Dame Judi Dench has been named as the newest patron of London’s Omnibus Theatre to mark the venue’s fifth anniversary.
The Oscar-winning actress joins members of the arts and theatrical community, including Sir Michael Gambon and the Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus, as a patron for the off-West End theatre in Clapham, south London.
Dame Judi said: “Small theatres such as Omnibus are the lifeblood of our industry. Without them, many actors – myself included – would not have had the same opportunity to hone our craft.
“I am delighted to be joining as a patron of Omnibus Theatre as it begins its next exciting chapter. It is a wonderful theatre, brimming with talent.”
Acclaimed theatre director Sir Richard Eyre and painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling are also patrons of the independent theatre.
The theatre’s artistic director Marie McCarthy said: “Omnibus Theatre has come a long way in a short space of time. It’s taken a monumental, combined effort from our dedicated team, supporters and loyal audience to get to this point and we are thrilled that Dame Judi Dench has joined us on our shared mission.
“Her support is phenomenal news for an off-West End theatre like ours that survives without any core funding.”
The Omnibus Theatre was founded in 2013 following a seven-year campaign to save the old Clapham Library building.
Inspired by the building’s literary heritage, the theatre’s programme is based around both classics re-imagined and contemporary storytelling, and believes in affordable tickets and theatre for all.
To mark the theatre’s fifth anniversary, actor Bill Nighy will appear at an In Conversation talk with broadcaster Miranda Sawyer, followed by an audience Q&A session on November 10, as part of a day of activities and exhibits for visitors.