Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Sher's fears for theatre future

Sir Antony Sher
Sir Antony has won two Olivier Awards during a distinguished stage career

Sir Antony Sher has voiced his fears about the future of theatre, saying young actors are only attracted to the "glamour" of film and TV.

The eminent actor warned it was vital young actors did not miss out on stage experience and training.

"If that's not countered in some way it's going to be the end of theatre isn't it?" he said.

Sir Antony expressed his views in a BBC Four interview with Mark Lawson, to be broadcast on Sunday night.


The Olivier award-winning actor's repertoire includes Richard III and Macbeth for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and he played former prime minister Benjamin Disraeli in the 1997 film Mrs Brown.

Sir Antony on young actors seeking 'fame and fortune'

But Sir Antony said too few young actors had ambitions to "work their way through Shakespeare", as he and his peers did.

"Young kids coming out of drama school don't want to go into theatre any more, they all want to be film or TV stars," he said.

"And so when the RSC for example have to audition for a new production of Romeo and Juliet, it's always really hard playing or finding that whole group of young actors that can play those parts, because they're not interested any more."

Born in 1949, Sir Antony Sher was raised in South Africa before moving to London to study at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.

He joined theatre group Gay Sweatshop in the 1970s and joined the RSC in 1982, winning an Olivier Award in 1985 for Richard III.

Primarily a stage actor, Sir Antony has also appeared in a number of films and TV series, including The History Man, Wind in the Willows, Shakespeare in Love, and the BBC's Murphy's Law.

Mark Lawson Talks To Sir Antony Sher will be broadcast on Sunday at 2235 GMT on BBC Four.

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