Birmingham Rep respond to criticism of play based on Grenfell inquiry

Grenfell inquiry play

Birmingham Rep have responded to criticism on social media after announcing casting for a new play based on the Grenfell inquiry.

Grenfell: Value Engineering – Scenes from The Inquiry is a not-for-profit pieces which run the Birmingham Repertory Theatre between 16 and 20 November following a run at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill from 13 October to 13 November.

The piece is based directly on transcripts from inquiry into the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in which more than 70 people were killed.

Announcement of casting for the play attracted significant criticism online with many branding it “tasteless” and “too soon” while many of the victims of the tragedy are still seeking justice and support.

In a statement on its own Twitter page, Birmingham Rep wrote: “Value Engineering: Scenes from the Grenfell Inquiry is a verbatim play drawn from the ongoing Grenfell Tower Inquiry into the tragedy.

“The casting represents the characteristics of those responsible for the cladding scandal who have been called to speak at the inquiry: the lawyers, suppliers, contractors and local councillors. We have programmed it to help keep these important issues in the public eye and to support the families’ calls for accountability.

“The 6 performances at The REP are wholly not for profit and running at a loss. £3 of each ticket sold is being donated to The Grenfell Foundation and a local cladding action group.”

The play has been edited by Richard Norton-Taylor and will feature direction by Nicolas Kent. The pair previously staged plays based on inquiries into Bloody Sunday and the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

A reconstruction of the Inquiry room has been created by Miki Jablkowska and Matthew Eagland with lighting by Matthew Eagland, video by Jack Fone, sound by Andy Graham and costumes by Carly Brownbridge.

Ron Cook is set to play Richard Millett QC with further casting including Daniel Betts, Sam Buchanan, Sally Giles, Polly Kemp, Phill Langhorne, Tim Lewis, David Michaels, David Robb, Howard Ward, Thomas Wheatley and Rosie Wyatt.

Nicolas Kent said: “The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is vitally important in getting to the truth and holding to account those who were responsible for the disastrous refurbishment of the Tower. We are grateful to The Tabernacle and The Playground Theatre for helping us bring this dramatisation of the Grenfell Inquiry to the local community.”

More information can be found on grenfellvalueengineering.com

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