The performing arts publisher


quick | advanced


My Cart

Items : 0
Sub total : $0.00

View Cart 
Shipping Policy


Author Profile

Brutus and Other Heroines
$27.26 ex GST
$29.99 inc GST

Brutus and Other Heroines

Playing Shakespeare's Roles for Women

Harriet Walter

‘A part we have played is like a person we once met, grew to know,  became intimately enmeshed with and finally moved away from.  Some of these characters remain friends, others are like ex–lovers with whom we no longer have anything in common. All of them bring something out in us that will never go back in the box.’

In a varied and distinguished career, Harriet Walter has played almost all of Shakespeare’s heroines, notably  Ophelia, Helena, Portia, Viola, Imogen, Lady Macbeth, Beatrice and  Cleopatra, mostly for the Royal Shakespeare Company. But where, she asks, does an actress go after playing Cleopatra’s magnificent death? Why didn’t Shakespeare write more–and more powerful–roles for mature women?

For Walter, the solution was to ignore the dictates of centuries of tradition, and to begin playing the mature  male characters. Her  Brutus in an all–female  Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse was widely acclaimed, and was soon followed by  Henry IV. What, she asks, can an actress bring to these roles–and is there any fundamental difference in the way they must be played?

In Brutus and Other Heroines, Walter discusses each of these roles–both male and female–from the inside, explaining the particular choices she made in preparing and performing each character. Her extraordinarily perceptive and intimate accounts illuminate each play as a whole, offering a treasure trove of valuable insights for theatregoers, scholars and anyone interested in how the plays work on stage. Aspiring actors, too, will discover the many possibilities open to them in playing these magnificent roles.

The book is anexploration of the Shakespearean canon through the eyes of a self-identified ‘feminist actor’–but, above all, a remarkable account of an acting career unconstrained by tradition or expectations. It concludes with an affectionate rebuke to her beloved Will: ‘I cannot imagine a world without you. I just wish you had put more women at the centre of your world/stage… I would love you to come back and do some rewrites.’


'Brutus and Other Heroines has greater horse sense about Shakespeare than a wilderness of critics. Any actor who wants to master their art should read it and take notes.'  from Peter Craven's review for The Weekend Australian Review, read the full review here.

Read Lynne Lancaster's review for ArtsHub here.

Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-293-3 | Sales: Australia/NZ only  | PB
Other People’s Shoes
$23.63 ex GST
$25.99 inc GST

Other People’s Shoes

Harriet Walter
Harriet Walter's wonderfully practical - and personal - introduction to acting.

"Acting is what I do with who I am", writes Harriet Walter. And in this book she takes us step by step through the processes involved in performance. Each step of the way is illuminated with brilliantly precise examples drawn from her own experience.

'My advice to a young actor: read this book.' Richard Eyre

Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-751-9 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB