Jan Ravens to host Almeida Theatre's 2012 fund raising Gala, performances from Daniel Evans, Josie Lawrence & more



Hosted by Jan Ravens, performers Daniel Evans, Josie Lawrence, Jenny Jules, Jonathan Pryce, Jenna Russell, Samantha Spiro and Meera Syal are joined by Young Friends of the Almeida and and award-winning theatre company Inspector Sands to perform as part of Almeida Up Close, the theatre’s 2012 fundraising Gala.  Directed by Indhu Rubasingham, Almeida Up Close will take place on 23 February 2012 at One Mayfair.  The evening of fine dining and cabaret will include music by Stephen Sondheim and Amy Winehouse.

The Almeida Theatre is a registered charity and fundraises up to £1.2m each year to present a diverse and comprehensive programme at its Islington home, as well its extensive work with young people in local communities through the creative learning programme, Almeida Projects.

Award-winning actor Daniel Evans is Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres where, as an actor, his work includes The Tempest, Cloud Nine, Company and The Pride.  As a director for the Company his work includes An Enemy of the People, Racing Demon and Othello.

Actor and comedienne Josie Lawrence is a member of The Josie Lawrence Steve Edis Trio and The Comedy Store Players who improvise every week and are now in their 27th year.  She recently played Manda Bates in the BBC’s long running soap EastEnders.

Jenny Jules won the The Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her performance as Mama in the Almeida’s production of Ruined.  She also has been seen at the Almeida in The Homecoming, Big White Fog and A Chain Play.

Stage and film actor Jonathan Pryce returns to the Almeida to play the title role in Michael Attenborough’s production of King Lear later this year.  Previously he played Martin in The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?

Jenna Russell’s theatre credits include Season’s Greetings for the National Theatre and Into the Woods for the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park.  For her role as Dot in Sunday in the Park With George for the Roundabout Theatre Company, New York and the Menier Chocolate Factory, she won the Theatre World Award and the Laurence Olivier award for Best Actress in a Musical.

Jan Ravens performs all the female roles in the hugely successful radio and television series Dead Ringers and appeared as Janet Grimley in three series of The Grimleys.

Award-winning actor Samantha Spiro will join the Almeida to play the title role in Michael Attenborough’s production of Filumena which opens next month.

Meera Syal performed an extract from Shakespeare’sTaming of the Shrew at the Almeida’s 2011 Gala with Sanjeev Bhaskar.  She is also an Associate Artist of the Almeida.

Inspector Sands have established themselves as one of the UK’s most exciting emerging theatre companies, creating two award-winning shows, Hysteria and If That’s All There Is, which have toured nationally and internationally.  They will take part in the Almeida’s 2012 Festival in July.

The Young Friends of the Almeida (YFA) scheme aims to build sustainable, lasting relationships with the audience and artists of the future by offering unique opportunities to young people aged 15 – 25.  Projects range from one day master classes to involvement in year-long productions and the scheme is governed by its own youth board. YFA is just one stream of Almeida Projects the education arm of the theatre which provides 10,000 opportunities for young people to get involved each year, either through their school or individually.

Indhu Rubasingham previously directed Lynn Nottage’s Ruined for the Almeida Theatre. Rubasingham will become Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre in May.