Ian McKellen, Lesley Manville, Lennie James and Joseph Fiennes are among the British talent delivering monologues as part of a new fundraising initiative by actors’ union Equity and actor Michelle Collins.
The #ForTheLoveofArts monologues are between 2-5 minutes long and recorded remotely at the actors’ homes in a bid to raise money for Equity during the coronavirus pandemic. Actors involved also include Miriam Margolyes, Adrian Dunbar, Alex Lawther, Elaine Paige, Mandeep Dhillon, Derek Jacobi and Sue Johnston, among many others.
In the clip below, Fiennes performs King Edward’s monologue from “Edward II” by Christopher Marlowe.
The project, which can be viewed on the Equity Benevolent Fund’s YouTube channel, also features a number of new, original pieces of writing from the likes of Hugh Dennis, Tom Wright, Damon Rochefort, Andrew Lynford, Chloe Moss, Susan Oudot, Martyn Hesford, Stewart Permutt, Tyler Rigby and Tony Grounds.
Genesis Pictures’ Debbie Gray and Sam Cornish are producing alongside Michelle Collins.
Since the U.K.’s March 23 lockdown began, the Equity Benevolent Fund has fielded more than 250 claims per week for financial support from performers and creatives who can’t afford food and other essentials.
Equity previously committed to boosting its Benevolent Fund to £1 million ($1.2 million) and is currently distributing up to £86,000 ($105,000) per week in aid.
Collins, who is best known for roles in British soaps “Coronation Street” and “EastEnders,” said: “The current crisis has had a devastating effect on my industry affecting so many of us indiscriminately. I wanted to help. I started ringing around friends in the industry and one thing led to another and I suddenly had a list of fantastic, well known and highly respected film, TV and stage actors on board, all wanting to help in any way they could. I also have a group of extremely talented writers who have all agreed to write a monologue for whoever needs one.”
Maureen Beattie, president of Equity, added: “Equity is hugely grateful to the actors, writers and the team at Genesius Pictures who have given their time and expertise to this vital project. We are particularly grateful to Michelle Collins for her generosity and commitment to the welfare of her fellow workers in the entertainment industry. The money raised will make a crucial difference to the thousands of performers and creatives that the Equity Benevolent Fund helps in this crisis.”
See more monologues below:
Lesley Manville performs ‘The Girl With No Name’ by Susan Oudot.
Miriam Margolyes tells a true story.
Alex Lawther reads the poem ‘On Love’ by Kahlil Gibran.
Mandeep Dhillon performs ‘Letter to My Future Self’ written by Dhillon.
Diane Parish performs an excerpt from ‘The Normal Heart’ by Larry Kramer.
Adrian Dunbar sings the Irish lullaby ‘Castle of Dromore.’