Ben Whishaw and Maisie Williams read poetry to raise money for Ukraine

The film and television stars read emotional passages to thousands of people at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Ben Whishaw (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Ben Whishaw (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Actors Ben Whishaw and Maisie Williams have given sombre readings of translated Ukrainian poetry at a live event raising money for the besieged country.

Dressed in black against blue and yellow backlights, the film and television stars read emotional passages to thousands of people at the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre in London on Tuesday.

The event, called Slava Ukraini, meaning glory to Ukraine, is raising money for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal providing aid to Ukrainian refugees.

Whishaw and Williams took to the stage following classical performances of Ukrainian folk music sung by Kseniia Nikolaieva and pianist Dinara Klinton.

Bafta-winning Whishaw read Dancing In Odessa and A Cigarette by Ukrainian writer Ilya Kaminsky, while Game Of Thrones actor Williams gave an emotional account of a woman fleeing Kyiv.

Juliet Stevenson, who has welcomed a family of Ukrainian refugees into her home, Jonathan Pryce and Kyiv-born baritone and principal artist for the Royal Opera House Yuriy Yurchuk will also perform.

The event marks day 27 of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini has been organised in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute in London and is supported by the British Council.

The DEC brings together 15 of the UK’s leading aid charities, including British Red Cross, Oxfam UK and Save The Children UK, who are working on the ground in Ukraine and at the country’s borders to help those fleeing the conflict.

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