Published: 24th June, 2011
by PAVAN AMARA
COMEDIAN David Mitchell has returned to the Islington fringe theatre that helped launch his career to boost a fund-raising campaign to find the next generation of young talent.
The 36-year-old was joined by Academy Award winner David Seidler, who wrote Oscar-winning The King’s Speech and Bafta-winning television actor Daniel Rigby for a tour of the Pleasance theatre in Carpenter’s Mews on Friday.
They are backing the Pleasance in its quest to raise £4.5million.
Mr Mitchell, who is one half of the TV comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, said: “A lot of theatres talk about encouraging new work and new talent but the Pleasance really does it. At the beginning of our careers, it was one of the few places where my ridiculous attempts to amuse people were welcomed.”
The theatre receives no subsidy and relies solely on ticket sales. It has helped nurture the careers of some of the country’s most prominent comedians, including Dara O’Briain, Omid Djalili, Paul Merton, Graham Norton, Stephen K Amos, Michael McIntyre and Caroline Quentin.
Mr Seidler said: “I remember presenting my work in this beautiful Islington theatre.
“It was here that I had the first reading of my then little-known play, The King’s Speech. It was from that reading that the film was born. I am so delighted to be here again.”
As part of the star-studded campaign, members of the public have been invited to “adopt a cobblestone” from the Pleasance’s famous cobblestone courtyard.
A spokeswoman added: “We are not dependent on government funds, and as government funding is cut from other theatres we will become increasingly important. We provide specialist knowledge and affordable production space.”