On Sunday 7 June there was a special service at the Actor's Church, St Paul's in Covent Garden – The Blessing and Dedication of new spaces for artists by The Rt Rev'd & Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres, Lord Bishop of London, writes Yvonne I’Anson.
Paul Sabey, Director of Musical Theatre at Mountview; Hairspray star Leanne Jones; The Lord Bishop of London; RADA student Simon Coombs and Rector of St Paul’s Simon Grigg
The Church now has dressing room facilities and toilets that would put many theatres to shame! Since joining St Paul's in 2006, Rector Simon Grigg has worked tirelessly to improve facilities in the Church, including the installation of a new sound system, and he was determined to develop better dressing room facilities for the many artists who perform at St Paul's.
Taking part in the service was the Church's in-house theatre company, Iris Theatre, who performed a scene from their successful production of Romeo and Juliet; students from the Sylvia Young Theatre School, who delighted everyone with In Our Hands from Smiles; first year Musical Theatre students from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, under the musical direction of Paul Sabey, sang a tear-jerking arrangement of Somewhere from West Side Story; Simon Coombs from RADA performed a powerful scene from The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and star of Hairspray and Mountview graduate Leanne Jones sang I Can Hear the Bells from Hairspray.
The ever gregarious Father Simon gave a warm and humorous welcome
The ever gregarious Father Simon gave a warm and humorous welcome and readings were given by The Rev'd Richard Syms, who is also a professional actor, James Ward and Richard de Ste Croix and St Paul's choir beautifully sang Psalm 150. A mention must also go to organist Simon Gutteridge and trumpeter Dan Newell, who added a regal feel to the occasion.
However, it has to be said that the star of the evening was probably The Lord Bishop of London. His sermon, filled with humour and theatricality, was presented with wonderfully rich melodious tones that resounded around the Church, and totally captivated me, and the rest of the congregation. It was also great to see Dr Chartres mingling with everyone after the service – a really lovely man who made a special occasion extra special.