In her role as a member of the development commitee of new Derby Arts Centre Quad, Pollyanna was pleased to welcome actor John Hurt as patron at a celebration dinner at the Cathedral Quarter Hotel.
John has previously purchased Pollyanna's original paintings from her London Exhibitions. Pollyanna was seated beside him at the gala event, and the two enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce about their training at the London Central School of Art - which they attended two years apart - including their memories of sketching Quentin Crisp in life drawing classes. John of course famously went on to play Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant.
They also discussed the plans for Quad, Derby's new arts centre, and the role John will play as its patron. There was the also the chance to hear a few behind the scenes stories from John's film career - and from Pollyanna's recent expeditions!
Prior to the dinner John was given a tour of the venue's galleries, workshops, cinemas and lounge in his first visit to the city since receiving an honorary degree from the University of Derby in 2002. He Pollyanna "I'm thrilled and flattered to be involved with something as important as this. It's a magnificent place with a real buzz about it."
John Hurt was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, and after leaving the London Central School of Art went on study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He has since gone on to become one of Britain's greatest acting talents winning numerous awards including three BAFTA's, a Golden Globe and two Oscar nominations. Hurt's film career stretches from the early sixties to the present day and includes celebrated roles in A Man for All Seasons, The Elephant Man, Midnight Express, Alien, Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone and the latest Indiana Jones film released in 2008.
Hurt continues to have a full and varied career with five feature films currently in production as well as the soon to be aired ITV production of An Englishman in New York in which he reprises the role of Quentin Crisp 33 years after The Naked Civil Servant. The new film, depicting Crisp's life in New York, opened to huge acclaim at the recent Berlin Film Festival where John received the inaugural Teddy Award for Best Performance, an award that was introduced to honour his outstanding performance in this film.
Above: John Hurt and his former wife Donna pose in front of their original Pollyanna Pickering owl sketch at their home in a feature for Hello! magazine.