Judi Dench: interview

With an Oscar for ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and a further five nominations, Dame Judi Dench is a national theatrical treasure, and one of Time Out London’s 40th birthday heroes

  • Judi Dench: interview

    Judi Dench: 'Theatre will always survive, whatever people say'

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

    What’s it like to be a London hero?

    'I’m not a Londoner! I was born in Yorkshire, I came down here to be a student. But that’s extremely nice. I am going to wave a lot in my car on my way home.'

    Who are your London heroes – past or present?

    'I would like to nominate Arnold Crook [Chairman of the Theatre Royal Haymarket] and Kevin Spacey. He’s taken over the Vic and kind of eschewed his life in America and I think we are very lucky to have him here.'

    What is your personal favourite London moment? Where were you and what was happening?

    'I was running to meet somebody and this was very early on. I got a magazine, and in this magazine was a lip pencil. And it said that you must just do a tiny little tip at the corner of your mouth with this thing. So I did, and expected a very romantic moment. And I ran towards this man and instead of this wonderful embrace, he looked at me and said ‘Why have you got a comedy mouth on?’ We are talking about the early ’60s. It wasn’t very swinging and hip, but it was a bucket of ice-cold water in my face.'

    What’s the future for theatre in London?

    'Theatre will always survive, whatever people say. But it would help if we didn’t have VAT on theatre seats. That would be a great help for everybody.'

    Complete the sentence: London is…

    'I always try to put myself in someone else’s shoes, particularly on one of those very bright, bright spring mornings when you come and you go across the bridge on the Thames and you think: This is the ideal of a northern city.’See all Time Out's 40th birthday London heroes

  • Add your comment to this feature