Benedict Cumberbatch stuns theatregoers with anti-government speech
The actor Benedict Cumberbatch has shown his growing frustration over the migration crisis during a speech after his Hamlet performance – reportedly saying “fuck the politicians”.
The Sherlock star has been giving nightly speeches after his curtain call at the Barbican in London and asking for donations to help Syrian refugees. So far, audience contributions have raised more than £150,000 for Save the Children.
Cumberbatch has been particularly critical of the British government’s decision to accept only 20,000 refugees over five years.
During the speeches, Cumberbatch has been reading a poem called Home bySomali poet Warsan Shire, the same one he read in the introduction to Help is Coming, Save the Children’s charity single, released in the summer. It includes the line: “No one puts children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”
Cumberbatch has told theatregoers of a friend’s experience volunteering on the Greek island of Lesbos, where 5,000 people had been arriving every day.
“Everywhere on the horizon there was nothing but boats and on the shoreline nothing but lifejackets,” he said. “We are saying, as citizens of the world, we see you … and at least some help is coming.”
Several members of the audience on Tuesday said they supported Cumberbatch’s frustration with politicians, which led him to use the swear word, despite the fact the Lib Dem peer Lady Shirley Williams was in the audience.
Cumberbatch has previously expressed a desire to meet the home secretary to discuss the refugee crisis. “I don’t think the government is doing enough, I’m glad to say that,” he told Sky News at the premiere of his new film, Black Mass, this month. “I would like to sit down with Theresa May and really get an idea of how her economic and political model works.
“There is a huge crisis and not enough is being done. Yes, we need long-term solutions; yes, we need to get people out of the camps so they don’t make a perilous journey; yes, it’s a good idea to actually have a specific solution, I suppose, once they arrive here. But to say 20,000 over five years when 5,000 arrive in one day? We’ve all got to wake up to this.”