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University commemorates Lord Attenborough with giant picture show on anniversary of his death

The University of Sussex this weekend paid tribute to the late Lord Richard Attenborough, former Chancellor of the University, on the anniversary of his death (24th August), with a celebration of his life and work screened against the backdrop of the newly-refurbished Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.

A selection of stills and sequences from films have been used to honour Lord Attenborough, who was the University’s Chancellor from 1998 until 2008, with never-seen-before family archive photos also being released to coincide with the display. These images reveal family gems from when Attenborough was a child, as well as photos with his wife and children. Created by international video and projection designer, Nina Dunn, the work has been projected onto the newly refurbished Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, based on the University’s campus just outside of Brighton on England’s South East Coast.

Featuring many of Lord Attenborough’s most iconic performances – such as Pinkie in BRIGHTON ROCK and scenes from JURASSIC PARK as well as some of his directing highlights from GANDHI and CHAPLIN - the work pays tribute to Lord Attenborough’s contribution to the arts.

Lord Attenborough’s son, Michael Attenborough said: ''I think it would be true to say that the film that Sussex University projected onto the side of the Attenborough Centre represents the multi-faceted personality that my Dad was.  The moment you tried to pin him down and define him, he'd wriggle away and be somebody else.  Of course he acted in over 100 films and directed or produced a huge number, but he didn't see art as something isolated from the rest of life and he learned from his parents that a full involvement in the wide world was every bit as important."

University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing said: “Richard was a larger-than-life personality, which is why this extraordinary and captivating film projected onto the Attenborough Centre building is such a fitting tribute.  

“We fondly remember Richard for his warmth, humanity, humour and vitality. As our Chancellor he brought an element of real celebration to our graduation ceremonies and his regular visits to campus were always a big occasion. He had a gift for making any staff or student that he met, feel very special, and he was very much part of the University community.

“In the arts world he was a tremendous tour de force.  This wonderful work shows us again his remarkable contribution and sets the stage for our own exciting, upcoming programme of arts and performance in this much-loved building on our campus.”

The Attenborough Centre, the University’s original arts centre designed by Sir Basil Spence in the 1960s and now a Grade II* listed structure, has undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment.

The space now hosts a state-of-the-art 350-seat auditorium, extensive gallery and display areas designed for art and audio visual installations, rehearsal studios, breakout creativity zones and a new café and bar - to be enjoyed by students, staff and the public.  A public performance programme will launch in spring 2016.

As one of the first university campus arts centres in the UK, the building has a storied 50-year history, and has previously seen internationally renowned performers such as Sir Ian McKellen, Gemma Jones, and comics Jack Dee and Lee Evans grace its stage. Sculptor Barbara Hepworth and modernist painter Marc Chagall have both exhibited works, and the likes of contemporary dance companies Ballet Rambert and physical theatre troupe Spymonkey have also appeared at the venue. In its new guise, the Attenborough Centre will continue to support emerging talent and established acts alike.

The specially commissioned work to honour Lord Attenborough can be watched in full below.

Notes to editors:

About the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts is a state-of-the-art cultural hub for the University of Sussex and the wider arts and local communities to come together for regular performances, screenings, exhibitions and conferences.  Located on its Falmer campus, the Centre also provides an important new teaching and research space for the University.

The Attenborough Centre is a Grade II* listed building accommodating up to 700 people and containing a 350-seat auditorium, gallery space, studio for teaching/research, café/bar and social meeting area. The Centre is named as a tribute to the involvement of Lord Attenborough and his family with both the University of Sussex and the arts.  Formerly known as the Gardner Arts Centre, the Attenborough Centre will officially relaunch with a public programme in spring 2016, following a bar/café fit-out and installation of state-of-the-art lighting, sound and audio-visual equipment.

During his lifetime Lord Attenborough was involved with many organisations including: Muscular Dystrophy UK (Honorary Life President); The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (Vice Patron); The Actors’ Charitable Trust (Chairman and President); UNICEF (Goodwill Ambassador); British Screen Advisory Council (Honorary President); Chelsea Football Club (Life President); British Film Institute (Chairman); BAFTA (President); National Film and Television School (President); Waterford Kamhlaba School, Swaziland (President); Tate Gallery (Trustee); RADA (Chairman and President);     The Young Vic Theatre Company (Director 1974–84); Duke of York's Theatre (Chairman 1979–92); Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London (Patron (with Lady Attenborough) 1988–2014); Royal Society of Arts (Life Fellow 1965); Brighton Festival (President 1984–85); Chicken Shed Theatre Company (Honorary Patron 1992–2014); Oxford University (Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre, 1996); Unicorn Theatre (Patron 2002–2014); Sussex Centre for German-Jewish Studies (Patron 1996–2014); UK Film Council (Government Advisor 1999–2014); Goldcrest Films (Chairman); Channel 4 (Chairman); Capital Radio (Chairman).

Lord Attenborough’s many awards and honours included: CBE (1967); Knight Bachelor (1976); Life Peerage (1993); Martin Luther King Peace Prize; two Oscars; six BAFTAs; four Golden Globes; Honorary Fellow of the British Film Institute; Padma Bhusan (India); Legion D’Honneur (France).

The event has been devised in partnership with 3Dify, international projection designer Nina Dunn of something Graphic, digital and creative agency Developing Dreams, and This World Productions:

somethingGraphic Ltd is run by Brighton-based independent Video & Projection Designer, Nina Dunn who creates integrated video & projection designs for Theatre and Live Events, working alongside a specialist team of expert content creators, producers and programmers that are hand-picked according to the needs of each project. She has designed Video & Projections for a wide range of shows, working internationally and spanning Theatre, Opera, Dance, Musical Theatre, Immersive, Fashion, Opening Ceremonies and Live Events. She is also an educator within her industry, helping to devise and deliver undergraduate courses and mentoring programs in leading UK institutions. 

3Dify creates immersive experiences using emerging technology. The company, featured as one of the leading tech start-ups in Brighton by the Observer Tech Monthly, consults on artistic, technical, and fabrication projects. 3Dify designed and built the UK’s first 3D body scanning and 3D printing art installation in 2013.

Developing Dreams is a digital communications and creative agency based in Brighton. The company creates events, art exhibitions, installations, undertakes digital media audits, and runs marketing, PR, and social media campaigns to engage the unengaged and delight the disillusioned. They provide highly skilled bespoke project teams to turn dreams into reality.


Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Thursday, 27 August 2015

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