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.

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

05:46
Alan Cartwright, who was killed in Caledonian Road on Friday

A march could take place through Islington on Mother’s Day in protest at the explosion of youth violence that has rocked the borough.

Yesterday, 17:53
Councillor Paul Convery says the knifings maybe part of a drugs turf war

Islington Council crime expert says tragic lessons of Ben Kinsella’s murder have been forgotten

Yesterday, 16:36
A man was arrested on suspicion of having fake UEFA passes before Arsenal'ss Champions league game against Monaco

Czech national arrested before match against Monaco

Yesterday, 13:34
Michelle Watson, 39, and Cherrie Smith, 21, the mother and sister of murdered school boy Alan Cartwright, who was stabbed and killed whilst riding his bike with two  friends near Copenhagen Street, in Islington, last Friday. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The mother of a 15-year-old cyclist stabbed to death in a “senseless” street attack spoke of her anger today as her son’s killers remained at large.

Most read news

A new report is highly critical of local organisations across the county.

The Hollywood actor took on politicians and it was amazing.

Climbers are leaving a big mess on the world’s highest peak.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder