The Freud Museum

Events Archive

22 January 2012

The Graving Tool

Sian Thomas in conversation with Timberlake Wertenbaker

A podcast is available for this event on our iTunes page.


This year playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker isWriter in Residence at the Freud Museum, generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Timberlake Wertenbaker is an acclaimed and prolific playwright whose works have been performed and studied all over the world. Her play Our Country’s Good is an A level text and won the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year award in 1988. She is also a translator, translating and adapting plays for performance from French (examples include Marivaux’s False Admissions, Anouilh’s Wild Orchids and Racine’s Phedre) and from classical Greek (examples include Sophocles Elektra and Euripides Hippolytus.) Her recent translation of Racine’s Britannicus received rapturous reviews at Wilton’s Music Hall.

She is using her residency at the Freud Museum to complete her latest play, The Suicide of Colonel A. Ajax inspired by Sophocles’ Ajax.

Timberlake is organising The Graving Tool, a series of conversations between herself and leading theatre practitioners probing how they create complex characters. These conversations will take place on Sunday evenings in January/February 2012 at the Freud Museum. Timberlake will ask how actors and directors explore the physical and mental makeup of a character on stage. How does an actor enter into the psychology of a character, particularly in a new play? What physical manifestation, including habits or tics do they come up with and how is this used in the performance? What do they read, particularly when acting a disturbed character? Where do they find this in themselves? How are actors affected by the personalities they inhabit?

Siân Thomas is an award-winning Welsh actress who has appeared on stage, on TV and in films. After graduating in acting from the Central School of Speech and Drama, she spent a year in rep before working for two years at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre, which she describes as one of the happiest times of her life. Shortly after she made her debut as "Katarina" in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "The Taming of the Shrew" and has since worked with several leading stage groups, notably the National Theatre.

Most recently she played Agrippina in Timberlake Wertenbaker's translation of Britannicus, that she recently played Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Shefiield Crucible and that she is currently appearing at the Donmar's Richard the Second as the Duchess of York.

08 January 2012 - Michael Pennington in conversation with Philip Franks, chaired by Timberlake Wertenbaker


22 January 2012 - Sian Thomas in conversation with Timberlake Wertenbaker

26 February 2012 - Harriet Walter in conversation with Timberlake Wertenbaker


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