Huddersfield actress Lena Headey has joined a stellar cast – to create a film for marking World Refugee Day.
The Game of Thrones star was filmed along with actors including Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall, Harry Potter actress Noma Dumezweni and Hamilton star Jamael Westman in what was described as “an expression of unity with all those who have fled conflict overseas.”
Filmed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, the film – also featuring refugees from Syria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan – features a performance of the Bard’s little-known speech The Stranger’s Case from the play Sir Thomas More.
Depicting More’s rise and fall, the play – on which Shakespeare collaborated with other playwrights – includes a dramatisation of the May Day riots of 1517 when citizens turned on their immigrant neighbours.
Thomas More confronts the rioters, condemning their “mountainish inhumanity” and urging them to consider “the stranger’s case” – the plight of London’s refugees. The play will be performed in its entirety in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe during Refugee Week, which runs until Sunday (June 24).
The International Rescue Committee and Shakespeare’s Globe combined to produce the film.
David Miliband, chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, said: “Shakespeare knew that refugees needed help and so should we. In his time it was the Lombards fleeing their homes and communities. Today people are fleeing their homes and communities in Syria, Yemen and Myanmar.
“The people are different but the reasons are the same: To protect themselves and their loved ones from war, violence and persecution. And Shakespeare’s rallying cry for humanity is as relevant as ever. Now is the time to answer his cry and stand with refugees.”
Lena, who grew up in Shelley and attended Shelley College, has highlighted a number of causes on recent years.
Last year, she gave a candid interview about how she filmed the first series of Game of Thrones – in which she plays heartless Cersei Lannister while battling post-natal depression in 2010.
She was also among Huddersfield celebrities sharing their personal tales of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary as part an HRI Love Stories exhibition. Lena told how hospital staff had saved the life of her brother after he contracted meningitis.