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Downton Abbey star supports Lowestoft armed forces charity concert at Marina Theatre

14:29 19 September 2014

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on stage previously at Lowestoft

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on stage previously at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre.

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This weekend, millions of people are expected to tune in and watch the new series of television favourite Downton Abbey.

Julian Fellowwes. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)Julian Fellowwes. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)

But closer to home, links between the hit show, a military charity and the Marina Theatre have been forged – as the creator and writer of Downton Abbey, Lord Julian Fellowes has given his support to a special concert in Lowestoft.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, currently enjoying an unprecedented tenth year of residency in Lowestoft, will end their 2014 season on November 15 with a special commemoration of the First World War.

The concert – which will feature music and readings primarily composed between 1914 and 1918 – will also raise funds for a local holiday centre for service veterans.

Management at the Marina Theatre have offered the town’s 
Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre, in Kirkley Cliff Road, the opportunity to highlight the work of the home during the evening in the hope of raising much- needed funds.

Lord Kitchener Memorial Centre LowestoftLord Kitchener Memorial Centre Lowestoft

And ahead of the autumn concert, Lord Julian Fellowes – whose wife Lady Emma Kitchener-Fellowes is Patron of the centre – has sent a message of support.

He said: “It feels wonderfully appropriate that a concert to commemorate the centenary for the First World War by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, should be raising support for the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft, of which my wife is Patron, and we congratulate the Marina Theatre for hosting such a marvellous evening.

“Naturally, for me, the choice of the Downton Abbey Suite as an item on the programme is the icing on the cake. We wish everyone involved the most tremendous success.”

The concert on November 15 will be conducted by Michael Seal and features soloists Laura van der Heijden (cello) and Duncan Riddell (violin). The evening will include Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, Butterworth’s The Banks Of The Green Willow and Elgar’s Nimrod from his celebrated Enigma Variations. In addition, more contemporary pieces will include Sutton’s War Horse Suite and Lunn’s Downton Abbey Suite.

The orchestra has enjoyed a hugely successful partnership with the Marina Theatre since 2005 with a host of international conductors, musicians’ and soloists performing on stage in Lowestoft.

Despite receiving no major sponsorship or subsidy, and being almost totally reliant on box office receipts, the ongoing relationship with one of the world’s top orchestras has been hailed as one of the most successful of its kind in the UK.

Michael Sims, a trustee of the charity which runs the centre, said: “Kitchener’s, is Lowestoft’s very own military charity which has been supporting ex-service personnel since 1919. We are delighted to receive support from the Marina Theatre, the local community and those attending; what is anticipated to be a very moving concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in November.”

Marina chief executive, Martin Halliday, added: “We are thrilled that both Lord and Lady Kitchener-Fellowes are supporting our forthcoming concert which will mark the centenary of the First World War and in turn support the great work of the Lord Kitchener’s Memorial Holiday Centre here in Lowestoft.”

■ The RPO performs a sell-out Last Night Of The Proms event at the Marina tonight. Seats for the special concert on November 15 are available from the box office on 01502 533200 and online at www.marinatheatre.co.uk

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