The celebrated stage and screen actor Joseph Marcell received the 2022 Sam Wanamaker Award in London before a packed audience on the Shakespeare Globe in London. The Sam Wanamaker Award was established by Shakespeare Glove in 1994 to celebrate work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare, and which has a similar quality to the pioneering mission of the Globe’s founder, Sam Wanamaker.
The Shakespeare Globe was opened in June 1997 by Her Majesty the Queen Elizbeth, and is considered one of the top Shakespeare producing theatres in the world. Previous recipient of the Award includes Sir Peter Brook and Ann Nunn, a retired history teacher from Birmingham who would travel from the Midlands to volunteer at the Globe Theatre.
Following a sellout Matinee performance of The Comedy of Errors, Chief Executive of the Globe Theatre, Neil Constable, walked on stage in the manner of a proud head master reading out the school’s end of year report with pride, clip board in hand.
Neil Constable read out Joseph Marcell’s many achievements and association with the globe. Firstly as an actor he has appeared in Coriolanus (2006) Under the Black Flag (2006), Much Ado Nothing (2011), Cymbeline (2015), King John (2015) The Tempest (2016), and King Lear and Omeros in which he played the lead. The two last productions gave Marcell the opportunity to perform in St. Lucia which says will always remain with him, “the love, acceptance and celebration of one’s achievement by one’s own is magical and special.”
Marcell’s 38-year association with the Globe also include directorship on the Globe’s Board both in England and in America.
As Joseph Marcell walked on stage to rapturous applause, his entourage consisting of wife Joyce, Anna Dudley, his longstanding, supportive and engaging agent and J.D. Douglas, friend, and colleague, all burst into applause. They had been sworn to secrecy, as the Award was first mentioned at the tail end of 2022. Covid would delay the actual presentation until June 2023.
Now sitting front row in the best house seats, to witness the actual ceremony their joy and admiration and support were very explosive.
In a long career that that includes the TV Sit Comedy, Fancy Wanders with Dave King in 1980, (on British TV long before the Fresh Prince was even an idea), to his supporting lead role in Britain’s first Black Soap Opera Empire Road, to becoming one of the most recognizable faces on World TV as the Butler Geoffrey in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Joseph Marcell has remained humble, as his short acceptance speech indicated.
His is a career that has gathered admirers of many different generations, his sojourn into films, including Hero directed by Frances-Anne Solomon, The Boy who harnessed the wind directed by Chiwitel Ejiofor, The Exorcism of God directed by Alejandro Hidalgo and the forth coming film adaptation of the book Queenie, means we will be seeing Mr. Marcell walking off with many gongs and Awards. In the meantime, let us all celebrate the current Sam Wanamaker Award winner, Joseph Marcell.