Miriam Margolyes – Dickens’ Women

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UK star of stage and screen, Miriam Margolyes OBE is one of the world’s most celebrated character actors. She is currently in Australia touring her one-woman show, Dickens’ Women, following a successful season in the West End in London – and it’s coming to Port Macquarie.

Miriam Margolyes will give two performances of Dickens’ Women at the Glasshouse on Tuesday 17 April at 7.30pm and Wednesday 18 April at 11am. The national tour has been scheduled to tie in with Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday. Nominated for an Olivier Award, Dickens’ Women has toured throughout the UK, USA, New Zealand and India.

Bringing to life twenty-three of Charles Dickens’ most affecting and colourful characters, Margolyes presents her powerful, comprehensive, and at times hilarious expose of Dickens the writer and the man – and the real-life women who found themselves immortalised on his pages.

As Melbourne’s Age newspaper reported, “When she appears as herself, Margolyes sparkles with intelligence and enthusiasm .. when she inhabits Dickens’ characters, you’d swear they lived and breathed in front of you”.

In the show that she co-wrote with Sonia Fraser, Margolyes presents characters from Martin Chuzzlewit, Sketches by Boz, The Uncommercial Traveller, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, Oliver Twist, Domby and Son, David Copperfield, Mrs Lirripers’ Lodgings, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations and Bleak House, plus excerpts from Dickens’ Collected Letters.

Mrs Micawber from David Copperfield, Miss Havisham in Great Expectations and the grotesque Mrs Gramp in Martin Chuzzlewit are just some of the characters Margolyes brings to life on the show.

Miriam Margolyes is a regular visitor to Australia. As a young woman, Miriam developed a friendship with Manning Clarke’s daughter Katerina and spent many days at their home in the Southern Highlands, where she now also has a house.

She has appeared on stage with Melbourne Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company and between February and April this year, Miriam Margolyes is appearing in the ABC1 television adaptation of Kerry Greenwood’s Phyrne Fisher Murder Mystery Series, set in Melbourne in the 1930s.

With an extensive film and television career, her credits include Ladies in Lavender, Being Julia, End of Days, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Gertrude Stein, with Barbra Streisand in Yentl, and as Professor Sprout in the film adaptations of Harry Potter.

She has appeared alongside Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder (playing Queen Victoria), and on the BBC three hit series Merlin, Doc Martin and Stephen Fry’s Kingdom. In 2006, she starred as The Nurse in Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. 

As a voice actress, Margolyes has given life to some of film’s most memorable characters, including Fly, the Dog, in Babe, The Matchmaker in Disney’s Mulan and the Singing Teacher in the Oscar-winning Happy Feet.

International stage credits include Sir Peter Hall’s Romeo & Juliet and The Importance of Being Earnest, The Threepenny Opera, The Vagina Monologues and most recently A Day in the Death of Joe Egg at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow. Margolyes appeared as Madame Morrible in the West End and Broadway productions of the smash hit musical Wicked.

Winner of a BAFTA-award for Best Supporting Actress in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, Margolyes has also received Best Supporting Actress at the LA Critics Circle Awards, a Sony Radio Award for Best Actress, and multiple Theatregoers’ Choice Awards.

Miriam Margolyes is passionate about Charles Dickens, whom she describes as “a dazzling complex genius, both demonic and caring – an important figure in English literature, who is perhaps the greatest prose writer that we have ever had”. Margoyles believes that only Shakespeare has matched Dickens’ ability to enter our imagination. “Reading Dickens is a lifelong activity for me. I think it is important to read Dickens aloud, to fully appreciate the characters he has created. When Dickens was writing, he would often read aloud and in character.”

Margolyes says she feels like “a missionary taking Charles Dickens into the dark continent of people who don’t read classics or long books any more. There is a whole range of imaginative experiences that I want to awaken. People are watching screens all day – cinema, TV, Nintendo, computers, gadget screens, telephones.  I see people on the bus reading their telephone when you can get the whole of Dickens’ books for free online. You just need a Kindle!”

Dickens’ Women is a theatrical experience which has wowed audiences across the world. It is moving, dramatic, funny and pure entertainment. The show is guaranteed to reignite an interest in rereading Dickens, satisfy the large band of Dickens’ fans or open the door to Dickens’ world for the very first time. Magic.


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