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Dame Judi Dench to reopen the Ashcroft Playhouse at the Fairfield Halls

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench

Award-winning actress Dame Judi Dench will be in Croydon next month to kick-off a week-long series of events celebrating the reopening of Fairfield Halls.

Dame Judi will formally reopen the Ashcroft Playhouse, previously known as the Ashcroft Theatre, on Monday 16 September, with an exclusive Q&A hosted by broadcaster John Hannam about her friend and Croydon-born fellow actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft. British author and theatre critic Michael Billington OBE will join the conversation to talk about the BAFTA and Laurence Olivier award-winning actress.

The Q&A will take place in front of a specially-invited audience of students from local schools studying GCSE and A-Level drama and a limited number of tickets will be available for members of the public to purchase from Friday 9 August.

Dame Judi previously visited Fairfield Halls on 23 June 1993, when she unveiled a display commemorating Dame Peggy’s life including a painting, photographs and an Evening Standard award.

And when she returns next month, she will read a specially-commissioned piece of poetry and unveil a commemorative photo mosaic created by artist Helen Marshall. The image of Dame Peggy will be made up of hundreds of images of Croydon residents.

The newly named Playhouse was previously known as the Ashcroft Theatre, and was originally opened by Dame Peggy on 5 November 1962. During the ceremony she read a monologue specially written for the occasion by Sir John Betjeman called ‘Local Girl Makes Good’. In recognition of this, the new mosaic will be titled ‘Girl Done Good’.

Residents are invited to upload their photos for inclusion in the mosaic here https://thepeoplespicture.com/girldonegood/

Tickets will go on sale to Fairfield Halls Members at 10.30 and mailing list subscribers at 1.30pm on Wednesday 7 August, and on general sale at 10am Friday 9 August. www.fairfield.co.uk

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