Dictating to the Estate is a documentary play about the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, compiled entirely of emails, blogs and council minutes from before the fire of June 2017. The play places the redevelopment of the tower and its surrounding area in the context of austerity politics and gentrification; and re-enacts the efforts of local housing activists to resist these policies and ensure the improvement works were safely carried out. The play ends six months before the fire, with local residents' prescient observation that only a “major catastrophe … with serious loss of life” would bring their landlords to account.
In January 2019, the play was presented as a rehearsed reading at The Playground Theatre, just a ten minute walk from the site of Grenfell Tower. The two performances were completely sold out, and received unanimous encouragement and valuable feedback from audiences, including many from the local community who are deeply invested in the play's content.
We are now working towards a full production due to premiere at the Maxilla Social Club in Autumn 2021. Alongside a two-week live run, we will record an online production and run a drama project in partnership with a local youth charity.
Dictating to the Estate staged readings, performed at The Playground Theatre on 26.01.19 and 27.01.19
Dir: Ryan Kiggell Cast: Tom Boyden, Will Forrester, Christopher Hammond, Steven Mortimer, Briony O'Callaghan, Olivia Rose, Raphael von Blumenthal. Photographs by: Ryan Kiggell
"A brilliant, powerful documentary play about social housing, politics and Grenfell Tower. Well worth seeing."
Ingrid Hanson, Twitter
The Grenfell fire was not just a horrific loss of life, not just the shattering of a community, it was also a symptom of the rotten state of our politics, exposing a deep fissure in our society where the legitimate safety concerns of those living in poverty were systematically dismissed by an affluent local authority. Our play brings to light the conditions and circumstances that preceded the fire, detailing actual correspondence between the council and the tenants of Grenfell Tower. In so doing, the project hopes to find a place among the wider cultural response to this national catastrophe.
Audiences so far have told us how much this project matters. We have successfully obtained funding from Arts Council England, the Unity Theatre Trust, the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation and RBKC, and have recently raised over £4,000 from our crowdfunding campaign. However, we still need to raise £10,000 to cover the full cost of the production and wraparound activities. If you'd like to donate towards the production, please email us - however much you are willing to give will be gratefully received.