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Sir Kenneth Branagh and Brian Blessed attend Guildford Shakespeare Company's Othello

PUBLISHED: 12:46 18 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:55 18 February 2014

Sir Kenneth Branagh and Brian Blessed with the  Othello cast

Sir Kenneth Branagh and Brian Blessed with the Othello cast

Archant

Renowned Shakespearean actors Sir Kenneth Branagh and Brian Blessed attended a landmark Guildford Shakespeare Company show on Monday February 17.

Sir Kenneth Branagh and Brian Blessed with GSC's Matt Pinches and Sarah GobranSir Kenneth Branagh and Brian Blessed with GSC's Matt Pinches and Sarah Gobran

Sir Kenneth Branagh’s appearance at Guildford’s Holy Trinity Church for the production of Othello wasn’t in fact his first involvement with GSC.

One of the country’s greatest Shakespearean actors, equally well known for directing films including the Oscar-winning Henry V and the recently released Hollywood blockbuster Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit with Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner, he also supported the company when it first launched in 2006.

“As a young actor, Kenneth Branagh had always been an inspiration to me and his going it alone and setting up his own theatre company (Renaissance) in the late 1980s was a key motivation for us when we established Guildford Shakespeare,” says GCS’s co-founder Matt Pinches.

“Sarah and I wrote to him explaining our desire to create productions that were exciting, fresh and accessible and he very generously gave us some financial support in the first two years. Since then we have kept him up to date with our progress and now for him to attend our 20th show is a great honour.”

Actor and adventurer Brian Blessed, who has worked with Branagh in many productions, attended for the second time, watching his actress daughter Rosalind who plays Emilia.

Both commented on the high quality of the production, which continues until Saturday February 22, and said that they enjoyed the evening immensely.

Othello kicks off what promises to be GSC’s most ambitious year to date with the aim of engaging over 12,000 people in professional theatre made right on their doorstep, and includes special events in April for Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

• Tickets are £16.50 to £21 (family and group discounts available) and can be purchased online or from the Box Office 01483 304384.

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