The Old Vic has announced the initial participants for its fifth annual theatre challenge, The 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala, which this year takes place on Sunday 30 November 2008.

Josh Hartnett (pictured), currently starring in the West End in Rain Man, will help to add some Hollywood glamour, alongside home-grown actors including Jenny Agutter, Hugh Bonneville, Hamish Clark, Julia Davis, Martin Freeman, Henry Goodman, David Harewood, Jessica Hynes, Jenny Jules, Dervla Kirwan, Martina Laird, Sally Phillips, Tim Pigott-Smith, Michelle Ryan and Lia Williams.

The event will be co-hosted this year by radio DJ and TV presenter Johnnie Vaughan and James Corden, the original History Boy and creator of TV’s Gavin and Stacey, who also presented the 2008 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards Show at which he famously snogged Best Newcomer winner Daniel Radcliffe (See WOS TV, 28 Feb 2008).

The event provides a unique opportunity to see work by leading actors, writers and directors as the team is challenged to write, rehearse and perform six short plays in just 24 hours on the Old Vic stage. The process begins on the evening of Saturday 29 November and culminates in the performance to a full house on Sunday 30 November at 7.30pm. The night finishes for the participants with The 25th Hour post-show party at Plaza on the River.

The actors are joined in this year’s challenge by directors Tamara Harvey, Clare Lizzimore, Anna Mackmin, Jonathan Munby and Josie Rourke, and writers Amelia Bullmore, Moira Buffini, Maurice Gran and Laurence Marks. All proceeds support Old Vic New Voices, part of the unsubsidised Old Vic’s commitment to nurturing new talent, developing new work, attracting new audiences and engaging the local community.

Tickets for The 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala on range from £75 to £250. To book, call the gala hotline on 020 7401 9280, the Old Vic box office on 0870 060 6628 or visit the Old Vic website.

- by Terri Paddock


** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to RAIN MAN this Monday 17 November 2008 - including an EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A with Josh Hartnett & Adam Godley!! – all for £35! – click here to book now! **