Hollywood icon Alec Baldwin contributes to Leicester event celebrating legacy of playwright Joe Orton

Posted by pt91 at Jul 28, 2017 11:07 AM |
Dr Emma Parker, from the University of Leicester, collaborates with the movie star on August 9 event at The Little Theatre

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 28 July 2017

Photos of Alec Baldwin, including one of Alec Baldwin with Emma Parker, Joe Orton and a flyer for ‘Yours Faithfully, Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)’ at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tl7p7swuf8v5kco/AABGlh8wNOLcH3ciwUHoZ3Ula?dl=0

Listen to Joe Orton’s sister Leonie Orton Barnett reading some of the ‘Edna Welthorpe’ letters: https://soundcloud.com/university-of-leicester/edna-welthorpe-and-other

Hollywood icon and 2017 Emmy Award nominee Alec Baldwin is playing a key role in a Leicester event celebrating the legacy of playwright Joe Orton.

Yours Faithfully, Edna Welthorpe (Mrs) will take place at The Little Theatre on 9 August featuring the hilarious prank letters of complaint that Orton penned under the pseudonym Edna Welthorpe.  This Arts Council-funded project marks 50 years since the death of Joe Orton.

Dr Parker has been instrumental in linking with Alec Baldwin, star of The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, Malice, The Edge, It’s Complicated, Blue JasmineStill Alice, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation among many others, and getting him involved with the event.

Alec has recorded a special message for the Leicester audience and written a letter in the style of Orton’s Edna Welthorpe, which will feature in the evening’s programme, starting at 7pm. New Edna letters commissioned from top comedy writers such as Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, The Thick of It), Arthur Mathews (Father Ted) and Caroline Moran (Raised by Wolves) will also feature.

In addition, BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Chris Shepherd pays tribute to Orton through a new Edna-inspired animation starring Alison Steadman. Leonie Orton shares memories of  her brother’s comic escapades, and comedian Graham Fellows (John Shuttleworth) joins Emmy Award-winning writer David Quantick (The Fast Show, Brass Eye, Veep) to discuss Orton’s impact on contemporary comedy. Dr Emma Parker will introduce the special event.

Dr Parker said: Alec Baldwin's passion for Orton is reflected across his career. He made his Broadway debut playing Dennis (alongside Zoe Wanamaker) in Joe Orton's Loot (1986) and later took the role of Ed in Entertaining Mr Sloane (2006).’

She added: “It’s a great privilege to have his involvement in this project to honour Joe Orton. Alec’s Edna Welthorpe letter is very funny. It’s a very special contribution to a very special event.”

In his memoir Nevertheless, published this year, Alec Baldwin writes: “I've always had a special love for Joe Orton's writing.” Speaking of his role in Entertaining Mr Sloane, he adds: “I couldn't wait to get on stage and shake hands with Orton's brand of anarchic wit.”

Dr Parker added: “It's a measure of Joe Orton's significance and legacy that a major Hollywood star and one of America's leading comedians wishes to pay tribute to him by participating in this project and writing a new Edna Welthorpe letter.”

Alec Baldwin has been nominated for a 2017 Emmy Award for his impersonation of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. According to Vanity Fair, his parody of Trump 'sealed his status as a New York icon’. CNN reported that his impression 'made television great again’.

Baldwin stars in Boss Baby, released in the UK this year. His latest film is Blind.



Emma Parker is Associate Professor in English at the University of Leicester, which houses the Joe Orton archive. She has published widely on twentieth century and contemporary literature, including a 50th anniversary of edition of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane(Methuen Drama, 2014), and the essays ‘A Queer Ear: Joe Orton and Music’ (Saatchi Gallery magazine, Art & Music, Spring 2017) and ‘Joe Orton and Shakespeare: Collage, Class and Queerness’ (Studies in Theatre and Performance, Summer 2017).

Chris Shepherd is a BAFTA nominated multi award winning director, writer producer and curator. From his early days as animation director Chris worked on comedy series such as Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan’s Big Train and Chris Morris’s Nathan Barley. Chris has written and directed many internationally acclaimed shorts for broadcasters such as the BBC, Channel 4, Arte and Canal+ and won over 50 international film awards. His latest film Johnno’s Dead won Best British Short at the London International Animation Festival in 2016. He is also an animation lecturer at Middlesex University.

About Arts Council England

The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk


For further enquiries or interview opportunities please contact Emma Parker (ep27@le.ac.uk)

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