Wells Theatre Festival couldn’t be happier to have Dame Judi Dench, Sir Richard Eyre and Jim Cellan Jones as patrons of the festival.
Dame Judi Dench has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and at The Old Vic Theatre. She is a ten-time BAFTA winner including Best Actress in a Comedy Series for A Fine Romance (1981) in which she appeared with her husband, Michael Williams, and Best Supporting Actress in A Handful of Dust (1988) and A Room with a View (1985).
She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1970, a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1988 and a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in 2005.
Sir Richard Eyre was associate director at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, and ran the Nottingham Playhouse before being appointed Director of the National Theatre, a role he held from 1988–97. His theatre work has included productions for the National Theatre, West End and Broadway. In opera he has directed Carmen, Werther and Le nozze di Figaro for the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and Manon Lescaut for the Baden-Baden Festival.
Sir Richard has been the recipient of numerous accolades including six Olivier awards and a knighthood.
James Cellan Jones is particularly associated with the ‘Classic Serial’ during the golden age of BBC drama, and some of his most notable work has been in televising late 19th-century and 20th-century British literary works. Two of his most ambitious and successful directorial adaptations are The Forsyte Saga (1967) and The Fortunes of War(1987); and he is also noted for his award-winning productions of Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill(1974) and Harnessing Peacocks(1993). He also directed the award-winning TV sitcom – A Fine Romance starring the Festival’s founding patron Dame Judi Dench alongside her late husband Michael Williams.