The award was established in 1990 by Jeremy Pragnell, Chairman of Pragnell, in order to recognise outstanding achievement in extending the appreciation and enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare and in the general advancement of Shakespearian knowledge and understanding. Previous winners include Sir Patrick Stewart, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench.
Dame Janet began her career in 1962 and has built an impressive classical resumé portraying most of Shakespeare's illustrious heroines including Rosalind, Portia, Ophelia, Beatrice and the shrewish Kate. In latter years she has directed Shakespeare's works at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Pragnell is but a few minutes' walk from Shakespeare's Birthplace and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and has had close ties with both for many years. The family run business feels a keen sense of pride in supporting such an intrinsic aspect of Stratford-upon-Avon and its heritage.
Dame Janet Suzman spoke at the Shakespeare Birthday Luncheon on Saturday 21st April, which was held at the Levi Fox Hall, King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon.