Alfie Neill’s mum grew up on an estate opposite the Grenfell Tower .
She lost three friends in last June’s tragedy - Gary Maunders, Tony Disson and Dennis Murphy.
“That morning, when I woke up, I didn’t really know much about it and then all the phone calls started going,” Alfie recalled. “It’s a close community in – you know everyone, a lot of people affected.”
While the family have lived in Hammersmith since his childhood, Alfie says they feel a strong connection to the grieving North Kensington community that his mum once called home.
The local drama student is staging a charitable open-mic night for the community affected by Grenfell, and to give young North Kensington talent a platform to show what they can do.
He is producing the free event at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, with the support of Young Lyric, and it is billed as a night to commemorate victims and fight for justice for Grenfell's victims through theatre, song, rap and spoken word poetry.
“Now it’s happened, I think a lot of young people over there are growing political. I think it’s got a lot of young people speaking up,” Alfie said.
After gaining a place on the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art youth programme in 2016, Alfie received a grant to attend ArtsEd, in Chiswick, provided for students from low-income families.
He is about to enter the second year of his Bachelor of Arts in acting, and said he is focused on creating work that showcases working class voices, and references the London estate upbringing of his own background.
Alfie said he wants the night to celebrate the North Kensington community, and to commemorate the victims of the fire, but also examine the issues affecting London boroughs.
He has also directed a short piece on a theme of regeneration and gentrification as part of the evening.
Local youth clubs and schools, including pupils from the Kensington Aldridge Academy which had to relocate off its campus under the tower following the fire, are involved.
Performers including steel bands, rappers, poets and Grenfell survivors are all lined up to take part.
An Evening for Grenfell is on at the Lyric Theatre, in Hammersmith, on Monday, July 23 from 8pm.
It is a free event, with donations going to charity,
For more information on the show go to lyric.co.uk/shows/open-mic-come-in-unity-an-evening-for-grenfell