The Royal Shakespeare Company in partnership with Stratford-upon-Avon musical festival and The Orchestra of the Swan are delighted to announce that multi award-winning actor Jim Broadbent will take part in An Evening of Words and Music for the People of Ukraine: a one-off fundraising event taking place at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on Sunday 8 May 2022. He will be joined on stage by English stage and television actor and voiceover artist Samuel West, an actor best known to RSC audiences for his roles in Hamlet and Richard II.

Jim Broadbent is an Academy Award®, BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning theatre, film and television actor, best known for roles in IRIS (for which he won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes in 2001); Moulin Rouge (for which he was awarded the BAFTA for performance in a Supporting Role in 2001) and the International phenomenon the Harry Potter franchise. He was BAFTA nominated most recently for his role alongside Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. He has since continued to appear in an eclectic mix of projects, including John S. Baird’s scurrilous Irvine Welsh adaptation Filth; Roger Michell’s romantic comedy drama Le Weekend (for which he was nominated for a British Independent Film Award as Best Actor); and The Harry Hill Movie, in which he appeared in drag as a three-armed cleaning lady. More recently Jim has starred in Roger Michell’s The Duke, James Marsh’s King of Thieves, Christopher Smith’s Christmas comedy Get Santa; Paul King’s critically acclaimed Paddington films, based on the beloved children’s books by Michael Bond, Nicholas Hytner’s Lady in the Van; Sharon Maguire’s Bridget Jones’ Baby; Ritesh Batra’s A Sense of an Ending.

Since his film debut in 1978, Broadbent has appeared in countless successful and acclaimed films, establishing a long-running collaboration with Mike Leigh (Life is Sweet, Topsy-Turvy, Vera Drake and Another Year) and demonstrating his talents as a character actor in films as diverse as The Crying Game, Bullets over Broadway, Little Voice, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Hot Fuzz, The Damned United and Cloud Atlas.

Also honoured for his extensive work on television, Broadbent has received a Royal Television Award and BAFTA nomination for his leading performance in Any Human Heart (based on William Boyd’s novel of the same name) and had previously been recognised for his performance in Tom Hooper’s Longford, winning a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, and his performance in The Street for which he won an Emmy. His earlier role in The Gathering Storm had earned him Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. Other selected credits include Birth of a Nation – Tales out of School, Black Adder, Only Fools and Horses, Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV, The Young Visiters, Einstein and Eddington, Exile, The Great Train Robbery, London Spy, Game of Thrones, War and Peace and Black Narcissus.

Having studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Broadbent has also appeared extensively on the stage, notably with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. His work on the stage has seen him appear in acclaimed productions ranging from Our Friends in the North by Peter Flannery at the RSC Pit and A Place with Pigs by Athol Fugard at The National, through to Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett at The Donmar and The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh at The National. Recently he starred in Martin McDonagh's new play A Very Very Dark Matter at the Bridge.

Samuel West is an actor and sometimes a director. He’s played Hamlet and Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Jeffrey Skilling in Enron in the West End, and the voice of Pongo in Disney’s 101 Dalmations II.

On television he’s been seen in Slow Horses, Small Axe, The Crown, Cambridge Spies, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, four series of Mr Selfridge and The Chronicles of Narnia. He plays Siegfried Farnon in the new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small, series three of which is currently shooting.

His performance in the film Howards End was nominated for a BAFTA award. Other films include The Gentlemen, Darkest Hour, Suffragette, On Chesil Beach, Van Helsing, Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre and three for director Roger Michell: Notting Hill, Persuasion and Hyde Park on Hudson.

Sam enjoys working with musicians, and as a reciter has appeared with all the major British orchestras. He has toured the West Bank three times with the Choir of London and directed The Magic Flute for the Palestine Mozart Festival. In 2002 he performed Walton’s Henry V at the Last Night of the Proms. He’s also narrated lots of documentaries and more than one hundred audiobooks.

On radio he’s been in plays by Pinter, Stoppard, Coward, Frayn, Simon Gray and his partner Laura Wade.

Sam has directed thirteen plays and two operas and was from 2005 to 2007 the artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, where he revived The Romans in Britain. His production of Laura Wade’s The Watsons was due to open in the West End when COVID closed theatres. He is an Associate Artist of the RSC and a trustee of the National Campaign for the Arts.

An Evening of Words and Music for the People of Ukraine

Produced by Stratford-upon-Avon Music Festival in partnership with The Orchestra of the Swan, this fundraising event will show solidarity and support for those affected by the war in Ukraine. All proceeds raised from the event will be donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine humanitarian relief effort.

The event will feature live music performed by the Orchestra of the Swan conducted by their Principal Conductor Michael Collins as well as an inspiring programme of play readings drawn from both Shakespeare’s own works and the works of contemporary writers.

The musical programme, also announced today, includes a live performance of The State Anthem of Ukraine; ‘Glory and freedom of Ukraine has not yet Perished’ which was formally adopted by the country less than three decades ago, following its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and Max Richter’s On The Nature of Daylight; originally composed in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as part of ‘The Blue Notebooks’ and described by Richter as "a protest album and…a meditation on violence”. The concert also features a special performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major by renowned English clarinetist Michael Collins (FRCM, HonRAM) and a rendition of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, a work originally broadcast alongside the radio announcement of President Roosevelt’s death in 1945 and which famously featured in Oliver Stone’s 1986 film Platoon. Concluding the evening’s programme is Mozart’s orchestral masterpiece; ‘Symphony No. 41 in C Major’ or ‘Jupiter Symphony’, a piece widely regarded as the largest and most complex of Mozart’s symphonies and which helped cement his reputation as one of the greatest classical composers of all time.

Michael Collins’ distinguished musical career has seen him perform with orchestras worldwide including Minnesota Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Rheinische Philharmonie, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and Kuopio Symphony Orchestra. Michael has long been committed to expanding the repertoire of the clarinet and was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year Award in 2007 in recognition of his pivotal role in premièring repertoire by some of today’s most highly regarded composers.

David Le Page, Artistic Director of The Swan explains his choice of repertoire: “Mozart’s final symphony is one of the greatest works of art ever conceived but it has an extraordinarily uplifting quality that seems to encapsulate the triumph of the human spirit in situations of extreme adversity. Mozart speaks with a universal voice that transcends borders, walls and barriers and hints at the better qualities of the European ideal - notions of working together for a common cause and empathy for fellow human beings regardless of their origin.”

Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, says: “The thoughts of the RSC are with everyone affected by the war in Ukraine and we are pleased that the Royal Shakespeare Theatre can be the venue for a moving evening of music, readings and reflection. We know that this humanitarian fundraising will make a difference to those finding themselves in such dreadful and difficult situations as a result of this frightening conflict.”

John Liggins, Chairman of the Orchestra of the Swan went on to say: “When we were first approached by the Stratford Music Festival and asked if we could perform, the enthusiasm was palpable! Michael Collins and our players are volunteering their time for this vital and humanitarian cause and we are proud to be part of it.”

Joint Chair of the Stratford on Avon Music Festival, Ray Coyte said: “We launched this project only a few short weeks ago and have been very moved by the enthusiastic support from the Orchestra of the Swan and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Both organisations are busy with their own professional productions and yet somehow they have found a way to help enable this fundraising evening to happen. It is going to be a fabulous evening of Words and Music.”