Londoner’s Diary: ‘Actors Center must still be place to take risks’


AME Sheila Hancock has said that the Actors Center must continue to be “a place where actors can… learn and take risks”.

The Centre, which Dame Sheila helped found in 1978, attracted members including Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench.

As well as offering workshops and classes, “it was a meeting place” between established and new actors, she says.

“As a profession, we didn’t have anything like that. And we haven’t got anything very much like it now.” After almost going bankrupt, the Center was relaunched last year as a theatre, the Seven Dials Playhouse, which offered actors year-round workshops to accompany shows instead of regular, weekly classes.

However, the Actor at the Center campaign, which was formed in response to the rebranding, is calling for classes to be reinstated.

In response, the Playhouse’s chief executive Amanda Davey said it was “borne out of extensive stakeholder consultation”, and added that it is now an open, truly inclusive and relevant organisation”.

Luke Pollard won’t miss MPs in Lycra

LUKE Pollard MP is planning his reading for the summer break: the complete works of Heartstopper writer Alice Oseman. And there’s another reason he’s pleased to have the time off: “There’s quite a small but committed cohort of kind of cycle attire-wearing MPs” at the House of Commons, the MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport told The Londoner, that he’s not a fan of. “I think cycling Lycra is a wonderful invention that’s best worn by other people.” Ouch.

Milton Jones is no James Bond

COMEDIAN Milton Jones will not be going to Edinburgh Fringe this summer. “I’ll probably just hear the bagpipes and move on,” he tells us. The city “has too many associations … highs and lows.” He’ll be sticking to his Milton: Impossible tour instead, but confesses that despite the show’s title he wouldn’t make a good spy. “I’m clumsy. Never good if you’re dealing with weapons… also, I have no sense of direction. Far more Johnny English than James Bond.”

TV CHEF Gizzi Erskine and models Daisy Lowe and Tigerlily Taylor oozed glamor last night as they sipped cocktails at the Bombay Citron Press bar at Somerset House. Also at the event were Game of Thrones actress Laura Pradelska and artist Nettie Wakefield, celebrating the first week of This Bright Land, a summer festival of community and culture created by Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl. Meanwhile, across town at the press night performance of South Pacific at the Sadler Wells Theatre, it was an enchanted evening for the show’s star Joanna Ampil, while singer and former X-factor contestant Rhydian Roberts also enjoyed the off-stage spotlight as he came two show support.

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