Artists support the victims of Grenfell Tower

Sandra Giorgetti

Members of the performing arts industry have a history of coming to together to champion those in crisis and the response to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower is the most recent display of such support.

Coming up on 9 July, SPID Theatre presents Grenfell Matters at The Playground Theatre. Lying just across the Westway road, the venue is less than a mile from Grenfell Tower.

SPID—Social Political Independent Direct—is a charity that promotes solidarity and community spirit through participatory drama. Its Living History programme was the subject of a BBC documentary and its work has won Time Out Critic’s Choice, Fringe Report’s Best Outreach Award, the Apollo Award and a Young People Now award.

Sharing a landlord with Grenfell Tower, SPID has long campaigned for changes to the way social housing is managed, valued and maintained.

The 9 July event is an afternoon of food, drink, film, speeches and iAm 4.0 SPID’s interactive theatre show. Entrance is free for Grenfell locals with others donating on the door; booking is via e-mail production@spidtheatre.com.

The upcoming London Writers’ Week has announced it will be a benefit for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Taking place at The Tabernacle in west London's Notting Hill, it will donate 100% of the week’s profits.

London Writers’ Week is also responding to the Grenfell Tower disaster with a special panel of leading writers on the role writers can have in responding to and helping with events such as the fire.

Co-Director of London Writers’ Week David Evan Giles said, “this appalling tragedy hit me very personally. I grew up near the tower and one of my nephews was born in that building years ago, so this feels like my village.

"London Writers’ Week will do whatever is in our power to help. At times like this, language matters. So, we are adding an extra session about how writers can find ways to use the power of language to say something useful, something helpful, something powerful about this man-made disaster.

"It seems as if what has happened was as a result of appalling negligence—a negligence that has come out of the use and abuse of language: there has been an assault by the right of politics on the 'Health and Safety Culture', as David Cameron described it. For years, 'Deregulation' has been embraced or tolerated by both major parties.

"But these terms have clues in them: someone at some stage put rules and regulations in place not to be a nuisance but to hold back the greed that causes tragedies like this. Someone in government once upon a time cared about the health and the safety of our people—and all that is being sacrificed for profit. As writers, we need to find ways to articulate our grief and our anger—but we also need to help frame the language for a better and more caring future.”

The organisers are also arranging a new category of ticket to raise funds. For people who cannot attend the event in person, there is now a "donation ticket" which entitles the donor to receive summary highlights from across Writers' Week.

This weekend sees the star-studded Songs And Solidarity gala evening of song, dance and comedy take place at London's Trafalgar Studios.

Jason Manford, Mark Thomas, Dreamgirls' Tyrone Huntley, Rachel Tucker, West End composers Stiles and Drewe, playwright, novelist, critic and broadcaster Bonnie Greer and the West End Gospel Choir are some of those performing.

The evening is also expected to feature contributions from Nikki Amuka-Bird, Julie Atherton, Rikki Beadle-Blair, Vikash Bhai, Dame Judi Dench, Noma Dumezweni, Clare Foster, Bonnie Greer, Cassidy Janson, Alexia Khadime, David McAlmont, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Omar F Okai Company, Earl Okin, Jon Robyns, Claire Sweeney, Rakhee Thakrar and Gok Wan.

Giles Terera and Danielle Tarento are producing the event and the musical director is Tim Sutton.

A silent auction is also taking place with proceeds from the whole evening going to the Grenfell Tower Fire Fund set up by Eartha Pond.

Battersea Arts Centre's sell-out fundraiser headlined by, amongst others Jeremy Hardy, Josie Long and Mark Thomas, took place on 19 June, as previously reported.