Lunchtime with Stephen Daldry and Haile Gebrselassie

Lunchtime on 7th August could be spent in the company of film and theatre director Stephen Daldry and Haile Gebrselassie, the two time 10,000 metre Gold medallist.

Live on stage at the Criterion Theatre Stephen Daldry will interview the amazing Haile Gebrselassie.

Haile Gebrselassie is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. Born on April 18, 1973 in Asella, Arsi Province, Ethiopia he grew up on a farm and had to run 10 kilometers daily to go to school, which laid the foundation for his running career. His elder brother, Tekeye, is an international marathon runner and his younger brother, Belay, is also a promising runner.

It was in 1992 that he came to the notice of the sporting world when winning the 5000 meters and 10000 meters races at the 1992 Junior World Championships in Seoul. Just one year later he won the World Championships title in the Men’s 10000 meters, and one year after that he set his first world record by running 5000 meter in a time of 12:56.96.

Records continued to fall to Haile when in 1995, he ran the 5000 meters in an astonishing 12:44.39 minutes at Zurich, Switzerland and broke the world record 12:55.30, which was earlier held by Kenya’s Moses Kiptanui. This world record at the Weltklasse meet in Zurich was voted “Performance of the Year” by Track and Field News magazine. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Haile won his first Olympic gold in the 10000 meter race.

In 2000 he won all the events in which he participated and ranked first in 5000 and 10000 meters race category. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics and became the third man in history to successfully defend an Olympic 10000 meters title after Emil Zatopek and Lasse Viren. He declined to take part in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 because of the high levels of air pollution in the city.

Haile Gebrselassie wants to enter politics after retiring from running, but there seems to be no end in sight to his running career – only 4 days ago he “tweeted” that he can’t wait for the Great North Run, one of his favorite half marathons!

Stephen Daldry started his career at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and directed extensively in Britain’s regional theatres. In London he was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre where he headed the 26million redevelopment. He has also directed at the National Theatre, the Public Theatre in New York and transferred many productions both to Broadway and The West End. His 1992 National Theatre production of An Inspector Calls is currently touring the UK.

Perhaps his most prolific production is Billy Elliot the Musical which is currently playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre and also on a national tour of the USA, having previously played on Broadway, Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto and Korea. It recently won more Tony awards (10) than any other British show in Broadway history.  Have to say, Billy Elliot is my favourite musical that I have seen in London’s West End – just amazingly moving, educational as well as supremely entertaining.

His four films “Billy Elliot”, “The Hours”, “The Reader” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” have attracted an astonishing and amazing 19 Academy Award nominations and two wins.

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