Students and a major theatre unite for actors’ charity

Published: 23 June 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Cast
Leo MacNeill as Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest

Students from Newcastle University Theatre Society and Sunderland Empire have come together to raise money for Acting for Others, the national charity which provides financial and emotional support those for working in the entertainment industry.

The students are performing Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest on the Sunderland Empire stage where it will be filmed and streamed from 2 to 16 July.

But it will not be simply a staging of Wilde’s most well-known play, for the playwright himself will be introduced as a character at three intervals during the performance.

These scenes, which are written by director Adam Kinneen, draw on Wilde’s letters and words, giving an insight into his life, tracking his rise to stardom, from the successes of The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest to his downfall following revelations about his sexuality.

The production will be performed against the backdrop of the 2,000 empty seats of the Sunderland Empire, symbolically calling attention to the suffering of the arts industry throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

The work that Acting for Others does for people who are in need of support, financial or otherwise, is crucial to maintain the momentum of the UK’s arts industry. The profits from ticket sales for The Importance of Being Earnest will go to this charity, helping to secure the future of the UK’s pool of artists and creatives.

Tickets to this charity production of The Importance of Being Earnest go on sale June 25. The performance will be available on Stream.Theatre 2–16 July, with ticket-holders having access to it throughout this period.