Search

Star-filled night raises £100,000 for Finsbury Park theatre

07:00 24 October 2012

Sir Ian McKellen, who hosted the fundraiser, with newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev

Sir Ian McKellen, who hosted the fundraiser, with newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev

Archant

A new theatre has raised the final chunk of cash needed for a floor dedicated to teaching youngsters – thanks to the likes of Hollywood actor Sir Ian McKellen and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.

Support your community by viewing your local businesses

Please wait

You will be able to read the article in 5 seconds

Thank you for supporting your local community

You may now read the article

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch with newspaper owner Evgeny LebedevSherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch with newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev

A remarkable cast drawn from the worlds of TV, film and stage came together on Friday in a final fundraising push for the Park Theatre in Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, raising £100,000 by auction and raffle.

Guests included host Sir Ian McKellen and his X-Men co-star Sir Patrick Stewart, venerable playwrights Sir Tom Stoppard and Stephen Poliakoff, actresses Tamzin Outhwaite and Celia Imrie and novelist Jeffrey Archer, who acted as auctioneer.

Together they surpassed a target of £87,000 – the remaining sum needed towards a £400,000 education floor to become the new home of Islington Community Theatre and host workshops for hundreds of budding thespians each year.

Former Coronation Street actress Suranne Jones highlighted the positive impact such workshops can have on young people, saying: “Drama is a powerful thing – it brings things out in people that traditional education does not always do.

Melli Bond and Jez Bond, the husband and wife duo behind Park Theatre, with Sir Patrick Stewart at the fundraiserMelli Bond and Jez Bond, the husband and wife duo behind Park Theatre, with Sir Patrick Stewart at the fundraiser

“For me, I could have gone a different way if I hadn’t had access to theatre workshops. They allowed me to develop my talent and set me on the path to where I am now.”

Romola Garai, who starred alongside Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in the film Atonement, said: “It’s brilliant to have a theatre in a new area with a great commitment to education. It really is such an exciting thing to be a part of.”

The £2.5million theatre is due to open early next year and will house a bar and two auditoriums.

Nouska Hanly, of Park Theatre, said: “A lot of people thought we were mad to try to raise this extra £400,000 in a recession but we’ve gone ahead and done it against all the odds.

“For many of the people who attended the gala, drama has changed their lives and many have experienced first hand the difference access to the arts can make.

“We hope to reach people who would not necessarily have had that access. For them to have that in an actual theatre building will make it all the more special.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Rose Hill at her Top Drawer pop up

An Islington designer who makes people’s pets famous has put her unique stamp on Christmas cards to help sick children.

Yesterday, 12:18
Islington's Borough Commander Gerry Campbell Pic: Dieter Perry

A new crack police team designed to wipe out violence within the family will be launched on Monday.

Fri, 16:09
Planned engineering work could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Richmond Trew

A “notorious pickpocket” who was banned from using the tube has been jailed for six months after breaching his ASBO to steal a purse.

Most read news

Protesters have been warned they are banned from setting up camp at the landmark.

John Cantlie features in the new IS video, in which he talks about a recent failed military attack.

From Britain First’s Facebook posts, you would assume they’d won the Rochester by-election. They didn’t, but they’re claiming it anyway.

At 100 years old, this was Ruby Holt’s first visit to the beach – and the first time she saw the ocean.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition