Jane Asher judges Islington bake off

Actor and cake expert Jane Asher judged Islington’s amateur bakers this week – as the curtain fell on a month-long festival at one of the borough’s most popular theatres.

The thespian-turned-cake guru was at the Almeida Theatre in Almeida Street, Islington, as it hosted a lively street party to mark the end of its Almeida Festival on Sunday.

Almeida Street was closed to traffic for an afternoon of barbecue food, music, face painting and hat-making workshops – as well as the fiercely-contested bake-off.

After tasting all 17 entries, Asher chose a chocolate cake served up by student Grace Clark as the winner.

Ms Clark, 20, who won two theatre tickets and dinner at the Almeida Restaurant, also in Almeida Street, said: “I didn’t think it looked that good so she must have chosen it on the taste! I was really pleased. I didn’t think I would win because it’s the first time I’ve baked it.”

The theatre opened its doors to the public with backstage tours hosted throughout the day, while a group of revellers even got the chance to star on its stage. A community play was rehearsed and performed by volunteers in the space of an hour.

Jenny Worton, the Almeida’s artistic associate, who organised the event, said: “We wanted a celebratory flourish to the end of the festival and it went really well.

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“We managed to open the building in a way we don’t usually have the opportunity to do, because of the busy programme, and the place was abuzz with families and young children.”

The four-week festival saw the building turned into a “theatre brothel” by the Greyscale theatre company, performances form the underground Belarus Free Theatre, and a play staged by the Young Friends of the Almeida.