Michael Pennington is an English actor, director and writer. He was born in Cambridge, the son of a Scottish mother and a Welsh father, and grew up in London. He was educated at Marlborough College, became a member of the National Youth Theatre and then read English at Trinity College, Cambridge. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company on graduation and remained in a junior capacity from 1964 to 1966, playing among other things Fortinbras in David Warner’s 1965 Hamlet. He then left the company for eight years and worked in London, both on the stage (in John Mortimer’s The Judge, Christopher Hampton’s Savages and Tony Richardson’s production of Hamlet with Nicol Williamson), and on TV in many single dramas. He returned to the RSC in 1974 to play Angelo in Measure for Measure, beginning a relationship with the company as a leading actor which culminated in his own performance of Hamlet in 1980-81. He also played Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Edgar in King Lear, and in new work by David Rudkin, David Edgar and Howard Brenton and classic works by Sean O’Casey, Euripides and William Congreve. He then left the company for a further eight years before appearing in Stephen Poliakoff’s Playing with Trains, and ten years after that in the title role of Timon of Athens. In the meantime, he appeared at the National Theatre in 1984 in Tolstoy’s Strider, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award, in Thomas Otway’s Venice Preserv’d, and also premiered his solo show Anton Chekhov, which he has been regularly touring internationally ever since. Together with director Michael Bogdanov, he founded the English Shakespeare Company in 1986 and was its Joint Artistic Director until 1992. In 2006 he premièred his second one-man show, this one on Shakespeare, Sweet William, and in 2009 he worked with Peter Brook for the first time in Love is My Sin for a European Tour and in New York. He has written ten books, directed in the U.K., U.S., Romania and Japan, and is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is popularly known as Moff Jerjerrod in the original Star Wars trilogy film Return of the Jedi.
Michael Pennington reads poetry by: