After 12 years, Barbra Streisand is to go back on tour again

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It has been almost six years since Barbra Streisand gave what were billed as two farewell concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York, but yesterday, her loyal fans received the unexpected news that the singer and liberal activist is re-emerging for a 20-concert tour across the United States this autumn.

The commitment may be gruelling for Streisand, 64, who has not undertaken a full-blown tour since 1994. However, she said in a statement last night that she had made the decision so as to give part of the proceeds to some of her favourite causes. "The increasingly urgent need for private citizen support to combat dangerous climate change, along with education and health issues was the prime reason I decided to tour again," Streisand said in a statement. "This will allow me to direct funds and awareness to causes that I care deeply about."

Few female performers have Streisand's pulling power. Her 1993-4 tour grossed nearly $60m (£33m) with tickets selling even then for as much as $350. The two concerts in New York six years ago sold tickets worth $14.4m.

Cities and dates for the new tour have not yet been set. Donations from its proceeds will be distributed by her charitable Streisand Foundation, which also helps fund Aids research, race relations programmes in the US as well as various civil liberties projects.