Actors Lesley Sharp and Sir Simon Russell Beale to join pianist Lucy Parham at Hastings fundraiser

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition is holding a special fundraising afternoon at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, this autumn.
Lucy ParhamLucy Parham
Lucy Parham

Beloved Clara – A Tale of Love and Loss aims to raise money for an educational outreach programme and starts at 3pm on Sunday, November 10.

Tickets cost £25-£8. VIP tickets are also available. Visit or purchase tickets from Hastings Tourist Information Centre.

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The event features the award-winning British actors Lesley Sharp and Sir Simon Russell Beale, as well as pianist Lucy Parham.

Simon Russell BealeSimon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale

A spokesperson for the event said: “The story of the intense relationships between Robert Schumann, his wife Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms has always fascinated music lovers.

“This programme of music and readings brings their history to life. It chronicles the sometimes troubled marriage of Clara and Robert, the arrival in their household of the dynamic, 21-year-old Brahms, Robert’s decline into mental illness and the deepening relationship between Clara and Brahms, the exact nature of which has never been established. Music by all three is performed by the award-winning pianist Lucy Parham, interspersed with extracts from their letters and diaries, which are read by two celebrated actors Lesley Sharp and Sir Simon Russell Beale.

“Acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest pianists, Lucy Parham applies her sensitivity and imagination not only to concertos and recitals, but also to portraits in words and music of such composers as Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff.

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“Sir Simon Russell Beale CBE is an English actor, author and music historian, who has been described by The Independent as ‘the greatest stage actor of his generation’. He was first noticed in comic roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he forged collaborations with Sam Mendes whom he has continued to work with. Since 1995 he has been a regular player at the National Theatre. Beale is an associate of the National Theatre and the Almeida Theatre in London, and an associate artist at the RSC.

Lesley SharpLesley Sharp
Lesley Sharp

“Lesley Sharp is an English stage, film and television actress whose roles on British television include Clocking Off, Bob & Rose and Afterlife. She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the 1997 film The Full Monty.”

HIPCC managing director Ian Roberts said: “I am delighted that such esteemed actors and artists such as Lesley Sharp, Sir Simon Russell-Beale and Lucy Parham are supporting Hastings International Piano Festival and Concerto Competition.”

He continued: “Their production on November 10 at St Mary in the Castle will raise much needed funds for our inspirational programme of educational outreach, which will give opportunities for music making to young people in Hastings and the surrounding area, who otherwise may never have the chance to participate in these life affirming workshops.”

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