This powerful version of Chekhov's famous drama of disillusionment, The Cherry Orchard, is set in rural South Africa on a farm producing cherry trees immediately after the restoration of democracy to South Africa in 1994.
Janet Suzman was born in Johannesburg, graduated from the University of Witwatersrand, trained at LAMDA, and joined the RSC for its inaugural season, the Wars of the Roses in 1962, where she stayed on and off for a decade playing many of the heroines and culminating in a memorable Cleopatra. She has since pursued a richly varied career in all manner of performance disciplines; among them The Singing Detective on TV and The Draughtsman's Contract on film. She has twice won The Evening Standard Best Actress Award (Chekhov and Fugard), had Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations (Nicholas and Alexandra), twice won The Liverpool Echo Best Production Award (Miller and Shakespeare), and also the TMA Best Production for her Cherry Orchard. The Johannesburg Othello - so named by Channel Four TV and aired in 1988 - was her directorial debut for The Market Theatre of which she is a founding Patron. She re-wrote and directed Brecht's Good Person of Setzuan to a local South African setting and has written a handbook on Shakespeare's comedies. She was appointed Dame of the British Empire for services to drama in 2011.