Shadow and Bone

ZoŽ plays Baghra, a stern teacher, in this major new fantasy series based on Leigh Bardugoís bestselling Grishaverse novels. Streaming now on Netflix.

Britannia

The third series of Sky Atlantic's epic drama about the Romans invading ancient Britain, starring ZoŽ as vengeful Queen Antedia. Streaming now on Sky, NOW and other services.

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First look at Netflix's Shadow and Bone plus more news

27 February 2021 18:01

Netflix's Shadow and Bone trailer

Just over a year after filming finished, Netflix has unveiled the highly anticipated trailer for Shadow and Bone, a big-budget adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's gripping Grishaverse novels. Judging by the jaw-dropping visual effects and cinematic style, the wait has certainly been worthwhile! The trailer only appeared yesterday but has already garnered well over a million views on YouTube.

We're still waiting for a glimpse of ZoŽ as Baghra, but there is a release date, at least. The epic fantasy series comes to Netflix on 23 April, so not long to wait now!

Radio 4 charity appeal for LSN

On Twitter, ZoŽ and her PA, Vanessa, have drawn attention to a forthcoming Radio 4 appeal for a charity close to ZoŽ's heart.

The Lymphoedema Support Network (LSN), of which she's a patron, helps people affected by the condition across the UK. You can find out more about the LSN's work and how to donate on Radio 4's website during what is, of course, a challenging time for charities. The appeal itself will air on 7 March, just before 8 am.

'GonzoŽ' on House of Games

If you watch BBC Two's popular teatime quiz, Richard Osman's House of Games, you may have seen ZoŽ make an appearance (of sorts) recently...

The Answer Smash round involves joining two words together, often with amusing or quirky results. In the episode shown on 22 February, the contestants were asked to combine the name ZoŽ Wanamaker with the name of one of the Muppets (The Great Gonzo, no less!) to create a new word: GonzoŽ Wanamaker!

Thanks to Karoline for making me aware of the trailer.

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News round-up: watch The Cherry Orchard, Piaf and a Shadow and Bone teaser...

25 January 2021 17:19

The Cherry Orchard from National Theatre at Home

We're all missing live performances, but now the UK's National Theatre has come up with a wonderful way to help us relive the magic at home.

The NT's beautiful 2011 production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (in a version by Andrew Upton), starring ZoŽ as beleaguered Russian aristocrat Ranyevskaya, is available to watch worldwide via NTatHome.com.

You can rent the production or, if you fancy watching lots of other shows from the theatre's back catalogue too, you may prefer to subscribe to this new streaming service.

The Cherry Orchard was directed by the highly respected Howard Davies and filmed for the 2011 NT Live season, which saw it broadcast in cinemas around the world. Being a pretty enthusiastic fan (!), I watched the production at the theatre and later in a cinema, and remember well the excitement of both events.

Fellow fan Robertta watched The Cherry Orchard with friends and recalls how the cast and staging of the play 'moved us so much!'

'ZoŽ Wanamaker is magnificent as Ranyevskaya, suggesting, to an unprecedented extent, the acuteness of this woman's emotional intelligence,' wrote Paul Taylor in the Independent during the play's run.

Whether you're watching this production of The Cherry Orchard for the first time or rediscovering it after ten years, enjoy!

Piaf on Broadway

For another cultural treat in these theatre-starved times, head to YouTube. There you'll find the TV adaptation of the Broadway production of Pam Gems' Piaf - an unflinching exploration of the legendary French singer's private and public life - originally broadcast in 1982.

This acclaimed production was also directed by Howard Davies. Playing Edith Piaf is Jane Lapotaire, with Zoe in the role of her half-sister, Toine.

Zoe credits Piaf with helping her become 'a braver actor'. Her performance led to her being nominated for Tony and Drama Desk awards. Some time ago, ZoŽ kindly provided a photo for the website of herself with Jane Lapotaire, Elizabeth Taylor and Glenda Jackson as they celebrated their Tony nominations.

Shadow and Bone teaser

Here's the suitably intriguing teaser for Netflix's Shadow and Bone, the eagerly anticipated fantasy series based on Leigh Bardugoís incredibly successful Grishaverse novels.

No glimpse of ZoŽ as Baghra yet, but we shouldn't have too much longer to wait. Netflix has announced that the series will be released in April.

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News round-up: Britannia series three; Shadow and Bone praise; voicing the Oliviers 2020; reading Peter Pan for charity

4 November 2020 19:05

Britannia series three resumes filming

Filming came to a halt earlier this year for obvious reasons, but Skyís historical epic Britannia is now back in production. What will the third series have in store for Queen Antedia, who was last seen being sold at an extremely unregal auction in series two? Surely the only way is up!

No official word yet on when the new episodes will air, but the Radio Times suggests Ďwe could see the show back on our screens early next yearí.

In addition, the magazine reports that ZoŽ and her co-stars from the previous series, who include David Morrissey, Mackenzie Crook and Annabel Scholey, will be joined by another brilliant actor, Sophie Okonedo.

Shadow and Bone Ė Leigh Bardugo is a fan of ZoŽ

The release date for Netflixís fantasy series, Shadow and Bone, which is based on Leigh Bardugoís Grishaverse novels, still hasnít been confirmed.

However, Bardugo did make clear during Metaverse, a recent online convention, that sheís excited to see ZoŽ play teacher Baghra. The author remarked that her Ďbrain sort of short-circuitedí when she saw ZoŽ and one of her co-stars, Ben Barnes (who plays the mysterious Darkling), acting together.

Sounds very promising!

Voicing the Olivier Awards 2020

For the fifth year in a row, ZoŽ is the voice of the prestigious Olivier Awards ceremony. Celebrating the best of British theatre feels particularly important during one of the most challenging ever years for the industry. If you missed the Oliviers on 25 October, youíll be pleased to hear you can catch up on the ITV Hub any time over the next few weeks.

Fellow actor Dale Evans tweeted, ĎI ADORE ZoŽ Wanamakerís voice, it really makes the Oliviers.í Couldnít agree more!

ZoŽ didnít appear on screen, but here she is in a show-stopping dress at the 2017 Oliviers.

Star-studded Peter Pan audiobook

ZoŽ has leant her vocal talents to a star-studded new recording of JM Barrieís classic, Peter Pan, published by Penguin. Due for release on 5 November, Peter Pan: Brought to Life by Magical Storytellers also features Michael Morpurgo, Kit Harrington, Martin Jarvis, Alex Jennings, Alex Kingston, Joanna Lumley, Helen McCrory, Jennifer Saunders, Juliet Stevenson and David Walliams.

The recording, which is available as an audio download and CD, will raise money for two very deserving charities: The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital Childrenís Charity.

Itíd make a lovely Christmas gift for the young and young at heart.

With thanks to Karoline for her help.

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Happy 18th birthday, zoewanamaker.com!

30 July 2020 01:45

Happy birthday, zoewanamaker.com! I can hardly believe it, but the official website for ZoŽ Wanamaker fans is now 18 years old.

Sincere thanks to everyone who visits the site, connects with me by email or on Twitter and shares my enthusiasm for ZoŽ's wonderful acting work.

A special shoutout to ZoŽ herself and her PA, Vanessa, for their support and kindness.

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Celebrating the 101st anniversary of Sam Wanamaker's birth

14 June 2020 20:26

Beautiful weather like the UK is currently enjoying is perfect for watching open-air theatre (hopefully it won't be long before we can do that again). How appropriate, then, that 14 June 2020 marks 101 years since ZoŽ's dad and Shakespeare's Globe's founder, Sam Wanamaker, was born.

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The Globe, which had its own birthday just a couple of days ago, is celebrating Sam Wanamaker and his incredible legacy with photos on Instagram and fans' memories on Twitter. One fan describes her parents watching him on stage in 1957 in The Rose Tattoo, a powerful Tennessee Williams play ZoŽ later starred in herself (giving 'the performance of her career', in the Guardian's words).

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You can read about Sam Wanamaker's many achievements and learn about 'the extraordinary life of one visionary man' in an article on the theatre's blog. His determination was particularly extraordinary, as the article emphasises: 'While many had said that the Globe reconstruction was impossible to achieve, Sam persevered for over twenty years, overcoming a series of monumental obstacles.'

One of his friends, Barry Day, has penned a moving tribute elsewhere on the blog. Again, ZoŽ's dad's determination comes to the fore: 'Samís vision and his single-minded commitment was undoubtedly the driving force that kept the project on track through the decades and propelled it through the ''down'' moments.'

For more insights into how The Globe dream became reality, why not pick up Day's lively book, This Wooden 'O': Shakespeare's Globe Reborn?

A year and a day ago, the first full-length biography of ZoŽ's dad, Sam Wanamaker: A Global Performer by his friend Dr Diana Devlin, was launched at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, The Globe's indoor companion theatre. Guests at the special event included ZoŽ, her elder sister Abby and many other people who knew Sam Wanamaker and are involved with the two theatres.

You can hear from the great man himself, thanks to 'Remembering Sam Wanamaker', an episode of Shakespeare's Globe's Such Stuff podcast series. ZoŽ's dad emphasises: 'Shakespeare belongs to everyone, we know that. And this place [The Globe] will be the centre for the understanding of his works, for helping young people to get over the difficult barriers of language. Welcome. Watch us grow. Weíre going to be here and create and transform the most exciting new area of London and Britain.'

And of course that is exactly what The Globe, its founder and dedicated team have achieved.

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Reconstructing Shakespeare's theatre 'was Dadís project for 27 years [...] the tenacity of the man,' remarked ZoŽ in a recent interview with the Observer.

If youíd like to celebrate Sam Wanamaker and support the amazing theatre he built Ė a registered charity that receives no regular government subsidy Ė at this incredibly challenging time, please consider joining me in donating to The Globe.

What better way to conclude this article than with a portrait of ZoŽ 's dad by the talented amateur artist Gareth Bevan? Fantastic, isn't it!

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