Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave appears on stage as part of local charity fundraiser (From Daily Echo)
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Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave appears on stage at St Swithun's School as part of charity fundraiser
SHE has graced some of the world’s greatest stages.
And Vanessa Redgrave has been hailed as one of Britain’s best actresses.
So it was a rare treat for a Hampshire audience to hear about her remarkable life and career from the Oscar-winning star herself.
The 76-year-old actress and activist took time out from starring in a West End show to appear at a fundraiser for a local charity helping destitute asylum seekers.
Ms Redgrave was interviewed on stage in a packed performing arts centre at St Swithun’s School, Winchester, by BBC radio journalist Jenny Cuffe before taking questions from the audience. Clips from a couple of her best-known performances were shown plus a home video performing a scene from King Lear with her late father, Sir Michael Redgrave.
She played Cordelia to his King Lear.
Asking for the lights to be turned out so the film could be better seen, she said: “This is way more precious to me than anything else.”
The audience heard how Sir Laurence Olivier, on the day she was born, announced at the end of a show: “Today a great actress has been born.”
Olivier was appearing on stage in Hamlet with her father at The Old Vic.
Despite being born into a family of actors, she wanted to be a dancer or teacher, the audience heard. The actress said she still needed to act in films to pay her mortgage.
She said it was “stupid” how designer dresses became the focus of awards ceremonies and red carpet events but it was part of a professional actor’s duties to raise publicity for their films and so she took part.
Famous for her political campaigning, the actress was involved in protests against nuclear weapons, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, detention without trial at Guantanamo Bay and, most recently, the eviction of Dale Farm travellers.
She said it was natural for her to develop “a world view” and to work with charities helping refugees and asylum seekers as some of her parents’ friends were artists who escaped the Nazis after being granted visas to live in England.
Asked who had been her greatest inspiration, she said her three children – actresses Joely Richardson, the late Natasha Richardson, film director Carlo Nero – and grandchildren.
The audience were shown a clip of Vanessa playing a lonely old lady in The Call Out directed by her son, Carlo, who was sat in the front row and later joined his mother on stage to answer questions.
Ms Redgrave is currently appearing in Much Ado about Nothing at The Old Vic in London.
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