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The Travels of Michael

Coventry Evening Telegraph, ’78 Extra

Unlike many fellow actors, Michael Pennington did not have a burning ambition to join the Royal Shakespeare Company.

But he is quick to admit that in the last four years thinks have gone well for him. He has had good parts and enjoyed doing them and regards his current role as the Duke in ‘Measure for Measure’ as a stimulating task for an actor.

“He has been played in so many different ways that it is very difficult to find your own definitive version,” he says.

Michael was one of a group of performers, including Francesca Annis and Richard Griffiths, who were brought into the RSC by outside directors in 1974. He was invited to return for the 1976 season and remembers it as a happy time, with a new company and lots of enthusiasm.

He first appeared in the West End in 1967 in ‘The Judge’ by John Mortimer and two years later played Laertes in Tony Richardson’s production of ‘Hamlet’ with Nicol Williamson.

Foreign travels have figured a great deal in Michael’s career and last year he published a book ‘Rossya,’ recounting a train journey he made through Siberia.

“To many people, I suppose, the prospect of eight days in a train would be totally boring. To me in these circumstances, it was a marvellous experience. I knew a bit about publishing so I produced the book myself and now it’s beginning to break even, which is very satisfying.”

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