John Bell is one of Australia’s most acclaimed theatre personalities. In a career of acting and directing, John Bell has been instrumental in shaping the Australian theatre industry as we know it.
In 1990, Bell founded the theatre company Bell Shakespeare and has produced, among others, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, Pericles, Henry IV, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, King Lear, and Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters.
In the New Years Day Honours of 1978 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1987, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). In Australia Day Honours of 2009, he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
His achievements in theatre have been acknowledged by the Universities of Newcastle (1994) and Sydney (1996) who have both awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Letters. In 2001 a painting of Bell by artist Nicholas Harding won the Archibald Prize. In 2002, Bell’s performance of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in Richard III earned him a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play.
In 2003 the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, presented Bell with the Cultural Leader of the Year Award. In 2009 he received the JC Williamson Award for his life’s work in the live performance industry. He has been named an Australian Living Treasure.
For further information go to www.bellshakespeare.com.au