2014: A Great Year and So Many Gifts from RA! Let’s Give Back & Say Thanks Through JustGiving!
What a great year 2014 has been for RA (and for us): I think it ALL began with The Anglophile Channel 2013 British Artist of the Year Award! That was followed by Pinter/PROUST in NYC in January; the The Anglophile Channel interviews on its YouTube Channel in February; then Urban and The Shed Crew and its regular updates. In May, we had the audiobook (#1 for the year for Audible, by the way) Hamlet: The Novel that overlapped with The Old Vic’s advance promotion for The Crucible. Once The Crucible opened, we had RA updates every day for three months, as he took the time after each evening performance to meet his followers at the Stage Door. And in the middle of ALL The Crucible’s well-deserved accolades, Into the Storm opened, and RA joined social media. The Crucible wrapped up and RA seemed to be in LA almost immediately for Sleepwalker… and now we have The Hobbit: THORIN (aka #BOFTA)!
RA and all of his followers have been immensely blessed this year; RA has brought us so many gifts of phenomenal performances and delightful appearances. Thank you, RA!
In return, we believe we should give something back.
RA supports a number of charities doing superb,
much-needed good work.
Go to JustGiving for a list of them all,
and give as generously as you can afford.
We know these causes mean much to RA, and he might even prefer
that we spend our money there, rather than a Ferrari.
Marlise Boland of The Anglophile Channel interviews if RA in February were a tremendous hit with fans: RA as you’d never seen him before!
The interviews here: Teaser; First Interview; Second interview; Third Interview; Silly bits.
“Urban and the Shed Crew,” based on a true story by Bernard Hale. IMDb’s description: It’s been described as a tale of heroin and cement, set in Britain’s underclass in the 90s.
Twelve-year old Urban Grimshaw (Fraser Kelly) is Britain’s most runaway child, he’s even been on TVs Crimewatch. His mother is a junkie and his father might as well be dead. He can’t read or write, and he doesn’t go to school. His average day is spent sitting around a bonfire with his mates smoking drugs and stealing cars. When he meets his mother’s new friend Chop (RA), a 37 year old, disillusioned, ex-social worker also living on society’s margins, on one of Leeds roughest estates, the two become firm friends. But even Chop with his own penchant for drink, drugs and hard living is shocked by the state of Urban’s life. After much soul searching he resolves to clean up his own act and save the kid. But as their friendship deepens, Urban introduces him to the Shed Crew the anarchic gang of kids aged between ten and fourteen years who spend their time joy-riding, thieving, and engaging in drugs and sex. It is only then that we see exactly how long the road to civilization really is.
When ex-social worker Bernard Hare turned his startling experiences with a group of young delinquents into a novel it was described as one of the year’s most compelling and best selling books. Urban and the Shed Crew is a stunning piece of ethnography described by The Guardian as moving but never sanctimonious, another City of God, this time for Britain rather than Brazil.
Our album about the production – from photos to interviews with Author Bernard Hale and others – can be found here.
As Urban and the Shed Crew wrapped, RA released Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, brilliantly written by AJ Hartley and David Hewson. Audible.com describes it as: “…a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge – of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet – son of the old king, nephew of the new – becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception – and murder. Beautifully and compellingly performed by actor Richard Armitage Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare’s original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.
For RA’s rendition, Audible named it its #1 Audiobook of the year! Listen and you’ll understand why!
RA signed on for an intense, “visceral” three-month gig on stage as John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, directed by Yael Farber in-the-round at the Old Vic. Rehearsal photos began showing up early as part of the promotion. Then things got under way in June with the play’s previews, followed by Opening Night in July.
The Crucible is powerful and complex – especially this interpretation – and received well-earned 5-star reviews across the board. Learn more about it on The Old Vic website and in our album here, and share your appreciation of RA and the The Crucible production on our Richard Armitage in THE CRUCIBLE Appreciation page.
During alll the amazing publicity, accolades and sold-out shows of The Crucible, RA’s US film Into the Storm opened! Although it was, as RA called it, a “summer disaster film,” it performed well internationally. More here in our Into the Storm album. (RA US had a crew on the Black Carpet! What an honor!)
AND, on his birthday – again, in the middle of The Crucible run – the very best thing of the 2014 happened: RA joined Twitter. For all his previous comments about not understanding social media (My Space, RA, really? ), he has taken to it like a pro, and seems to be enjoying himself (we certainly are!)! King of the Hashtags and Selfies! It is a welcome link to, and yet another gift to his fans!
Then, toward the end of the run of The Crucible came the news all those who hadn’t been able make the London trip – and, franly, all who’d seen it – had been hoping for: The Old Vic was allowing Digital Theatre to record the production! It would be released in theatres in the UK and Ireland in December, and then globally – except, due to copyright issues, in North America – in theaters in 2015. However, American and Canadian audiences will be able to download a production they never thought to see. What a lovely gift!
So: 1980s poverty-stricken Leeds; 1300s-1400s Denmark; 17th century Salem, Massachusetts… what was next for RA?
The contemporary thriller Sleepwalker, with RA as Dr. Scott White. The Anglophile Channel blog describes it this way: “In a script written by Jack Olsen, Sleepwalker, centers around Sarah (Ahna O’Reilly, best known for her role in The Help) who’s trying to reconstruct her life following the apparent suicide of her novelist husband. After returning to university, to finish her dissertation, Sarah experiences frequent bouts of sleepwalking. She is sent to Dr. Scott White’s (Armitage) sleep research lab for treatment. When Sarah’s life starts to alternate between her waking world and a nightmarish alternate reality, where no one recognizes that she has ever existed, she is plunged into chaos, confusion and terror. The one constant in her shifting world is Scott, the man she’s been longing for all her life. But does Sarah’s true love actually exist, or is it a figment of Sarah’s troubled imagination that derives from wishful thinking and longing? (I think I had a dream like this once…)”
And in November, RA celebrated the 10th anniversary of the iconic North & South, a role that really put him on (our) map, at least.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Already making its international box office power obvious, according to Deadline: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies continues to roll out overseas, planet Earth is becoming dominated by Middle-earth. The finale to Peter Jackson’s big-footed trilogy opened in 17 markets Thursday with No. 1s across the board. Grossing a total $13.7M in 28 markets, the cume at Thursday’s close was $26.6M.”
And it doesn’t even hit the STATES until next week!
I’ve left out other RA projects: his narration of a terrific documentary, not to mention his promotion of the DOS DVD and then the DOS EE DVD, his marathon Hobbit: THORIN promotional tour , and a much-longed for reunion interview with Marlise & The Anglophile Channel; here’s the tease …
And I’ve surely missed some other things as well. TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
So BLESS YOU, our incredibly hard-working RA! Congratulations on an astonishing year! We can’t wait to see what’s to come!
And remember: See all he’s done for us this year! SO much Access!
Again, one last call-to-action:
Please, everyone, let’s all determine to give something back.
RA supports a number of charities doing incredible work with few resources.
Go to JustGiving for a list of them – Shelter, YoungMinds,
The Salvation Army, Childline, Anthony Nolan
and Barbado’s – and give as generously as you can afford.
And we wish RA and all or his colleagues a lovely, restful, renewing holiday season! Then on to 2015!