By Tim Saunders on
The Secret Policeman’s Ball is back – and it’s heading for America!
Amnesty International's legendary charity show – featuring a plethora of music and comedy talent – will hit the Radio City Music Hall on March 4. Organizers have confirmed Coldplay, Russell Brand, Mumford & Sons, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Reggie Watts as part of the lineup, with more to come.
“We are so happy to be involved with the 2012 Secret Policeman’s Ball,” said Chris Martin of Coldplay. “We have followed and supported Amnesty International – and the amazing work they do around the world in the field of human rights – for years, and it is a pleasure to be asked to contribute to such an inspiring event.”
“I used to think humor was a luxury, but at the last election Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert taught me it was a necessity,” added John Cleese. “The Secret Policeman’s Ball was – and is – a coming together of the very best comedy talent of any generation to celebrate their art, remind audiences how important free speech is, and highlight just how much vital work Amnesty International does to protect it. I implore you to support it.”
The Secret Policeman’s Ball debuted in 1979 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, with three shows that included John Cleese, The Who's Pete Townshend, Billy Connolly and Rowan Atkinson. The shows were an outstanding success – Amnesty International estimated the shows raised awareness of the organization by at least 700%.
The next show was held in 1981, this time at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, and featured appearances by Sting, Eric Clapton, Bob Geldof, Phil Collins and Pamela Stephenson. Over the years, more Secret Policeman’s Balls have been held, attracting stars such as Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Joan Armatrading and Duran Duran.
The legacy of the Secret Policeman’s Ball is massive, with Bono, Bob Geldof, Sting and Eric Clapton naming the shows as the initial inspiration behind their successive charity work.
“Entertainers have used political cartoons, protest songs and straight-out skewering of politicians and leaders to challenge virtually every government’s failure to uphold fundamental rights,” said Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International USA’s new Executive Director. “We are thrilled that some of the most creative political humorists of our time will perform when Amnesty International hosts the first Secret Policeman’s Ball in the United States. And on March 4, those of us who can make fun of our government and walk away in safety will dedicate the program to those who cannot.”
Tickets for the New York show go on sale Monday. More information can be found here.
Copyright © 2012 Look to the Stars