You may recognize Idris Elba from “Pacific Rim,” Marvel’s Avengers movie series or even the television show “Luther” from the DC Universe. He has also been the voice of characters in such movies as “Zootopia” and “Finding Dory.”
The 46-year-old Golden Globe-winning actor from London has played both hero and super villain on-screen, but according to one Salford woman, he also became a real-life hero during a performance of his play at the Manchester International Festival.
“Tree,” created by Elba and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, is set in South Africa and explores the country’s past and present tackling difficult subjects like apartheid.
According to Variety, the play was inspired by Elba’s album, “Mi Mandela,” that was written after he starred as Nelson Mandela in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”
The play explores powerful themes in its 90-minute run time and spectators at the Manchester Film Festival stood as the actors and actresses, including Elba, demonstrated them through drama and dance.
Amanda Billington, a 33-year-old illustrator, was in the crowd on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. She regularly suffers from seizures which are caused by an undiagnosed condition.
As she was standing in the crowd, she began to have a seizure.
When she came back to consciousness, she recalled that Elba was standing beside her, making sure she was okay.
“I don’t remember what he said, but he checked I was OK. He wanted to make sure everything was OK, I was safe and not in a bad way which was wonderful,” Billington told the Manchester Evening News. “I didn’t feel fazed, I was embarrassed by it, which I always am.”
The performance briefly stopped until paramedics transported the woman to a local hospital to be further assessed; she was released later that day.
“She was right next to Idris in the audience so he was there trying to help out and make sure that paramedic support workers got to her,” MIF’s artistic director John McGrath told Independent.
“I believe that the lady is now well and fine but it was certainly helpful that Idris was there to help out with that.”
Billington expressed her overwhelming gratitude to the Hollywood actor and wishes she could thank him in person.
“I would love to thank him personally,” she said. “But doubt I will cross paths with him — he’s very famous.”
Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Media Representative Fiona at Upper Campfield Market Hall for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.
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