Twice Oscar-winner and six-time nominee, Dame Maggie Smith, and stage and screen veteran Keith Baxter appeared at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery on Saturday to perform a specially-commissioned play by the Oscar-winning playwright Sir Ronald Harwood inspired by the Gallery’s summer blockbuster exhibition ‘Surreal Friends’.
Sir Ronald Harwood, whose writing credits include ‘The Pianist' and ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly', and wife Lady Harwood were also present to see the performance
The play, entitled ‘Surreal Friends: Artists in Exile', was written by Sir Ronald as a one-off production to raise money for the Gallery's on-going appeal. It tells the story of the lives of the European Surrealist artists, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna - whose works are on show as part of the Surreal Friends exhibition at the Gallery until 12 September - and charts their flight from war-torn Europe to Mexico where they found safety, friendship, and mutual support.
The performance was followed by a successful auction which raised several thousand pounds for the Gallery appeal with prizes including the ‘Artists in exile' script signed by Sir Ronald Harwood, Dame Maggie Smith and Keith Baxter and a 5* holiday to Mexico donated by Surreal friends sponsor, ‘Mexicana Airlines.'
The event was the latest in a series of fund-raising evenings for the Pallant House Gallery Trust in the award-winning setting of Pallant House Gallery. Other guests included Rupert Everett and Peter Eyre, the Duchess of Richmond and Lady Nicholas Gordon Lennox and Lady Henrietta Churchill.