London's National Theatre will host a fundraiser for the Disaster Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal March 17. The evening, to be led by Allie Esiri, will feature poems from Esiri's Poetry for Every Day of the Year collections.
Actors reading at the event will include Tom Hiddleston (Betrayal, Coriolanus), Asa Butterfield (Sex Education), Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù (Gangs of London), Kate Fleetwood (Macbeth, King Lear), and Ukranian actor Dária Plahtíy (Battle for Sevastopol). Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) has also contributed a pre-recorded reading. During the evening, illustrator Chris Riddell will be onstage live drawing.
Through Esiri's poetry, the evening will journey through the calendar year in a reflection of both the changing seasons and key dates of the year. The event will be recorded and made available to watch on National Theatre's YouTube channel April 6 at 7 PM.
Funds raised will be donated directly to the Disaster Emergency Committee’s (DEC’s) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which is woking with charities and partners to provide food, water, medical care, protection, and trauma care to refugees.
In a statement, Esiri said, “Poetry can stop and make us think and feel. About love, loss, hope—and our shared experiences as humans. That is the aim of this Poetry for Every Day of the Year event which I am honored to host, to reach out in solidarity to the brave people of Ukraine through the beauty of words, brought to life on stage at our beloved National Theatre by an extraordinary cast of actors. My hope is that the evening will be filled with as much laughter as tears, and that you will leave full of hope for the people of this war-torn nation. In return, we ask that you donate as generously as you can to the Ukraine appeal so that, in some small way at least, our words may become actions in the fight against oppression.”
Signed copies of Esiri’s newest poetry anthology, A Nursery Rhyme for Every Night of the Year, will be available for purchase ahead of its official release at the National Theatre Bookshop at the event. All profits from the sale of Esiri's work during the evening will also be donated to the DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.