No fewer than six theatrical Dames will take part in a major new charity event to raise funds for the Asian tsunami appeal next month. One Knight Only, an evening of music, comedy and drama, will take place on Sunday 20 March 2005 at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Dames Judi Dench (pictured - who won this year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Actress for All’s Well That Ends Well), Maggie Smith and Laurence Olivier’s widow Joan Plowright, who previously worked together on the film Tea With Mussolini, will be joined by Dames Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg (who won this year’s Best Actress Whatsonstage.com Award for Suddenly Last Summer) and Eileen Atkins (who, after winning last year’s Best Actress Olivier for Honour, returns to the West End in The Birthday Party this April).

The evening takes its punning title from the fact that, despite the abundance of Dames, there will be only one Knight amongst the participating actors, Sir Antony Sher. Amongst the other stars due to appear are: Kim Cattrall (now starring in Whose Life Is It Anyway? at the Comedy Theatre), Edward Fox, Joanna Lumley, Sian Phillips, Patrick Stewart (now in A Life in the Theatre at the Apollo), Zoe Wanamaker and Celia Imrie (who appears at the Haymarket every other night of the week in Victoria Wood musical Acorn Antiques).

One Knight Only is organised by Dame Joan’s daughter, Julie-Kate Olivier, and will be compered by Loose Ends presenter Ned Sherrin. Proceeds will be donated directly to small local organisations providing continuing tsunami relief effort in India and Sri Lanka. Ticket prices range from £30 to £1,000.

Commenting on the event, Dench said: “All getting together to do something that we love for a worthwhile cause seems to me to be the best of all possible worlds.” Atkins added: "This tragedy will be ongoing and I am more than happy to help in any way I can." For further information, call 0870 602 1112.


Later in the month, on Thursday 31 March 2005, another tsunami fundraiser, being billed as the classical “Band Aid”, takes place at the Royal Albert Hall. Amongst the classical music stars so far confirmed to take part in the one-off Classical Response concert are: Aled Jones, Amici Forever, Bond, Celtic Tenors, Duel, Emma Johnson, English Chamber Orchestra, G4, Julian Lloyd Webber and his new Bossanova Band, Keedie, Opera Babes and Russell Watson. Proceeds from tickets, starting at £25, will be donated to SOS Children, a worldwide charity dedicated to the care of orphans. For further information, call 020 7589 8212.

- by Terri Paddock