so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.



I’m Portia, and I inherited a lot of money from my father when he died. He stated in his will that I have to marry whichever man chooses the right metal casket from a choice of three. I was getting tired of waiting for someone to pick the right casket. So when a man called Bassanio came to my house I had my musicians play a song and hoped that he would choose the right one. We got married, but then Bassanio received a letter telling him that his best friend, Antonio, was in trouble. I wanted to help my husband so my maid Nerissa and I disguised ourselves as lawyers and saved Antonio from Shylock the moneylender’s demands.


falls in love with…

Find Out


Bassanio, Nerissa

  1. she is fair, and , Of wondrous virtues, - sometimes from her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages:
    [fairer than that word]
  2. All the world desires her. From the four corners of the earth they come To kiss this shrine, this mortal breathing saint.
  3. ‘Madam, with all my heart; I shall obey you in all fair commands.’
  4. ‘I wish your ladyship all heart’s content.’
  5. ‘Sweet lady, you have given me life and living’
  6. ‘O wise and upright judge! How much more elder art thou than thy looks!’

Portia's' Images

Catherine [Portia] having her photo taken by Brownwen Sharp for the programme and website

Director Bill Buckhurst and Catherine [Portia]

Catherine [Portia] and Racheal [Nerissa]

Racheal [Nerissa] and Catherine [Portia] rehearsing Act 3, Scene 4.

Catherine as Portia.

Catherine [Portia] and Bethan [Jessica]

Catherine [Portia] and Mark [Launcelot Gobbo/Salerio]

Catherine [Portia] in rehearsals.

Catherine [Portia]. © SGT/Ellie Kurttz 2014

Catherine [Portia]. © SGT/Ellie Kurttz 2014

Audio Interviews

  1. Clip 1
    Catherine Bailey discusses her initial impressions of Portia and the play.

    Play Interview

Also Called

  • Morocco: ‘this shrine’ (2.7.40)
  • Morocco: ‘this mortal breathing saint’ (2.7.40)
  • Nerissa: ‘sweet madam’ (1.2.3)
  • Bassanio: ‘Gentle lady’ (3.2.251)
  • Shylock: ‘O noble judge! O excellent young man!’ (4.1.242)


  • Congratulations and good joy, my lord and lady! #Love
  • So many fancy men are trying to win my boss by choosing a box that contains her picture #Love
  • I have my disguise and am ready to run #Disguise #Love
  • Cant believe my own flesh and blood turned against me! #Love
  • Jessica has run away. #Disguise
  • My daughter wants to marry. Not without my permission #Love
  • Short term loans... the price is always higher than you would expect #Money
  • I will take the pound of flesh and use it for fish bait. #Court
  • I will take Antonio’s heart if he can’t pay. I loan the money so I make the rules #Money
  • If you prick us with a pin, don’t we bleed? And if you treat us badly, won’t we try to get revenge? #Court
  • People are often tricked by false appearances. I wasn’t with the chest but was by my wife lol #Disguise
  • Cant believe I didn’t recognise my own wife #Disguise
  • Really short of cash. Might need a short term loan. #Money
  • A lead chest, a Silver chest and a gold chest...hmm which one should I choose? #Love
  • Have been asked to give away the ring Portia gave me. Hard, but worth it. Hope she isn’t too angry #Court
  • Bassanio wants to borrow money from me in order to try and marry Portia #Love #Money
  • My ships are missing. I think they are sunk ....and so am I #Money
  • Am waiting to go in to court. Why did I make such a stupid agreement?! #Court
  • I hope Bassanio takes the hint and picks the right chest. #Love
  • Men all the same. They are drawn to these boxes as moths to a flame. And I bet I know why! #Money
  • Cant believe that no one has spotted me yet. Even Bassanio! #Disguise #Court

Relationship Status

Loves Bassanio


Thinking my way out of trouble, Disguising myself as a man

Dear Agony Aunt

My father’s will says that I have to marry the man who can solve a silly riddle. I want to obey my father’s will, but there is a man I like... What should I do?


  • You should tell the answer to the one you love!

    - HD