Alan Rickman

Religion, politics, and ideas ofAlan Rickman

Summary

Rickman grew up in a Catholic/Methodist household. Now, he calls theatre his religion.

Rickman is a Labour supporter and (pretty much) married to a Labour politician.

Editorial

Alan Rickman was born and raised in London, England.

Rickman had an upbringing of mixed religious heritage. His mother was a Methodist of Welsh descent and his father was an Irish Catholic.[1] Rickman's father died when he was eight years-old,[2] so it's reasonable to assume that Methodism was more influential in his life than Catholicism.

However, Rickman–who doesn't really like to talk about his personal life[3] –hasn't gotten into his own, adult spiritual beliefs. Plus, he played God's messenger in the Catholic-inspired comedy, Dogma, and didn't seem to bat an eye at the controversy that swirled around it.[4]

As far as I can tell, Rickman has only commented on his "religion" by likening his involvement with live theatre to his own, personal spiritual calling.[5] I don't have an interpretation for this–perhaps he's an atheist or perhaps it was just a metaphor for him to describe how much he loves theatre.

Labour by association

Rickman is widely cited as a Labour supporter.[6] But passion for politics is something Rickman says has cooled in his life as he's grown older, seemingly because he's tired of rhetoric and politicians talking the talk:

I find myself becoming less and less enamoured of public statement – I'd rather see it in action.[7]

But his girlfriend of nearly 40 years, Rima Horton, is an economist and Labour politician.[8] I imagine it's a very politically-aware relationship.

Rickman has been known to get annoyed when politics gets in the way of his "religion." When a play he was directing about an activist protesting Israel's involvement in the Gaza Strip was cancelled for political sensitivity issues, Rickman didn't mince words:

This is censorship born out of fear, and the New York Theatre Workshop, the Royal Court, New York audiences – all of us are the losers.[9]

So, between that and Dogma, Rickman isn't afraid to get into controversy, and he exercises his rights. Good on him.

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