Friday, May 26, 2006

CICELY BERRY AT 80

The RSC's Director of Voice, Cicely Berry, celebrated her eightieth birthday on Wednesday. She has been the RSC's principal voice coach for 36 years, and deserves much of the credit for establishing the RSC's fine reputation for speaking Shakespeare's lines really well. She is small, tireless, soft- and clear-spoken, with a lively wit; she has just returned from working in Rio de Janeiro with the disadvantaged young people of the favelas; their company, Nos do Morro, is coming to Stratford to perform, on August 27th, The Two Gentlemen of Verona with apprentices from Birmingham's Gallery 37 project.

I hurried down from London to catch her birthday party, ran into horrendous traffic, and arrived at the Town Hall to find Deborah Shaw and Jeremy Adams carrying out a half-eaten birthday cake, the party over and Cis gone home.

So Jeremy and Vikki and Tara and I [feeling cheated] went off to dinner. Jeremy, ringing Cis to check she'd got home [her driving style is, I would say, punchy], found her suffering from serious anti-climax and needing little persuasion to join us for dinner. So we celebrated further and in great style; the evening ended with Cis and Jeremy heading off to the Duck for a final drink, leaving Vikki and me to marvel at her stamina. I want to be like that when I'm 80, please
.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your efforts on the blog. Thank you for making the appreciation for words, Shakespeare, theatre, the people in it, and life so visible. Most of all, thank you for recognizing Cicely Berry.
A human-being of true heroic proportions--long live the passionate souls! The passion and appreciation for words and life is never more brilliantly alive than in the hands of Cicely Berry.
Patsy Rodenburg carries on the legacy quite well, but Cicely Berry will always live incredibly large in one's heart!

1:14 AM  

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