Actor Harriet Walter to give talk at SJT

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AWARD-WINNING actor Dame Harriet Walter will talk about her exhibition at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on Saturday.

The exhibition, Facing It - Reflections on Images of Older Women, has been hanging in the SJT’s theatre-side gallery for the last few weeks.

For several years Harriet has been collecting images of older women whose faces and lives have inspired and moved her.

In this collection of portraits by a variety of remarkable photographers, Harriet reflects on the process of ageing in a society where older women are often rendered invisible.

She ponders on her own advancing years and takes courage from the boldness, wit and audacity of the women in the photos.

Harriet, 60, says: “Young girls and women are conditioned to aspire to look like other people. From an early age, we leaf through magazines measuring ourselves up against airbrushed images of a fairly narrow standard of female perfection. The habit of aspiration dies hard and as I hit my fifties I wanted some role models to help me move into the next stage of life. I could find few if any photographic images of women my age to emulate. There were plenty of images of youthful perfection but I didn’t want to be young any more. I wanted to be the age I am”. 

The exhibition includes photos of famous women including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Emma Thompson. 

Harriet is one of the country’s finest actors and has enjoyed a distinguished career on stage and screen. She was made a dame in 2011 for services to drama. 

She will discuss her exhibition, book and career with Stephen Wood, the SJT’s executive director, who worked with Harriet at the National Theatre where he was its head of press. It is due to begin at 5.30pm.

The SJT gallery is open from Monday to Saturday, from noon until 6pm, except during performances. Admission is free.

The exhibition continues until 3 September.