Untitled by Barbara Kruger (2011)

TOD's Art Plus Drama Party 2011

Whitechapel Gallery
24 March 2011

The Whitechapel Gallery turned to Tod's for their annual fundraising party this year, putting on a one-off event for which many of the art and drama world's best were suitably present and correct. The meeting of cultural minds - which saw a host of live performances and art showcases take centre stage - launched the evening into a full festival of the senses.

Hosted in conjunction with Harper's Bazaar together with Art Plus Chair Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst and Jude Law, the party had guests sipping on Stoli Moscow Mules while they enjoyed a series of six five-minute performances, each scripted by a leading contemporary artist, and directed by top theatre figure Rupert Goold. Maxine Peake, Juliet Oldfield and Jake Maskell performed the script of artist Lynda Benglis; Claire Foy read Lawrence Weiner’s monologue; Jonathan Pryce read Ryan Gander’s text; Hywel Morgan and Helen Bradbury read a script by Vitto Acconci, Benedick Blythe performed Ilya and Emilia Kabakov's script, while Tom Hiddleston and Ashley Walters performed Barbara Kruger’s dualogue.

Another highlight of the party - which raised £225,000 for the gallery's Education and Community programme fund - was a screening of 'An Italian Dream' - the fantastical product of Teatro alla Scala's ongoing collaboration with Tod's. Specially created for the Whitechapel Gallery by lead choreographer Gianluca Schiavoni, the directional short film - which features a solo performance by Teatro alla Scala's prima ballerina Marta Romagna - interplays the ballet segments with glimpses into the crafting process of a Tod's shoe.

It wasn't all looking and no participation at the East End art world institution however - there was nothing like some healthy bidding frenzy (in this case, the auctioning off of artworks by Sir Anthony Caro, Angela De La Cruz, Nan Goldin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Alice Neel, Julian Opie, Dame Paula Rego and Jamie Shovlin, as well as a one-off Tod's D-bag specially customised by artist Ian Davenport) to get the party spirit going.