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In Search of “Great” Acting: Duse, Stanislavsky, Bernhardt - evaluating the performers of the past

Monday 24 October 2022, 5:15pm
Alec Clegg Studio

Paul Fryer, Visiting Professor School of Performance and Cultural Industries, and Co-Director of The Stanislavsky Research Centre.

How do we recognise “great” acting – how do we record that experience?

How do we evaluate the legendary actors on the 19th and early 20th centuries – and does it matter to us today?

This presentation (which will include some rare audio and video material) will explore the evidence upon which we generally base contemporary judgements of historic performers.

Focusing upon figures including Eleonora Duse, Sarah Bernhardt and Konstantin Stanislavsky we explore how their legacy has been passed down to us, in an attempt to establish what we can really learn from them.


Paul Fryer originally trained as an actor at The Guildhall School. He holds an MA from the University of London and a PhD from The University of Manchester. He has lectured and presented film screenings internationally, and was a regular presenter for the Film Division of the Library of Congress in Washington DC. He has published ten books – most recently Viktor Simov, Stanislavsky’s Designer (Routledge) and Clive Barker and his Legacy (Bloomsbury/Methuen). He is Co-Director of The Stanislavsky Research Centre, Editor-in-Chief of Stanislavski Studies, Series Editor of the Routledge book series Stanislavsky And…, and co-convenor of The S Word research project.