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Sunday, 2 September, 2001, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Shakespearean honour for Branagh
Harriet Walter with Kenneth Branagh
Harriet Walter was honoured along with Kenneth Branagh
Actor and director Kenneth Branagh has been honoured by the University of Birmingham for his popularisation of Shakespeare.

The film and stage star received an honorary degree on Sunday from the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.

Branagh, who is well known for his Shakespearean roles on stage and screen, often consults the Institute during his projects.


Acting is largely a matter of shouting in tights

Kenneth Branagh
Accepting the award he said he was "truly touched and humbled" to be recognised for his work.

Actress Harriet Walter also received an honorary doctorate at a ceremony at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Walter said she was "thrilled to bits" and despite never going to university, now had letters after her name.

'Consciousness'

Kenneth Branagh in Love's Labour's Lost
Love's Labour's Lost: Branagh's musical adaptation
A university spokeswoman said Branagh had done much to bring Shakespeare into the public sphere.

"Shakespeare was always intended to be performed in the vulgar market place," she said.

"Nowadays, that would be film.

"It was never meant to be an expensive highbrow activity - that's certainly why he (Branagh) is being honoured."

Branagh himself joked about his Shakespearean activities.

"Acting is largely a matter of shouting in tights," he said.

"Shakespeare was a great psychologist as well as an entertainer," he added on a more serious note.

Branagh has directed four feature films of Shakespeare plays: Henry V (1989), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Hamlet (1996) and Love's Labour's Lost (2000) - and he also appeared in Oliver Parker's film of Othello as Iago.

See also:

16 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Branagh's labour premieres
16 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Branagh's musical Bard
16 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Shakespeare honour for Branagh
14 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Branagh's celebrity turn
13 May 99 | Entertainment
Branagh to star in modern Macbeth
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