A STATEMENT FROM THE HEAD OFFICE OF THE SHAKESPEARE CODE
Thank you, Brothers and Sisters, from all over the world, for your continued – and rapidly growing - support.
We would like to present you with a bouquet of Southampton Roses…
It is our sworn intention to appoint a new Fellow every thousand views – and Brothers and Sisters will be delighted to learn that the Honour has fallen to the actress, singer and musician….
On being told of her appointment, so great was Karen’s joy she burst into verse…..
A fellowship, you say, bestow’d on me?
Delightful, and such unexpected news!
This honour I accept most graciously,
It would be quit ill-mannered to refuse.
My humble contribution has been small,
‘Tis Trotter who has all the revelations,
An insight here or there as I recall
During some of our extensive conversations.
I must confess to finding it quite hard
To deal with all this public recognition,
The credit surely lies with our dear Bard
Without whom none of this would have been written.
In gratitude I dedicate this Ode
To Stewart, Trixie and The Shakespeare Code!
The Shakespeare Code has decided to limit the number of Fellows to 35 – the number of Shakespeare plays listed in the First Folio. Each Fellow will ‘adopt’ a Shakespeare play as his or her area of special interest.
Our first Fellow (Janet St. John-Austen, F.S.C.) has chosen Hamlet as she believes it to be the Shakespeare play that follows most closely the contours of her own complex mind.
Karen Gledhill, F.S.C., has chosen A Midsummer Night’s Dream for an equally special reason which Trixie the Cat will now reveal…
Blonde, smiling, cooly intellectual but warmly human, the lovely Karen knew she was going to be an actress at the age of five! A parent came in’ to do drama’ at her North London primary school.
Karen was HOOKED!
Most of her childhood and teen age years, however, were spent playing music and singing in a variety of music schools and at the highly prestigious, highly competitive, Camden School for Girls.
But she went on to study Classics at the even more prestigious (and even more competitve) Newnham College, Cambridge, where she embarked on what she calls….
the alternative theatre training offered there…
Her first job was as an actress/musician with a children’s company in which she played a kidney, a tooth-rot gangster, a rain cloud, and a cowgirl with a six foot high banana puppet called Rocky! This was in the days when you had to earn your equity card…
There followed a few years of repertory and touring, including six months at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter, then run by The Code’s own Stewart Trotter.
It was here that she played a spirited and touching Viola in Twelfth Night, set on a frozen river. She made a spectacular first entrance, drenched in sea-water and walking barefoot on the ice…
To read the late, great B. A. Young’s review of the production in The Financial Times, click here (We’ve added new photographs to this Post).
Some peachy T.V. roles followed her Exeter season, including Poirot and the English nation’s favourite T.V. show, Dr. Who.
Karen has the distinction of being in the famous episode when the Daleks learned to walk up stairs! Children all over England ran to the ‘safety’ of their bedrooms, but TO NO AVAIL!
In 1990 life changed with the birth of her first daughter, and she has been acting as chauffeur, cook, psycho therapist, teacher nanny – in other words ‘mother’ for the last 21 years…
But, interspersed with other jobs (breast-feeding counsellor, school governor, swimming club secretary, etc. etc.) she has sustained a spordic acting career and was recently spotted in Wallander…
In 2008 Karen suddenly got the idea of adapting A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Hanover Primary School in North London, where her daughter was in her final year.
Karen turned it into a musical with choral narrative and commentary. All the spoken parts are original Shakespeare, but much of the play is sung to modern lyrics – all written and composed by Karen.
The Headmistress of the school, Amanda Reese, writes:
The show was a resounding success on many levels. Children gained a real understanding of the story and were quite un-phased by the Shakespearian language. They performed with fantastic confidence and great skill both in their delivery of the lines and in their singing.
Karen’s musical adaptation appealed to all with its catchy melodies and great humour. The children in the production clearly enjoyed every moment and spoke with tremendous enthusiasm about their experience.
Just to say again how touching, witty, stylish and altogether stunningly enjoyable I found today’s production. I think the lyrics and music quite exceptional and think you are truly gifted as a lyric and song-writer. Shakespeare would have burst into tears with delight. I am quite sure this version of ‘MND’ will be done over and over again…
The parent was quite right: the adaptation has been performed in 4 other schools and many more are lining up to perform it…
(To read Professor Bate’s endorsement of The Code’s ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Apis Lapis’ click here.)
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PRODUCING THIS GREAT SHOW, CONTACT US AT THE CODE AND WE”LL PASS ON YOUR DETAILS TO KAREN!!!
Karen’s link and interest in The Shakespeare Code is through a long friendship with The Code’s Chief Agent, Stewart Trotter.
He is is also her Acupuncturist…
HE COULD BE YOURS IF YOU LIVE IN LONDON!!!
(He practises in South Kensingtgon and Kilburn)
THE SHAKESPEARE CODE EXTENDS ITS WARMEST CONGRATULATIONS TO KAREN GLEDHILL, F. S. C., A FINE ACTRESS AND A STAUNCH AND LOYAL FRIEND.
To read Karen’s own endorsement of The Shakespeare Code, click here.
To read about The Code’s appointment of its first Fellow (Sister Janet St.John-Austen, F. S. C. )