In the Public Eye

Voices in a Strange Land
St. Swithun's School, Winchester, November 2, 2006

Colin Firth, who was brought up in Winchester, lent his support to the Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group's (SWVG) Voices in a Strange Land event once again. In "Mosaic: A Celebration of Diversity," Colin served as the emcee, introducing each act "with style, humor, and sincerity," and read excerpts from the memoirs of his friend Mohammed, a Lebanese restaurant owner before a 600-strong audience. His readings were interspersed by an eclectic mix of international music and dance selections and an appearance by the "funniest man in the world" Omid Dhjalili, an Iranian standup comedian. (*sniff sniff* Poor Tony Hancock's evidently been replaced.)

This five-day event celebrated diversity and raising awareness for asylum seekers and refugees. Money raised from the evening went toward the SWVG's Assist project which provides accommodation and a £20 weekly stipend to destitute people for up to 12 weeks. Last year the group supported and befriended 70 asylum seekers or refugees.

After the show, Colin did an interview and then made himself available for photos and autographs for fans and attendees. Firth.com's Drool ladies were lucky enough to be in the audience (special thanks to Shirley Firth!) and report he was his usual "charming self" and displayed a great deal of patience as he signed, answered questions and posed. Can you imagine a better end to an evening than Colin holding the door open for you and then saying a personal good night? (OK, well, maybe but they were on Cloud 9)

Chinese music (Vivien Liang)
St. Swithun’s Choir
Reading (Colin Firth)
Odissi dance (Srinwanti Chakrabarti)
Reading (Colin Firth)
Songs from Persia (Parveneh Farid)
Omid Djalili
African drumming (Mbeka Chifunda and Dennis Eluyefa)
Congolese dance (Simone Bikambidi)
Reading (Colin Firth)
Filipino dance (Rommel Linatoc)
Reading (Colin Firth)
Gospel Choir (University of Winchester)

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