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Scofield Memorial, Galas for Bushfires & Calendar

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The late Paul Scofield’s life and work will be celebrated this week at the National Theatre with a memorial held on the first anniversary of the actor’s death (See News, 20 Mar 2008), this Thursday 19 March 2009, in the NT Lyttelton Theatre at 2.30pm.

Paul Scofield – An Actor for All Seasons will be compered by Alex Jennings and will feature contributions by Eileen Atkins, Claire Bloom, Anna Calder-Marshall, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Hardy, John Harrison, John Hurt, Michael Pennington, Diana Rigg, Donald Sinden, John Tydeman and NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner. The tribute is directed by Royal Shakespeare Company chief associate director Gregory Doran.

Paul Scofield, considered by many to be one of the greatest classical actors of the mid-20th century, died at the age of 86 on 19 March 2008. Though he achieved international fame thanks to a handful of films, Scofield was first and foremost a stage actor, most closely associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he was an honorary associate artist and appeared in nearly 30 productions between 1947 (then the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre) and 1972.

Beyond the RSC, Scofield is probably best remembered for playing Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons. He originated the role in the 1960 London stage production and won a Tony Award for the Broadway transfer the following year. When he recreated the performance on screen in the 1966 film, he was awarded an Oscar. Scofield also famously originated the role of Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus at the National Theatre in 1979.

Tickets for Paul Scofield – An Actor for All Seasons are free but must be obtained in advance from the National Theatre box office on 0207 452 3000.

In other one-off events in the West End, a host of Australian ex-pats and other West End stars will come together on Sunday 29 March 2009 for a special concert at the Palace Theatre, home of the new Down Under musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, to raise money for victims of the recent fires and floods that devastated Australia. Aussies Jason Donovan, Philip Quast and Tamsin Carroll (the alternate Nancy in Oliver!) are all taking part along with fellow cast members from Priscilla, La Cage aux Folles and Oliver! as well as Dirty Dancing, Chicago, The Lion King, Zorro, Jersey Boys, La Clique and other shows. There will also be special guest appearances from Rolf Harris, The Puppetry of the Penis, String Divas, The Flying Pickets and Rat Pack’s Back.

Last month, the south of Australia was ravaged by fires and the north was devastated by incredible flash flooding. At least 210 people died and 7,000 people are now homeless. These were the very worst conditions Australia’s had in the last 100 years and many fires continue to burn, destroying farms, families and livelihoods. Australia’s Fire and Flood Benefit is hosted by Simon Burke. All proceeds go to the British Red Cross Australian Bushfires Appeal. Tickets can be booked on 0844 412 4657.

Further ahead at the Noel Coward Theatre, a gala premiere of Calendar Girls will be held on 28 April 2009 in aid of cancer charity Yes to Life. Tickets are priced at £80 (of which £50 goes directly to the charity) and include the best seats in the house for the stage play based on the hit film, champagne and canapé reception, an audience with the cast, and a special brochure with the actors’ autographs. Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Gaynor Faye and Sian Phillips star. To book charity gala tickets, call 020 7372 4823.

- by Terri Paddock


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