College celebrates 50 years of The Redgrave Theatre

College celebrates 50 years of The Redgrave Theatre

CC Redgrave 50Th 106

Clifton College held a Gala Night in March to celebrate 50 years of The Redgrave Theatre.

The theatre was one of the first purpose-built school theatres in the country and was opened by Old Cliftonian Sir Michael Redgrave CBE. It was re-named the Redgrave Theatre after his death in 1985.

The 320-seat theatre hosts a range of College events throughout the year, including school plays and concerts, the annual College musical, and the Inter-House Play Festival. It also runs a thriving programme of productions by regional and national theatre groups and local amateur groups.  

To celebrate 50 years of Clifton College productions at the theatre, the College held a truly memorable gala evening and were delighted to welcome actress Jemma Redgrave, granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave, to open the celebrations.  Many Old Cliftonians and past staff returned to perform excerpts from some of the productions that have graced the stage over the years as well as their own works.  

The returning performers included recent College graduates who have now gone on to study a range of disciplines at university, including drama, music, theology, history and medicine.

Returning OCs also included Neil Constable (Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre), Neal Foster (actor/manager of the Birmingham Stage Company and writer/director of the upcoming tour of the award-winning Horrible Histories), and Clive Panto (who has had a 20 year professional career including theatre, film and television).

The event began with a champagne reception in the Joseph Cooper Music School featuring a wonderful performance from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. The audience then moved to the Redgrave Theatre which had been transformed to allow diners to enjoy a wonderful meal on the stage whilst the performers took to the temporary stage ingeniously constructed over the seating. All proceeds from the evening are going towards the school’s Trevor Howard Scholarship for Performing Arts.

Director of Drama Karen Pickles said: “Clifton has a rich history of high-quality productions and the 50th anniversary of the theatre was a fitting way to celebrate these.

"We felt the Gala Night was a great way to highlight the importance we attach to Drama at the College and showcase the talents of past and present pupils.

"We are very grateful to all those who gave so generously of their time to make the event possible – and for putting on such a fantastic show.”

Other Old Cliftonians who have performed at Clifton College before taking to the stage professionally include John Cleese, Simon Russell Beale CBE, Trevor Howard, Simon Shepherd, and Clive and David Swift.

To see more photographs from the event, please browse through the gallery below.

For more background on Sir Michael Redgrave and his relationship to the theatre, read our commemorative blog here.

To find out about upcoming productions at the theatre visit the Redgrave Theatre website.