Croudfunding campaign starts for play about Grenfell Tower disaster

A playwright is staging a crowdfunding campaign to help put on a play which uses documents about the events leading up to the Grenfell Tower disaster, writes Julia Gregory.

Nathaniel McBride drew on blog posts by the Grenfell Action Group who raised concerns about the renovation of the 1970s tower block as well as council records and emails.

He said the disaster in June 2017 was the worst residential fire in Britain since World War Two and it happened in the wealthiest borough in the wealthiest city in Europe.

Seventy-two people, including an unborn child died.

He said: “The play tells the story of the refurbishment of the tower and residents’ attempts to hold the council to account.

“At the same time, it places these events in the wider context of austerity, social cleansing and deregulation.”

The first version of Dictating to the Estate was shown at the Playground Theatre in North Kensington in 2019 to audiences including residents of the tower.

The production has been delayed because of the pandemic and Mr McBride has the challenge of rewriting the script to include revelations from the Grenfell inquiry.

He said: “You can see throughout the pressure of cost-cutting.”

Zinc cladding was replaced on the tower with cheaper aluminium combustible cladding which proved deadly in the tragedy.

He hopes the new version will be staged at the Maxilla Social Club just near the Tower in North Kensington in November 2021.

Since the pandemic it has been harder to get grants for the arts and so Mr McBride and producer Allegra Nespoli are appealing to people to help them raise £13,697 by crowdfunding.

They had already reached 20 per cent of their target.

There will also be a free digital performance for people to watch online.

Some have seen the public readings last year at the Playground Theatre.

They hope to raise funds towards paying for cast and crew, hiring the venue and sets and props as well as supporting a youth charity in North Kensington.

Donors who contribute £150 can sit in on a rehearsal next year, those who donate will receive £100 for a hard copy of the play, donors who give £50 will get a Skype call and those who give £20 will be thanked in the programme.



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