In September 1957, she made her first professional stage appearance with the Old Vic Company, at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, as Ophelia in Hamlet. According to the reviewer for London Evening Standard, Dench had "talent which will be shown to better advantage when she acquires some technique to go with it. " Dench then made her London debut in the same production at the Old Vic. She remained a member of the company for four seasons, 1957–1961, her roles including Katherine in Henry V in 1958, (which was also her New York City debut), and as directed and designed by Franco Zeffirelli. During this period, she toured the United States and Canada and appeared in Yugoslavia and at the Edinburgh Festival. She joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in December 1961, playing Anya in The Cherry Orchard at the Aldwych Theatre in London and made her Stratford-upon-Avon debut in April 1962 as Isabella in Measure for Measure. She subsequently spent seasons in repertory both with the Playhouse in Nottingham from January 1963, (including a West African tour as Lady Macbeth for the British Council) and with the Playhouse Company in Oxford from April 1964.