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Miriam Margolyes in

Dickens' Women

December 18

December 22, 2012

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

devised by Miriam Margolyes and Sonia Fraser
directed by Sonia Fraser

Miriam Margolyes

Performer

Miriam Margolyes was born in Oxford in 1941, educated at the Oxford High School and won an Exhibition to read English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she acted with the Marlowe Society and was a guest in the Footlights Revue of 1962—before women were allowed to join the Society. She has achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic. Winner of the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress Award in 1993 for The Age of Innocence, she also received Best Supporting Actress at the 1989 LA Critics Circle Awards for her role in Little Dorrit and a Sony Radio Award for Best Actress on Radio in 1993. Her first professional work was for the BBC Drama Repertory Company, and her voice work has continued to form an important part of her career. She is considered the most famous female voice in England and her audio book recordings have been bestsellers and award-winners on both sides of the Atlantic. She is particularly proud of The Queen and I, in which she played every member of the Royal Family, and the E.F. Benson series of Mapp & Lucia. She has voiced many animation films and was Fly in Babe, the Matchmaker in Mulan, and voiced Happy Feet and Flushed Away.

Some of her most memorable film credits in over forty films include: Yentl, Little Shop of Horrors, I Love You to Death, Cold Comfort Farm, Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (with Leonardo DiCaprio), End of Days (with Arnold Schwarzenegger), Sunshine, Magnolia, Ladies in Lavender, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Professor Pomona Sprout in the Harry Potter films. She will soon be seen again with Barbra Streisand in The Guilt Trip, and The Wedding Video (with Dame Harriet Walter).

Ms. Margolyes’ stage career includes such credits as: the Los Angeles production of Romeo and Juliet, She Stoops to Conquer and Orpheus Descending (all for Sir Peter Hall), The Killing of Sister George, The Threepenny Opera (Tony Richardson), Yenta the Matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof, The Vagina Monologues, and her own award-winning, one-woman show, Dickens’ Women. She created Madame Morrible in Wicked in London and was then invited to reprise the role on Broadway. Last year she played Nell in Endgame, the Duchess in Me and My Girl, and Grace in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

Notable television credits include: Freud, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Blackadder I, II and III, Girls of Slender Means, Oliver Twist, The History Man, Vanity Fair and Supply and Demand. She has worked with Ken Dodd, Ted Ray, Frankie Howard, French & Saunders and Stanley Baxter. Comedy has always been an important part of her repertoire. She played Frannie in the CBS sitcom Frannie’s Turn, and starred in the Miss Marple episode, Murder at the Vicarage. Recently she has appeared in Doc Martin and Merlin. In 2011 she created the role of Aunt Prudence in the new Australian drama series The Mysteries of Phryne Fisher. She has played Queen Victoria twice and toured America in the footsteps of Charles Dickens in a memorable television documentary, Dickens in America. She is sought after as a somewhat outspoken guest on all the television talk shows, from Johnny Carson and Jay Leno in the US to Andrew Denton in Australia and Graham Norton in the UK. To celebrate Charles Dickens’ bicentenary, Ms. Margolyes is reprising her one woman Olivier-nominated show Dickens’ Women for a year-long world tour, which includes performances in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada and the US.

In 2002 Miriam Margolyes was awarded the OBE for her services to Drama in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

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