three More Sleepless Nights, Ophelia in Hamlet opposite Jonathan Pryce (all at the Royal Court) directed by Richard Eyre, and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists for Joint Stock (Riverside Studios and tour).
Theatre outside London includes...
Hester in The Deep Blue Sea (Bath Theatre Royal and tour), Celia in The Late Middle Classes directed by Harold Pinter (Watford Palace theatre and tour) , the title role in Hedda Gabler (Chichester and tour) , Portia in The Merchant of Venice (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Masha in Three Sisters (Bristol Old Vic).
Most recently Downton Abbey, Law and Order: UK, A Short Stay in Switzerland, Little Dorritt, Poirot, Ballet Shoes, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders , Spooks, My Uncle Silas, George Eliot: A Scandalous Life, Waking the Dead , Leprechauns, Harry Enfield and Chums, Unfinished Business, A Dance to the Music of Time, Hard Times, A Man You Don't Meet Every Day, Inspector Morse, Ashenden , The Men's Room , They Never Slept, Benefactors, Harriet Vane in The Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries, The Price, Amy Johnson in Amy, The Cherry Orchard with Dame Judi Dench and Ian MacEwan's The Imitation Game.
The Wedding Video, Young Victoria, Atonement, Sense and Sensibility, Babel, Bright Young Things, Onegin, Chromophobia, Villa des Roses (nominated Best Actress British Independent Film Awards) Bedrooms and Hallways, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, The Governess, Louis Malle's Milou en Mai, The Good Father and Turtle Diary.
She has done countless radio plays, twice winning the Sony award for Best Actress for Rhyme or Reason and for Medea.
Other People's Shoes, Macbeth in Faber's 'Actors on Shakespeare' series and Facing It; Reflections on Images of Older Women
Harriet also curated a photographic exhibition Infinite Variety which she developed into the book Facing It.
She was awarded a CBE in 2000 and a Damehood in 2011.
She was made an Hon. D. Litt by Birmingham University in 2000.
Harriet won the Pragnell Shakespeare Award in 2007.
She is a patron of several theatre companies and a trustee of the Peggy Ramsay Foundation.