Belfast Telegraph

Producer Thelma Holt honoured with prize from Shakespeare’s Globe

She was celebrated for her work in increasing the understanding of Shakespeare.

Theatre producer Thelma Holt has been presented with a special award by Shakespeare’s Globe for increasing the understanding and enjoyment of the playwright’s work.

Holt was honoured with the 2018 Sam Wanamaker Award in a ceremony at the theatre following the matinee performance of The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Holt’s work as a producer includes The Merchant Of Venice with Dustin Hoffman in London and New York; Hamlet, with Alan Rickman in the leading role and Much Ado About Nothing, with Janet McTeer and Mark Rylance.

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Thelma Holt (Shakespeare’s Globe)

The ceremony was coupled with The Globe Remembers, a roll call of those who have made a significant contribution to the work of Shakespeare’s Globe who died in the last year.

This year’s commemorations included Sir Peter Hall, with whom Holt worked at the National Theatre.

The prize is given out in remembrance of actor and director Sam Wanamaker, who spent the final 23 years of his life tirelessly campaigning and advancing research into the original Globe and planning its reconstruction.

It was instituted by Shakespeare’s Globe in 1994 to celebrate work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of the playwright.

On hearing that she would be the 2018 recipient, Holt said: “The news that I was to receive the Sam Wanamaker Award made the sun come out in my world, even though it appeared to be raining heavily elsewhere.

“I and anyone else who was involved so many years ago remain proud of the work we did when a madman called Sam Wanamaker had a brilliant idea.

‘Every obstacle that was put in his way was shot down in flames. However hard we may have worked on his behalf was nothing compared to what we received in return. Everything I learned with Sam I have continued to use in my own career and indeed now share with young people coming into the profession.

“On the road to achieving this magnificent venue (Shakespeare’s Globe), there were many near-disasters. All they ever meant for Sam was a huge rush of adrenalin as he went into battle.

“I and so many friends were proud indeed to be his foot-soldiers, and it is thrilling today to come to the Globe and see the great work that continues to be done to the lasting credit of the country that gave birth to William Shakespeare.”

Neil Constable, Shakespeare’s Globe’s chief executive, who presented the prize alongside the director of Globe education, Patrick Spottiswoode, said: “This year’s award is given in recognition of Thelma Holt’s long-standing career in support of international cultural exchange, especially in producing and touring many award-winning Shakespeare productions both in English and in translation.

“She has also been a true friend to the Globe since the days when Sam Wanamaker first had a gleam in his eye to build a reconstructed Globe Theatre.”

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