theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
Originally posted on The Guardian.
Twenty years ago, while he was still at school, Benedict Cumberbatch had his first chance to star in Hamlet. But, remembers Harrow drama teacher Martin Tyrell, he decided to concentrate on his A-levels instead. A couple of years earlier, the pupil had joined a Shakespeare workshop and had spent a couple of hours working on the play’s first scene. Tyrell remembers the 15-year-old being “so gripped by it. That was when he woke up to Shakespeare, I think, and the idea of becoming a professional actor.”
Tyrell, having seen Cumberbatch’s obvious talent in several school productions, thought he would become “an extremely hard-working, conscientious and successful professional actor, but I had no idea he would be both an Oscar nominee and an actor playing Hamlet to a sell-out audience months before it opened”.
In fact, Hamlet, due to open next week at London’s Barbican, sold out almost a year ago – in a matter of minutes. Few actors have had quite such a sudden leap in their career as Cumberbatch. His wasn’t even an “overnight” success – it was…
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