Judi Dench Hailed “Greatest Stage Actor” in New Poll

Dame Judi Dench

In a reader’s poll conducted by The Stage, Dame Judi Dench has been voted the “greatest stage actor of all time”.

The 76-year-old English actress — whose stage career kicked off in 1957 at Liverpool’s Old Vic Company — was nominated by a host of industry professionals who were asked to pick their Top 10 greatest stage actors. Results were then combined with public readers’ choices.

In addition to her celebrated work in film and television, the Academy Award-winning Dench has starred in numerous productions for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Some of her most famous Shakespeare roles include Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth.

“I’m completely at a loss for words, but it’s one hell of a thing to live up to,” Dench said in response to the win.

Dame Maggie Smith and Mark Rylance followed Dench in second and third place, respectively. Sir Ian McKellan, Michael Gambon, John Gielgud, and Vanessa Redgrave also made the cut.

Who do you think is the best UK stage actor of all time?