Readings from Shakespeare by Louis Burke


Working in the professional theater for over 40 years on four continents, Louis Burke has performed, produced and directed on stage, screen, radio and television. Born in South Africa, he studied the violin for many years. His mother, Poppins Salomon, danced with Anna Pavlova, and instilled a love of theater and the dance in her son. He worked for two years in an accounting firm, which held him in good stead when he started producing, and keeping to budgets. He acquired his BA at the University of Natal, is a Licentiate of the Trinity College of London, and studied at the Stanislavski Institute.

An accomplished classical actor, his many great roles include Oberon, Shylock, Iago, Cassius, Brutus, Mercutio, Petruchio, Macbeth, and Valere in Moliere's Miser, The Husband in Rashomon, Haemon in Antigone, Tegeus-Chromis in A Phoenix Too Frequent & Rudolpho in A View from the Bridge. Other productions in which he appeared include Murder in the Cathedral, Therese Raquin, Ardele, Edward II, People at Sea, The Gentle Rain, Arsenic & Old Lace, My Three Angels & A Taste of Honey. Musical theater credits include Tony in The Boy Friend, Dick Trevor in Lady Be Good, Dream Curly in Oklahoma!, Peachum in The Beggar's Opera; Justice Squeezum in Lock Up Your Daughters, and fifteen months playing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Producing & directing stopped his career as an actor.

...Continued at bottom...


SOUNDCLOUD

The Sonnets

Podcast 1 (Friday February 5 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/sonnets


The Tempest


Podcast 1 (Friday February 12 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/the-tempest-podcast-1
Podcast 2 (Friday February 19 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/the-tempest-podcast-2
Podcast 3 (Friday February 26 2021
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/the-tempest-podcast-3


King Lear


Podcast 5 - ACT V - (Tuesday 26 January 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/king-lear-act-5

Podcast 4 - ACT IV (Friday 22 January 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/king-lear-act-iv-podcast


Podcast 3 (Tuesday 19 January 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/king-lear-podcast-3

Podcast 2 - ACT II - (Monday 25 January 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/king-lear-act-ii

Podcast 1 (Friday 8 January 2021)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/king-lear-podcast-1a


Poetry series
Podcast 1 (Friday 23 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/my-favourite-poems
Podcast 2 (Tuesday 27 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/poetry-podcast-2
Podcast 3 (Friday, 30 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/poems-podcast-3-final
Podcast 4 (Tuesday, 3 November 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/poems-podcast-4-final

Hamlet

Podcast 1 (Tuesday 6 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/hamlet-podcast-1
Podcast 2 (Friday 9 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/hamlet-podcast-2
Podcast 3 (Tuesday 13 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/solo-cello-passion
Podcast 4 (Friday 16 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/hamlet-podcast-4
Podcast 5 (Tuesday 20 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/the-fifth-and-final-podcast-of-hamlet-by-louis-burke

The Merchant of Venice

Podcast 1 (Tuesday 22 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/merchant-of-venice-podcast-1
Podcast 2 (Friday 25 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/merchant-of-venice-podcast-2
Podcast 3 (Tuesday 29 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/merchant-of-venice-podcast-3
Podcast 4 (Friday 2 October 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/merchant-of-venice-podcast-4-final


T.S. Eliot - The Wasteland
(Friday 18 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/wasteland-final


Twelfth Night

Podcast 1 (Friday 4 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/twelfth-night-podcast-1
Podcast 2 (Tuesday 8 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/twelfth-night-podcast-two
Podcast 3 (Friday 11 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/twelfth-night-podcast-3-final
Podcast 4 (Tuesday 15 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/twelfth-night-podcast-four


Julius Caesar

Podcast 1 (Tuesday 25 August 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/getting-to-know-the-bard-with-louis-burk
Podcast 2 (Friday 28 August 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/julius-caesar-podcast-2
Podcast 3 (Tuesday 1 September 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/julius-caesar-podcast-3


The Dream

Podcast 1 (Tuesday 18 August 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/the-dream-podcast-1
Podcast 2 (Friday 21 August 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/the-dream-podcast-2

Romeo & Juliet
Podcast 1 (Tuesday 11 August 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/romeo-juliet-podcast-1
Podcast 2 (Friday 14 August 2020)
https://soundcloud.com/user-462356525/romeo-juliet-podcast-2

 
 
Working in the professional theater for over 40 years on four continents, Louis has performed, produced and directed on stage, screen, radio and television. Born in South Africa, he studied the violin for many years. His mother, Poppins Salomon, danced with Anna Pavlova, and instilled a love of theater and the dance in her son. He worked for two years in an accounting firm, which held him in good stead when he started producing, and keeping to budgets. He acquired his BA at the University of Natal, is a Licentiate of the Trinity College of London, and studied at the Stanislavski Institute.

An accomplished classical actor, his many great roles include Oberon, Shylock, Iago, Cassius, Brutus, Mercutio, Petruchio, Macbeth, and Valere in Moliere's Miser, The Husband in Rashomon, Haemon in Antigone, Tegeus-Chromis in A Phoenix Too Frequent & Rudolpho in A View from the Bridge. Other productions in which he appeared include Murder in the Cathedral, Therese Raquin, Ardele, Edward II, People at Sea, The Gentle Rain, Arsenic & Old Lace, My Three Angels & A Taste of Honey. Musical theater credits include Tony in The Boy Friend, Dick Trevor in Lady Be Good, Dream Curly in Oklahoma!, Peachum in The Beggar's Opera; Justice Squeezum in Lock Up Your Daughters, and fifteen months playing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Producing & directing stopped his career as an actor.

With his wife of 50 years, actress Joan Brickhill, they ran the Brickhill-Burke Academy, training hundreds of students, with a large staff of teachers. Their multi-faceted talents encompassed every aspect of theater: acting, directing, producing, choreographing and lighting. With a host of musical spectaculars, they were instrumental in raising the standard of South African theater to international heights, and worked for African Consolidated Theaters for many years, devising many of their own shows, and touring the largest theaters in the country, making millions for ACT and themselves. . Their African musical Meropa ran for two years in SA, then moved to London's West End as KwaZulu. Nominated Musical of the Year, it was chosen for the Royal Command Performance at the Palladium before Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

They ran His Majesty's Theater in Johannesburg for eight years, and their Shakespeare for Schools program brought thousands of children to the theater during the day to see first class productions of the Bard, while producing and directing major musicals at night. With a show at His Majesty's, another on tour and still another in rehearsal, the company employed over 350 people. Unfortunately, the theater was replaced with a shopping center in the early 80's, and a supermarket now stands in its place. With the demise of His Majesty's, the company moved to New York in 1985. Since moving to America, Mr. Burke co-produced and directed his first major American production, the Broadway musical Meet Me in St. Louis. This beautiful show opened at the Gershwin Theater, and ran for nine months before touring for over two years. It was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Musical, and Best Choreography for Joan. This past decade, Mr. Burke has taught Master Classes in Shakespeare in New York and Connecticut, and lectured at the University of New Haven, where he directed Rashomon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Babe - the Sheep-pig, Anouilh’s Antigone, T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, My Three Angels, Moliere’s The Miser and The Crucible, and adjudicated various scholarship programs across the country.

He was invited by the Kennedy Center to adjudicate and lecture to the American Theater College Festival, and has been working and advising many new playwrights with their New Works. A member of The American Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, and The League of American Theaters and Producers, he is President of Brickhill-Burke Productions, and Founder and Artistic Director of The Stratford Festival Theater in Connecticut. Some years ago, he moved to Stratford, to concentrate his resources on developing the new Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theater, to become a year round three-theater operation on the banks of the Housatonic River, a cultural center and entertainment destination to rival their sister cities of Stratford-on-Avon in England and Stratford, Ontario in Canada. He recently established his new company Festival Enterprises to develop a Resort Destination surrounding an International Theater and Film Festival, including new Film, TV and recording studios. Besides spearheading the Academy, he has been building and training a Young Company of local actors ranging from 7-70, who will be in the SFT School Tours.

Well known in the theatrical community internationally, he organized lectures and workshops with people like John Barton, Michael Langham, Adrian Hall, Lynn Britt, David Suchet and Murray Biggs, Professor of English and Theater Studies at Yale. These drew many Founding Members, all of which he has brought to the project (see enclosed). He directed a production of Murder in the Cathedral starring Nafe Katter as Thomas Becket, and produced many galas and special events, culminating with Christopher Plummer appearing in his brilliant Henry V, with Michael Lankester conducting the 65-piece Hartford Symphony Orchestra and a choir of 120, raising over $100,000 in one night. The Galas and “New Works” Play Reading Series were particularly memorable, as it brought Founding Members like Julie Harris, James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Maureen Anderman, James Naughton, John Glover, Stefanie Powers, Tammy Grimes, Len Cariou, Douglas Sills, Millicent Martin, Ron Rifkin, Louis Zorich, Elaine Stritch, John Cunningham, Timothy Jerome, Keir Dullea, Mia Dillon, Jerome Kilty and Celeste Holm to the community.
Michael York nominated him for last year’s Sam Wanamaker Award. Founding Member Dame Judi Dench recently gifted him The Rose Theater from the film of Shakespeare in Love. This is huge, as The Globe Theater has now become the second most important tourist attraction in London. His productions, which range from Shakespeare and lavish musicals to plays, motion pictures and television, include:
Shakespeare:
The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry IV-Part 1, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale

Plays:
The Miser, Rashomon, L' Enfant Prodigue, Murder in the Cathedral, Therese Raquin, Arsenic and Old Lace, A Phoenix Too Frequent, Night of January 16th, Ladies In Retirement, Life With Father, Dark of the Moon, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Antigone, Babe - The Sheep-Pig, My Three Angels, The Crucible, and Chekhov’s The Bear and The Boor with Albee’s The Zoo Story.

Musicals and Spectaculars:
Meet Me In St. Louis (BROADWAY), Hello Dolly, Mame, The King & I, Barnum, Annie, The Beggar's Opera, Robert and Elizabeth, The Boy Friend, I Love My Wife (South Africa & Australia), They're Playing Our Song, The Sound Of Music, Grease, Gypsy, South Pacific, Oklahoma!, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Lock up Your Daughters, Bedazzled, Razzle Dazzle, Follies Fantastique, Follies Spectacular, and several productions of The Minstrel Follies, Meropa – The Drums of Africa – renamed KwaZulu in LONDON, including The Royal Command Performance before the Queen and Prince Phillip.

Feature Film:
Follow that Rainbow – and now working on developing films of Murder in the Cathedral, Shaviana and The Bishop of Darkness.

"NEW WORKS" CELEBRITY PLAY READING SERIES FOR
STRATFORD FESTIVAL THEATER.

• *Monsters by Michael T. Folie - with James Earl Jones & James Naughton

• O, Cursed Spite by John A. Churilla - with John Glover, Christian Camargo & Louis Burke

• *Whitechapel by Marty Martin - with Julie Harris, John Tillinger & Maureen Anderman

• *Voodoo Mambo by T. Wayne Moore - with Millicent Martin & Douglas Taylor

• Apollo's Fire by L.J.Schneiderman - with Len Cariou, Simon Jones & Jeffrey Donovan

• *The Adjustment by Michael T. Folie - with Stefanie Powers & Ron Rifkin

• *Shaviana by Marty Martin - with Tammy Grimes & Norman Allen

• Don Juan in Hell by G. B. Shaw - with Jerome Kilty, Keir Dullea, Mia Dillon & Louis Burke

• To Be Continued by Maggie Williams – with Elaine Stritch, Timothy Jerome & Louis Burke

• *The Ebony Ape by Charles E. Pogue - with Douglas Sills & David Cromwell

• Bishop of Darkness by Marty Martin - with Keir Dullea, Louis Zorich & Louis Burke

• The Last Station by Blake and Conan Robison - with John Cunningham & Jerome Kilty

• Toes by Anne Ellwood - with Celeste Holm, Norman Allen & Louis Burke

GALAS, SPECIAL EVENTS AND FUND RAISERS :

Christopher Plummer in "Henry V"- at The Stratford Festival Theater
with Michael Lankester conducting the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and a choir of 120.

"From Around the Globe" at The Stratford Festival Theater
Shakespeare inspired Music and Moments - The United States Coast Guard Band, with Founding Members Jane Alexander, Nafe Katter, Keir Dullea, Maureen Anderman, Norman Allen and members of the Young Company.

*"Murder in the Cathedral" by T. S. Eliot
starring Nafe Katter as Thomas Becket and members of the Young Company

*”The Odd Couple” by Neil Simon at The Shubert Theater in New Haven
starring Jack Klugman, Tony Randall and members of the Young Company

John Barton Workshop at Stratford
Tammy Grimes, Millicent Martin, Didi Cohn, Kate Burton, Eric Stoltz, Charlotte Moore, David Aaron Baker, Charles Durning, Tandy Cronin, members of the Young Company, and representatives of all the major educational facilities in Connecticut, who were invited to attend.

Chekhov Workshop - with Professor Murray Biggs, Yale University

VARIOUS BANQUETS, VICTORIAN TEAS, RENAISSANCE FAIRS, ETC.

*Directed by Louis Burke
LETTER FROM CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

I love Connecticut. I’ve lived here a great part of my life. I still live here and I hope I always will. Connecticut has just about everything, except the one thing that would put the icing on the cake - a Festival of the Arts, a summer and winter festival dedicated to the plays of Shakespeare and all classic writers ancient and modem.

It did have one once. I was in it back in 1955, the first year that noble building went up and for the next few years it enjoyed huge success. Some wonderful performers played there, some really tremendous work was done people came from all over the land. The proximity to New York didn’t matter a damn, in fact, it enhanced and encouraged the success.

Tourists love to get out into the countryside and become part of a festival atmosphere. They came in droves and they left, enriched; so were the community and the state enriched - not merely through culture and entertainment (one and the same) but by the coffers its revenue poured in. Connecticut had something different of its own to be proud of, for the American Shakespeare Theatre was recognized and respected the world over.

But the old leader vanished and it began to falter. A few attempts were made to rekindle its spirit but nothing stuck and it faded away. It wasn’t the people’s fault - the people loved it, wanted it, needed it. It was questionable leadership or total lack of it that eventually closed its door, a misconception of the importance of theater and an absence of the necessary devotion and courage to maintain it. I know! I sat there at several meetings — and the building sat there too - waiting!

Now we have a man whose very countenance spells “leader.” Enter Louis Burke. Don’t be afraid. Burke thinks big. And that’s the only way to think if this tremendous project is to get off the ground once more. The cautious, penny-pinching method has been tried and has failed. So I’m behind Burke and so should we all be. I don’t think we have a choice. It will be a long time before anyone comes forward with his knowledge, experience, daring and massive enthusiasm.

Would it not be wonderful to breathe life into that remarkable building once more, that noble structure that stands waiting to go into action? England has one, Canada has one, why shouldn’t we? We deserve it. Connecticut deserves it. Why? Because it gives us something beyond our ordinary, comfortable, somewhat complacent daily existence. It brings joy and beauty; it educates and entertains the young, re-educates and inspires the old, heightens our aspirations and our dreams and, most important, now more than ever, it immeasurably improves the quality of life.

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER
Wilton, CT This letter appeared in the Connecticut Post and the Stratford Star.

Mr. Plummer appeared at the Stratford Festival Theater in a Gala performance of his Henry V with Michael Lankester conducting the 65-piece Hartford Symphony in the William Walton score from the Laurence Olivier film, with a local choir of 120. Produced by Louis Burke, the program opened with Tchaikowski’s Romeo & Juliet Overture. Many members of The Young Company appeared in the performance, which raised over $100,000 in one night for SFT.
STRATFORD FESTIVAL THEATER
FOUNDING MEMBERS

Jane Alexander – Norman Allen – Maureen Anderman
David Aaron Baker – John Barton – Theodore Bikel
Philip Bosco – Ken Billington – Joan Brickhill
Carol Burnett – Kate Burton – John Caird
Len Cariou - Stockard Channing – Tony Church
David Cromwell - Tandy Cronyn – Billy Crudup
John Cullum - Michael Cumpsty – John Cunningham
Jim Dale - Blythe Danner - Ruby Dee
Mark Deklin - Dame Judi Dench - Brian Dennehy
Mia Dillon - Keir Dullea – Faye Dunaway
Jeffrey Donovan - Olympia Dukakis - Charles Durning
Penny Fuller - Betty Garrett - John Glover - John Goodman
Tammy Grimes - Adrian Hall - Julie Harris
Rosemary Harris - George Hearn - Edward Hibbert
Celeste Holm - Dana Ivey - Anne Jackson
Timothy Jerome - James Earl Jones - Simon Jones
Nafe Katter - Judy Kaye - Jerome Kilty
Jane Krakowski - Nathan Lane - Frank Langella
Angela Lansbury - Robert Sean Leonard – Bram Lewis
Millicent Martin - David McCallum – Rue McClanahan
Geraldine McEwan - Sir Ian McKellen – Mark McVey
Kathryn Meisle - Gerry Mitchell - Liliane Montevecchi
Charlotte Moore – Brian Murray - James Naughton
Liam Neeson – Milo O'Shea - Austin Pendleton
Christopher Plummer - Stefanie Powers - Lynn Redgrave
Roger Rees - Natasha Richardson - Ron Rifkin
Laila Robins - Douglas Sills – Sir Patrick Stewart
Elaine Stritch - David Suchet - Marlo Thomas
John Tillinger – Topol - Eli Wallach - Fritz Weaver
Michael York - Rachel York – Louis Zorich

Elizabeth Taylor is an honorary member of the Artistic Advisory Board


Extract from 'My African Incarnation'

The night I saw Margot dance Juliet at Covent Garden was amazing. I had arrived in London after a few days in Germany, and called her to say 'hello'. She said she was opening in “Romeo & Juliet” that night, and did I have black tie? I did and she said she'd try to get me a ticket. She called back later and said to pick it up at the box office, and come back after the show and ask for Tom at the stage door.
It was a magical night, and I found myself sitting in the Royal Circle between the Duchess of Argyll and Lord Snowden. Margot and Rudi were sensational together, and when the final curtain fell at 10.28, the audience went crazy, throwing flowers all over the couple taking their bows. Fifteen minutes later, they were still clapping; my hands were raw. Extracating myself from the audience, I found the stage door and asked for Tom..

“Oh, you must be Mr. Burke. Dame Margot is expecting you. Follow me!” He proceeded to take me behind the cyc, and I realized they were still taking calls. When we got to the other side, he said to wait there; I looked onto the stage, where they were knee-deep in flowers. Margot saw me, whispered to Rudi, and the next moment, ran into my arms.

“How wonderful to see you. We must get to my dressing room. The Chinese Ambassador and his wife are expected, and I need you to open the champagne and serve them while I change. Then you can join us for dinner.” We ran to her dressing room, and her dresser helped her while I was shown the small fridge. I laid out six glasses on the tray, and struggled to open the Veuve Clicquot. Margot disappeared behind a screen, and moments later emerged in a simple black dress. A knock on the door heralded the Ambassador, and I popped the cork and poured, offering everyone drinks. Margot had styled her hair in a bun and looked radiant. While drinking, Rudi swept into the room, dressed in a grey snake-skin suit, a grey mink draped over his shoulders, and thigh-high grey suede boots. Margot introduced me, reminding him I was Poppins' son, who had danced with Pavlova, and that merited a smile. However, he said it was time to eat; the Ambassador and wife left. Margot, Rudi and I followed to the stage door, where Tom ushered us out to the waiting Rolls Royce. The problem was it was surrounded by hundreds of screaming fans, all pushing autograph books at the stars. They signed a few, but Rudi soon said it was time to go, and we climbed into the Rolls and rolled away from the fans.

We soon found ourselves at the Caprice Restaurant, and were shown to a table in the middle of the room, where we were seated and a waiter poured more champagne. Menus were thrust at us, and we ordered – Margot her usual rare steak and salad. Then I realized we were sitting next to Princess Margaret, who never stopped complaining all night. How sad to be so unhappy! Margot handled her beautifully. We had a great time, and they later asked if I would care to join them at class the next morning. Sadly I had to decline, as I had so many appointments, but it was a memorable night in every way, and always a joy to be with Margot.