ROBERT HARDY, the veteran actor, took part in an evening of music and poetry on March 12 at the Oxford Oratory, writes Amanda C Dickie.
The event was organised by Julien Chilcott Monk, the Catholic writer and composer. His choir, Vox Angelica, was singing to raise funds for the £5million redevelopment campaign and the building of a Newman chapel. Architectural plans for this have just been revealed.
Cardinal Newman will be beatified in September during the Pope’s visit to this country and this will be the first chapel dedicated to him.
Fr Richard Duffield, Provost of Birmingham Oratory, introduced selections from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s writings, read by Robert Hardy, and music by St Hildegard of Bingen.
Hopkins was a former curate of the church and Julien Chilcott Williams set some of his poetry to music, including The Wreck of the Deutschland.
Mr Hardy was greatly impressed by the restoration of the church’s interior, which he pronounced “spectacular”. He read from Hopkins’s poetry and jour nals as well as a humorous portrayal of an imaginary 12th-century German monk writing about Abbess Hildegard.
The actor will shortly be seen playing an Oxford don in the new series of Lewis on ITV. Parish priest Fr Daniel Seward is delighted that the actor has kindly agreed to participate in another fund-raising event at the oratory later this year.