What a piece of work is Simon Russell Beale

MARLBOROUGH LitFest celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, from 26th to 29th September, and the first event has been announced – the festival’s patron, Sir Simon Russell Beale, will be talking about his memoir, A Piece of Work, on the evening of Sunday 29th September. The book, A Piece of Work, is due to be published on 5th September.

Sir Simon Russell Beale, who lives in Marlborough, was knighted in October 2019. His long and stellar career on stage and screen has seen him playing many of the iconic roles of theatre, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prospero and King Lear, and Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, to the eldest of the Lehman Brothers – his role in Stefano Massini’s brilliant trilogy won his a Tony Award inn 2022. On radio, his many parts have included George Smiley in John Le Carre’s spy novels, and on television he has played everything from Kenneth Widmerpool in a television adaptation of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time to Falstaff in the BBC’s Hollow Crown.

He will be interviewed at LitFest by Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford, who has published and lectured widely on William Shakespeare. She has written on Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623) and is interested in the cultural impact of the playwright over four centuries. Her recent book, This Is Shakespeare: How to read the world’s greatest playwright, was a Sunday Times bestseller and Portable Magic: A History of Books and their Readers was shortlisted for the Wolfson Prize in 2023.