Sudbury: Veteran actress Honor Blackman champions local theatre

Honor Blackman is to appear in a one-woman show at the Quay

Honor Blackman is to appear in a one-woman show at the Quay - Credit: Archant

She is famous for her on-screen tussles as karate-kicking Bond girl Pussy Galore and the feisty Cathy Gale in the cult TV series, The Avengers. But these days veteran actress Honor Blackman has other battles to fight.

Honor Blackman is to appear in a one-woman show at the Quay

Honor Blackman is to appear in a one-woman show at the Quay - Credit: Archant

The 87-year-old, who is passionate about issues such as keeping local theatres open and promoting fair trade, will be in Suffolk next week talking about her life away from the big screen.

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury announce 2011 line-up

The Quay Theatre in Sudbury announce 2011 line-up - Credit: Archant

Although her glamorous 60-year career has been well documented, Ms Blackman – who rates Suffolk as one of her favourite places – has never talked about her private life and has declined numerous requests to write an autobiography.

But in a ‘one-woman’ show at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury, she is finally set to reveal secrets about her upbringing, family life and her current passions, to an audience of less than 100 people.

She said the decision to play small venues is a conscious one to help draw attention to the plight of local theatres. She said: “Theatres are an essential part of local communities – they provide entertainment and take people out of everyday life for a brief while.

“Unlike sitting and watching the TV, going out to the theatre is a social event and from an actor’s point of view, you get such a lovely reaction and you can feel the rapport with the audience, which is much more satisfying than standing in front of a TV camera.”

She admits if she played bigger venues, she could earn “more money” but she added: “At this stage of my life, I am in the fortunate position where I can pick and choose what I do.

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“I am very concerned that with the recession and the resultant lack of money being put into the theatres (in terms of grants) or being available for people to spend on luxuries like going out, far too many small provincial theatres have had to close down. I am very keen to do what I can to encourage everyone to keep going so we can preserve as many of these theatres as possible.”

The show at the Quay will feature Ms Blackman in conversation with her colleague and friend Richard Digby Day. Although she is tight-lipped about specific content of the performance, she said she has always been passionate about fighting for the underdog. As well as her interest in saving provincial theatres, she has recently become involved in fair trade issues.

“I have always fought for people, dating right back to childhood,” she recalled. “My brother was very small and was picked on a lot so my dad taught us how to box. I used to get so enraged when my brother was bullied that I actually knocked two boys out. In terms of the fair trade issue, the recent dreadful accident in Pakistan has highlighted even more that we must pay people what they deserve to earn.

“Fair trade products might be slightly more expensive, but it is our responsibility to let people know why clothing that is made in such awful conditions only costs a few pounds. Not paying people the proper amount for work is like bullying in my eyes and I don’t like that attitude.”

The show at the Quay is on Friday, June 14 at 7.30pm. Call the box office on 01787 374745.