Chiswick Calendar Freebie – Free tickets to Shakespeare in Love – Director Q&A at Chiswick Cinema

Image above: Gwynneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love; photograph IMDb

John Madden on the making of Shakespeare in Love (1998)

John Madden’s romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love is 25 years old and Chiswick Cinema is screening the film with a Q&A with the director afterwards to mark its quarter century.

The film had an all-star cast: Judi Dench, Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Rupert Everett, Geoffrey Rush, Simon Callow, Colin Firth, and it won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year.

Set in 1593, the story tells how William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), is struggling to make a living as a playwright and owner of The Rose Theatre, especially when he finds out his mistress is also sleeping with his patron (Geoffrey Rush) and he loses his inspiration to write.

He tears up the play he has been working on – comedy Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter – and starts writing a tragedy instead – Romeo and Juliet, but is stuck on how to finish it. Nevertheless he starts casting for Romeo.

Enter Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), the daughter of a wealthy merchant who wants to act. As women are barred from the profession, she disguises herself as a boy and does the audition as ‘Thomas Kent’.

Of course he is impressed by her acting and of course he rumbles her disguise. They begin a passionate affair and she becomes his new muse. The rest, as they say, is history, except for some convoluted comings and goings at court, which involve Viola trying to get out of an arranged marriage to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth), and the discovery of her illegal career, leading to her pursuit by the Master of the Revels, Edmund Tilney (Simon Callow).

Win a free ticket to the screening and Q&A

The film was nominated for 13 awards at the 71st Academy awards. How many Oscars did it win?

To win a free ticket for the screening and Q&A at Chiswick Cinema on Tuesday 6 June, email us at with the answer to the question. The winners will be chosen at random from the correct answers received by midnight on Wednesday 31 May.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar