Actors from the London Stage
Actors from the London Stage
Top (from left): Brigid Zengeni, Chris Donnelly
Bottom: Dan Winter, Charlotte Allam, Will Ashcroft

Actors from the London Stage to perform 'Macbeth'

By Lesli Hicks
Special Projects Writer, M.A., '07

(Oct. 9, 2007)--The UTSA Friends of Shakespeare and the Department of English, Classics and Philosophy will host a return of Actors from the London Stage performing Shakespeare's "Macbeth" at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 10; Friday, Oct. 12; and Saturday, Oct. 13 in the Arts Building Recital Hall on the UTSA 1604 Campus.

The touring ensemble of five British actors from such prestigious companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre features Charlotte Allam, Will Ashcroft, Chris Donnelly, Dan Winter and Brigid Zengeni. The performers play multiple roles in a production that utilizes simple costumes and minimal scenery with an emphasis on the richness of Shakespeare's language.

As part of the residency, Charlotte Allam will present a lecture/recital featuring Robert Burns' "Tam 'o Shanter" from 11 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Oct. 11 in the Business Building University Room (2.06.04). 1604 Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Written in 1606, William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" is considered one of the best tragedies ever written. The play tells the story of a man, urged by his wife and the prophecy of three witches, who murders the king to gain power. Themes in the play are the temptation of evil and the deceptiveness of appearances. An integral part of the thematic web is the play's most memorable character, Lady Macbeth, whose ambition for power leads her to madness and suicide.

Housed at the University of Notre Dame, Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS) is an educational and theatrical program that brings a troupe of five classically trained actors from major English theaters to U.S. college campuses to perform and conduct classes and workshops in weeklong residencies. Begun in 1975 by Professor Homer Swander of the University of California, Santa Barbara and British actor Patrick Stewart, AFTLS's unique program of performance and education has visited 150 campuses to bring Shakespeare to life all over America.

In the company's 21st visit to UTSA and San Antonio, the residency is funded by The residency is supported by UTSA Friends of Shakespeare and and a grant from the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts.

Tickets for "Macbeth" are $18, $10 for students with ID, and are available at the University Center information desk on the UTSA 1604 Campus (cash or check). Tickets also will be available at the door (cash or check).

Free parking for performances is available in lot 8, south of the Arts Building. (Download a UTSA 1604 Campus map.)

For more information or group bookings, call (210) 458-5358.


About the actors

CHARLOTTE ALLAM (Malcolm, Cathness, Wife of Macduff, First Witch, Murderer) trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Recent theater credits include the West End production of "The 39 Steps" and The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "Hecuba," starring Vanessa Redgrave. She also has performed on radio and television and made several short films. Allam has written a number of stage and radio plays, two of which are currently in development for production. Before attending the Guildhall, she trained professionally as a dancer.

WILL ASHCROFT (Banquo, Lennox, Seyward, Son of Macduff, Scottish Doctor, Porter) is from a theater family and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Recent theater credits include Oberon in the English Shakespeare Company's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Jack Worthing in "The Importance of Being Earnest" (Oxford Theatre Company), Mr. Fag in "The Rivals" (English Touring Company) and Bill in P.G. Woodhouse's "Good Morning Bill." His TV work includes Ted Heath in "Suez: A Very British Crisis," Mayor of "London in Flood" and the lead in "The Day Britain Stopped." Other programs include "Love Soup," "Eastenders," "Footballers' Wives," "Casualty," "Wire in the Blood," "My Dad's the PM," "NY-LON" and "Absolute Power." Ashcroft lives on board a boat moored in London.

CHRIS DONNELLY (Macbeth, Bloody Captain, Old Man, English Doctor, Murderer) studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and returns to Actors from the London Stage after first appearing with the group in the 2005 production of "Twelfth Night." His extensive credits span television, radio and theater. He was in the original cast of the award winning Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory Company, for whom he played various Shakespearian roles, the most recent of which being his critically acclaimed portrayal of Iago in "Othello." He also performed the role of Horst in an award winning production of the play, "Bent." He has appeared in such popular television favorites as "Silent Witness," "Eastenders," "Drop the Dead Donkey," "Vital Signs," "Fat Friends" and "Casualty." On BBC Radio 3 and 4, Donnelly was recently heard as Phil Reece in "Call Waiting," Bill White in "De'ath Bredon" and Josek in "If Not Now, When."

DAN WINTER (Duncan - King of Scotland, Macduff, Angus, Second Witch, Murderer) studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Recent theater credits include Trinculo in "The Tempest," Ben Gunn in "Treasure Island" (The Tobacco Factory), and Torvald Helmer in "A Doll's House" (Swan Productions). He also is active in radio drama, starring in many BBC Radio productions over the past few years and was the runner-up for the prestigious Carlton Hobbes BBC Radio Drama Award. He has experience and training in stage combat, shooting and sailing.

BRIGID ZENGENI (Donalbain, Ross, Menteth, Fleance, Lady Macbeth, Third Witch) trained at London's prestigious Drama Center before spending several years with the pioneering avant-garde group, Cambridge Experimental Theatre. Recent theater credits include Kate in the U.S. tour of "The Taming of the Shrew," Bertha in "The Wide Sargasso Sea" (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), Olga in "Three Sisters" (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Mrs. Bumble in "Oliver Twist" (The Lyric Theatre), Amelia in "The Winter's Tale," Olivia in "Twelfth Night" (both at the Royal National Theatre), Lucetta in "Two Gentlemen of Verona," Calpurnia in "Julius Caesar" (both at the Royal Shakespeare Company) and in "Dr. Faustus" at Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Zengeni has appeared on several television series including "In Defence" for Granada television and "Holy City," "Silent Witness" and "Casualty" for the BBC. She also has been involved in various radio plays for BBC Radio 4. She enjoys tap and jazz dance and is an accomplished swimmer, diver, horseback rider and mezzo-soprano.

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