25 August 2013


Photo by EP

A special edition of Edward’s book Slim Chances, to celebrate the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary, is now in press with an expected publication date of 22 October 2013. (It was on 22 October 1963 that the NT was launched at the Old Vic with Olivier’s production of Hamlet, starring Peter O’Toole.) The book will also feature a section on My Perfect Mind, which had a triumphant London premiere at the Young Vic last spring.

Details of the book’s release, availability and any events relating to its launch will appear here and on the News blog in due course, along with a trailer. In the meantime, an exclusive sneak preview of the book’s front cover and back blurb.

(Click to enlarge image)
To mark the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary, Edward Petherbridge has produced a special edition of his autobiography, Slim Chances, focusing on his long association with the NT and introducing previously unpublished material and photographs.  
Petherbridge began his six-year tenure with Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company in 1964, walking on in Olivier’s Othello. Three years later he created the iconic role of Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Among his parts for the National on the South Bank have been Faulkland in The Rivals; Gaev in The Cherry Orchard; the Cardinal in The Duchess of Malfi; Alceste in The Misanthrope; Dr Dorn in The Seagull; and Coupler in The Relapse. With Ian McKellen in the 1980s he established the NT’s McKellen-Petherbridge Group.  
Also included, for the first time, is the story behind My Perfect Mind, which premiered in the spring of 2013 to great critical acclaim. The show, created by Petherbridge, Paul Hunter and Kathryn Hunter, fuses two main plots into one unique entity: the story of Shakespeare’s King Lear and that of the stroke which prevented Petherbridge, on the eve of his 71st birthday, from playing the role of a lifetime. And it features an unforgettable cameo by ‘Laurence Olivier’.  
No ordinary memoir, Slim Chances is an invaluable theatre book, with unique insights into the mechanics of the actor’s craft, and a moving exposition of the very heart of its mystery. In it Petherbridge’s talents as an essayist, poet, raconteur and artist come gloriously to the fore.
EP (Jermey) with Olivier (Tattle) in Congreve’s Love for Love.
Photo by Zoë

This Bank Holiday Monday at 3pm (BST) on BBC Radio 4, hear the second of Edward’s ‘appearances’ on Quote ... Unquote. The episode will be repeated on Saturday 31 August at 11 p.m. and available on BBC iPlayer for seven days after that.

Regular readers of Petherbridge’s Fortnightly Post may have noticed that the recent blog titled ‘Urban Kinetics’ mysteriously ‘dropped off’ the site. This was an accident. If you missed the film first time round, here it is again:


16 August 2013


It has taken me years of struggle, hard work, and research to learn to make one simple gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write one simple, beautiful sentence. 
Isadora Duncan
Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures. 
F. Scott Fitzgerald 

A new film from Petherbridge-Riley Studios – some thoughts on presentation, representation and indeed blogging:

It seems an apposite coda to a blog on presentation to mention that this month (28th August) marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. By way of celebrating that significant milestone, I leave you with a photograph I took, whilst on tour with the RSC in the late 90s, of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Photo by EP
There is one day left to catch Edward in the first of two episodes of BBC Radio 4’s Quote ... Unquote. The second episode will be broadcast on Monday 26th August at 3 p.m. (BST). Don’t miss!