Literature: Shakespeare by McBean
- Fri 02 Nov 2018
- 6:30 pm
You are invited to a book launch and wine reception to celebrate the remarkable photography book Shakespeare by McBean – and to mark the closing of a superb exhibition at the Burgess Foundation.
The book comprises 300 images, many never before published, taken by the renowned photographer Angus McBean. Incorporating images from every one of Shakespeare’s plays performed at the RSC, with some from the Old Vic, between the years 1945-62, it is a veritable who’s who of the British stage. Richard Burton, Vivien Leigh, Robert Donat, Alec Guiness, Michael Redgrave, Peggy Ashcroft, Laurence Olivier, Edith Evans, Paul Scofield, Diana Rigg, Anthony Quayle, Charles Laughton, John Gielgud, Peter O’Toole and Dorothy Tutin are just some of the names that appear.
Who was McBean? Angus McBean (it rhymes with thane) revolutionized theatre photography. Originally a portrait photographer and mask-maker, he took his own studio lights to West End
stages and shone excitement and immediacy onto 1930s British theatre. After being imprisoned for homosexuality, in 1945 he joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford, taking almost 3,500 photographs of 90 Shakespearean productions encompassing the entire canon of 37 plays. McBean later joined Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre and, just months after his last Stratford commission, he lay on the floor of the stairwell in EMI’s Soho HQ and shot the cover image for the first LP from an emerging group called The Beatles.
Journalist and author Adrian Woodhouse will talk about the book, and you will have a final chance to catch an exhibition of the book’s photographs in our exhibition space. Admission is free, and we recommend booking on Eventbrite.