Glenda Jackson reveals she has shunned theatres for 20 years

Former actress and Hampstead and Kilburn MP has been too busy to visit playhouses

Veteran Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson revealed she had not been to the theatre in 20 years during a rare public talk about her acting career.

The double Oscar-winning actress, who gave up the stage in 1992 to contest the then Hampstead and Highgate seat, told an audience at the Tricycle Cinema that Parliament kept her “too busy” to go to the theatre.

She said: “I’ve not seen contemporary British theatre for the past 20 years. But I have no regrets. My job is 24 hours and it doesn’t leave me much time.”

Ms Jackson made the comments at a Q&A session after a screening of her Oscar-winning 1973 film A Touch Of Class at the Kilburn Film Festival.


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She usually remains tight- lipped about her cinematic past and often shunned the spotlight during the peak of her acting career when she chose not to pick up her Academy Awards for Women In Love and A Touch Of Class in person.

Ms Jackson broke her silence after repeated invitations from the festival’s organisers in her constituency to take part.

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But she remained characteristically dismissive of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s awards ceremonies.

“I was very lucky. On both occasions I was working so I couldn’t go to pick up my Oscar,” she said.

But the awards proved more popular with her mum.

“She had both the awards on the side board and she polished everything within an inch of its life,” Ms Jackson said. “It didn’t take long for the surface gold to rub off, which I think is quite a fair analogy for the award.”

Ms Jackson said that while her acting reputation was built around playing “neurotic, sex-starved women”, it was actually an appearance on The Morecambe And Wise Show which was one of her most enjoyable parts.

“I thought it was such a brilliant show and the privilege of working with those two was a genuine opportunity,” she said.

“A consortium of the richest in the world could not have put together the kind of programme they had under their skins.

“They gave me the best acting note of my career – it read ‘louder and faster’.”

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