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New patron for East Riding Theatre

Beverley’s East Riding Theatre has announced that Sir Mark Rylance (pictured) has agreed to join Dame Judi Dench as a patron of the theatre. Widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Sir Mark has won numerous awards for his work on stage such as ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Boeing-Boeing’ to name a few.

On screen, he has earned equal success, winning an Oscar and BAFTA for his role in Stephen Spielberg’s ‘Bridge of Spies’.  Most recently Sir Mark has appeared as Thomas Cromwell in BBC’s acclaimed ‘Wolf Hall’ and, of course, as The Big Friendly Giant in Spielberg’s ‘BFG’.

As the first Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, where he performed and directed in every season from 1995-2005, Sir Mark fully appreciates the demands of running and contributing to the success of a theatre venue.  In 2013 his productions of ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Richard III’ transferred to Broadway where he won his third Tony award for his remarkable portrayal of Olivia.

Sir Mark is also Patron for the ‘London International Festival of Theatre’, the charity ‘Peace Direct’ and the ‘British Stop the War Coalition’.  ERT’s artistic director, Adrian Rawlins, said he was delighted by the news of Sir Mark’s patronage and its timely announcement during the theatre’s current festival of young performers. 

At the core of celebrations, is the return of Mike Friend (director of ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘Sparrow’). Adrian said: “I’m thrilled to have Mike back at ERT working with a company of 20 youngsters to devise a brand-new play called ‘The Forest’ offered free thanks to ‘Arts Grant City of Culture 2017 ERYC’.   ‘The Forest’ culminates in three public performances on the 21st and 22nd July, the production promises to be a very exciting centerpiece at the heart of the festival.”

Sir Mark is a passionate champion of young talent and has been incredibly supportive of ERT’s work in encouraging a new generation to get involved in every aspect of the theatre. He is hugely interested in the development of community through the Arts.  He said: “A community is a group of people who share a story. That story may be as simple as ‘We live by this river’ or ‘We believe that Spring will follow Winter’. Usually the story involves something like ‘We lived through these events…’ 

“A theatre, a thriving healthy theatre like the East Riding Theatre, is a sign to me of a healthy community. A community interested in story. I am very honoured to be one of its patrons and supporters.”