'I am very happy to make this website, designed by Liz, official.'
ZoŽ Wanamaker CBE
My name's Liz, and I manage the website. For details of when and why it was created, please see the section about this website.
ZoŽ has an official Twitter account, @ZoeWanamaker, that she runs with her PA, Vanessa. I tweet at @LizLockhart1985.
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse:
You can donate to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and find out more about this recreation of an indoor Jacobean theatre, on the Shakespeare's Globe website. ZoŽ, who is Honorary President of the Globe, talks about the history and significance of the project in a video by the theatre.
Guestbook - To sign the guestbook, please click the picture below. Your comments are much appreciated.
1 January 2017 21:07
In 2016, ZoŽ continued to dazzle and surprise her fans with a fantastic variety of work, which encompassed everything from paying tribute to Stevie Smith to exploring the future of medical science.
Let's begin 2017 by taking a look at some of the key moments from ZoŽ's career last year and seeing what's on the horizon.
Celebrating Stevie Smith
ZoŽ continued her fruitful relationship with the poetry of Stevie Smith (having portrayed her on stage, tremendously successfully, in both 2014 and 2015) when she took part in arts organisation Poet in the City's celebration of the highly individual writer on 15 February.
During the event, held at King's Place, London, Zoe read some of Smith's funniest, most touching and most disturbing poems, including 'The Galloping Cat', 'A House of Mercy' and 'God the Eater'. ZoŽ's expressive readings ensured that the audience shared in the amusement and 'joy' she associates with Smith's witty writing.
In the run-up to her appearance at King's Place, ZoŽ spoke to writer Bidisha about Smith's appeal for a BBC Arts article. 'She offers us a body of work that veers with unnerving regularity from baffling to acutely profound,' ZoŽ observed.
ZoŽ was also interviewed before the event by Poet and the City, remarking that '[Smith's] sense of irony, which I enjoy very much, and black humour, which I love', are two qualities that stand out in her writing, 'and that's what drew me to her'.
If you missed the event or want to refresh your memory of a wonderful evening, you'll be pleased to hear that extracts from Zoe's readings are included in the 'Poetry and Comedy' podcast from Poet and the City. In addition, I've written an overview of the event.
The voice of the Oliviers
ZoŽ provided the voiceover for the 40th Olivier Awards ceremony, which took place on 3 April at London's beautiful Royal Opera House.
She also appeared on the red carpet with her husband, Gawn Grainger, and on stage during the prestigious ceremony, looking suitably glamorous. Alongside Rob Brydon, ZoŽ presented the Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical Awards (which were won by David Bedella and Lara Pulver).
Winning an Also Recognised Award
Performing arts website My Theatre Mates announced, days later, that ZoŽ had won Best Solo Performance in its Also Recognised Awards, which celebrate aspects of theatre overlooked by mainstream awards. ZoŽ's portrayal of the grieving, guilty widow, Rosemary, in All On Her Own received almost a third of the public's votes.
The Terence Rattigan monologue wowed critics and theatregoers alike alongside the playwright's comedy, Harlequinade, during Kenneth Branagh's Plays at the Garrick season in London's West End.
The double bill's final performances had taken place in January.
Elegy's world premiere
Also in April, Elegy received its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse, London. Nick Payne's thought-provoking, intense play starred ZoŽ as Lorna, who owes her life to advancements in neuroscience but is paying a terrible price for survival.
'The wonderful thing about [Elegy] is it poses the question constantly Ė do we have control over ourselves and at what cost and why?' ZoŽ pointed out when speaking to the Evening Standard about the play's exploration of medicine and the mysteries of the human mind.
Lorna wakes after an operation with no memory of her wife, the devastated Carrie (played by Barbara Flynn), who's made the heart-breaking decision to sacrifice her relationship to save her partner's life. Nina Sosanya's Mariam, Lorna's surgeon, struggles to 'treat' the emotional upheaval as effectively as the brain disorder. This trio of characters invited rapt audiences to consider ideas about love, memory and identity. At what point might you stop being you?
In the Evening Standard, Elegy's director, Josie Rourke, emphasised that 2016 was a landmark year for women in theatre. She called the play's all-female cast 'truly great'.
After Elegy opened on 27 April, many reviewers were similarly enthusiastic. As the Guardian's Michael Billington commented, 'ZoŽ Wanamaker is superb as Lorna, in the way she captures the rage and frustration that are inevitable byproducts of her condition, but also the wit and mischief that made Carrie love her in the first place.'
Shakespeare's 400th anniversary
BBC Radio 4 invited ZoŽ to discuss one of her favourite Shakespearean characters, Iago's troubled wife, Emilia, from Othello, as part of Shakespeare's People. The series was produced to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death on 23 April.
ZoŽ's episode of Shakespeare's People was broadcast shortly before the anniversary and explored what she called 'the conflict within Emilia'. Having played the role to great acclaim in the RSC's 1989 Othello, ZoŽ shared her insights. Emilia is 'in denial' about her husband's true nature, she explained. Only when tragedy strikes does Iagoís long-suffering wife see him for what he is: a monster.
ZoŽ also shared her thoughts about the playwright's enduring appeal in a video about Shakespeare productions at London's National Theatre. 'Shakespeare touches the human heart in all his plays, and that's why he is relevant now and will always be,' she emphasised.
The video includes clips of 2007's hugely popular staging of Much Ado About Nothing (2007), in which ZoŽ played Beatrice.
On the anniversary itself, ZoŽ took part in a commemorative service at Southwark Cathedral, not far from the National Theatre and indeed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. ZoŽ joined local schoolchildren in laying flowers at the memorials to her father, Sam Wanamaker, as well as Shakespeare and his brother, Edmund.
Website's 14th anniversary
This website celebrated its fourteenth anniversary on 30 July. To mark the occasion, I discussed the website's history, as well as the reasons why being a fan is such a joy, in the most personal article I've ever published here.
Exciting new projects
During the latter half of 2016, Zoe was particularly busy with two major TV projects, and we'll be able to see the results of her incredibly hard work later in 2017.
The first project to be announced was Britannia, a ten-part historical drama series from Sky and Amazon US. Britannia focuses on the Roman Imperial Army's invasion of Celtic Britain in 43AD. ZoŽ will appear as Antedia, a key figure in the Celtic resistance movement. Filming for this epic series took place in Prague and Wales.
We can also look forward to watching ZoŽ in Babs, a one-off BBC One drama about the life of national treasure and EastEnders star Barbara Windsor. Zoe has been cast as radical director Joan Littlewood, whose Stratford theatre group Windsor joined as a young actress.
Broadcast dates have yet to be announced, but I'll look out for news.
ZoŽ's New Year message
ZoŽ's New Year tweet, posted today, no doubt strikes a chord with many people, as 2016 was a tumultuous period worldwide.
I hope that 2017 will be a happy, healthy year for everyone who admires her work.
Your own favourites
24 December 2016 02:13
ZoŽ's lovely seasonal message to fans, which was recently published on her official Twitter profile, is full of festive spirit. It's surely the recipe for happiness this Christmas and New Year Ė and beyond.
I'd like to echo ZoŽ's sentiments and sincerely hope that everyone who visits this website enjoys a magical festive period.
Why not watch a few My Family Christmas specials? (I plan to wear an Xmas jumper almost as loud as the one Ben's sporting below!)
Happy Christmas to you all!
17 December 2016 02:54
While you're waiting for Zoe's eagerly-anticipated dramas Britannia and Babs to be screened (they're both due to air next year), you'll find there's plenty to enjoy this festive season, especially on the radio.
Festive readings at Christmas carol services
On 14 December, ZoŽ took part in festive fundraiser The Story of Christmas, an annual charity event from the property and construction industries. A carol service at St George's Hanover Square Church was followed by a reception and charity auction in The Dorchester. ZoŽ was joined by many other well-known guests, including Sanjeev Bhaskar, Brian Blessed and Imogen Stubbs. The Story of Christmas has so far raised more than £400,000 in order to support disadvantaged children and the homeless in London. (As soon as I find photos from the event, I'll let you know.)
The next evening, ZoŽ took part in the Children & The Arts' tenth anniversary Christmas Concert at London's Cadogan Hall. She was pictured at the seasonal event alongside Aled Jones, Miranda Raison, Penelope Wilton and other special guests. Together they provided festive readings and music, with the aim of raising money to help the charity offer creative and cultural experiences to disadvantaged and terminally ill children. The concert was recorded for Classic FM and will be broadcast on Christmas Eve, from 6-8pm.
Returning to The Matthew Rolland Show
Another programme sure to be worth hearing is Hospital Radio Reading's Christmas Day edition of The Matthew Rolland Show, as ZoŽ will be a special guest. She took part in the show last year too Ė you can listen to the interview online (it begins about eight-and-a-half minutes into the recording).
Celebrating Sam Wanamaker's work
In the run-up to Christmas, why not listen to ZoŽ's late father's episode of Down Your Way, a BBC radio series that discussed places of interest across the UK? In 'Sam Wanamaker in Edinburgh', originally broadcast in 1992, the actor/director explores the city's wealth of history.
Of course, ZoŽ's father is best known for bringing the history of Shakespearean theatre to life through Shakespeare's Globe. The organisation has tweeted an excellent archive photo of him with its architectural models as part of its Christmas countdown celebrations.
1 December 2016 21:07
ZoŽ has donated a pair of her sunglasses from French brand Face ŗ Face to Sightsavers' Specs Appeal. The designer sunglasses are being auctioned on eBay alongside their case, a publicity photo and autographed card. The money raised will support the charity's vital work with people affected by sight loss and other disabilities.
If you'd like the chance to own ZoŽ's chic eyewear, you have until 5 December to bid for it. Glasses and sunglasses from many other famous faces, including Stephen Fry, Daniel Radcliffe, Meryl Streep, Emma Watson and Vivienne Westwood, are also available.
Speaking as someone whose family has a history of sight loss, I know how distressing it can be and think Specs Appeal is a fantastic fundraising idea. If you support Sightsavers' campaign, your money might even help to give someone the ability to see again.
Good luck to all of ZoŽ's fans who take part!
27 November 2016 03:02
Earlier this week, ZoŽ was photographed backstage at London's Vaudeville Theatre with Katherine Parkinson, who's appearing there in Dead Funny. Parkinson portrays frustrated doctor's wife Eleanor, the same character Zoe played in the original production, in 1994.
The black comedy about relationships was staged at the Vaudeville back then too, having transferred from Hampstead Theatre. The director of both productions is also the play's writer, Terry Johnson.
Another cast member in the revival of Dead Funny is Steve Pemberton, who's clearly been an admirer of both ZoŽ (pictured above as Eleanor with David Haig as husband Richard) and the play for many years. Speaking to the Observer in 2011, he praised ZoŽ's performance in the lead role as the best he'd ever seen by an actor on stage. (Please note that the article includes a plot spoiler you might want to avoid reading if you're planning to watch the new show!)
'Eleanor is at the heart of the play,' Pemberton explained. He recalled being particularly impressed by ZoŽ's ability to combine humour with intense drama, remarking that 'Wanamaker could have you howling with laughter one minute and sobbing the next, because she has the kind of emotional insight that draws you in.'
The Dead Funny revival plays in the West End until 4 February. Like the original show, it's earned considerable praise from reviewers.