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Working for a regional theatre in Farnham

Our tribute to the Redgrave family

Four generations of the Redgrave family have created an English dynasty which FTA proudly support.  The Redgrave family started working in the theatre in the nineteenth century and as times changed the members of the family moved with the changes into the film and television industry.  The family members have written plays and books. There is no doubt that the Redgrave family have produced some of Britain's finest stage and screen talent. With the marriage in 1935 of Sir Michael Redgrave to Rachel Kempson the family name took on a greater significance for the acting community. Sir Michael was a celebrated star of both the silver screen and the theatre, and renowned as a director, author and manager. His marriage to Kempson, an actress, produced three children, Vanessa, Corin and Lynn, who all went on to enjoy celebrated acting careers. Jemma Redgrave is a great supporter of FTA and has spoken in the past to the national media about her support for the retention of the Redgrave Theatre. Vanessa Redgrave is the most prominent having won Oscar, Tony, Golden Globe and Emmy Awards.

Lynn, Corin and Natasha

Lynn RedgraveLynn Redgrave was a prominent member of this famous acting dynasty and her recent death has come during a difficult time for this famous acting family.

Her older brother, Corin Redgrave, died in April this year and her niece, Natasha Richardson, died in 2009 at age 45 from head injuries suffered in a skiing accident.

Lynn Redgrave enjoyed a long career in film and stage, including an Oscar nomination for her 1966 star-making turn in Georgy Girl.

Farnham's Redgrave Theatre was named after the whole acting dynasty - Sir Michael did not want the theatre named after him alone.

Corin Redgrave's support for the Redgrave Theatre

Corin Redgrave has always been an avid supporter of the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham.  Corin's “Why keep the Redgrave Theatre” article echoes down the years since it was written in 2004.

"The neglect and semi-ruin of a theatre so generously named after my father, hardly a quarter of a century after it was built, seemed to me symbolic of the transitory and impermanence of the actor’s art and of its place in our society. It is a paradox. Our country, I think, is permanently good at this most impermanent art.

Corin RedgraveMy interest in the Redgrave is partly familial. It pains me more than I can adequately express to see it in its present state. But I am mainly interested in what its revival could accomplish.

One is acutely aware of all the theatres within a certain radius which now compete for audiences and for funding. Hence I do not believe that a revived Redgrave could ever begin to thrive if it only offered what it did so well before.

It would thrive, I believe in the measure that Farnham and its theatre should become as synonymous with excellence as that pretty village in Sussex, Glyndebourne, has become.

I would establish a foundation for the study of acting. The Redgrave would be a school, and a theatre. A school, primarily for graduate actors who would be paid both as students and as performers. Its teachers would be directors and actors from Europe and America.

I would dedicate the next five years of my life, and a negotiable part of what remains, if any, to such a project.”

Corin Redgrave May 2004

It is a great sadness that the years of illness which followed this statement prevented him from being able to achieve this ambition.

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