WELL-KNOWN actors and actresses are giving their services free for a pageant of Son et Lumiere in the gardens of Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
They are Michael Horden, Patrick Wymark, Margaret Tyzack, Doreen Mantle and Joe Brown, whose main speaking parts will be St. Thomas it Becket, King Henry II, Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria and a South Londoner.
The event, which is being organised by nearby St. Thomas's Hospital, which is named after the saint, will recall the stormy life and heroic death of St. Thomas in the 12th century, and the history of the hospital.
It will mark the 800th anniversary of his martyrdom in Canterbury Cathedral and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who founded her school of nursing at the hospital in 1860. The pageant will last 90 minutes and will be performed from June 17 to 20 and again on June 22 and 24.
CAST OF 100 Proceeds will go to St. Thomas's Charitable Trust, which is mainly concerned with financing medical research at the hospital. A cast of 100 will include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and medical students.
Most of the 200 costumes have been made by groups of nurses at St. Thomas's. Six horses, three donkeys, two Irish wolfhounds, two Afghan hounds, one Saluki and many chickens and pigeons will be used in the historical scenes.
Settings will progressively represent Canterbury and Winchester Cathedrals, 12th century street scenes , Northampton Castle, the medieval hospice of St. Thomas at Southwark, and the Scutari hospital w h ere Florence Nightingale and her nurses worked among the wounded soldiers of the Crimea.
Lighting and sound effects will recall some of the outstanding days in London's history, including the Great Fire and the bombing raids of the 193945 war, in which the hospital sustained heavy damage.
The pageant script has been written by a 31-year-old surgeon at St. Thomas's, Mr. Antony Chilvers, and his wife Clair. a former medical student. They were helped by Robin Leach, 23, a medical student in his final year.