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Minghella directs Beckett gala evening for Macmillan – University of Reading

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Minghella directs Beckett gala evening for Macmillan

Release Date 03 March 2006

Anthony MinghellaOscar winning director, Anthony Minghella, is directing a performance of excerpts from the works of Samuel Beckett as part of a gala evening at Reading Town Hall on 2 April 2006. The fantastic cast for the performance is made of international stars of the stage and screen and includes Felicity Kendall, Alan Rickman*, Barry McGovern and Johnny Murphy. All these esteemed actors are coming together to show their appreciation for the works of Samuel Beckett and to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief, the beneficiary of the event. The evening is part of the 100 year anniversary celebrations of Beckett's birth being coordinated by the University of Reading and includes the performance of comic and moving passages from Beckett's body of work, followed by a drinks reception, sponsored by Prudential, which offers a unique opportunity to mingle with the stars. Anthony Minghella says of the gala evening: "As patron of the Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading, I have close links with the University and have been a devoted admirer of Samuel Beckett since my student days. I am honoured to be involved in this celebration of his work. I am very pleased to know all proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Relief, a charity close to my heart who I know do fantastic work for people living with cancer. I hope the event will be a thoroughly enjoyable one which raises vital funds for Macmillan." Macmillan's Chief Executive, Peter Cardy, is very much looking forward to the event. "I am thrilled that Macmillan Cancer Relief is the beneficiary of this exciting evening's entertainment in a most prestigious venue. All money raised from this event will go towards helping us improve services for local people affected by cancer." The idea for the celebration week came from Professor James Knowlson of the University of Reading who was a personal friend of Beckett, as well as being his biographer. He said: "I am very excited about the gala evening and I personally chose Macmillan Cancer Relief to be the beneficiary as I have first-hand experience of all the wonderful work the charity does. I hope people will turn out for what promises to be a truly unique and inspiring occasion." Tickets for the gala performance and drinks reception are on sale now and available from the Reading Town Hall Box Office on 0118 960 60 60 at prices ranging from £20 to £60 for the gala performance and £15 for the drinks reception. The evening is part of a season of events co-ordinated by the Beckett International Foundation. Other highlights include a major exhibition to celebrate his life and work at the Museum of Reading, an exhibition of the photographer John Haynes' work at the University's Museum of English Rural Life and the world premiere of Beckett's novella, 'First Love', directed by Beckett's own assistant director, Walter Asmus, and starring Lawrence Held. *subject to availability Ends Macmillan Cancer Relief contact information For more information on Macmillan Cancer Relief and our local service please visit Or phone: For press enquiries: Rachel Barnes, Regional Communications Officer on 01264 343807 or 07834 192211 University of Reading contact information For further details about the Beckett Centenary exhibitions and events please go to Or phone: For press enquiries: Eleanor Holmes, Press Officer on 0118 378 6166 Editors' notes: About Macmillan Cancer Relief Macmillan Cancer Relief provides the expert care and emotional support that makes a real difference to people living with cancer. We offer a range of innovative cancer services and are at the heart of improving cancer care throughout the UK. For cancer information and support, contact the Macmillan CancerLine (Monday – Friday, 9.00am – 6.00pm) by freephone: 0808 808 2020, textphone: 0808 808 0121 or email:; or log on to We are campaigning to get a better financial deal for people dealing with cancer. Visit or call 0800 500 800 for more information about our Better Deal campaign. About Samuel Beckett A native of Dublin, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) stands as one of the towering dramatists and writers of the twentieth century. In his searing theatrical images and prose writings, Beckett achieved a spare beauty and timeless vision of human suffering, shot through with dark comedy and humour. His 1969 Nobel Prize citation praised him for 'a body of work that in new forms of fiction and the theatre has transmuted the destitution of modern man into his exaltation'. Beckett is the figure who, perhaps more than any other writer or intellectual in mid-century Europe, articulated the crisis of civilization of the post-War era. His body of work include the plays Waiting for Goddot, Play and End Game. About the University of Reading The University of Reading's Beckett Collection is the world's largest archive solely dedicated to the writer. In 1988, 'The Beckett International Foundation' was set up as a charitable trust with the University as Trustee and since then has served the international Beckett community through its conferences, publications and related events. The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise. For further information visit

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