BY TOBY PORTER
Holywood film star Jude Law is spearheading a campaign to get schoolchildren to go to the theatre.
The award-winning actor who made his name in Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr Ripley and Sherlock Holmes is backing a project to take 1,000 kids to see plays in his home borough of Lewisham.
The 45-year-old, who went to John Ball Primary School in Blackheath and Kidbrooke School, before attending Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, is backing a charity called A Theatre Trip for Every Child.
He said: “I’m so proud to be a patron of A Theatre Trip For Every Child. So far more than 2,300 children have benefited from this campaign, many of whom simply would never have been to the theatre otherwise.
“In order for theatre and the arts to have a special place in young people’s lives, we have to encourage that connection from as early an age as possible.”
Theatre staff in South London are aiming to raise £10,000 to give 1,000 primary school children the chance to see live performances.
Staff at the Albany in Deptford are undertaking military training before they walk 26 miles with 130kg on their backs.
The group is undertaking the challenge to raise funds for the project to give Year 1 children from lower income backgrounds the chance to go to the theatre.
The group of workers will travel to Dartmoor on June 15 for the challenge and they are being trained by the Commando Temple a military fitness style club in Deptford.
So far the campaign has allowed children from 40 Lewisham schools to attend productions of Ugly Duckling and Grandad’s Island.
Noma Dumezweni, who starred as Hermione Granger in the West End show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and is currently on Broadway performing in the same play, is also a patron of the campaign.
She said: “Theatre is a collective experience that it’s vital we share with young people because it can have a huge impact on their development and outlook.
“It’s so important that these children are invited into the theatre with open arms so they know, beyond a doubt, that they are welcome in the theatre and that theatre is for them.
“The campaign has already provided so many local children with a potentially life-changing experience at the theatre, but they need your help to reach every child in Lewisham, every year.”
To date, 56 per cent of Lewisham primary schools have taken advantage of the free tickets.
The remaining schools will be offered tickets within the next six months.
The team behind the campaign are working with Special Educational Needs schools to tailor the offer to their student’s needs.
A Theatre Trip for Every Child launched on June 23, 2017 thanks to funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England, and the support of founding sponsors, L&Q and patrons Noma Dumezweni and Jude Law.
The Lewisham campaign is run and managed by the Albany in Deptford.
The Albany group have raised almost half of the £10,000 target.
For more information go to www.thealbany.org.uk/everychild and to donate to the group go to www.gofundme. com/every-child-dartmoor