The co-op bookstore for avid readers
Book Cover for: Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent, Judi Dench

Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent

Judi Dench

Reader Score


91% of readers

recommend this book

Critic Reviews


Based on 11 reviews on

BookMarks logo
The New York Times Best Seller logo
2024 The New York Times Best Seller


Taking a curtain call with a live snake in her wig...

Cavorting naked through the Warwickshire countryside painted green...

Acting opposite a child with a pumpkin on his head...

These are just a few of the things Dame Judi Dench has done in the name of Shakespeare.

For the very first time, Judi opens up about every Shakespearean role she has played throughout her seven-decade career, from Lady Macbeth and Titania to Ophelia and Cleopatra. In a series of intimate conversations with actor & director Brendan O'Hea, she guides us through Shakespeare's plays with incisive clarity, revealing the secrets of her rehearsal process and inviting us to share in her triumphs, disasters, and backstage shenanigans.

Interspersed with vignettes on audiences, critics, company spirit and rehearsal room etiquette, she serves up priceless revelations on everything from the craft of speaking in verse to her personal interpretations of some of Shakespeare's most famous scenes, all brightened by her mischievous sense of humour, striking level of honesty and a peppering of hilarious anecdotes, many of which have remained under lock and key until now.

Instructive and witty, provocative and inspiring, this is ultimately Judi's love letter to Shakespeare, or rather, The Man Who Pays The Rent.

Book Details

  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publish Date: Apr 23rd, 2024
  • Pages: 400
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.45in - 6.45in - 1.39in - 1.28lb
  • EAN: 9781250325778
  • Categories: Entertainment & Performing ArtsWomen

About the Author

Dench, Judi: - Dame Judi Dench, one of the foremost actors of our day, has won the Oscar, the Tony and the Olivier award. She is the author of the book And Furthermore.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

"A magical love letter to Shakespeare" - Kenneth Branagh

"'s a mark of Dench's impish genius and O'Hea's deftness that it genuinely feels like you're sitting at her kitchen table with her. It's companionable and compelling - if you love Judi Dench or Shakespeare (and most of us do), look no further." - The Guardian

"...swirls and dances with brilliance and mischief...Judi knows Shakespeare from the inside - she's who Shakespeare had in mind when he took up his quill. The wisdom here is breath-taking...The book is pure enchantment." - The Daily Mail (Book of the Week)

"An utterly delightful book...there can be few higher pleasures in civilised life than hearing Judi Dench recite the poetry of Shakespeare...What emerges is a wealth of unpretentious horse sense - Shakespeare from a great actor's perspective - that repeatedly strikes to the heart of the matter with a sharp instinctive intelligence that puts fancy-pants literary critics to shame." - The Telegraph

"This is a perceptive read, suffused with Dench's trademark twinkly-eyed humour...Her lifelong love of these plays, their humanity and universality, is unmistakable, but this is a refreshingly honest, unacademic take...Dench's scene-by-scene analysis of many works is sharp and her memory for seemingly inconsequential fragments of line-reading or costume, laser-like.." - iNews