Ipswich-based theatre company Red Rose Chain has confirmed that Emma Freud will be its first-ever patron. The well-known journalist, script editor and broadcaster is lending her support having become a fan of their theatre work and community engagement in her native Suffolk over a number of years.
Artistic director Joanna Carrick announced the news in the middle of a very busy year for her company. This has included a critically-acclaimed run of "Fallen In Love", her play about Anne Boleyn, at the Tower of London as well as at Gippeswyk Hall and a popular production of "The Taming of the Shrew" for Theatre in the Forest at Jimmy's Farm.
Carrick comments that: "It's amazing to have Emma on board at this exciting time for Red Rose Chain. She is also a great inspiration for me personally.
"Her incredible track record in creating high quality, popular entertainment alongside the amazing achievements of Comic Relief in helping to change people's lives means that she really understands the ethos behind our company".
Freud's response is: "It is such an honour for me to be asked to be patron of Red Rose Chain. I have experienced at first hand Red Rose Chain's amazing work. "The Taming of the Shrew" was quite simply one of the best Shakespeare productions I have ever seen.
"I'm also fascinated in the way Jo and her team mix this energy up with their work helping people turn their lives around. I'm really looking forward to helping spread the word".
The daughter of the late Sir Clement Freud and his actress wife Jill Freud, she is a regular presenter on both radio and television and the script editor of all her partner Richard Curtis' films, including "Notting Hill", "Love Actually" and their latest release "About Time". She is a trustee of Comic Relief , director of Red Nose Day and also presents the National Theatre's NTLive screenings.
The development of a new studio theatre at Gippeswyk Hall is funded by a £1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as by Viridor Credits, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council.
This community programme engages with people recovering from drug addiction and uses drama to help them turn their lives around and is supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Suffolk County Council. Red Rose Chain was a Finalist in the National Lottery Awards 2013.