Macbeth on trial in Kalisher play

In the 14 years since Michael Kalisher QC was so early lost to the Bar the scholarships in his name have allowed law students of ambition and verve to make a go of it at the criminal Bar when financial constraint might otherwise have deterred them, writes Max Hardy. 

The Kalisher Event has helped augment his legacy by adding to the Scholarship’s coffers. The willingness of so many first-rate actors to give up their time without charge to put on an event for this cause is truly heartening and anybody who has attended the Kalisher Event over the last few years can testify to the exceptionally high quality of the entertainment provided.

This year’s event on Sunday, 16 May, to be held at the Royal Courts of Justice due to the enormous demand for tickets (in fact it is already sold out), looks set to be an unprecedented spectacle.   Peter Moffat, author of the highly acclaimed BBC series Criminal Justice, has very generously penned a play called The Dunsinane Two (the trial of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth for murder). 

“Mr Justice John Deed” (Martin Shaw, a Kalisher trustee) will preside. Prosecuting will be Anthony Arlidge QC with Bob Marshall-Andrews QC for Macbeth, and Helena Kennedy QC for Lady Macbeth. I am told that insanity, post-traumatic stress disorder, duress and diminished responsibility may all be live issues.

Even these heavyweights of the Bar may find themselves eclipsed by the cast which includes Matthew Macfadyen as Macbeth, Maxine Peake as Lady Macbeth and with Judi Dench, Simon Russell Beale, Derek Jacobi, Rupert Penry-Jones, Ray Fearon (another trustee) and Toby Stephens all set to appear.

In these difficult days for the Bar it is all the more important that newcomers to the profession can see a viable route to success, and the Kalisher Scholarship, with this very distinguished help, can give it.

Anybody wishing to know more about the work of the Kalisher Scholarship should contact the Secretary. Email:

Max Hardy is a barrister at 9 Bedford Row.