Emma again attracts stars of stage for one-off show

Emma Manton

Actress Emma Manton was the mastermind behind one of the most powerful pieces of fundraising at last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon – and now she has signed up to do it all over again.

In her first London Marathon, Emma raised an incredible £32,043.01 for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) thanks to a campaign which raised awareness of the plight of refugees around the world.

The project attracted some of Britain’s most famous playwrights, as well as world-famous actors, and centred on a performance at the National Theatre called Moving Stories, a show made up of songs, sketches, short plays and poems about the refugee crisis.

One of the pieces, called ‘What They Took With Them’, was later performed by a stellar cast including Keira Knightley and Cate Blanchett.

Now with a place in her second London Marathon secure, Emma is again juggling the demands of training, motherhood, working (she is currently starring in Love’s Labour’s Lost/Much Ado About Nothing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket) and her fundraising campaign.

But fortunately, just like last year, the theatre community has rallied around her as she plans another production of Moving Stories.

Drawing on much of the same material as 2016, actors including Rufus Hound, James Bolam and Natalie Casey will perform material written by the likes of Richard Bean and David Edgar and Mel Giedroyc, of The Great British Bake Off fame, will host the event.

The Theatre Royal Haymarket has matched the National Theatre’s generosity last year and given the theatre free of charge for the performance which will take place at 16:00 on Sunday 26 February.

Emma said: “I had a long chat about doing something new this year but we have such brilliant material from such talented writers and only a few hundred people had the chance to see it the first time round.  There are 900 seats in the Haymarket and it would be great to fill it on 26 February.”

Emma finds it depressing that the refugee crisis is still as critical as it was 12 months ago and says this is a chance for people to “make a show of solidarity with refugees”.

“Not only that,” she added. “You will be able to see new theatre written by some of our best writers, performed by some of our best actors in one of the most stunning theatres in the country.”

As well as planning for the show, Emma’s training is going well and she hopes to inspire the next generation of marathon runners too.

A scheme launched at the start of January saw people, young and old, raise money for UNCHR by running a total of 26.2 miles throughout the month.

“It’s a virtual marathon challenge and it has been so lovely. Everyone can run as little or as much as they want but they do the 26.2 miles by the end of the month. A lot of people have got involved. It’s so joyful to see people getting running.”

Moving Stories takes place at the Theatre Royal Haymarket at 16:00 on Sunday 26 February. To book tickets, call the theatre hotline on 020 7930 8800.