Fiona Shaw: interview

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Last seen on the London stage in the National Theatre's 2007 production of Samuel Beckett's 'Happy Days' Fiona Shaw is widely regarded as one of the finest classical actors of her generation and is one of our 40th birthday heroes

  • Fiona Shaw: interview

    Fiona Shaw: 'I think Waterloo Bridge is where I would have my last second'

  • See all Time Out's 40th birthday London heroes

    You’ve been chosen as one of Time Out’s all-time London heroes – how do you feel about that?

    ‘I suppose we’re the Time Out generation aren’t we? Maybe that’s why. Wish it wasn’t with quite so many grey heads. I suppose quite a lot of it’s generational – time really flew in the ’80s and that’s when we all took off isn’t it?’

    What’s your favourite place or aspect of London?

    ‘The river, of course. The river is just eternally itself and I think Waterloo Bridge is where I would have my last second, looking back at the National Theatre. And the Tate, but it’s not because of Tate Modern or because of the bridge, but the fact that finally it’s woken up, it’s stirred that sort of sleeping entity. It means that you can’t walk around there now without thinking of Johnson’s London or Dickensian London – those sort of backstreets where people bought and sold illegal goods.’

    What’s your personal favourite moment in London – where were you and what was happening?

    ‘Millennium night, I cycled from the river up to Hampstead to meet people I knew. We were going to look at the “river of fire”. I got a puncture and I had to push the bike. I thought it was the most significantly terrible beginning to a millennium ever – I had a puncture and there was no “river of fire”!’

    What do you think the future is for the theatre?

    ‘The future of the theatre lies with the young. But the excellence of the theatre lies with experience. Hopefully the future of the theatre will be a combination of both.’

    What does Time Out mean to you?

    ‘Everything. There’s been fantastic goodwill from Time Out for the theatremakers. And therefore one takes what they say very seriously.’

    Complete the sentence: London is…

    ‘…too big.’See all Time Out's 40th birthday London heroes

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