Geoffrey Kendal & Laura Kendal

Shri Geoffrey Kendal, born in 1909, and his wife Shrimati Laura Kendal, born in 1908, began their career in theatre with the touring theatre companies of England. They first came to India in 1944 as members of Entertainment National Service Association and returned after the Second World War with their company Shakespeareana, established earlier in England. A touring company with a large repertoire of plays, Shakespeareana travelled all over the Indian subcontinent and, further east, in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan for all of 17 years. Jennifer and Felicity Kendal, daughters of Geoffrey and Laura Kendal, joined the company as actresses, together with a host of other talented players. The perform- ances of Shakespeareana generated a great deal of interest in Shakespeare in India in the ’40s and ’50s, influencing a number of Indian directors and actors. The Kendals’ experience in India inspired the Merchant Ivory film Shakespeare Wallah, produced in 1964. Shri Geoffrey Kendal’s autobiography, The Shakespeare Wallah, published in 1986, documents in detail the Kendals’ extraordinary career. Shri Geoffrey Kendal and Shrimati Laura Kendal receive the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for their contribution to theatre in India.