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 Islington News Stories

25 minutes ago

Islington Council has made yet another data gaffe – by leaking personal information of 559 ex-employees to its own former leader.

Hackney’s top police chief has praised his officers for their bravery after they had a gun pointed at them last night in Manor House.

Yesterday, 15:30

Homeless people who had set up bedrooms under the Finsbury Park bridge in Stroud Green Road have been moved on by Islington Council.

Yesterday, 14:12

A very different kind of matchday programme is doing the rounds at Emirates Stadium games this season. The Arsenal History Programme focuses on forgotten facts, and the Gazette speaks to its mastermind, Paul Matz.

Yesterday, 10:19

Every week, we take to the streets to find a start-up business right here in Islington. This week, we found a takeaway focusing on “clean eating”.

Mon, 16:55

Holloway snapper Josh Redman’s clients include international businesses – but Islington is still his inspiration, he tells the Gazette.

Mon, 15:51

The deadline for nominating your favourite Islington heroes for an award has been extended until Thursday next week.

Mon, 12:00

Tenants trying to pay their rent were “hopping mad” after being locked out of Islington Council offices.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now