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Join In The Birthday Celebrations For Leading Thespian
A special celebration is being planned to mark the 300th 'birthday' of one of the country's most remarkable theatrical figures. David Garrick was a revolutionary in the theatre world during the 18th century, working as an actor, writer, director, theatre manager and entrepreneur. So it is entirely appropriate that the theatre which bears his name in the historical Staffordshire city of Lichfield should announce a year-long celebration in his honour.
Illustrations of David Garrick to mark his 300th birthday
The Lichfield Garrick theatre has launched Garrick300 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of David Garrick, who lived in Lichfield, in 1717. The theatre is honouring the talented historical figure by running a number of events in the theatre and across the city. The year-long celebration was launched at the end of October with the unveiling of a bronze mask of David Garrick's face designed by local Lichfield artist, Peter Walker. The mask, and a number of illustrations by Peter of its development, are on display in the Lichfield Garrick's upper bar.
Artist Peter Walker (left) with Lichfield Garrick artistic director Tim Ford
But the mask is merely the precursor to a planned large scale statue of David Garrick which is due to be placed on the outside wall of the theatre. When completed, the 8ft tall statue will have the words of Shakespearean quotes cut through the bronze mask which will be illuminated at night by placing gentle lighting behind the sculpture. The Lichfield Garrick, which opened in 2003, will be running a series of fundraising events throughout 2017 to help meet the cost of the sculpture. To get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Details of further Garrick300 events and celebrations will also be announced in the coming months, with the planned activities including a new Youth Theatre performance and a new community musical.
The mask will be followed by an 8ft tall statue
Tim Ford, Lichfield Garrick's Artistic Director, said: "2017 is a really important and exciting year for us as we celebrate the life and times of David Garrick, who was a revolutionary in the theatre world and a hugely important person to Lichfield. We have been working really hard this last year planning some really exciting events and programmes to mark this very special year and we are thrilled to be working in partnership with the brilliant Peter Walker on the sculpture project. We are now hoping dedicated theatre audiences will help us to realise this vision, and asking for contributions towards creating this iconic statue. The sculpture celebrates the importance and significance of David Garrick and his international reputation. It will not only act as a lasting tribute to his legacy, but also as a symbol of the importance of theatre, performance and the spoken word which has played a part in many people's lives for centuries."
David Garrick, who was born on 19 February 1717 and died on 20 January 1779, influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century. He invented many of theatre's current traditions and was responsible for revitalising the reputation of London's famous Drury Lane Theatre. He eventually retired in 1776, having produced 24 Shakespeare plays and performed at least 17 different Shakespearian characters. When he died, David Garrick left his considerable collection of plays and literature to the British Museum. To honour his service to the arts, he was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.