November 2017

 
28 November 2017

Exeter Northcott Theatre announces 2018 Spring Summer Season

Exeter Northcott Theatre is delighted to announce a packed 2018 spring and summer season with tickets now on sale for more than 50 new shows.

As a year of 50th anniversary celebrations begin, a diverse programme puts classical drama, new writing and modern adaptations alongside dance, opera, musicals and comedy.

One of the highlights of next year’s season is a first visit from Cornwall’s Kneehigh Theatre with its acclaimed The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.

The production follows artist Marc Chagall and wife Bella through a war-torn 20th-century Europe, reflecting the artist’s work from the stage with music and dance in the Russian Jewish tradition.

There is an extraordinary new circus adaptation of the Little Mermaid by our associate company Metta, who were behind the smash hit Jungle Book, with awe-inspiring acrobatics and spellbinding original songs.

Following a successful pilot, Beyond My Control returns ahead of a national tour.  Science meets theatre in this interactive performance about epilepsy, excitability and all things neurological.  Developed in association with the University of Exeter, this work forms part of the theatre’s IMPACT strand of work – leading edge performance on subjects where University of Exeter research is world leading.

John Godber’s award winning comedy about a hopeless pub rugby team, Up ’n’ Under, is given a unique spin by visual physical theatre company fingersmiths’ with a cast of deaf and hearing actors using British Sign Language and spoken English.

The extraordinary Vamos Theatre brings its trademark, wordless, full mask style to A Brave Face, which is set in the Afghanistan war and explores post-traumatic stress and the impact it can have on even the closest of families.

Innovative dance productions include a striking adaptation of Macbeth by the Mark Bruce Company, new works by the Richard Alston Dance Company, a double bill by Ballet Black and the return of Northern Ballet and Ballet Central.

Lionel Bart’s Oliver! is among the musical offerings alongside Sasha Regan’s all male  Iolanthe and a production of Flashdance, starring Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton and A1 heart-throb Ben Adams.

For younger audiences there is puppetry and music in Theatre Alibi’s The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon, Birmingham Stage Company’s world premiere production of David Walliams’ Awful Auntie and an imaginative retelling of Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale.

Drama offerings include Filter Theatre’s riotous production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a new staging of Dickens’ Great Expectations, with Nicola McAuliffe and West End hit The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, tells the true and extraordinary story of a satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the First World War.

A company of ex-soldiers bonds as a theatrical band of brothers in the heart-warming story about surviving the forces and PTSD, Soldier On – a play within a play written by Soldier, Soldier and London’s Burning actor Jonathan Guy Lewis.

There are a string of comedy shows including Stewart Lee, David Baddiel, Richard Herring and cherished raconteur and cricket lovers’ favourite, Henry Blofeld.

English Touring Opera return with a new staging of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and a revival of their critically acclaimed 2011 Puccini double bill, il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi.

Also, just announced for sale and opening in October is a major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos starring Tom Burke as the Marquis of Posa. This great romantic drama forms the centrepiece of the theatre’s 50th anniversary year, which is supported by patron Dame Judi Dench.

Paul Jepson, artistic and executive director at Exeter Northcott, said: “I really hope people are as excited as I am about what we have put together for next year.

“Our programme is now not only of incredibly high quality it is also extraordinarily diverse – whether it is what we’ve made, what our associate companies have made or what our partners have made.

“I want people to look at the programme and think ‘wow, I’ve really got to see that’ because we try to put audience enjoyment at the heart of everything.”

The Season

January: Exeter University Theatre Company kicks off 2018 with teenage mayhem and ultra-violence in a version of A Clockwork Orange, the Anthony Burgess book and Stanley Kubrick film. Exeter Footlights presents Singin’ in the Rain, with unforgettable scenes such as the title track, immortalised by Gene Kelly in the classic MGM film. The University’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society also celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with a satirical look at the British class system in of the duo’s most popular works, The Mikado.  

February: Science meets theatre in the Exeter Northcott Theatre production about epilepsy and all things neurological, Beyond My Control. The unique collaboration with academics at Exeter University opened at the theatre in March this year and begins a national tour. The magnificent career one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, Nina Simone, is told in song and story by actress Josette Bushell-Mingo and her backing band. The region’s best home-grown contemporary dance is given a platform to present a vibrant showcase of diverse events Watch This Space taking place by Dance in Devon followed by a post-show discussion. Dizzying tales from the 40-year climbing career of Andy Kirkpatrick are told in the brand new show, Psychovertical: A Higher Education. The Swedish pop giants of the 1970s are brought back to the stage by ABBA – Forever, one of the UK’s leading international tribute shows. The best a cappella singers in the region battle for a place in the Broadway finals in New York at the ICCA South West Quarter Final. Original live music and puppetry bring to life a magical tale of big ideas and sky-high courage in The Boy Who Climbed Into The Moon. A company of ex-soldiers bonds as a theatrical band of brothers in the heart-warming story about surviving the forces and PTSD, Soldier On.

March: Parents and children are invited to an adventure through prehistory as Ben Garrod uses BBC footage to present So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs! Deadpan humour and meandering monologes will be delivered by hilariously embittered stand-up comedian Stewart Lee in Content Provider, his first new full-length show since the award-winning Carpet Remnant World. Evocative piano backs some of the world’s finest dancers as the Richard Alston Dance Company presents a new work, Carnaval, and quickens the pace with the revival for the first time in a decade of an old favourite, Gypsy Mixture. Exeter’s velvet-voiced boys in burgundy, Semi-Toned, return, fresh from TV success with their biggest show yet with modern hits and golden oldies. The award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny will stage David Walliams’ amazing tale of frights, fights and friendship in Awful Auntie. An extraordinary exploration of soldiers and post-traumatic stress comes via the wordless, full mask performance.  A Brave Face, inspired by the soaring rates of suicide among veterans and set in the Afghanistan war. Step back into the world of US soul as the explosive Magic of Motown show racks up 40 back-to-back classic hits from the record label that changed history. A hopeless pub rugby team struggle to get ready to take on the local champions in the award-winning comedy Up ’n’ Under, given a unique spin by visual physical theatre company fingersmiths’ with a cast of deaf and hearing actors. A new look at one of the country’s greatest female authors comes with Lucy Worsley: Jane Austin at Home. Ahead of the publication of her new book on the writer, the royal expert and TV presenter dispels the myth of the cynical, lonely spinster in favour of a witty and passionate woman of her time.

April: Exeter Musical Society presents Lionel Bart’s Oliver! as the popular production celebrates its 50th anniversary. Science’s most volatile live show brings a stage version of the weird and wonderful TV show Braniac Live! Kneehigh theatre in Cornwall visits for the first time with the epic tale of the journey through war-torn Europe of artist Marc Chagall and his wife in The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. One of the world’s finest chamber orchestras The English Concert brings a collection of works from Baroque masters including Bach and Purcell. Inspirational ideas and an exceptional line-up of speakers will return for a seventh year in TEDx talks. Comic Richard Herring confronts mid-life crisis in his stand-up show Oh Frig I’m 50 while cherished national treasure and cricketing raconteur Henry Bloefeld stops off with an armful of anecdotes from on and off the pitch. Undersea adventures are given the high-wire treatment in an extraordinary new adaptation of the Little Mermaid by our associate company Metta, following up on their smash hit Jungle Book with acrobatic storytelling.

May: Movement maps out naked ambition, the ruthless pursuit of power and a tragic descent into murder and madness in a striking dance theatre adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Mark Bruce Company. Sleeping Beauty gets a teenage glam makeover as Exeter touring company Jammy Voo  team up with Rhum and Clay, blending theatre, puppetry and 80s pop in The Sleeper – A Teenage Fairy Tale. Audience participation should make a memorable celebration of Disney’s brand new adaption of the classic fairytale in Sing-a-long-a Beauty and the Beast with dance moves and props on hand. Encore Dance Company, from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, return with an exciting programme of mixed dance genres. A reinterpretation of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays sets the classic tale of young lovers and riotous fairies to original live music in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wordsmith Roger McGough and LiTTle MACHiNe present an evening of classic poetry delivered with passion and humour and set to music.  A compelling journey through three generations of songwriting charts a century of popular songs from from a multi-talented family including classics such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins in the delightful Spoonful of Sherman. Eccentric tales from a TV and music hall star takes the audience on a journey through a very personal collection of video tapes in Count Arthur Strong is Alive and Unplugged. Three’s a crowd as imaginary friends collide in Paddleboat Theatre’s Margo & Mr Whatsit, a lively tale told through mime, puppetry, music and clowning. A new production of Mozart’s classic The Marriage of Figaro is staged by English Touring Opera as well as two one-act operas by Puccini. Three up-and-coming young dancers perform works from world-renowned choreographers including a Gothic reworking of the Fairies Prologue from Sleeping Beauty and a timeless version of Cinderella in Ballet Central. Flashdance the Musical tells the story of a welder who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, starring 2011 Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton and A1 heart-throb Ben Adams.

June: Gilbert and Sullivan’s topsy turvy love story of fairies and the House of Lords Iolanthe promises a barmy night out. Veteran double act Barry Cryer and Colin Sell celebrate simply being alive as the Ant and Dec of the Sanatogen set in Strictly Come Joking.  Comedian David Baddiel brings his critically-acclaimed West End hit My Family: Not the Sitcom with tales of ageing, infidelity and dysfunctional relatives. A balletic retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s famous fairytale The Ugly Duckling returns to the stage for the first time since 2013.  A powerful new adaptation of Dickens’ timeless classic Great Expectations is led by Olivier award-winning actress Nichola McAuliffe as the mysterious Miss Haversham. Artistic director Cassa Pancho leads the company Ballet Black in a double bill featuring a South African fable and setting Shakespearian comedy to a soundtrack that includes Eartha Kitt and Barbra Streisand. Doctor Who is put on trial in hilarious romp across 54 years of time travel in a one-man show by his greatest fan as Australian comic Rob Lloyd presents WHO, Me

July: A heart-warming children’s tale of friendship and adventure for four-year-olds and above brings music and laughs in an imaginative adaptation of The Snail and the Whale by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson.

September: The true and extraordinary story of a satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the First World War is told in the West End hit The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman.

October: The centrepiece of the 50th anniversary year is a major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos with Tom Burke leading the company as the passionate son and heir to the tyrannical Philip II of Spain. Written just two years before the French Revolution, the play tackles themes of justice, equality, freedom of expression and conscience, religious bigotry and state persecution and is as relevant today as ever.

Restaurant Events:
Exeter Northcott and Moonstone Theatre Company present Moonstone and A Midsummer Night’s Murder, two delicious evenings of Murder Mystery on March 3 and on June 30. The first mystery unravels at a party thrown by a successful jeweller while the summer intrigue comes amid rehearsals for Shakespeare’s famous comedy and is set in 1935. Both events include a meal in The View Restaurant. Also, join us in the Exeter Northcott bar on March 2 as Marlene and Boycie host a gala dinner, only to find Del, Rodney and Uncle Albert among the guests in Only Fools and Three Courses. Uninvited guests and out-of-control relatives serve up an unbeatable theatrical dining experience in The Wedding Reception on March 17.

And finally, Panto makes a welcome return next week with a new production of Dick Whittington by one of the country’s leading pantomime directors, Tony Lidington, starring Exeter’s favourite Steve Bennett as Dame Sarah Suet.

 

BUYING TICKETS:
Tickets for the spring/summer 2018 season are now on sale. Call the Exeter Northcott Theatre box office on 01392 726363 or book your seats online at the Exeter Northcott Theatre website: www.exeternorthcott.co.uk. Alternatively buy in person from Exeter Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, EX4 4QB

 

27 November 2017

Amazing volunteers knit 1,500 cupcakes for Northcott panto

Back in July, we appealed for volunteers to knit 1,000 cupcakes to be used in performances of our pantomime Dick Whittington.

The show, co-written by leading panto director Tony Lidington with Steve Bennett, who plays Dame Sarah Suet, marks a return to panto for the first time in eight years at the Northcott.

Knitters across Devon answered the call and surpassed expectations by downloading the pattern and producing an amazing 1,456 of the woolly fancies.

Individuals and knitting groups took to the task with enthusiasm, including one lady in Seaton who created an amazing 200 all by herself.

As a thank you to all the knitters, the theatre has teamed up with housing provider Devon and Cornwall Housing (DCH) and Home-Start Exeter and East Devon to offer 500 free pantomime tickets to families who can’t afford to come to the theatre this Christmas.

How the cupcakes will actually be used in the show has been kept a closely guarded secret ahead of opening night on December 5.

But regular fans of panto will not have to exercise their grey matter too hard to imagine a suitable purpose for the lightweight items.

What happens to the cute, multi-coloured haul after the show is yet to be decided but the theatre hopes to give them to a good home and is calling for suggestions.

Lisa Hudson, education and outreach officer, said she was overwhelmed by the response and asked for ideas on who might like to have the cupcakes.

She said: “When we came up with the idea we honestly never expected to get such a phenomenal response but they have just kept on rolling in week after week.

“There are sat on desks, strung up as bunting, packed into glass display cases and containers – it has been incredible.

“I would like to thank Wool on the Exe for putting out the word and the many people who gave up their time to help us.

“The only thing left to decide now is what we should do with them in January so if anyone wants to take possession of 1,500 slightly worn but perfectly lovely cupcakes just drop us a line, or give us an email.”

The Northcott earned a reputation as the home of panto, starting more than twenty years ago but last produced a pantomime in 2009, the much acclaimed Mother Goose.

Dick Whittington, the first Northcott panto since 2009, promises plenty of audience participation, live music, magic, mayhem and lots of laughter as Dick reaches the big city and travels the high seas in search of his fortune ahead of a showdown with the evil villain King Rat.

Steve Bennett returns as the Dame, a role he played previously at the Northcott for 14 years and is delighted to be treading the familiar boards again, the 20th professional pantomime of his career.

The audience favourite was the resident dame between 1996 and 2010, appearing in three Cinderellas, two Aladdins, two Dick Whittingtons, two Mother Gooses, two Jack and the Beanstalks, two Sleeping Beauties and one Babes in the Wood.

He said: “I’ve done panto elsewhere but nothing compares to the Northcott. I really feel like I’m comng home.”

The latest addition to this tradition, Dick Whittington, sees Gordon Cooper take on the role of Captain Darling, Jeremy Harmer playing the evil King Rat and Martin Reeve appearing as Alderman Fitzwarren.

The cast also includes Emily Essery as Dick Whittington and Exeter native Annabel Warwick as Alice Fitzwarren.

Set and costume design is by Kelly Jago with musical direction by Paul McClure.

BUYING TICKETS:

Tickets for the spring/summer 2018 season are now on sale. Call the Exeter Northcott Theatre box office on 01392 726363 or book your seats online at the Exeter Northcott Theatre website: www.exeternorthcott.co.uk. Alternatively buy in person from Exeter Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, EX4 4QB

 

 

17 November 2017

Panto comes home to the Exeter Northcott Theatre with Dick Whittington

Panto is making a welcome return to the Exeter Northcott Theatre with a new production by one of the country’s leading pantomime directors.

Dick Whittington is set to open next month, marking a spectacular return to the theatre’s tradition of producing its own pantomimes.

The show follows Dick as he leaves his Exeter home for the bright lights of London in search of fame and fortune, his faithful Puss by his side.

The first Northcott panto since 2009, it promises plenty of audience participation, live music, magic, mayhem and lots of laughter as Dick reaches the big city and travels the high seas in search of his fortune ahead of a showdown with the evil villain King Rat.

Steve Bennett returns as the Dame, a role he played previously at the Northcott for 14 years, in a show he also co-wrote with director Tony Lidington, a respected authority on pantomime.

Steve, who is from Exeter and will be appearing in his 15th Northcott panto, is delighted to be treading the familiar boards again, the 20th professional pantomime of his career.

He said: “I’ve done panto elsewhere but nothing compares to the Northcott. I really feel like I’m coming home.”

Tony Lidington, a respected authority on British popular entertainment forms, has worked at theatres up and down the country and is now based in Devon.

“I have been creating and producing pantomimes that combine traditional history and conventions with rollicking family entertainment for over 30 years,” he added.

“Having created unique, box office-breaking pantomimes for the last six years at Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal, it is fantastic to be working close to my home in Dawlish.”

The Northcott earned a reputation as the home of panto, starting more than twenty years ago but last produced a pantomime in 2009, the much acclaimed Mother Goose.

Audience favourite Steve Bennett was the resident dame between 1996 and 2010, appearing in three Cinderellas, two Aladdins, two Dick Whittingtons, two Mother Gooses, two Jack and the Beanstalks, two Sleeping Beauties and one Babes in the Wood.

The latest addition to this tradition, Dick Whittington, sees Gordon Cooper take on the role of Captain Darling, Jeffrey Harmer playing the evil King Rat and Martin Reeve appearing as Alderman Fitzwarren.

The cast also includes Emily Essery as Dick Whittington and Exeter native Annabel Warwick as Alice Fitzwarren.

Set and costume design is by Kelly Jago with musical direction by Paul McClure.

Book tickets

15 November 2017

Tom Burke leads company of Don Carlos in major new revival at the Northcott

11 – 20 October 2018

A major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos with Tom Burke leading the company as Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, is coming to the Northcott.

Gadi Roll’s production, presented in a co-production with Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston, is the centrepiece of the Exeter Northcott’s 50th anniversary celebrations and opens in Exeter on 16 October, with previews from 11 October. The production reunites Burke and Roll following their previous collaboration on Don Juan Comes Back From the War at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.

Don Carlos, son and heir to the tyrannical Philip II, is desperately in love with his stepmother, Elizabeth, to whom he was once betrothed. To resolve his all-consuming passion, Carlos enlists the help of his closest friend. Enter Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, who dreams of freedom for his people and becomes an unlikely power broker in the King’s duplicitous court.

Written just two years before the French Revolution, Schiller’s Don Carlos engages with themes of justice, equality, freedom of expression and conscience, religious bigotry and state persecution and is as relevant today as ever.

Paul Jepson said: “I first met Tom when I directed him at RADA, and it’s wonderful to reunite for our major new revival of Schiller’s masterpiece Don Carlos in a co-production with Nuffield Theatres Southampton and Rose Theatre Kingston.

“It is an incredibly resonant play given the intolerance in the contemporary world. Gadi’s production is at the heart of our 50th anniversary season, and forms a major part of our produced programme.”

Tom Burke added: “Don Carlos is a play that speaks for today – it’s themes as relevant now as when Schiller wrote it. Gadi Roll and I are thrilled to open the production with Paul and the team at the Northcott ahead of performances in Southampton and Kingston.”

Friedrich Schiller’s (1759 – 1805) principal works for the stage include The Robbers, Intrigue and Love, The Wallenstein Trilogy, Mary Stuart and William Tell.

Book tickets

 

 

08 November 2017

Dame Judi Dench donates signed painting for gala auction

She may be best known for playing the tough and calculating spymaster in the James Bond films but Dame Judi Dench has revealed her little-known artistic side to support Exeter Northcott Theatre.

The award-winning stage and screen actress has donated a painting to be auctioned this weekend by former Bargain Hunt presenter Tim Wonnacott in support of the 50th anniversary year.

The framed and signed watercolour depicting the Isle of Mull in Scotland is one of the lots going under the hammer at Sunday’s gala performance, at which big names from TV and theatre will perform.

The 7 by 5-inch work, initialled on the front and signed on the back, could fetch as much as £1,200.

Lucky bidders can also get their hands on a copy of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the opening show at the Exeter Northcott Theatre on November 2, 1967, signed by Dame Judi, who is patron of the 50th anniversary year.

Bids can be made on the night or lodged beforehand on our website.

Tim, who was born in north Devon, stopped fronting Bargain Hunt at the end of 2015 after 13 years and 1,300 programmes.

He still keeps his hand in as an auctioneer and will bring down the hammer on a list of mouth-watering lots during the show, including Valentine’s Day tickets for Carmen at the Royal Opera House, a day on set with Andy Hay, who directed Stan Lee’s Lucky Man and a bespoke pastel drawing of the winner’s pet dog by acclaimed artist, Annette Rayner.

Tim said: “I am delighted to be returning to Devon to support this event and hope it will be a great success.

“I do a lot of charity work here and abroad and still do a lot of auctions throughout the year. I was director of Sotheby’s for 25 years and still do auctions for lots of firms.”

Among the stars appearing on stage at the black-tie event is Robert Lindsay, who trod the Northcott boards in the early 1970s before becoming a household name as TV’s delusional revolutionary, Citizen Smith.

Doctor Foster star Bertie Carvel has also been announced along with Ruby Bental, known for her recent role in BBC’s hit period drama Poldark.

Paul Jesson, Joe Stilgoe, Martin Shaw, Felicity Montagu and Olivia Nixon will also appear.

Tickets for the gala are on sale and can be bought online at www.exeternorthcott.co.uk or through the theatre’s Box Office on 01392 726363.

02 November 2017

Exeter Northcott Theatre Celebrates 50th Birthday

Exeter Northcott Theatre is today celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The theatre opened on the 2nd November 1967 with a production of The Merchant of Venice, starring its first Artistic Director, Tony Church.

To launch the Northcott’s 50th anniversary celebrations, it will be hosting a charity gala on Sunday 12 November. The evening will celebrate the Exeter Northcott Theatre’s first 50 years and will raise funds to help strengthen the foundations for the next 50.

Exeter Northcott is delighted to announce that actors Ruby Bentall, Bertie Carvel and Alex Kingston will perform at the gala. They join previously announced Robert Lindsay, Paul Jesson, Joe Stilgoe, Martin Shaw, Felicity Montagu and Olivia Nixon, with Tim Wonnacott overseeing the charity auction.

After the Theatre Royal, Exeter was demolished in 1962, local businessman George Northcott started negotiations with the University of Exeter who then offered some land on Streatham campus for Mr Northcott to realise his ambition of creating a new theatre for Exeter. He established a trust with a benefaction of £100,000 (later supplemented by a generous gift of £50,000 from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and others), to build the ‘Northcott Devon Theatre and Arts Centre’, which would serve the needs of the local community.

Exeter Northcott Theatre has a rich history of producing and creating entertaining and innovative work. In the 1970s and 80s the theatre’s Rep company helped to launch the careers of many recognizable faces including television and film stars such as Celia Imrie, John Nettles, Imelda Staunton, Brian Protheroe, Geraldine James, and David Suchet.

Today, under the artistic direction of Paul Jepson, the Northcott is thriving. It is a new model regional theatre; a bold, sustainable, life-affirming hub of entertainment and enjoyment for Exeter and beyond. Since 2015 the theatre has steadily been increasing its producing arm, with recent productions including The Comedy of Errors, The Railway Children, This Is My Body and Betrayal. It has also developed a radical interdisciplinary programme called IMPACT. In partnership with the University of Exeter, the Northcott successfully piloted Beyond My Control, an interactive performance about epilepsy.

Exeter Northcott has also introduced an Associates Programme, which supports the next generation of theatre companies to successfully transition to the mid-scale. Current members of the programme comprise PaddleBoat Theatre Company, Metta Theatre and Le Navet Bete.

Paul Jepson, the Northcott’s artistic and executive director said, “The Northcott has got its mojo back.  Our National Tour of the Railway Children has received rave reviews, we’ve just co-produced the tour of People Places & Things with Headlong, the National and Home, we’ve had first visits from great leading edge companies like Complicite & Gecko, we’ve gone back to Summer Shakespeare with our Graduate Company, our Associate Companies are developing new audiences, our education and reach out programmes are widely admired.  Attendance is up – significantly and our audiences are becoming more diverse.  To top it all on the 12th November there’s to be a star studded gala – jam packed with names whose support is humbling and inspiring in equal measure.”