You’ll Never Walk Alone, the one night only gala concert in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Philippines Typhoon Appeal, has raised £15,000 for the charity it was announced today. The concert, which took place at the West End’s Queen’s Theatre on Sunday 2nd March, was hosted by multi-award winning presenter Gok Wan, and starred a multitude of talent from the West End and beyond.
The show featured special performances from stars including: Hollywood actor Luke Evans (The Three Musketeers, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Fast & Furious 6), who returned to the West End stage for the first time since 2008 to perform especially for the event; stars of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Pasha and Katya ; Britain’s Got Talent finalist Francine Lewis; and theatrical favourites such as Michael Xavier, Danielle Hope, Cynthia Erivo, Hugh Maynard and Joanna Riding, as well as an ensemble of Filipino performers. The concert also brought together the original cast of Avenue Q – re-united on stage for the first time in 6 years, and performances from Filipino talents Joseph Apostol and Emmanuel Vass. Speakers included TV presenters Adrian Chiles and Esther Rantzen, and Emmerdale’s Fiona Wade.
The event was instigated by the UK based Filipino theatre community, many of whom moved to London in the 1990’s to take part in the original production of Miss Saigon, the worldwide smash-hit musical produced by British theatre impresario, Cameron Mackintosh.
You’ll Never Walk Alone producer Paul Spicer said: “This event is testament to what the West End community can achieve when we unite as one. We were offered support across the length and breadth of Theatreland, on stage and off, and because of that generosity we are able to donate £15,000 to the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal to help put people’s shattered lives back on track. The DEC also registered a huge spike in media activity and a surge of awareness for the appeal. Everyone involved in the show was incredibly proud to be a part of such a worthwhile project. We want the legacy of this production to live on, and would like to see West End Unites continue to support the DEC in their phenomenal work.”
Typhoon Haiyan tore a path of destruction over 100 miles wide through the Philippines after making landfall early in the morning on the 8th of November local time. It brought torrential rain, winds of over 170mph and a storm surge of up to 25 feet that devastated coastal areas. Over 14 million people had their lives torn apart, and more than 4 million people were left homeless. The DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal has raised over £90 million and DEC member agencies and their partners have delivered aid to more than 4 million people.
The £15,000 raised by You’ll Never Walk Alone, through a combination of ticket sales and ‘text to donate’ contributions, will be used to fund essential aid and recovery work in the Philippines. For example, DEC member agencies are educating children in temporary school tents; they are providing construction kits with nails, timber, corrugated iron sheets, plywood, hammers and other tools so people can rebuild their homes; they are also providing training to ensure that when people do repair or rebuild a damaged home, it will be more earthquake and typhoon resistant. Farmers are being given seeds and tools so they can provide for their families, and those who have lost their income are learning new skills so that they can earn a living once again.
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “You’ll Never Walk Alone was an extraordinary and uplifting evening. We are enormously grateful to the incredibly talented cast and the backstage team who made it all possible. It really was a fantastic show and a remarkable collaboration of some of the leading theatrical talent in the UK. This wonderful donation we have received as a result will support vital recovery work. Six months after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, DEC member agencies are working across affected areas to restore people’s lives and livelihoods, and a sense of normality. Given the vast scale of destruction in the Philippines, it will take a long time to recover.”
To donate to the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal, go to http://www.dec.org.uk/
You’ll Never Walk Alone was produced by Paul Spicer and Matt Firth for Stage Acts Productions with the kind support of Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.
Thursday 1st May 2014