On Sunday 23 June, LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) held its first biennial fundraising gala, hosted by LAMDA President and alumnus Benedict Cumberbatch CBE and LAMDA Chairman, The Rt. Hon Shaun Woodward.
VIP guests, LAMDA alumni and current students enjoyed an evening of entertainment at the drama school’s West London campus. £230,000 was raised, which will support LAMDA’s ongoing work to ensure a wider group of young people can experience world-class Conservatoire training.
President of LAMDA, Benedict Cumberbatch CBE said: “In these challenging times the arts have never been more vital. They inspire, illuminate and entertain us. They help us experience and understand the world in new ways, challenging our perceptions and reshaping our own realities to include that of others. This means it is vital to maintain not just the quality of actors and technicians that LAMDA send out into the industry, but also for our body of students to reflect the world that we live in. A world which is one of people from widely differing economic, ethnic, physical, social and gender backgrounds.
I would like to thank all those who contributed to this evening’s success, helping us raise a staggering£230,000. This money will play a vital role in developing an exciting new generation of diverse artists.”
LAMDA Chairman, The Rt. Hon Shaun Woodward said: “This is LAMDA’s First Gala and will directly benefit our students and help us ensure we continue to take the best students from every background across the UK, USA and beyond. We are hugely grateful to the many actors, artists, theatre technicians and incredibly generous donors and sponsors who have wanted to help our students. Everyone had an amazing night and an enormous thank you to Benedict Cumberbatch who has been the greatest partner and helped make sure we had a great night for LAMDA!”
Guests at the gala included Patricia Hodge OBE, Samuel Barnett, Dame Janet Suzman DBE, Jemma Redgrave, Sean Pertwee, Henry Lloyd Hughes, Leah Harvey, Jason Durr, Nadia Albina, Harry Christophers CBE and Charles Babalola.
The Rt. Hon Shaun Woodward hosted an auction of exclusive, ‘money-can’t-buy’ items, generously donated by LAMDA’s supporters and alumni. These included, Lunch with Rory Kinnear at The Clink Restaurant in HMP Brixton, Film premieres with David Oyelowo, Sam Claflin, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Swale, Afternoon Tea with Jim Broadbent, An Evening in Conversation with Dame Harriet Walter, an original portrait by John Lithgow, Shakespearean Masterclass with Dame Janet Suzman, a night at the theatre with Emily Beecham, meet and greet with stars of Casualty, an oil painting by Maggi Hamblin, opening night theatre and parties from ATG, villas in Mustique and France and many more.
The evening opened with a champagne reception in The Manny & Brigitta Davidson Foyer at LAMDA followed by dinner in three Shakespearean themed rehearsal rooms. Guests were entertained with a one-night-only show in the Sainsbury Theatre, featuring poetry, music and play extracts performed by Benedict Cumberbatch, notable LAMDA alumni and current students, all stage-managed by current LAMDA student technicians.
The evening was made possible thanks to the support of LAMDA partners Audible and the many companies who sponsored through donation, auction items and the Gala programme, as well as LAMDA Alumni comedy groups Muriel and Stiff & Kitsch.