Dame Judi Dench to Young Actors: 'Learn A Bit About the Heritage of Theatre First'

According to a report from IMBD News, Actress Dame Judi Dench has a thing or two to say to the young acting community for bypassing careers in theatre in favor of instant fame as television or movie stars.

Dench cautions that performers are best served perfecting their skills by working in live theatre rather than chasing big-screen stardom.

Speaking at the U.K.'s Cheltenham Literature Festival on Saturday, Dench told the audience, "The majority of young actors want to make a big impression in television or film straight away. I wish that young people now - and it's not very fashionable - learnt a bit about our fantastic heritage of theatre and the people who've gone before, learnt a bit about the history of the theatre, because it's phenomenal. It is nowhere better in the world than here.

"We have such a huge history of the most extraordinary performances and productions and directors and actors and designers, everything that I wish wasn't forgotten. It is not forgotten by a lot of people but it is forgotten by most young people coming up. There's always something to learn. It's so exciting to read about the history of other people in the part."

She also adds that observance of contemporaries is not to be underestimated either, claiming that watching other performers considerably helped her improve her own craft.  "I never used to go to my dressing room. We used to always stand in the wings and watch other people."

Dame Judy delivered the speech with her left hand wrapped in bandages, the result of an injury at a dinner party.  Reportedly, the actress sliced open her hand on a broken dinner plate at her Notes On A Scandal director Sir Richard Eyre's home.  

Says Eyre, "Judi characteristically was getting up with a large pile of plates after dinner and she slipped on her way to the dishwasher and cut her hand in a very, very dramatic way."

Dench began her acting career in the mid 1950s in amateur productions, and made her professional debut in 1957 with The Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she played in several of William Shakespeare's plays in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. She branched into film work, and won a BAFTA Award as Most Promising Newcomer, however most of her work during this period was in theatre. Not generally known as a singer, she drew strong reviews for her leading role in the musical Cabaret in 1968. During the next two decades, she established herself as one of the most significant British theatre performers, working for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In television, she achieved success during this period, in the series A Fine Romance from 1981 until 1984 and in 1992 began a continuing role in the television romantic comedy series As Time Goes By. Her film appearances had been infrequent until she was cast as M in GoldenEye (1995), a role she has played in each James Bond film since. She received several notable film awards for her role as Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown (1997), and has since been acclaimed for her work in such films as Shakespeare in Love (1998), Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs Henderson Presents (2005) and Notes on a Scandal (2006), and the television production The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2001). Regarded by critics as one of the greatest actresses of the post-war period, and frequently named as the leading British actress in polls, Dench has received many award nominations for her acting in theatre, film and television; her awards include ten BAFTAs, seven Laurence Olivier Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award.  She has appeared on Broadway in Into The Woods, Amy's View, King Henry V, and Twelfth Night.


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