Testimonials from Teachers
Cynthia Lawford came into my school, Beal High School, of Ilford, Essex, on the 7th February to deliver a one-hour long presentation on Tennessee Williams and, in particular, his play A Streetcar Named Desire to a selection of our students. I am responsible for the English Literature A level at the school and in total we have nearly 50 students studying the course, all of whom attended. Streetcar is a key text for our year 12 students, who study and complete a very important coursework assignment on this text and I feel they benefited immensely from the experience.
I can’t speak highly enough of Cynthia’s efforts on the day: she was engaging, enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable. The response from the students was fantastic, and it was a delight for me as a teacher of literature to see so many students staying behind, after the talk had finished, to pepper Cynthia with more questions on the text and the writer she is so passionately interested in – a real testimony to her ability to engage young people when discussing drama and literature.
I recommend her without any reservations for any similar venture in the future and hope that others get the chance to hear her speak with the same energy and insight. My details are at the bottom in case you need to contact me for further details.
Key Stage 5
Subject Leader for English
Beal High School, Ilford, Essex
Cynthia Lawford was kind enough to visit Lansdowne College to address my A2 class on the subject of Will Eno’s Thom Pain (based on nothing). She spoke enthusiastically for twenty minutes, distilling a wide variety of original research and challenging ideas into a clear narrative. As well as being intellectually stimulating, her good humour and obvious rapport with young people made her lecture a pleasure to listen to. My students were engaged by what she said and she dealt splendidly with their questions. I would recommend her services to all teachers interested in developing their classes’ understanding of the contemporary theatre. I will certainly be booking her again!
Teacher of English
Dr Cynthia Lawford came to give a talk to our Year 5 and 6 pupils on the subject of Shakespeare the stage and the age and specifically about the play Macbeth, which our pupils are studying and staging with the Shakespeare in Schools Festival. Dr Lawford was engaging and communicated a great deal of detail in a lively and interesting way. The content appealed to younger listeners with just the right amount of gore to catch their attention! What could have been dry political background was also delivered well and with just the right amount of detail. Dr Lawford was accommodating and flexible. I thoroughly recommend her engaging talks. Her enthusiasm and passion is catching!
St Elizabeth Catholic Primary School
I thought your talk to the girls was engaging, informative and well-paced. The group were certainly captivated by your exploration of the context of the play and your evaluation of the different meaning of words such as ‘Nothing’!! It also helped them to contextualise their characters, developing a deeper understanding of the main players and their relationships to each other. I think they came away from your talk with a renewed interest in the play and a more specific idea of how to create their character on stage. I thought you had a lovely manner with the girls and judged your audience well.
Streatham and Clapham High School
Cindy’s enthusiasm for Shakespeare and the detailed background knowledge that she shared with the pupils inspired us all. Our performance was definitely enhanced as a result of her visit as the pupils had a better idea of the mood and atmosphere in the Globe in the 1600’s.
Assistant Head Teacher
Hathaway Primary School
We all loved your lecture! The students said afterwards that they had really enjoyed it and had a lot to think about. They got an awful lot out of it and felt that they were bright, intelligent and able to cope with concepts that challenged them. I am looking forward to see how they have used that new knowledge in their essays! They feel more empowered and see the Bard in an even more positive light; they also loved your enthusiasm (they stated that you and I are very similar in that aspect!) and would be delighted to come to the British Library to hear your views on A Streetcar Named Desire.
I also learned so much: I hadn’t ever considered the references to cold or the context of the humours; nor did I know about Katherine Hamlett. I could have listened to you for hours, so I am really looking forward to hearing you on Streetcar. It was so lovely to meet you. You really inspired us all.
Head of English Department
Testimonials from Theatre Professionals
Cindy packs so much information in her talks that there is something to interest everyone. With her energy and enthusiasm, she is a great favourite at The Print Room, and we are delighted that she can adapt herself to speak and write on almost all of our productions.
The Print Room
Cindy manages to strike the perfect balance with her talks. By giving newcomers a comprehensible understanding of the background to the play, whilst simultaneously stimulating more informed audiences with a fresh perspective, she brings a whole new dimension to the work we present. Thought-provoking and entertaining, her presentations have proved very popular with our members.
Jermyn Street Theatre
Dr Lawford’s pre-show talks before my productions of Judgement Day and 4000 Miles offered audiences a fascinating introduction to the world of these plays. I found her approach accessible and engaging but also hugely detailed and insightful – learning so much about the context of both plays that I hadn’t discovered in months of research and rehearsals!
Was just about to text you to say how much April [de Angelis] and I had enjoyed your pre show talk for 4000 Miles. Very interesting background material, beautifully presented that hugely heightened the pleasure to be got from the show. Thank you.
Theatre director and television producer
I just wanted to … say how excellent I thought the pre show talk on Horvath was on Monday. I absolutely loved it, and it brought out such an amazing richness and background that I wouldn’t otherwise have appreciated. .. [All that Cindy had to say] was both highly relevant and extremely interesting and engaging.
Faith, Hope and Charity
Dr Cindy Lawford gave a fantastic talk at our recent production of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Everyone present found it informative, engrossing and entertaining – full of material that shed a new light on the production, and that threw up interesting conversations and questions. The audience was gripped – no mean feat considering they had been sitting on wooden benches for an hour and half! We’ve already got Cindy booked in for Moby-Dick, and I can’t recommend her highly enough.
Playwright and Director, simple8 theatre company
Dr Cindy Lawford has the vibrant energy of an artist who happens to be academic and this is wonderful! I love her talks and I always learn from her in the most exciting way!
Director for Theatre Lab
Lysistrata and The Oresteia
Cindy has been doing pre-show talks at the Print Room for the past two years, and we’ve loved the response we got from audiences.
The Print Room
Given the impossibly difficult task of giving offering background on a play which, by it’s very magical pseudo-improvised nature, should be as mysterious as possible, Cindy was an absolute marvel and exceeded all my expectations! THOM PAIN (BASED ON
NOTHING) is, at it’s best, able to tease the audience thrillingly; sometimes offering everything, sometimes nothing. Cindy was able to draw the audience further into Will’s writing without ever compromising the essential riddle of the play! I would be honoured to work with her again.
Simon Evans, Director
Cindy combines immense passion, humour and impressive research, and the audience come away informed and ready to see the show. I can’t think of a better warm-up!
Lucy Bailey, Director
Kingdom of Earth and Uncle Vanya
Testimonials from Audience Members
Dr Cynthia Lawford deserves a shout for her insightful pre-show theatre talk at The Print Room. Can she please do a 2 hour lecture & I’ll come!
Talk on Kingdom of Earth
I am not sure “talk” is adequate to describe such a memorable Monday evening! Battered by such an engaging delivery of layers of background information and insight, delivered at break-neck speed, it was a huge thrill to be transported so beguilingly to the Mississippi Delta and propelled into the heart of the psychological drama of the play. Clearly it was the effectiveness of the overture that enabled us to enjoy the play and the superb acting, 150%.
The Frederick Ashton Foundation, Chairman
Dancers’ Career Development, Chairman
Talk on Kingdom of Earth
Laura and I loved your talk (unsurprisingly). She said (I quote), “I could listen to Cindy talk for hours.” I’ll definitely try to come along to the Ibsen as well.
Talk on The Changeling
Hi Dr Lawford,
I wanted to send a note to say that your talk was really very spot on, enjoyable and made all the more memorable by your breathless rush for the finish – a kind of breath-holding constraint. The Robbe-Grillet project is hard to describe let alone advocate – and yet somehow you managed to do that in the short span allowed.
Talk on Jealousy
The matinee was a big draw precisely because your talk offered an opportunity to learn more about the play and its context. It certainly fulfilled that wish. At the beginning of the talk you estimated it taking half an hour. That didn’t seem all that long but then I reckoned without your high rate of ideas-per-minute.
Talk on The Oresteia
Just to let you know how much we enjoyed, and benefitted from, your pre-show talk last night. As usual, it felt thoroughly researched and packed with fascinating and varied information. You mentioned the fact that you were covering lots of different elements, but would leave it to us to draw the lines, and that’s particularly what worked so well: as we watched the play, we found ourselves repeatedly seeing connections and themes that you had addressed in your talk, and it brought a whole new level of understanding.
Talk on Uncle Vanya
Congratulations on your talk – it was terrific! It was all so cohesive, thorough and comprehensive that it could easily have stood alone as a talk on Chekhov – and then when we saw the play it turned out that what you had told us provided the perfect background! It gave the play so much more resonance for us, knowing how heartfelt much of it was.
Talk on Uncle Vanya
Your pre-show talk did add to my appreciation, by making me think more widely, rather than just about the story itself.
Talk on Molly Sweeney
The material was very interesting and certainly enhanced the theatre-going experience; a kind of programme note vivant. Also, I think you had such charm and stage presence . . . .
Former Chief Producer, Arts, Science and Features, BBC Radio
Talk on On Approval
Cindy Lawford is articulate, erudite, passionate and energetic about literature. Cindy’s simple aim in life is to unlock texts for us all. She interrogates and analyses with deftness, but this belies her utterly personable character. She bewitches audiences with compelling facts, contexts and textual intimacy. I have seen her enrapture many mixed-age audiences as well as engaging secondary school students with equal ability. She is fast becoming the joyous academic critic of the theatre scene.
Lecturer, Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
Talks on Thom Pain (based on nothing) and Moby-Dick