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Jenny Sealey and Paulette Randall appointed Ovalhouse patrons to support move to Brixton

Theatre news

IT WAS announced today (April 25, 2017) that Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director of Graeae (the UK’s leading disabled led theatre company) and Paulette Randall MBE, acclaimed theatre director and associate director of the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, have been appointed patrons of Ovalhouse Theatre.

They join former James Bond Pierce Brosnan OBE and The Kumars at No 42 star Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE. Together they will front the campaign to raise funds for the venue’s new home in Brixton, which is expected to open in 2019.

The appointment of the two reflects the role Ovalhouse has played in each one’s career. Sealey and Randall are both leaders in their fields and throughout their careers, the venue has offered both the opportunities to present work, develop ideas and create new projects.

Each of the women has a strong track record in the counter-cultural movements that forms the basis of the artistic diversity that characterises the venue and shapes its reputation.

At the beginning of last year the relocation was granted planning permission and given Lambeth Council’s unanimous support as part of a significant regeneration scheme of the Somerleyton Road area of Brixton. With £6.5 million already raised and an Arts Council Award of £3 million, a further £2.5 million needs to be raised to see the project through to opening.

The aim is to achieve this through a series of fundraising initiatives, which will take place over the next two years with the support of the strong team of patrons. The next fundraising event, a gala performance of Redefining Juliet, Storme Toolis’s unique retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will take place on May 4 at Ovalhouse. Redefining Juliet features six actresses, all with disabilities and differences, who play the iconic role of Juliet.

The special gala performance of the work, which seeks to challenge perceptions of beauty and disability, follows the 2016 BBC documentary which went behind the scenes of rehearsals for Redefining Juliet at the Barbican. All proceeds raised from the night will be donated to the Ovalhouse Capital Campaign.

Deborah Bestwick, Artistic Director of Ovalhouse, said:

“We are delighted that Jenny and Paulette will join the drive to help facilitate the much needed move of the venue to Brixton. As a springboard for every radical and counter-cultural movement for over 50 years Ovalhouse’s work has existed side by side with their’s. Jenny and Paulette are part of our history and, like the venue itself, they continue to be as vibrant and fresh and innovative as they always have been.”

The new Ovalhouse building will be a fully accessible, fit for purpose and sustainable modern theatre which will enable Ovalhouse to develop quality arts provision in a vibrant and richly diverse community.

Full details of the fundraising campaign and the move can be found at www.ovalhouse.com/.