Julie Christie (pictured) returns to the stage after a ten-year absence this Sunday (17 June 2007) to take part in Cries from the Heart, a one-off charity performance at the Royal Court Downstairs in aid of Human Rights Watch.

In the “evening of readings, poetry and music” on the theme of migration, the 67-year-old Christie will dramatise the real-life account of a Somali widow forced to flee her war-torn country. Others due to perform at the weekend include actors Sophie Okonedo, Eileen Atkins, Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Juliet Stevenson, playwright Tom Stoppard, composer Nitin Sawhney and journalists George Alagiah and Fergal Keane.

Christie was last seen on stage in London in the West End revival of Harold Pinter’s Old Times at Wyndham’s Theatre in 1995; two years later, she appeared in Suzanna Adler at Chichester Festival Theatre. Despite these and stage credits earlier in her career, Christie is best known for her films, including Finding Neverland, Afterglow, Heat and Dust, Heaven Can Wait, Shampoo, Far from the Madding Crowd, Doctor Zhivago and Darling, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar in 1965.

Tickets for Cries from the Heart, priced £45 each, have already sold out, but theatregoers can email Human Rights Watch to be put on a waiting list for returns.


Meanwhile, at the West End’s Palace Theatre, Spamalot will be holding a special “MidKnight Matinee” on Thursday 21 June 2007 in aid of the Theatrical Guild, which provides financial aid to incapacitated members of the theatre profession, from backstage and front-of-house staff to actors.

“Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Broadway import Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic. It has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who has also co-written the music with John Du Prez. The London production, currently led by Simon Russell Beale as King Arthur and Hannah Waddingham as the Lady of the Lake, reunites the Broadway creative team led by director Mike Nichols.

Tickets for the MidKnight Matinee are priced from £10 to £30 and can be booked on 0870 163 0711.


Further ahead, there will be a gala performance of Tony Kushner’s two-part AIDS in the Eighties epic, Angels in America, at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith on 4 July 2007, in aid of the National AIDS Trust. The event will be hosted by actor Alan Cumming, who last year starred in director Daniel Kramer’s West End revival of Bent, for which he was Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated.

Cumming commented: “I am thrilled to be able to host this fantastic evening, which will not only raise vital funds for the National AIDS Trust, but will also bring attention to the issues that this brilliant and thought-provoking play addresses. Unfortunately, HIV-related stigma and discrimination is still with us today, 15 years after this play was written.”

The Headlong Theatre production opened at Glasgow Citizens Theatre on 16 April 2007 and is currently touring prior to its transfer to the Lyric Hammersmith, where it runs from 26 June to 22 July 2007 (previews from 20 June).

Guests at the 4 July charity performance will be greeted by costumed “angels”, with a pre-show champagne reception sponsored by gay dating and networking website Gaydar.co.uk. Tickets range from £60 to £250 and can be purchase via the National AIDS Trust website.

- by Terri Paddock