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

Wishing Zoë a wonderful birthday! ✧・゚: *✧・゚:*

13 May 2024 12:03

It’s 13 May, and I’m sure Zoë Wanamaker fans all over the world will want to join me in wishing our very favourite actress an incredibly happy, magical birthday!

To celebrate, here’s a striking portrait of Zoë as Adriana in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s bold 1983 revival of The Comedy of Errors, which took place in what the RSC calls a ‘zany circus world’. I love the artist Amelia Hastings’ beautiful line work and flourishes. In fact, I think she’s captured not only Zoë’s likeness but also her energy and exuberance, don’t you?

(Click on/tap the picture to see a larger version.)

And there’s a lovely gesture from BBC Radio 4 Extra. The radio station is celebrating Zoë’s birthday by bringing one of her most fondly remembered radio series, The Older Woman (1993), back to the airwaves. In this witty, six-part comedy-drama, Zoë plays a tough, fortysomething teacher who catches the eye of her thirtysomething former student, who’s played by Martin Clunes. Toyah Wilcox also features.

Thanks to a scheduling quirk, the show won’t actually be on today – you can listen to episode one on Friday (17 May) instead! It’ll air at 7am, 12 noon and 6pm then 2am the following morning (all UK times) and be available on BBC Sounds. So wherever you are in the world, there’s bound to be a convenient time to catch it. The other episodes of The Older Woman will follow on subsequent Fridays.

With thanks to Zoë and Vanessa for info about the portrait

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News round-up: Constellations, Criminal Record and Central’s support for young actors

4 May 2024 10:36

Constellations on National Theatre at Home

The wait is over! Stunning play Constellations, starring Zoë and Peter Capaldi, is now available to watch worldwide on National Theatre at Home. Recorded during its acclaimed 2021 West End run, Constellations is an intimate two-hander about a couple whose relationship, by turns heart-warming and heart-breaking, is charted across multiple parallel universes. In other words, you see different versions of their story.

The plot may sound complicated, but don’t worry. The simplicity of the staging, in addition to the beauty and authenticity of the performances, will keep your feet on the ground, as you can tell from the superb clips from Constellations released by National Theatre at Home.

Reviewing the production in 2021 (in an article containing spoilers), the Evening Standard memorably summed it up as ‘a short, sharp, smart hit of first-class drama that humanises the randomness of the universe’. More recently, the show has caught the Guardian’s attention: it appears on the newspaper’s list of the best theatre to stream this month.

Criminal Record on Apple TV+

If you’d also like to see Zoë and Peter Capaldi take on entirely different roles, you won’t want to miss Criminal Record season one on Apple TV+. All eight episodes of this fresh, powerful crime drama are available to watch worldwide now.

In Criminal Record, Zoë plays Maureen Lenker, the fragile mother of sharp, up-and-coming East London police detective June (Cush Jumbo). Although proud of her daughter, Maureen’s relationship with the police is strained – she’s haunted by her late husband’s experience of institutional racism many years before June joined the force.

When an anonymous phone call casts doubt on a long-standing murder conviction, June’s investigation leads her to a formidable veteran detective, Daniel Hegarty (Capaldi) – and risks putting her family in danger.

Criminal Record’s plot is complex and rich. ‘The scenes with [June’s] mother (Zoe Wanamaker) and partner (Stephen Campbell Moore) hint at so much more to be told, so everything crossed for a new series,’ remarks The Herald. Thankfully, a second season could well be on the horizon, according to the Radio Times and other news sources.

Supporting ‘the next generation of theatre makers’ at Central

London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where Zoë trained, has announced it will no longer charge audition fees for undergraduate and diploma acting courses. The aim is to make Central’s training more accessible to students from all backgrounds.

As Central’s Vice-President, Zoë has spoken enthusiastically about the news, emphasising that greater diversity will enrich the arts as a whole:

‘I’m honoured to support Central’s initiative to eliminate audition fees and to help remove some of the financial barriers that aspiring artists face in accessing training. This will no doubt help to pave the way for a more accessible, diverse, and inclusive industry. In these difficult times we must all unite to support and empower the next generation of theatre makers and artists.’

As the Guardian points out, ‘Central is the most prestigious drama school to drop audition fees’ to date. The school will also introduce travel grants and continue to offer bursaries.

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‘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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