Dame Judi Dench will take to the Orange Tree stage for the first of a new series of talks with our most distinguished actors about people they’ve worked with, admired and learned from.

A celebration of British theatre’s history and its especially collaborative nature, it will be a unrivalled opportunity to see great artists talk up-close in the Orange Tree’s unique in the round space, in conversation with OT Ambassador Gyles Brandreth.

Funds raised by the Under the Orange Tree series will go to support the Theatre’s work: from re-discovered plays, to developing new work, to introducing primary school children to Shakespeare for the first time, all aspects of the Orange Tree’s work are created with quality, variety and intimacy at their heart.

Said Gyles Brandreth: “Judi Dench has been a heroine of mine since I first saw her playing Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s famous production of Romeo & Juliet at the Old Vic in 1960. All these years later, I’m excited to be talking to her about some of her theatrical heroes and heroines.”

Judi Dench made her first professional stage appearance with the Old Vic Company as Ophelia in Hamlet in 1957.

During her extensive career on stage and screen she has won 10 BAFTAs, 7 Oliviers, 2 Golden Globes, a Tony and an Academy Award.

Her theatre credits include The Winter's Tale (Kenneth Branagh Company), Peter and Alice (West End), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Hay Fever, The Breath of Life (Haymarket Theatre), Pride and Prejudice, Iris, Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and Mrs Brown.

Gyles Brandreth is a writer, broadcaster, former MP and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, now Chancellor of the University of Chester.

A veteran of QI and Have I Got News For You, a reporter on The One Show, a regular on Just a Minute, his many books include The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries and the No 1 best-seller: The 7 Secrets of Happiness.

Tickets are £100 and available online only from midday Tuesday, May 9.

Guests for future talks to be announced.

More details at orangetreetheatre.co.uk