Leaders in entertainment convene for JW3 fundraiser

Titans of culture share their insights during business breakfast to raise funds for the Jewish community centre


The panel of experts: Nica Burns CBE, Michael Grade OBE, Neil Blair, Sir Nicholas Hytner and chair Samantha Simmonds

Luminaries from the world of entertainment and culture convened at JW3 on Thursday morning to address the changes and challenges within their industries.

The "Let us entertain you" business breakfast featured a panel with Michael Grade CBE, chair of Ofcom; Neil Blair, literary agent; Nica Burns OBE, theatre producer; and Nicholas Hytner, former artistic director of the National Theatre and theatre director.

With tickets priced at £100, the proceeds contributed to JW3's charitable endeavours.

The leaders in publishing, television, and theatre engaged in a candid, off-the-record discussion covering topics ranging from antisemitism in the arts and artificial intelligence to cancel culture, ticket prices, and the safety of Jewish creatives.

Guests from the entertainment industry posed questions to the panel, including concerns from younger creatives about concealing religious symbols at work and challenges discussing Jewish issues with colleagues.

Amid rising incidents of antisemitism in London's theatres, the resounding message from the panel was "Be brave and be proud."

Despite the early morning start, the event garnered overwhelming support and raised over twenty thousand pounds before lunchtime for JW3's community work.

Money raised will help the Jewish community centre’s work which includes supporting emerging artists, providing assistance to those fleeing war, and operating a food bank that delivers over 600 meals weekly.

The breakfast event was scheduled to take place in early November but was rescheduled after October 7. “So much has changed for the entire Jewish community”, said Raymond Simonson, Chief Executive at JW3.

Simonson said that JW3’s response to the hatred and terror of October 7 was to “Dial the volume up further, never down, [and] to redouble our efforts to build community.”

Post-breakfast, guests were invited to contribute to JW3's "Lovelock Hostage Bridge."

The newly named bridge connects the busy Finchley Road with the Jewish building and has been adorned with hundreds of locks displaying the hostages’ names and messages of hope.

Approximately 3000 people cross the bridge every week. Simonson described it as, “a living growing art instillation where anyone can come and express their love and their support for the hostages.”

Padlocks have arrived at the community centre from Berlin, Israel, Spain and Plymouth.

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