Shadow and Bone

Zoë plays Baghra, a stern teacher, in this major new fantasy series based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels. Series one and two are streaming now on Netflix.

Criminal Record

Zoë plays the fragile mother of a young detective reinvestigating an old murder case in this crime drama series currently streaming on Apple TV+.

Social

‘For me, it’s a human right’ – Zoë speaks to Channel 5 News about assisted dying debate

27 March 2024 14:43

Zoë appeared on Channel 5 News on 22 March to discuss a cause she passionately believes in: the legalisation of assisted dying for terminally ill individuals in the UK. ‘I think people should be allowed to live their lives and end their lives as they wish,’ she explained. ‘For me, it’s a human right,’ she added.

Her support for assisted dying, and decision to become a patron of campaigning organisation Dignity in Dying, has grown out of witnessing her dad, the influential actor and director Sam Wanamaker, dying of cancer in 1993. As Zoë reflected during the interview, little has changed in the legal landscape for assisted dying since then. She feels that legalising assisted dying in this country ‘should’ve happened years ago’.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Zoë has discussed this emotive subject on TV, following her similarly powerful Sky News interview on 7 March.

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National Theatre at Home to stream Constellations

17 March 2024 08:05

There’s fantastic news for anyone who was captivated by the 2021 production of Nick Payne’s mind-bending multiverse play Constellations, in which Zoë starred alongside Peter Capaldi. The recording of this acclaimed West End show will soon be available to stream online again, having not been seen since early 2022.

Whereas Constellations was originally released by the Donmar Warehouse, it’ll now join another London theatre’s streaming service: National Theatre at Home (which offers rental and subscription options). As Playbill points out, ‘Constellations will be a unique addition’ to the service – the only play in the library not produced by the NT itself.

You can already watch Zoë’s unforgettable performance in The Cherry Orchard (2011) via NTatHome.com. And you only have to wait until 12 April for Constellations – hooray!

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Sky News interviews Zoë about her support for legalising assisted dying

17 March 2024 07:08

This is the powerful, thought-provoking interview Zoë, a longstanding patron of campaigning organisation Dignity in Dying, gave to Sky News on 7 March about legalising assisted dying in the UK.

The emotive subject is currently receiving widespread attention in the press due to MPs making fresh calls for a debate about it. A bill to make assisted dying legal in Scotland will be put before the Scottish parliament in the coming weeks.

Speaking to broadcaster Kay Burley, Zoë emphasised that ‘it’s nobody’s business but one’s own how one wants to live or die; and I think it’s about time we recognised this as something of choice – freedom of choice.’

She added that her dad, Sam Wanamaker, the founder of Shakespeare’s Globe, ‘was not allowed to’ choose when or how he passed away during his battle with terminal illness in the early 1990s.

When asked what message she had for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Zoë urged the government to make assisted dying legal.

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Rare showing of Memento Mori on BBC Four

1 February 2024 16:01

As I type, I’m unsure if these words will appear on zoewanamaker.com or not. Technical problems that followed a PHP upgrade last autumn made updating the website impossible until now (perhaps...). Thanks to fantastic work from my IT support team (otherwise known as my brother, who also built the site), I’ve at least reached the point at which I can try to add news and hope Zoë Wanamaker fans will be able to read it.

Being forced to take a three-month break from this 21-year-old project resulted in a strange sense of loss and grief. So it’s oddly appropriate that the first news article I need to write after that break covers Memento Mori, the 1992 comedy-drama adapted from Muriel Spark’s novel of the same name, in which Zoë stars alongside a host of other fabulous actors – Michael Hordern, Maggie Smith, Thora Hird, Stephanie Cole, Maurice Denham, Renée Asherson (the list goes on)... And don’t worry, the story isn’t half as grim as the title might lead you to expect!

This delightful, poignant programme was produced for the Screen Two series of thought-provoking one-off dramas. On 17 January, BBC Four viewers were treated to a rare showing of it – the first time Memento Mori has been repeated by the broadcaster in all these years. The memento mori (or ‘reminder of death’) takes the form of a series of eerie, bizarre phone calls received by a diverse group of elderly folk in 1950s London. Each call delivers the same message: ‘remember you must die’, though the recipients have rather different reactions to those words. Some are troubled; others brush them off.

Zoë’s character, Olive Mannering, is the attractive, savvy granddaughter of one of the group’s members, rambunctious poet Percy Mannering, who’s barely got a penny to his name. Olive knows one of Percy’s well-off pals has a taste for stockings and French music – and she also knows exactly how to use that knowledge to earn a little money for her granddad. Later in the story, it becomes apparent she’s willing to go to even greater lengths to secure his financial future, as well as her own.

It’s Olive who sums up the group at the heart of Memento Mori best. ‘They can be a bit overwhelming, can’t they, especially when you first meet them? But they sort of grow on you.’ Indeed, I can almost guarantee you’ll care about all of those eccentric, entertaining characters by the end of the programme, while wondering how on earth she puts up with them!

Don’t miss your chance to (re)discover Memento Mori - it’s on the BBC iPlayer for the next couple of weeks.

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New video: Zoë interviewed by Matthew Rolland

16 October 2023 15:22

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to have a relaxed, wide-ranging chat with Zoë, her new – and thoroughly enjoyable – interview with hospital radio presenter Matthew Rolland is for you.

They discuss how Zoë feels about acting in theatre, film and TV (‘each medium has its own techniques and its own limitations,’ she explains), as well as how much she values colleagues who have a great sense of humour and a great deal of honesty. I was particularly struck by her description of the strong connection between actors who’ve worked together – this ‘bond’ is built on the ‘excitement of knowing you’ve shared something’ on stage or screen.

As you may know, Zoë has dyslexia, and she shares her tips for learning lines. As she points out, ‘calming down and not reading too fast’ is key.

She also reflects on the decrease in arts funding and the increase in theatre ticket prices. She makes clear that watching stories unfold on stage is engaging and life-enhancing, so is saddened by the fact many parents can’t afford to take their children to see plays these days.

The conversation is one of the most recent instalments in Rolland’s Isolation Interviews series, which features famous guests from around the world and began during lockdown.

Zoë reads Harry Potter to schoolchildren

It’s clear from her interview with Matthew Rolland that Zoë believes being immersed in culture and literature is vitally important for the development of young minds. So when she was invited to open the fantastic new library at Burbage Primary School in Wiltshire last month, she was delighted to show her support.

As reported by the local press, the school’s lucky competition winners enjoyed a day they’ll never forget. They got to hear Zoë, who’s known to millions as Quidditch instructor Madam Hooch, read an extract from the Harry Potter books.

Teacher Emma Miles certainly gave her special guest top marks. She emphasised that ‘Zoë was captivating’, answering questions and offering advice to help the children become more confident readers and develop their ‘performance voice’.

Reminder: The Space interview

If you’ve managed to bag tickets for Zoë’s interview with Brighton arts strand The Space on Thursday 19 October, you’ll no doubt enjoy hearing what she has to say too.

Although the event has now sold out, you can head to The Space’s website to contact the organiser regarding any last-minute places becoming available.

If you’ll be in the audience, have a brilliant time!

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