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John Bell
, 1962 (printed 2006)

by Jozef Vissel

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 40.3 cm x 30.7 cm, image: 35.4 cm x 26.9 cm)

John Bell

John Bell AO OBE (b. 1940), actor and director, is one of Australia’s best-known theatre personalities. His theatre credits include work for the Old Tote Theatre Company, all of the major state theatre companies as actor and/or director and five years in the UK with The Royal Shakespeare Company. As co-founder of the Nimrod Theatre Company in Sydney, he presented many of Australia’s premiere productions of Australian plays in the 1970s and 1980s, including several David Williamson plays and Peter Kenna’s A Hard God. Nimrod also began the evolution of an Australian Shakespeare style with successful productions of Measure For Measure, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth. In 1990 Bell founded The Bell Shakespeare Company, which has mounted acclaimed productions of many Shakespeare plays. Bell has acted for the company in the roles of Shylock, Richard III, Macbeth, Malvolio, Coriolanus, Leontes, Prospero and King Lear. In 2002, his Richard III earned him a Helpmann Award. Designated a National Living Treasure, he has two honorary doctorates and in 2003 he received the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leadership Award.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2006
Accession number: 2006.18