John Bell: The time of my life

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Allen & Unwin, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 333 pages
It is a celebration of a remarkable theatrical journey, rather than a confession, by the actor and director who has played a unique role in shaping our theatre. Joyce Morgan, Sydney Morning Herald

a warm and engaging memoir. It is the work of someone with a passion for theatre Leonard Radic, Age

Bell recounts some wonderful stories the recollections of an engaged, committed eyewitness to the opening and closing of countless stage doors, back doors and trapdoors. Graeme Blundell, Weekend Australian

No individual has done more for Australian theatre than John Bell. No-one has played so many of the great roles on our stages. Gerard Windsor, Australian Financial Review

In this stunning memoir, John Bell shares, for the first time, some of the highs and lows of his four decades in theatre. Weaving personal stories with memories, Bell takes a captivating snapshot of the inside world of theatre. He writes fondly of his humble upbringing and his first schoolboy encounter with Shakespeare. He tells of his student days at Sydney University and at the Old Tote Theatre where he met Anna Volska, an actor with the same driving passion for theatre as himself. There are tales of his time in England at the Royal Shakespeare Company, of Kenneth Branagh and Sir John Gielgud, as a teacher at NIDA, of the Old Tote, the irreverent Nimrod Theatre and the extraordinary Bell Shakespeare Company.

Fascinating, funny and passionate, John Bell: The time of my life shines with Bell s belief of theatre as a living tradition, his approach of mutual respect and mentorship, and his desire to pass on the torch in a spirit of affection and dedication to a priceless heritage. With thirty-two pages of stunning photos, this memoir is an ideal gift for anyone who has an interest in the theatre.
 

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Contents

The Old Tote and Royal Shakespeare Company
35
NIDA and King OMalley
91
A stable in Nimrod Street
99
The Bell Shakespeare Company
183
Index
277
Copyright

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Page 14 - Faith of Our Fathers A. For England Faith of our fathers! living still in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword: Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy whene'er we hear that glorious word. Faith of our fathers! Holy Faith! We will be true to thee till death.
Page 155 - Our revels now are ended... These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air, And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind: we are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep..
Page 155 - With the help of your good hands. Gentle breath of yours my sails Must fill, or else my project fails, Which was to please. Now I want Spirits to enforce, art to enchant ; And my ending is despair, Unless I be relieved by prayer ; Which pierces so, that it assaults Mercy itself, and frees all faults.
Page 16 - How that might change his nature, there's the question: It is the bright day that brings forth the adder; And that craves wary walking. Crown him? — that? And then, I grant, we put a sting in him, That at his will he may do danger with.
Page 260 - With deafning clamours in the slippery clouds, That, with the hurly," death itself awakes ? Can'st thou, O partial sleep ! give thy repose To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude ; And in the calmest and most stillest night, With all appliances and means to boot, Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down ! Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Page 13 - Guide of the wanderer here below, Thrown on life's surge, we claim thy care, Save us from peril and from woe. Mother of Christ, Star of the sea, Pray for the wanderer, pray for me.
Page 13 - Mother! I could weep for mirth, Joy fills my heart so fast; My soul to-day is heaven on earth, O could the transport last! I think of thee and what thou art • Thy majesty, thy state ! And I keep singing in my heart Immaculate! Immaculate!

About the author (2003)

John Bell is one of Australia's most acclaimed theatre personalities. In a career spanning four decades and incorporating both acting and directing, John has been instrumental in shaping the Australian theatre as we know it today. In particular, his contribution to the appreciation of the works of William Shakespeare has been pervasive and invigorating, while his many interpretations of roles have become performance benchmarks in Australian theatre.

John's list of theatre credits include work for the Old Tote Theatre Company, all of the major state theatre companies and five years with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Great Britain. As co-founder of the legendary Nimrod Theatre Company in Sydney, John presented many of Australia's premiere and landmark productions of Australian plays in the 70's and 80's, including David Williamson's Travelling North, The Club, The Removalists and Peter Kenna's A Hard God. In 1990 John founded The Bell Shakespeare Com

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