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University celebrates success of celebrity Beckett charity evening – University of Reading

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University celebrates success of celebrity Beckett charity evening

Release Date 13 June 2006

Anthony Minghella presents the Beckett Gala Evening 2 April 2006Photo call Tuesday 20 June 2006 at 11am, 'Samuel Beckett: The Irish European' exhibition, Museum of Reading, Reading Town Hall The Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading will celebrate the fantastic success of the Samuel Beckett charity gala evening by officially donating the proceeds from the event to Macmillan Cancer Support on Tuesday 20 June. Over £22,000 was raised from the sell-out evening held on 2 April which saw Hollywood A-listers Jude Law, Lee Evans, Alan Rickman, Felicity Kendal, Rosamund Pike, Billie Whitelaw and Barry McGovern perform excerpts from the works of Samuel Beckett at Reading Town Hall. Directed by Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella, the evening was part of the 100-year anniversary celebrations of Beckett's birth coordinated by the University of Reading. Professor James Knowlson, the evening's organiser and Beckett's friend and biographer, will present a cheque to Ann Tate, the Head of Fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support in the 'Samuel Beckett – The Irish European' exhibition at the Museum of Reading. The presentation will be attended by the Honourable Sarah Palmer, Macmillan's County Chairman for Berkshire, Ann Piper, Operational and Delivery Manager for Community Pru (Prudential) and Julia Shelley, Learning Manager from the Museum of Reading. 'We are indebted to Anthony Minghella for all his efforts in making the event such a huge success,' said Professor James Knowlson. 'I am very pleased we were able to raise such a substantial sum for Macmillan Cancer Support as I personally chose the charity to be the beneficiary having had first-hand experience of all the wonderful work they do.' Funds were raised not only from the performance but also from the drinks reception that followed. Sponsored by Prudential, the reception enabled guests to mingle with the stars and included an auction of items from the literary world. Ann Tate said, 'We were delighted with the evening's success and grateful for all the hard work that everyone put in to organising it. The money raised will go towards our appeal to fund a much needed benefits advice service in Berkshire.' This event also marks the final week of the 'Samuel Beckett – The Irish European' exhibition. Closing on Sunday 25 June, the exhibition features interactive, visual and auditory components, and tells the story of Beckett's life and achievements from his birth in Dublin, through his wartime experiences in France, to his worldwide fame following the success of his acclaimed play 'Waiting for Godot'. End For media enquiries please contact: University of Reading: Eleanor Holmes Press Officer T: 0118 378 6166 E: e.m.holmes@reading.ac.uk Macmillan Cancer Support: Rachel Barnes Macmillan Cancer Support Regional Communications Officer T: 01264 343807 (mobile 07834 192211) E: rbarnes@macmillan.org.uk Notes to Editors: 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. For further information about the Beckett international foundation please visit http://www.beckettfoundation.org.uk. 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 http://www.reading.ac.uk. 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 Godot', 'Play' and 'End Game'. About Macmillan Cancer Support Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. One in three of us will get cancer. 1.2 million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer Macmillan can help. For more information visit http://www.macmillan.org.uk or freephone 0800 500 800 for an information pack.

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