I've experienced a deluge of Tempests in my time. My first was a memorable Peter Brook production in Stratford in 1957 with John Gielgud as Prospero. Here there many hints of the later Brook's love of simplicity: a large bowsprit swung in a huge pendulum-like arc evoked the opening storm; Richard Johnson's Ferdinand dragged a pile of logs across the vast expanse of an empty stage; and Gielgud, clad in a rough, hempen costume, was no heavily cloaked magician but a half-naked hermit.
Since then, I've seen a number of impressive productions. Jonathan Miller's 1970 version, at London's Mermaid theatre, was the first in Britain to highlight the play's colonial aspect, with Graham Crowden's Prospero holding imperialist sway over a black Caliban and Ariel. In Sam Mendes's 1993 Royal Shakespeare Company's production, Simon Russell Beale's newly enfranchised Ariel spat vehemently in the face of Alec McCowen's Prospero. And from this century, three productions stand out. Rupert Goold, in his main-house Stratford debut in 2006, relocated the play to an Arctic island, with Patrick Stewart as a Faustian Prospero and Mariah Gale as a faintly autistic Miranda.
Reading on mobile? Click here to view a video of Strehler's 1977 staging of La Tempesta
David Farr also did a fine version in 2012, in which Jonathan Slinger as a Prospero was deeply moved by Ariel's instinctive charity. In 2013, at Shakespeare's Globe, Roger Allam gave us a profoundly paternalistic Prospero who struggled to let his beloved daughter go.
But I have to go back in time for my favourite production. In 1983, I caught the great Giorgio Strehler's Italian production, La Tempesta, in Paris. It showed Strehler's mastery of theatrical effect, with a topsail descending on the heads of the mariners in the opening storm. By playing Caliban as a black slave resentful of Prospero's land grab, it explored the play's anti-colonialist politics. It was also inexpressibly moving when Gulia Lazzarini's Ariel finally fled through the centre aisle radiant with the joy of freedom. A truly great island fling.
• What are your favourite versions of The Tempest? Let us know in the comments below
• Shakespeare's The Tempest: to be read or watched? That is the question