The Catholic Association of Performing Arts (CaAPA) holds a centenary dinner

The Catholic Association of Performing Arts (CaAPA) has held its centenary dinner, writes Amanda C Dickie.

The guests of honour were Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the writer Lord Fellowes and his wife, Lady Emma, lady-in-waiting to Princess Michael of Kent.

The dinner was held at Allen Hall in Chelsea, west London, and was the highlight of a year of celebrations. At the dinner it was announced that Lord Fellowes had agreed to become a vice-president of the organisation. The Archbishop of Westminster is president.

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The Catholic Stage Guild was founded in 1911 by Mgr Robert Hugh Benson, a former Anglican priest and the youngest son of Edward White Benson, an Archbishop of Canterbury, to encourage and support Catholics in the theatre and allied professions spiritually and artistically. Mgr Benson was a colourful character and writer who bequeathed his home in Hertfordshire to the archbishop of Westminster.

It has been the country residence of all Archbishops of Westminster ever since.

During this centenary year CaAPA on the Road has performed entertainments at churches, care homes, and other venues. A centenary concert, compered by vice-president Don Maclean raised funds for Cafod at Westminster Cathedral Hall.

Among those present at the champagne reception and centenary dinner were Frank Finlay, Richard O’ Callaghan, Frank Comerford, owner of the Stage newspaper, Fr Pat Maloney, National Theatre chaplain, CAaPA chaplain Fr Alan Robinson and trustee Mgr Vladimir Felzmann. Fr Vlad, as he is popularly known, was responsible for the Guild’s change of name.

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