|Born||9 April 1957
New York, USA
|Occupation||Actress, Theater director|
Kathryn Hunter (born Aikaterini Hadjipateras, 1957) is an award-winning English actress and theatre director.
In her stage work, Hunter is particularly associated with physical theatre, having even been described as a "virtuoso physical performer." She has worked with renowned companies in that field including Shared Experience and Complicite. She won an Olivier Award in 1991 for playing the millionairess in Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit.
Critics have noted Hunter for her unusual physical presence and her range. Charles Spencer of The Telegraph describes her as "diminutive in stature, and slightly lame, she has a deep, guttural voice, eyes like black olives and the most expressive of faces. Almost nothing seems beyond her range, from farcical clowning to deepest, darkest tragedy."
Hunter's "uncommon ability to shape shift" has led her to play roles typically reserved for male actors. Hunter was the first female British actor to play King Lear professionally. Her portrayal of the aged male character Lear conscientiously challenged the audience to separate character and performer: her voice and clothing read as male, but she physicalized lines such as "Down from the waist they are Centaurs / Though women all above" to remind the audience of the female body playing the part. Hunter has played a number of other male characters including in The Bee, directed by Hideki Noda, which played at the Soho Theatre in June 2006 and 2012.
Carrying her physical abilities further, Hunter has taken on the roles of animals and other creatures. In Kafka's Monkey, a solo piece based on Franz Kafka's "A Report to an Academy," Hunter played a monkey delivering a speech to a scientific society about its transformation from a monkey to a man. The piece was a highly-acclaimed sell-out success at the Young Vic in 2009, where it was reprised in May 2011. It toured to the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York in April 2013. According to Charles Isherwood of the New York Times, she played the role with "wry wisdom, a touch of cheeky humor and, above all, a sense of dignity." In November 2013, she co-starred as the fairy Puck in Julie Taymor's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the show that opened the Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn. Ben Brantley of the New York Times described Hunter's Puck as "genuinely original" and "part music-hall comedian, part fairground contortionist."
In 2008, Hunter co-starred in the first English-language production of Fragments, a collection of short plays by Samuel Beckett, directed by Peter Brook. Remarking on the London run at the Young Vic, Andrew Dickson of The Guardian wrote that "the evening belongs to Kathryn Hunter, who crams into a few minutes of stage time more than most actors achieve in a career." The piece toured internationally, appearing in New York in 2011.
Hunter was made an Artistic Associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 2008. From January to March 2009, she debuted as an RSC director with a production of Othello at the Warwick Arts Centre, Hackney Empire, Northern Stage, Oxford Playhouse and Liverpool Playhouse. Her husband Marcello Magni was movement director on the production and appeared in it as Roderigo. Other cast members included Michael Gould as Iago, Patrice Naiambana as Othello, and Natalia Tena as Desdemona.
In 2010, Hunter appeared as Cleopatra, in a production of Antony and Cleopatra and as the Fool in a production of King Lear at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Her performances were described as "outstanding" and "sensational." In January 2011, she withdrew from these roles shortly before the plays were due to be revived.
In February 2016, Hunter took the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac at the Southwark Playhouse, London. After the production opened, Guardian critic Michael Billington wrote "Hunter is an astonishing shape-shifting performer who can play just about anything" but Telegraph critic Jane Schilling called Rusell Bolam's production "an opportunity squandered."
TV and film
Her screen work includes a supporting role in the TV series Rome as Cleopatra's companion, Charmian, and voicing Gorn in Tron: Uprising. Notable film work includes Mike Leigh's All or Nothing (2002) and Harry Potter's neighbour, Arabella Figg, in the fifth movie of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).
- Barnett, Laura (2013-02-26). "Kathryn Hunter, actor – portrait of the artist". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Paddock, Terri (23 June 2003). "20 Questions With...Kathryn Hunter". Whatsonstage.com. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012.
- Mark Fisher "Let's Get Physical", Scotland on Sunday, 15 August 2004
- Purcell, Stephen (2005-01-01). "A Shared Experience Shakespeare and popular theatre". Performance Research 10 (3): 74–84. doi:10.1080/13528165.2005.10871440. ISSN 1352-8165.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1991". Olivier Awards. The Society of London Theatre,. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012.
- Spencer, Charles (2010-05-11). "The RSC's Antony and Cleopatra in Stratford, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Klett, E. (2009-06-22). Cross-Gender Shakespeare and English National Identity: Wearing the Codpiece. Springer. ISBN 9780230622609.
- "Being Kafka's Monkey: Kathryn Hunter". Radio National. 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Bulman, James C. (2008-01-01). Shakespeare Re-dressed: Cross-gender Casting in Contemporary Performance. Associated University Presse. ISBN 9780838641149.
- Hemming, Sarah (2006-06-29). "The Bee, Soho Theatre, London". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Isherwood, Charles (2013-04-04). "‘Kafka’s Monkey,’ at Baryshnikov Arts Center". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Costa, Maddy. "Kafka's Monkey – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- Winer, Linda (1 November 2013). "'A Midsummer Night's Dream' review: Julie Taymor brings magic to Brooklyn". Newsday.
- Brantley, Ben (2013-11-03). "Taymor’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Opens Brooklyn Theater". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Isherwood, Charles (2011-11-15). "‘Fragments’ at Baryshnikov Arts Center - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Dickson, Andrew (2008-08-29). "Theatre review: Fragments / Young Vic, London". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Love, Catherine (2012-01-17). "Kathryn Hunter". Exeunt Magazine. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Shenton, Mark (2008-05-22). "Macbeth's Rupert Goold Named One of RSC's New Associate Directors". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Brown, John Russell (2012). The Routledge Companion to Actors' Shakespeare. Routledge. pp. 179–185. ISBN 9780415483025.
- What's On In Stratford-Upon-Avon
- Billington, Michael (2010-03-03). "Theatre review | King Lear | Courtyard | Stratford". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Nice, David (21 January 2011). "Kathryn Hunter withdraws from RSC productions". The Arts Desk (170).
- Billington, Michael (2016-02-23). "Cyrano de Bergerac review – strutting Kathryn Hunter follows her nose". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Schilling, Jane (2016-02-23). "This Cyrano de Bergerac was a squandered opportunity". Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Jacques, Adam (4 September 2011). "How We Met: Simon McBurney & Kathryn Hunter". The Independent.