Female Stars Fundraise for Charity & ChildrenDate: 8 October 2001
A number of the theatre world's most prominent women are lending their support to two major campaigns. A cast including Joan Collins (pictured) and Helena Bonham Carter will perform a one-off version of the satire The Women on 28 October 2001, whilst Dame Judi Dench and Juliet Stevenson are backing a fundraising effort on behalf of a children's theatre centre.
The Women will be performed at The Old Vic, with proceeds going to the cancer charities Cancerkin and CancerBACUP. It was written by the controversial artist and socialite Clare Boothe Luce, who died in 1987. Her wartime journalism briefly took her away from the playwriting that she considered her real vocation. However, as a war correspondent, she experienced Europe's bombing raids, and her observations allegedly influenced Winston Churchill's planning.
Diana Rigg and Zoe Wanamaker will also be among the cast, for a play which centres on the higher stratas of New York society. It opened on Broadway in December 1936, and was last revived in 1973. A 1939 movie version starred Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer.
Elsewhere, the support of Cherie Blair has been enlisted for a purpose-built children's drama venue by the Thames. The building could potentially house the acclaimed Unicorn Children's Theatre, which departed from its West End home two years ago. The plans include a new indoor theatre, plus spaces for education and exhibitions. A site in the vicinity of Tower Bridge is under consideration, with the Arts Council already committed to providing around £4.5 million.
Commenting recently on the venture, the Unicorn's Artistic Director, Tony Graham, said: "Children from London and beyond will have a centre where their imaginations are free to soar, where they can be inspired, challenged and entertained. Children will have a world-class theatre, designed specifically for them, in the heart of the capital". The total cost of the building is £11 million, but in addition to the Arts Council's allocation, the Pool of London Partnership has already earmarked £1 million. The remaining £5.5 million will be found from private and public sources as part of a capital appeal.
Cancerkin is a breast cancer charity which provides services and facilites beyond the National Health Service, to patients and those close to them. Based at the Royal Free Hospital, London, referrals are taken from other hospitals, cancer centres, and health professionals. CancerBACUP has been providing free and up-to-date information, practical advice and support for cancer patients and their families since October 1985.
- by Gareth Thompson