Secret Policeman's Ball is back

...but it's leaving the UK

The Secret Policeman’s Ball is returning – but it won’t be held in the UK this year.

The historic Amnesty International fundraiser is moving from London to New York’s Radio City Music Hall; marking the first time it has been held outside Britain.

Comedians lined up for the March 4 event include Russell Brand, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Reggie Watts.

They will be joined by musicians including Coldplay and Mumford & Sons at the event, which marks 50 years of the human rights organisation.

John Cleese, one of the pioneers behind the original Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1976, said:  ‘I used to think humour was a luxury, but at the last election Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert taught me it was a necessity.

‘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.’

Previous balls have featured the likes of Eddie Izzard, Rowan Atkinson , Fry & Laurie and Peter Cook. The 2012 Ball, to be performed in front of 6,000 people, promises three hours of new material specially written for the event.

Amnesty says the show will be broadcast on British TV, but there are no further details yet.

It will be promoted on Facebook, with new animationsd for the campaign created by French artist, McBess, and voiced by Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller.

The fundraiser has been held on and off since 1976 with the latest – in 2008 – being staged at the Royal Albert Hall with the likes of Alan Carr, Graham Norton, Frank Skinner and Russell Howard.

Published: 25 Jan 2012

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