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Arnaud celebrates birthday with Penelope Keith

Published: 23 May 2019
Reporter: Sheila Connor

Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre will celebrate its 54th birthday in June, having opened on 2 June 1965 as a memorial to French actress Yvonne Arnaud, who made her home in Effingham Common.

Dame Penelope Keith, a patron of the theatre, said, "the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre was one of the first theatres built after the war. Money was raised by local people and it has a place in the heart of many people who live here. The lovely thing is there are always people in here seeing a show or meeting their friends for a coffee. It's a real hub in the community.

"I remember seeing the theatre's opening production, A Month in the Country, featuring Michael Redgrave and Ingrid Bergman. It was fantastic and I have felt honoured to play here over the years."

Germaine Jeanne Arnaud was born in Bordeaux in 1890 and raised in Paris where she showed promise as a concert pianist touring Europe and the USA as a teenage performer. When, in 1911, she attended a musical in London she discovered her true vocation, going on to star in musical and non-musical comedies and dramas under her stage name Yvonne Arnaud.