Here’s the thing about Londoners – we don’t make eye contact on the tube or willingly share our table in a local café with a stranger. Our projected persona is aloof and a bit frosty. BUT alongside this, we are made up of a vast array of nationalities and heritages, and that’s our normal. With that diversity comes our response to adversity – when someone is hurting across the globe, we feel the pain of one of our own.
As city-dwellers, we watch the bombardments targeting other metropolises in Ukraine and can imagine the anxiety and horror as if that was our hometown. We want to help and make a difference fast. With that in mind, here are some fundraisers where you can support the people of Ukraine taking place over the next couple of weeks.
First up is Slava Ukraini – which translates as ‘glory to Ukraine’ – at the Royal Festival Hall next Tuesday (March 22). Tickets are already going fast for a night of music and poetry presented in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. All net proceeds will go to support the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC’s) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal through the event.
The full line-up is still being confirmed – mainly because lots of big names want to help – but expect the likes of actors Ben Whishaw, Jonathan Pryce and Juliet Stevenson to read pieces by Ukrainian literary greats such as Ilya Kaminsky, best known for his poetry collections such as ‘Dancing in Odessa’.
Music comes in the shape of performances from Ukrainian and British classical and contemporary musicians including Kyiv-born Yuriy Yurchuk, who performed the role of Marcello in Puccini’s ‘La Boheme’ in 2021 at the Royal Opera House, and Kharviv-born pianist Dinara Klinton. The London Contemporary Orchestra will also perform on the night. Ukrainian writers include the author of superbly dark bestseller ‘Death and the Penguin’ Andrey Kurkov and poet, writer and essayist Serhiy Zhadan.
Then on Monday March 28 and Wednesday March 30, there are two comedy benefits for Ukraine, hosted by Off the Kerb at the Eventim Apollo. All profits from the ticket sales go to the Red Cross DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Both nights offer stellar line-ups, with Monday boasting Jo Brand, Jack Dee and Romesh Ranganathan among others, while Wednesday will have funny types including Mark Steel, Rosie Jones and Alan Carr.
It’s not often that it feels politically important to go out and have a laugh, but right now it does.
Slava Ukraini. Royal Festival Hall. Tue Mar 22. £25.
Comedy Benefits for Ukraine Conflict. Eventim Apollo. Mon Mar 28 and Wed Mar 30. From £35.
How to help the people of Ukraine if you’re living in London.
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