Great North 2015.jpg

Emma Manton


I had no idea that when I agreed to join a friend on a short jog in 2014 that it would start a chain of events that would change my life.  I was performing on stage in Stratford-upon-Avon when a colleague convinced me to join her on a two-mile run.  I did the two miles but I had to walk twice and I was so ashamed. I thought I had to do something about it...

By 2016, I was ready to try and run the London Marathon.  Throughout the previous summer, I had been watching with horror as the media filled with pictures of children's bodies washed up on Greece beaches and, particularly, the now infamous image of 3 year old Aylan Kurdi.  I knew it was an issue I could get behind.

I spoke to a few friends in the Theatre world and, before long, my marathon fundraising had spiralled into something much bigger.  The Royal National Theatre donated the use of the Lyttelton Theatre, 7 of the best playwrights in the UK wrote and donated material and 36 actors offered their services.  UNHCR made one piece, by Jenifer Toksvig, into this amazing film with Cate Blanchett, Peter Capaldi, Keira Knightley, Juliet Stevenson and others.

On February 14th 2016, we staged 'Moving Stories' and raised over £32,000 pounds for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).  In April, I ran in London and was bitten with the marathon bug...!