Dame Maggie Smith appears at the Orange Tree for the first time, in conversation with Gyles Brandreth 

Dame Maggie Smith will take to the Orange Tree stage in our new series of talks with our most distinguished actors about people they’ve worked with, admired and learned from. A celebration of British theatre’s history and its especially collaborative nature, it will be an unrivalled opportunity to see great artists talk up-close in the Orange Tree’s unique in-the-round space. It follows the first sold out Under the Orange Tree talk with Dame Judi Dench in June. OT Ambassador Gyles Brandreth returns to host.

Funds from tickets raised by the Under the Orange Tree series will go to support the Theatre’s work; from re-discovered plays, to developing new work, to introducing primary school children to Shakespeare for the first time, all aspects of the Orange Tree’s work are created with quality, variety and intimacy at their heart. 

Dame Maggie Smith CH, DBE is an Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy, Tony and Olivier Award-winning actress.

Her early work on stage includes numerous appearances with the National Theatre at the Old Vic, including Desdemona opposite Laurence Olivier in Othello, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Hilda Wangel in The Master Builder and the title role in Miss Julie. In the West End she played Amanda opposite husband Robert Stephens in Private Lives. Other London theatre includes Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women (Evening Standard Award for Best Actress), A Delicate Balance and The Lady from Dubuque; Talking Heads: Bed Among the Lentils, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Lettice Douffet in Lettice and Lovage (also Broadway, Tony Award for Best Actress), The Lady in the Van, and The Breath of Life opposite Judi Dench.

Her numerous film roles include Harry Potter, The Lady in the Van, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet, Becoming Jane, Ladies in Lavender, Gosford Park, Tea with Mussolini, Washington Square, The First Wives Club, Sister Act, The Secret Garden, Hook, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (BAFTA Best Actress), A Room with a View, A Private Function (BAFTA Best Actress), California Suite (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Golden Globe for Best Actress), Death on the Nile, Travels With My Aunt, Oh! What a Lovely War, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe for Best Actress), and Othello.  

Her work on television includes Downton Abbey (three Emmy Awards), Capturing Mary, My House in Umbria (Emmy Award), David Copperfield, All the King’s Men, Memento Mori, Talking Heads (RTS Best Actress Award).

She received the CBE in 1970, the DBE in 1990, and was made Companion of Honour in 2014. She was awarded the BAFTA Special Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, the Olivier Award for Society of London Theatre Special Award in 2010 and is a Fellow of the British Film Institute.

Gyles Brandreth is a writer, broadcaster, former MP and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, now Chancellor of the University of Chester. A veteran of QI and Have I Got News For You, a reporter on The One Show, and a regular on Just a Minute, his many books include The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries and the No 1 best-seller: The 7 Secrets of Happiness.