SPID Theatre’s “The Burning Tower” ~ Preview

The award-winning S.P.I.D (Social Political Innovative Direct) Theatre was founded in 1999 by writer Helena Thompson. The Company works with young people on west London council estates to create participatory drama performances using Immersive youth arts to regenerate community spaces. Their work dramatises the heritage and histories of the Capitol’s west London council estates which have been featured on the BBC, ITV, London Live, and in the British National Press. This season in association with Bush Theatre, S.P.I.D presents “The Burning Towerwritten by Helena Thompson who is also the Company’s Artistic Director.

The Burning Tower” is a new interactive play responding to the terrible fire which consumed the Grenfell Tower in west London in 2017. Not only does it explore the shadow cast by this tragedy, but also the history of social housing. The play grew out of S.P.I.D’s groundbreaking “Kensington Stories programme, and is inspired by interviews with local west London estate residents. “The Burning Tower,”  directed by Hannah Gittos,  features five artists, and stars English actress and theatre-director, Hayley Carmichael, alongside actresses Bianca Stevens and Alice Franziska. The play which is funded by the Arts Council of England, will be performed on council estates in major cities nationwide before returning to S.P.I.D.’s home at the Kensal House Estate.

The story of the play involves two best friends, Sarah and Em who grew up together on west London council estates. ‘Since 2017, they’ve worked hard researching their estates’ past as Living History youth ambassadors. Today they’re proud to invite us to their presentation on the local heritage of social housing. But Grenfell’s shadow threatens the show as the performance space falls into darkness, where fuses blow and Sarah starts to panic. Will the mysterious old latecomer who keeps trying to take over prove to be a help or a hindrance?’ Find out what happens by attending one of the performances based in the historic Kensal House in west London.

I am really looking forward to attending the performance of “The Burning Tower” this Saturday evening. I, like others, was horrified by the news of the Grenfell fire and the images that accompanied the footage. It made me latently aware of the injustices that occur in social housing in this country, and that all social housing tenants -not just those who dwell in west London- deserve a voice. I hope that Helena Thompson’s piece will highlight this fact.

Tickets are still available for the London performances. Individual tickets cost £10 each, however, for youth or community groups of five and above, tickets will only cost £2 with the discount code available from office@spidtheatre.com. Age restriction of 14+.

Tuesday 11th Sept – Saturday 6th October

Performance times:

Tues at 1.30pm, Wed at 4.30pm, Thurs, Fri, Sat at 7.30pm

Kensal House Estate

Ladbroke Grove, W10 5BQ

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The Burning Tower” has a running time of 80 minutes, with the age limit starting from eight and above. This is due to the play containing blackouts, fire alarms, swearing, and use of weaponry, which is not be suitable for any child under that age.

Accessibility: Due to the promenade nature of this performance, this show is unfortunately not suitable for wheelchair users.

By Ruby Willcoks-Mendoza

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