As the English soccer team was being knocked out of the Euro 16 championships by Iceland on Monday, an embarrassing result that has since been dubbed the country’s second Brexit in under a week, an impressive assortment of stars from stage and screen assembled for the lively annual summer gala for London’s Old Vic theater.
Cate Blanchett, David Schwimmer, Guy Richie, Stanley Tucci, David Heyman, Luke Evans, Hans Zimmer and Stephen Daldry were among the special guests at The Brewery, where an entertainment-themed auction raised £500,000 ($670,000) for the not-for-profit theater, which is run and governed by a registered charity.
Matthew Warchus, who succeeded Kevin Spacey as the Old Vic’s artistic director, offered a video message from the theater, where he was rehearsing for its latest musical comedy Groundhog Day, based on the 1993 film and due to premiere next month before transferring to Broadway. And the production’s music and lyrics man, Tim Minchin, was on hand to perform the song “Seeing You” from the upcoming show.
Despite the jubilant atmosphere, the U.K.’s recent vote to leave the European Union was the hot topic on the night, with many of those who took to the stage voicing their displeasure at the decision.
“We’re trying to raise money, so please don’t bid in pounds,” joked actress Catherine Tate, who was co-hosting the event with Tucci.
Later on, Warner Bros. U.K. head and new BFI chair Josh Berger said that the country was currently in “turbulent times.”
“Boy, are they turbulent,” he said, adding that “we need the arts more than ever.”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Evans said he’d been at the Glastonbury music festival when the Brexit result was announced and that most of the people he was with “wanted to stay there.”
“It feels weird, I’m still a European,” he added. “I spend more of my time in Europe than the U.K.”
Comedian Eddie Izzard, a fiercely pro-European campaigner for many years, shouted that he was “going to fight” the referendum result. “We need to keep putting hope into the world,” he said.
Among the lots that went under the hammer was a walk-on part in the second season of Netflix’s upcoming royal drama The Crown and a written-in part in a new novel from author Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the most recent James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis.