Sir Patrick Stewart talks Star Trek, turning 80, and saving Shakespeare

Sir Patrick Stewart has joined a cast of famous actors who are trying to ensure the survival of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The distinguished actor is speaking online tonight from his home in California, to remind people that the RSC needs continued support while its theatres are closed.

He's one of a number of stars who've been talking about their experiences of performing Shakespeare, including Dame Judi Dench and Dame Harriet Walter. The Talking Shakespeare series also features Ray Fearon, Alexandra Gilbreath, David Tennant, Adjoa Andoh, Simon Russell Beale and Paterson Joseph.

Judi Dench (left) and Polly James as Portia and Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice in April 1971 Credit: PA
Joanna McCallum, Leslie Phillips and Susannah York in an RSC production of the Merry Wives of Windsor (1996) Credit: PA
Alan Bates and Malcolm Storry in the RSC's production of Antony and Cleopatra (1999) Credit: PA

Speaking to ITV Central about his career, Sir Patrick said:

In recent weeks, The Royal Shakespeare Company has warned that many UK theatre companies could close for a 'substantial length of time' if they're unable to reopen before Christmas.

When asked about his concern for theatre and social distancing and putting on shows, Stewart said: "Yes you're absolutely right about regional theatre, I have read accounts of theatres that have already reached the point where they have to say we simply cannot come back and it's not just big organisations, it is throughout the country."

"The Royal Shakespeare company is my second home and in fact, there were periods of my life where I spent more hours at the RSC than I did in my own living room... "I would love to be back, in fact, listen, I will be back there, it's going to happen."

The Talking Shakespeare events take place on Mondays from 5pm-6pm. They're open to subscribers, members and patrons of the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as the company’s nationwide network of associate school teachers.

They will be free as a show of gratitude for the ongoing support given to the company during the pandemic, but with a suggested donation of £10. Money raised will support the company’s 'Keep Your RSC' campaign to help secure its future.

Watch our extended interview with Sir Patrick Stewart on our YouTube channel, where he talks more about Star Trek, his new film and his hidden talent for pretending to play the piano..!

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