Malala Yousafzai thanks Andrew Lloyd Webber for helping women 'dream of music' at ‘Cinderella’ gala
A gala performance of 'Cinderella' raised money for the Malala Fund.
Malala Yousafzai attended a gala performance of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, which raised money for the Malala Fund. The event also marked the first performance of a slightly reworked Cinderella, with Andrew Lloyd Webber addressing the audience before the curtain lifted.
Speaking about Cinderella, Lloyd Webber said: "We never really had a proper first night, and now we've kind of got one." He also discussed his friendship with Malala, commenting that watching the US Open Final inspired him to call the activist. He said: "I kept thinking when I watched that brilliant [US] Open final and [thought] what would the girls in Afghanistan be thinking if they saw that and that really was the moment that I thought I'd call my friend, Malala."
Malala Yousafzai then came on stage and addressed Malala Fund's work as an international non-profit organisation. Yousafzai said: "Malala Fund works for the rights of all girls to be able to go to school and have access to quality and complete education. This issue might seem a bit abstract to many of us because in the UK we do not see the issue that closely. But there are 130 million girls out of school, [which] is almost double the population of the UK.
We want all of those girls to be able to learn, read and write, and to be able to have a future which they choose for themselves, where they can achieve their dreams and can help their aspirations come true. With your support, we will continue to fight for their cause. Malala Fund has been working [in Afghanistan] for the past few years, and we saw how unfortunate and tragic it was to see the Taliban take away rights from women and girls and the years of progress that was made has suddenly been taken away. [Right now, Afghanistan] is the only country in the world where girls do not have access to secondary education. So we want to ensure that we keep fighting for the rights of girls in Afghanistan to have access to education, and we continue to fight for the education of refugee children as well."
She also thanked Lloyd Webber for his continued support, saying: "I want to thank Andrew for being a very close friend of mine over the past few years. Andrew has been supporting our work, and I want to thank [him] for dedicating today's show to the work that we are doing for girls education. [He has helped] the Afghan Women's Orchestra... to have their dream of music in their lives and not be prohibited from that."
Before the performance, a charity auction of a painting by Afghani artist Shamsia Hassani raised an additional £21,000 for the Malala Fund.
Cinderella tickets are on sale now.
Photo credit: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Malala Yousafzai (Photo writer's own)
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