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JW3 announces new programming director

Rachel Grunwald, a theatre director who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, will be responsible for thousands of events put on by the Jewish cultural centre

    Rachel Grunwald
    Rachel Grunwald Photo: Rosie Goldsmith

    Rachel Grunwald has been announced as the new programming director of JW3, the north London Jewish arts, culture and entertainment centre.

    Ms Grunwald, a RADA-trained theatre director who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, will succeed Colin Bulka, who had held the post since JW3 opened in 2013.

    She will take charge of the centre’s entire programme – which comprises thousands of events each year.

    Ms Grunwald previously served as director of community development at Hampstead Synagogue, and as leader of "Act for Darfur", a group of Jewish artists to raise awareness of the genocide in Sudan.

    She said: “My Jewish identity has always driven my desire to work with and for communities, and my understanding of the centrality of arts, culture and ritual stems directly from the Jewish education and experiences I had as a child.

    “I’m excited to develop this by bringing a wide variety of other groups into the conversation. I’ll be hoping to extend the reach of JW3 through new partnerships in London and around the UK, so that we become embedded in the cultural landscape and with other communities.”

    Ms Grunwald, the daughter of Henry Grunwald, the former Board of Deputies president and the first chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, is also a fellow of the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme, which was founded by Dame Vivien Duffield, the philanthropist who was behind the establishment of JW3.

    Raymond Simonson, the chief executive of JW3, said Ms Grunwald was picked from a field of applications from the UK, Israel and the United States.

    He said: “In a strong field with some exceptional candidates, Rachel stood out from the start. Her reputation across the UK arts and cultural scene preceded her.

    “This, combined with her commitment to, understanding of, and involvement with the Jewish community, made her an ideal person to lead our next phase of developing JW3’s year-round programme.”

    Mr Simonson paid tribute to Mr Bulka, saying he has been “amazed and extremely proud” of his work in creating the programme from scratch four years ago.

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