Almeida Theatre takes Our Town performances and project into London schools

The Almeida Theatre is taking the full production of one of its latest shows, Our Town, into two London secondary schools this November, reaching 500 students.

Our Town 1-715 Laura Elsworthy, David Walmsley and Jessica Lester by Marc Brenner

Laura Elsworthy, David Walmsley and Jessica Lester in Our Town (Credit: Marc Brenner)

The cast of the current run at the Almeida will perform at Dormers Wells High School in Ealing on 10 November and Cleeve Park School in Bexley on 17 November for students. Neither of the London boroughs housing the schools, Ealing and Bexley, has a professional theatre. Students attending performances will take part in pre-show workshops.

The performances will make up part of a wider six-week programme entitled ‘Your Town’, which will involve students telling stories of their own towns of Southall and Sidcup through exploring the idea of community and creating video content.

Almeida’s artistic director Rupert Goold said of the project: ‘The work that Almeida Projects does with schools and young people is enormously inspiring, and I am so glad that we are able to continue to find exciting ways to bring our work to more young people across London.’

For more information on the ‘Your Town’ project, visit www.almeida.co.uk/education/schools-and-education/your-town.

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Richard Attenborough dies aged 90

RichardAttenborough07TIFF

Actor and director Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90. Born in Cambridge in 1923, Attenborough began acting aged 12 and made his professional stage debut aged 18. The RADA graduate was one of the original cast members of The Mousetrap at the Ambassadors in 1952. He also starred in stage productions of The Little Foxes at the Piccadilly Theatre, Arthur Laurents’ The Way Back and 1952 comedy Sweet Madness.

Attenborough was a respected screen actor, appearing in more than 70 films with a breakthrough role as Pinkie in 1947’s Brighton Rock, a role he had previously performed on stage at The Garrick Theatre, and starring in other cinematic milestones such as The Great Escape, Doctor Dolittle and Jurassic Park. Behind the camera, Attenborough became an award-winning director, with his film Gandhi winning eight Oscars in 1982.

Attenborough was appointed a CBE in 1967 and knighted in 1976, being made a life peer in 1993.

He is survived by his wife, Sheila Sim, whom he married in 1945, his daughter, Charlotte, and his son, Michael, theatre director and former artistic director of the Almeida Theatre.

Attenborough to leave Almeida Theatre

After 11 years in the role, Michael Attenborough has announced that he is to step down as artistic director at the Almeida Theatre.

Attenborough described his time at the theatre as having been, ‘consistently thrilling and rewarding.’  He made the decision to leave in Spring 2013 in order to dedicate more time to other ventures, he said: ‘After running theatres for the past 32 years, I now want to concentrate solely on my directing.’

During his time at the Almeida, Attenborough has directed productions of Measure for Measure, The Mercy Seat and King Lear, which runs at the Almeida until November. He also established Almeida Projects – a creative theatre programme for young people which claims to offer ‘10,000 opportunities for young people to participate in projects led by experienced industry professionals’.

Attenborough’s programming over the past decade has seen 32 premieres of new works, which have, on average, attracted 38% new attendees to each production. He was instrumental in securing the financial security of the Almeida, after inheriting a deficit on his arrival as artistic director. By securing long-term sponsors, Attenborough has brought the Almeida out of debt.

Christopher Rodrigues, chair of the Almeida Theatre board said: ‘It has been a privilege for all of us to work with Michael. He has taken the Almeida from strength to strength locally, nationally and internationally by presenting a truly diverse programme of work of which we are all immeasurably proud.

‘Michael has established the Almeida as a powerhouse of British theatre and secured its financial condition. We count ourselves immensely fortunate to have benefited from his leadership for over a decade and wish him every success in his future directorial career.’

Attenborough said of his departure: ‘I would like to place on record my immense gratitude to the superb staff at the Almeida, all of whom have played an integral part in everything we have achieved. Whoever succeeds me will find themselves blessed with a wonderful and unique theatre space, a hugely loyal audience and a board and staff that are second to none.’

www.almeida.co.uk

Michael Attenborough presented with theatre award

Michael Attenborough has been presented with an award for Excellence in International Theatre by the International Theatre Institute.

When collecting his prize, Attenborough said: ‘I am honoured and flattered to be given this prestigious award from such a distinguished and hugely respected organisation, particularly when previous winners have included directors such as Peter Brook and Michael Grandage and the panel contains many admired theatre practitioners.’The arti

stic director of the Almeida Theatre was awarded with the honour at a luncheon held at the Tr

aveller’s Club in London. Director of the Theatre Institute, Neville Shulman presented Attenborough with the accolade.

Attenborough has been the artistic director of the Almeida Theatre for ten years. The award from the International Theatre Institute was to acknowledge Attenborough’s work to provide an international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts.

The director is no stranger to prestigious prizes having already secured two honorary doctorates and is also a honorary professor at the University of Sussex.