(Last Updated on : 17/03/2012)
Geoffrey and Laura Kendal are the English theatre couple who became household names in Indian theatre
by virtue of their touring company. The name of the company was "Shakespeareana". Geoffrey Kendal was born in the year 1909 whereas his wife Laura Kendal was born in the year 1908.
Career in Theatre for Geoffrey and Laura Kendal
Geoffrey and Laura Kendal began their career in England, first coming to India in 1944 during World War II as members of the Entertainment National Service Association, playing to Allied soldiers. Their second trip was during 1947-8. That was the troubled days of post-Independence India
. That was a brief tour. The third time during 1953-6 they returned as Shakespearean, travelling all over India on a whistles top tour with 879 performances of a large repertoire of Shakespeare and other English classics. The company went to Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Japan as well. Their productions generated considerable interest among Indians in staging Shakespeare, influencing impressionable youths like Utpal Dutt
, who briefly joined them. The Kendal's daughters, Jennifer Kendel and Felicity Kendel, performed with the company, as did Shashi Kapoor
. Their unusual experiences inspired the Merchant-Ivory film Shakespeare Wallah in 1964. The Kendals also acted in the movies Jxinun i.e. "Possessed" in 1978 and 36 Chowringhee Lane
in 1981. Laura Kendal died in the year 1991 while her husband Geoffrey Kendal died in 1998.
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