Anticipation mounts for glamorous Playhouse Gala

Tuesday 3rd February 2009

The stars will come out at Nottingham Playhouse when the theatre’s diamond jubilee celebrations culminate in its glittering 60TH ANNIVERSARY GALA. Anticipation is reaching fever pitch for the event on Thursday 12 February from 6.30pm – an opportunity to rub shoulders with a host of celebrities. Sponsored by the University of Nottingham, the gala will be doubly glamorous, incorporating a performance of Stephen Lowe’s sparkling new comedy GLAMOUR.

Music, champagne, casino games and an exclusive auction add to the lustre of this one-off occasion. Tickets are £60, with all proceeds going to help the Playhouse extend its creative work with the young people and diverse communities of its home city and county as it looks to the next 60 years. Those savouring an evening of sheer glamour or seeking a unique early Valentine’s Day surprise need look no further, with some tickets still available (Box Office: 0115 941 9419).

The Playhouse’s Anniversary Gala has attracted an outstanding array of celebrity guests. Stars of stage and screen Prunella Scales,Timothy West and *Robert Lindsay* all plan to attend. So too does former Artistic Director Sir Richard Eyre, now a multi-award-winning film director. Nottingham’s brightest and best will be represented by Olympic gold medal-winning canoeist Tim Brabants, local philanthropist Sir Harry Djanogly and Michelin-starred chef and restauranteur Sat Bains. Also present will be Sharon D Clarke, star of Holby City and Last Choir Standing, who is set to star in the jubilant Caribbean musical Once on This Island later this season. Weatherman Des Coleman and singer Richard Shelton, both stars of previous Playhouse musicals, are also on the guest list. They will all join GLAMOUR playwright Stephen Lowe, Playhouse bosses Stephanie Sirr and Giles Croft, and Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Sir Andrew Buchanan for a truly starry night.

Many of the country’s leading theatrical talents have worked at Nottingham Playhouse. Timothy West was a multi-faceted Iago in the 1976 production of Othello, for instance, and Prunella Scales graced the stage in Children’s Day in 1969. Richard Shelton was Frank Sinatra in the Playhouse hit Rat Pack Confidential and Des Coleman was Pal Joey. Other stars who have trod the same boards, such as Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Zoë Wanamaker, Steven Berkoff, Jonathan Pryce and Alan Rickman, although unable to attend the Gala, have contributed their memories to a limited edition souvenir booklet which will be presented to all attenders.

A registered charity, Nottingham Playhouse began its story in November 1948 in a converted cinema in the city’s Goldsmith Street, the initiative of a group of the city’s theatre-lovers. The company achieved national recognition from the outset and today enjoys a global reputation. The local audience remains its most important, and the Gala’s proceeds are dedicated to its Particip8 appeal, which aims to secure the future of its work with young people and improve its studio facilities in order to reach out even further into the community in future.
As well as the knowledge that they are supporting such invaluable work, ticket holders will enjoy a glass of Taittinger champagne and canapés on arrival and enjoy other entertainments including live music and fun after-show casino tables. Well known from TV’s Bargain Hunt and Cash in the Attic, James Lewis of Bamfords Auctioneers, Derby will conduct an exclusive charity auction, with the lots including a full-day cookery workshop with Sat Bains, an overnight stay with dinner at Hart’s Nottingham, a pair of Paul Smith cufflinks, a weekend stay at Jury’s Inn, an Indulgence Day at Eden Hall spa, a Nintendo Wii donated by John Lewis and original archive photographs signed by Dame Judi Dench. And of course the ticket also includes a souvenir booklet and seats for the Playhouse’s latest world premiere production.

GLAMOUR is a revealing and inventive new comedy set in the 1960s, and sponsored by insurance experts Russell Scanlan. It is a fitting play to mark the 60th anniversary, rooted like the theatre in Nottingham and based, as the Playhouse was up until 1963, in an old picture palace. There, a young filmmaker launches his risqué debut film and find himself face to face with two of the country’s most notorious gangsters – making riotous comedy out of a true experience of author Stephen Lowe. With world-renowned director Bill Alexander at the helm, an ingenious set by Ruari Murchison incorporating specially reconstructed film footage, music and a superb comedic cast, GLAMOUR will also help to ensure that the Gala is a truly entertaining evening.

The Playhouse is fortunate to enjoy the backing of the University of Nottingham as sponsor of the anniversary Gala. Its Vice-Chancellor David Greenaway said:

Nottingham Playhouse is a key asset of our city and region, but its success has ensured it has genuine national visibility. The University of Nottingham has enjoyed its long association with the Playhouse and is delighted to support its 60th anniversary celebrations. Attenders can be certain that a little glamour will rub off on them at this once-in-a-lifetime, black-tie, red-carpet event.

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Notes to editors

  1. The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain’s “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
    Its students are much in demand from ’blue-chip’ employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
  2. Please note that, regrettably, Zoë Wanamaker, Clive Francis and Kenneth Alan Taylor are now unable to attend the Gala as stated in previous press releases.