years, the Actors Centre has held a unique place in the British
performing arts. "It is the pre-eminent artistic resource
for the acting profession and has provided training of outstanding
quality for countless performers who provide the backbone of
the British entertainment industry on stage and screen. British
actors are renowned throughout the world for their skill, their
versatility and their sheer capacity to excite. But who meets
their need to go on refining their craft, extending their potential,
exploring new ideas? Neither the broadcasting nor the theatre
industry have taken up that responsibility on the scale they
have for other personnel, which is why the Actors Centre was
created, by actors for actors, to nurture the art of performance
in any media," says Artistic Director Matthew Lloyd.
The Actors Centre is located in the heart of the West End
and has a membership of over 2000 professional actors. The premises
include five rehearsal studios, a media studio and the Tristan
Bates Theatre, a fully licensed venue used principally for the
presentation of new and experimental work. Every day, the building
teems with activity which ranges from the practical to the trail-blazing,
equipping actors for every kind of work from classical theatre
to prime time TV. The Centre aims to preserve vital elements
of the craft that are under threat, as well as to keep actors
in touch with the state of the art and with what's coming next.
- KEY FIGURES
The late Sir Alan Bates was
Patron of the Actors Centre, following Lord Olivier and Sir Alec
Guinness. "He was an outstanding Patron, who passionately
minded about the quality of acting" said Development Director
Mark Stephens. "He constantly visited the Centre, wanted
to know all our plans and ran many events to raise money for
us both in the UK and the US so that the Centre could continue
The Actors Centre is currently
headed by Matthew Lloyd, Artistic Director and Chief Executive,
and formerly Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre
in Manchester. There is a Board of Directors, an Advisory Board
and a body of Vice Presidents that includes an array of the leading
lights of the acting profession.
The workshops and classes are
led by distinguished practitioners and expert teachers, including
many actors and directors who are at the forefront of the film,
television and theatre industries.
- NEW PATRON
News from The Stage, 12 April 05:
Julie Walters to replace Alan Bates as Actors Centre patron
by Ruth Gillespie
The Actors Centre
in Covent Garden has announced that Julie Walters, who returned
to the stage this year in Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques - The
Musical!, is to replace the late Alan Bates as its patron.
- NEW WORK
Walters will be expected to raise
the profile of both the centre and its venue, the Tristan Bates
Theatre, as the organisation launches a fundraising drive to
finance a new media studio dedicated to the late John Thaw.
"I am delighted and flattered
to be asked to become the new patron of the Actors Centre, particularly
following in the footsteps of Alan Bates," said Walters.
"The work of the centre, a unique organisation making a
very important contribution to working actors and the industry
in general, provides a vital space in London where actors can
take part in all the dynamic and innovative work it does."
With more than 2,500 members,
the Actors Centre offers five rehearsal rooms and runs workshops
and classes throughout the year led by leading actors and directors
at the forefront of the film, television and theatre industries.
Former patrons include Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness.
The Actors Centre philosophy is that training and development
should coexist and overlap with the making of new work and the
freedom to experiment. Many of the workshops offered are explorations
of work-in-progress, new writing and radical innovations in form
and content. The Actors Centre actively promotes relationships
with the writers and directors whom it believes will shape the
future of TV, theatre and film, providing them with the space
and time to try out new ideas.
- TRISTAN BATES THEATRE -
The Tristan Bates Theatre was
created through the generosity of Sir Alan Bates and his family,
and is dedicated to the memory of his son Tristan, who died tragically
at the age of nineteen at the outset of his acting career. The
venue is now a springboard for projects generated within the
Actors Ceentre, presenting the work that comes out of putting
actors together with those who are telling new stories and throwing
down new challenges to the actor.
- PROGRAMME OF
CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS -
Tristan's twin brother, actor
Benedick Bates, is a Vice President of the Actors Centre.
The classes and workshops are offerred on the most flexible
basis possible, at affordable prices - the benchmark rates are
£17 per day for regular classes, £34 per day for
TV and Film classes, with a maximum of twelve members enrolled
on each class. The Actors Centre is able to undercut the market
rate so substantially because of the generosity of its funders
and tutors, who share a commitment to the ideal of continuous
training and to maintaining standards of excellence in the acting
profession. The vital importance of the work is recognised by
the generous support of its funding partners, currently including
the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, ATG, UIP, Equity, The Spotlight
and the Gulbenkian Foundation.
- SOCIAL HUB
In addition to training and creative development, The Actors
Centre is also a meeting place for actors in the centre of town
and serves as a hub of the industry and an information exchange.
The Green Room provides a welcome for members and their guests
throughout the day and into the evening, and there is a programme
of topical events, panel discussions and guest speakers.
from Lives Remembered,
The Times Register, 29 January 2004
Mark Stephens writes: The scale and quality of Alan
Bates' work for the Actors Centre, which he endowed generously,
demonstrates another side of his extraordinary character (obituary,
December 29). Alan often said: "Ultimately acting is about
compassion" and it was this insight that informed all the
work he did on behalf of the Actors Centre and underpinned his
grasp of why it was a crucial resource to the profession he loved.
Following Alec Guinness, Alan became
Patron of the Actors Centre in 1994 and embraced the role making
it much more than a titular honour. Alan called in often, showed
the Centre and theatre off to friends, hosted countless events
and put together several shows - he was the kind of Patron that
every charity dreams of. I remember him turning up at a board
meeting unannounced just to say 'hello.' It was a wonderful entrance,
which took us entirely by surprise. For an intense moment he
discussed our refurbishment plans, and then left us enchanted.
It was typical of the mysterious but profound encouragement,
which made him so special to work with.
Six weeks before his death I asked
if he would consider signing more than a hundred letters to raise
money for the creation of a media studio, which the profession
desperately needs. I arrived at his home with this stack
of homework and, in between anecdotes, we spent two happy hours
dreaming up suitable comments to put at the bottom of the letters.
was closer to Alan's heart than the Tristan Bates Theatre at
the Actors Centre. If you are in Europe and would like to make
a contribution in his memory, please write your cheque to: The
Actors Professional Centre Ltd, and send it to:
The Actors Centre
1A Tower Street
London WC2H 9NP
if you are in the US, the Actors Centre
has set up a company called The North American Friends of
The Actors Centre, Inc., to enable Americans to make tax-deductible
donations. Contributions can be sent to:
Shapiro & Lobel
111 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018
(212 768 0300)
Cheques should be made out to The
North American Friends of The Actors Centre, Inc. Please
add that your contribution is in memory of Sir Alan Bates.
Many North American companies
have matching gift programs. To find out if you can double
your contribution to The Actors Centre, ask your human resources
representative or consult an extensive list by following this link.
You are welcome to contact the Bates
Archive directly from anywhere to learn how easy it is to
make a small contribution via PayPal.