On Monday 7 October we welcomed over 100 visitors into our intimate Jack Wagg Auditorium for our latest celebrity fundraiser: An Evening with Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter, hosted by Cranleigh Arts Patron, Paul Jones, and Fiona Hendley Jones.

We’d like to say a very big thank you to Imelda, Jim, Paul and Fiona for joining us – and to everyone who bought a ticket! It was a fascinating and hugely entertaining evening, offering amazing insight into the world of theatre, television and film. We believe passionately in the importance of local arts provision, and all funds raised will support our work bringing quality acts and arts activities to the local stage and supporting social wellbeing in our community.

The two couples have known each other for many years and starred together in a National Theatre production of “Guys and Dolls” in the early 1980s. On Monday 7 October 2019, they reunited on the Cranleigh Arts stage to share stories from their extensive careers in film, television, theatre and music.

With insight and humour they recalled stories of their time at the National Theatre, how their careers had begun and defining experiences on stage and screen. For both Imelda and Jim it was the value of the work that mattered rather than the fame or fortune. Imelda spoke movingly of her preparation for the TV series “A Confession” representing a real woman’s tragedy and the immersive original work with Mike Leigh on “Vera Drake” for which she took home a BAFTA and Oscar nomination. Jim shared tales of an acting career starting in fringe theatre and as a beach entertainer in Brighton, through to work in theatre, film and television. He is perhaps best known for playing Mr. Carson in “Downton Abbey”, a role that has earned him four nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Jim and Imelda star together in the acclaimed “Downton Abbey” movie which came out in September 2019.

The evening concluded with an audience Q&A and an opportunity for ticketholders to meet and chat with Imelda, Jim, Paul and Fiona in our theatre bar.

All proceeds from ‘An Evening with Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter, hosted by Paul Jones, and Fiona Hendley Jones’ help support Cranleigh Arts (registered charity no. 284186) and SMART Cranleigh.