At the start of a week-long series of special launch events at Fairfield Halls, Dame Judi Dench will formally reopen the Ashcroft Playhouse with an exclusive Q&A hosted by broadcaster John Hannam about her friend and Croydon-born fellow actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft, in front of a specially invited audience of students from local schools studying GCSE and A-Level drama.
She will also read a special commission written by Croydon resident and spoken word artist Shaniqua Benjamin Founding Director of Young People Insight CIC.
British author and theatre critic Michael Billington OBE will join the conversation to talk about the BAFTA and Laurence Olivier award-winning actress.
Dame Judi previously visited Fairfield Halls on 23 June 1993, when she unveiled a display commemorating Dame Peggy’s life including a painting, photography and an Evening Standard award.
Artistic and venue director Neil Chandler said: “We’re delighted to welcome Dame Judi Dench back to Fairfield Halls to reopen the Ashcroft Playhouse. It will be a special moment for us as we reawaken the history of the theatre named after iconic actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft, as well as celebrating the success of Croydon’s up and coming talent following in her footsteps.”
Dench said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Croydon’s Fairfield Halls to celebrate the life and career of my dear friend Peggy Ashcroft, and I’m thrilled to reopen the Ashcroft Playhouse in her honour. I hope new generations visiting the venue will discover her legacy and be inspired by it.”