Want the news as soon as it comes in? Join Ken-Friends, the Kenneth Branagh Mailing List, which has spies in every corner of the globe... ;-). And if you have a bit of news or info yourself, let me know. This includes any "chance" encounters you might have with our Ken (on the street, in a restaurant, outside his home as you're being dragged away by security), but if you're stalking him, I don't wanna know...

 
 
Greetings Ken-Fans, finally a bit of catching up. It's been a bit quiet but there is a lovely video of Kenneth's speech at the Olivier Awards on 9 April 2017. A couple of days earlier there was a nice article to prepare us for the event : Why We Should Be Comparing Kenneth Branagh to Laurence Olivier.

Apparently a very preliminary trailer for Murder on the Orient Express was shown at ComicCon 2017. It was not for the eyes of the general public but there are brief descriptions here and here.

A final Ken-related item : you can see a photo of Ken with Sarah Ferguson, taken at the launch of a children's book, The Importance of Being Ernest the Earwig, written by the actress Nanette Newman (who appeared in Listening and illustrated by Lindsay Brunnock Branagh (bet exchanging family names was an ice-breaker when they met).

The 2016 July to December news has moved to the News & Notes Archive. The Special Events & Projects Archive has been limited to special events and projects. Links to films, plays, etc. are now only under their specific categories. The Sitemap is updated. There is tons more to do... :-)

More soon!
(22 April, thanks Bego, Jude, Jane, Emma)


Hello 2B or not-2Bers! I have just been looking for the early "News & Notes" of the Compendium, which are not listed in the News & Notes archive... was worried that July to December 1997 never made it onto the "commercial" server (from the Berkeley student webspace where the Compendium enjoyed its earliest gestation, heh heh) but eureka! I have found the file! It includes a couple of entries from January 1998 but I have left them in. (As always, the News & Notes "go backwards" in time.)

I am going to upload it 'as is' in its gorgeously no-frills HTML. The Compendium's version of the Dead Sea scrolls. And an introduction to the tons of fun that Ngoc's news updates always were (waving at you, Ngoc!!). Enjoy it here!.

And here are a few new things:

The best we-might-actually-see-a-photo news is that Kenneth will receive a Special Award at the 2017 Olivier Awards. You can read about it here.

You can watch an overview of Ken's career (with lots of nice 'director' shots) here.

Leslie Odom Jr., a passenger on The Orient Express, replied to a tweet asking "How's filming going?" with:

"So well. Branagh is a prince. Learning a ton and having so much fun."
And in a February issue of Entertainment Weekly, he is quoted thus:
"[Director Kenneth Branagh] runs the set kind of like we're a little theater troupe. I really went from one pinch-me experience to the next."
So he's now an honorary Ken-Friend.

While we're in 'Hamilton' territory, this comes from a Playbill article on a Q & A with the cast:

Who were you most excited to see backstage?
Diggs: MC Hammer
Miranda: Kenneth Branagh
Goldsberry: Michelle Obama
Soo: (in the accent) Julie Andrews
Jackson: President Obama
Onaodowan: Dave Chapelle
Groff: Beyoncé
Odom, Jr.: Well, this is a theatre crowd, so Anna Deavere Smith
Okay, so Leslie Odom Jr. was unfaithful this time, but the Main Man delivered!

I've added a couple of older "casting for 'The Orient Express'" articles: All Aboard. Every Famous Person in Hollywood Will Kill Johnny Depp in 'Murder on the Orient Express' and Penelope Cruz Joins Johnny Depp and Daisy Ridley for Kenneth Branagh's 'Murder On The Orient Express'.

You can also read a lavishly illustrated review of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare Magazine here.

And finally, an eagle-eyed Ken-Friend noticed Himself - at 36 seconds in - in the trailer for Mindhorn, a recent film directed by Sean Foley (whom you'll see in the same scene). Not sure we can hope for an international release...

That is all for the moment. There is houskeeping to do (out-of-date sitemap!) and I will try to pull together any random stuff lying on the virtual desk. Let's look forward to a sighting at the Olivier Awards!
(23 March, thanks Lyn, Paula, Jude, Ngoc, Beth)


Greetings, Kenians! Happy 2017! The twentieth anniversary of the Compendium... which makes it quite the online archive.

We now have the hope that current articles which appear online will continue to be available in their original version "forever" (though the internet definition of forever is still unclear, despite the brilliant visionary Brewster Kahle), but you will find many articles on this site which originally only appeared in print or for which the online version has disappeared. I argue with myself about the need to "copy and format" current articles but ultimately always decide to err on the side of caution.

Similarly I wonder about why to do this at all, given search engines and the sheer wealth of information out there. And in the end it is that sheer wealth which seems the best reason. A Google search with kenneth branagh warm springs turns up almost 16,000 hits of the most varied nature. The same search on the Compendium calls up 60 items, primarily articles (plus a few ads that Google slips in with their free site search). You can cut to the chase, so to speak.

Long-winded way of saying the Compendium will continue. Big waves to Ngoc, the original creator of the site, and Cate, Virginia and Douglass, the original patrons!

And so to few bits of news: at the end of 2016 the Ken-Friends once again joined together to celebrate Kenneth's birthday with a donation of $4007 US to the The William & Frances Branagh Memorial Award at the Royal Aacademy of Dramatic Art (RADA). This award was established through the Ken-Friends in 2008 to support RADA students from Northern Ireland.

Since 1998 the Ken-Friends have have donated a grand total of $89,607 US to Kenneth Branagh's selected charities and organisations. You can read more here.

Just a couple of "new" articles: another review of the stage production of The Entertainer and another of the cinema presentation with lots of quotes from Ken.

And, finally for today, news that The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is bringing back its film festival:

The Shakespeare Film Festival is back in September 2017 with all new events and our short film competition Shakespeare Shorts: Crossing Borders (also known as Filming Shakespeare). We're delighted that our patron Sir Kenneth Branagh will be acting as a judge in this year's competition.

As well as our short film competition we will be screening two well-known films inspired by Shakespeare and offering a variety of workshops in the art of film making and animation in our Film Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.

“I am pleased to be patron and judge of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Shakespeare Film Festival. The works of the world's greatest playwright have featured on the screen in many and varied ways. This new annual celebration of Shakespeare Film is not only a wonderful opportunity to look back at landmark productions, but also to nurture new film making talent and explore fresh ways of translating his work to the screen. I wish it every success.”

— SIR KENNETH BRANAGH, PATRON

Follow the links above to find out more about our Film Festival events, Shakespeare Shorts competition and festival partners.
That's it for today - more to come!
(24 January, Happy 90th to PL! Thanks, Jane)