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Harry Potter star Fiona Shaw to explain 'vital importance of language' in performance

Multi-Olivier award winning actress and director Fiona Shaw will speak about her life on stage, screen and in the director’s chair, when she gives a high profile public lecture at the University of Roehampton tomorrow.

Posted: 18 May 2015

image for news story Harry Potter star Fiona Shaw to explain 'vital importance of language' in performance
Fiona Shaw, best known as Harry Potter's aunt Petunia in the film series, will speak at the Unviersity of Roehampton in May

Having trained at Rada, where she was awarded the Bancroft gold medal, Fiona achieved critical acclaim with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. She also starred in the 1990 film Three Men and a Little Lady and appeared in five Harry Potter films as Harry's aunt, Petunia Dursley. On Tuesday 19 May she will give the University's annual Hopkins Lecture, entitled 'A night without a staircase (acting into the unknown)'.

During the lecture - to be held at Whitelands College - Fiona will talk about her varied career which has often involved reinventing or rediscovering through experimentation. She will explain how throughout her work she has seen and understood the vital importance of language in processes which have seen poems become theatre and classic works become modern plays.

The lecture is open to anyone with an interest in Fiona Shaw's work and roles, or who would like an insight into some of the most interesting performances of the last twenty years. 

The lecture is free, but booking is required.

Head of English and Creative Writing at the University, Professor Laura Peters, said: "Most people will recognise Fiona from her role as Petunia in the Harry Potter films, but she's actually had an incredibly wide ranging and interesting career and will be recognised by people of all ages. We’re delighted to have her present this year's Hopkins Lecture, I’m sure her insight will help our students a great deal but it will also be a very enjoyable evening for visitors to the University as well."

The Hopkins Lecture is organised annually in memory of poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who trained as a Jesuit priest and later taught Classics at Manresa House in Roehampton, when it was owned by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The building is now called Parkstead House and is home to the University of Roehampton's Whitelands College. Previous Hopkins speakers have included Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Andrew Motion, the former poet laureate.

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