More than 80 leading lights from the worlds of film and theatre have signed an open letter to The Times calling on the British government to give artists, writers and film-makers who remain in Afghanistan and face an uncertain future under the Taliban safe passage out of the country.
The letter, organised by Index on Censorship and Good Chance Theatre, reads as follows: “Over the past two decades, civil society has flourished in Afghanistan with new freedoms ushering in a golden age of art, music, film and writing. At the same time, political dissent and journalism have thrived in a region where free expression is not always respected. With the Taliban takeover of the country, this rich legacy is in imminent peril. We now have a duty to those artists, writers and film makers who will be silenced if we do not act immediately.
“We urge the British government to cooperate with the international community to create a humanitarian corridor for those seeking safe passage out of the country. We also call on those in positions of influence in the creative industries to help those who have escaped to continue their vital work and safeguard the culture of Afghanistan for future generations.“
Majid Adin, artist; Riz Ahmed, actor; Jenny Agutter, actor; Alison Balsom, musician; Siddiq Barmak, director; Sanjeev Bhaskar, actor; Hugh Bonneville, actor; Martin Bright, journalist; Barbara Broccoli, producer; Josephine Burton, director; Jez Butterworth, writer; Robert Chandler, poet; Benedict Cumberbatch, actor; Stephen Daldry, director; Catherine Davidson, writer; Amy Davies Dolamore, producer; Ged Doherty, producer; Parwana Fayyaz, poet; Jane Featherstone, producer; Colin Firth, actor; Sonia Friedman, producer; Stephen Fry, actor; Mark Gatiss, actor; Leah Gayer, director; Claire Gilbert, producer; Paul Greengrass, director; Sir David Hare, writer; Zarlasht Halaimzai, writer; Dame Pippa Harris, producer; Afua Hirsch, writer; Nancy Hirst, director; Mike Hodges, director; Sir Nicholas Hytner, director; Sabrina Guinness, producer; Asif Kapadia, director; Mohammad Akbar Karkar, writer; Daniel King, producer; Keira Knightley, actor; Natalia Koliada, producer; David Lan, producer; Jennifer Langer, editor; Stewart Lee, writer; Kerry Michael, director; Krishnendu Majumdar, producer; Mohsen Makhmalbaf, director; Simon McBurney, director; Kate McGrath, director; Sir Ian McKellen, actor; Nada Menzalji, poet; Sir Sam Mendes, director; David Morrissey, actor; Joe Murphy, writer; Zoe Neirizi, poet; Caro Newling, producer; David Nicholls, writer; Amir Nizar Zuabi, director; Sophie Okonedo, actor; Nasrin Parvaz, writer; Pascale Petit, poet; Trevor Phillips, broadcaster; Clare Pollard, poet; Atiq Rahimi, writer; Shirin Razavian, poet; Ian Rickson, director; Clare Robertson, producer; Joe Robertson, writer; Sir Mark Rylance, actor; Philippe Sands QC, writer; Sarah Sands, editor; Tracey Seaward, producer; Shabibi Shah, writer; Rouhi Shafi, writer; Meera Syal, actor; George Szirtes, poet; Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, actor; Elif Shafak, writer; Thea Sharrock, director; Imelda Staunton, actor; Sir Tom Stoppard, writer; Abdul Sulamal, writer; Jawed Taiman, director; Dame Emma Thompson, actor; Orlando von Einsiedel; producer; Emma Watson, actor; Naomi Webb, producer; Samuel West, actor; Krysty Wilson-Cairns, writer; Haidar Yagane, writer; David Yates, director