Heather Neill
Critic, Writer and Interviewer

Theatre was - somehow - there from the start. Aged six I read Titania aloud at school. At 15 I was Macbeth, resplendent in droopy knitted chainmail, at Llanelli Girls' Grammar School. While at University (Westfield College, London) I did a bit of acting but - wisely - spent more time organising trips to Stratford. In my vacations I sold programmes at the Old Vic during the early days of Olivier's National Theatre.

Armed with a degree in English, I worked as a teacher and directed school productions, including An Italian Straw Hat and The House of Bernarda Alba at James Allen's Girls' School in Dulwich, before joining The Times Educational Supplement as a sub-editor. Eventually, after a stint as Children's Books Editor, I became Arts and Literary Editor at the TES while regularly contributing features about theatre to various broadsheets, most frequently The Times. I did some travel writing and book reviewing too, for The Times and the Listener, and, for a year, edited National Theatre programmes, including for Volpone.

In 2003 I left the TES to freelance. Since then I have continued to write features and programme notes for the Globe, the National Theatre and others, to interview directors and actors for the radio website, theatreVoice.com and to review for The Stage and The Arts Desk.

Shakespeare is once again important as I work with the Globe's Education Department, chairing events and leading discussions. I speak on Shakespeare in Performance to, among others, students at the University of Venice and attendees at the V&A's recent Shakespeare Festival. (I have spoken on other topics at the University of Venice including theatrical mistakes, Tom Stoppard and Harold Pinter.) In 2017 I will be speaking on both Macbeth and Shakespearian metatheatre.

Between 2011 and 2014 I was a Trustee of the Poetry Society and the secretary of the Drama section of the Critics' Circle. I am a member of the Council of Shakespeare's Globe.

 

You can contact me on heather@heatherneill.co.uk. I am occasionally on Twitter.