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Tricycle Theatre make dramatic u-turn over Israeli embassy funded Jewish Film Festival

PUBLISHED: 17:12 15 August 2014 | UPDATED: 18:20 15 August 2014

Tricycle Theatre is in Kilburn High Road

Tricycle Theatre is in Kilburn High Road

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Tricycle Theatre has made a dramatic u-turn on its decision not to host an Israeli embassy funded UK Jewish Film Festival (UKJFF).

Protest outside Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn following refusal to host Jewish film festival over Gaza conflict. Picture: Nigel SuttonProtest outside Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn following refusal to host Jewish film festival over Gaza conflict. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The playhouse in Kilburn High Road, which currently receives £198,000-a-year funding from Brent Council, came under fire for its decision not to host the UKJFF amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Indhu Rubasingham, the theatre’s artistic director, previously said the Tricycle would not accept financial support from any government agency involved in the crisis, but claimed alternative funding was offered to the festival’s organisers.

Both parties have now settled their differences after an agreement was struck earlier today.

However, the festival will not be held at the theatre this year, but the Tricycle may hold some UKJFF events in the near feature.

Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre. Picture: Jane Hobson.Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre. Picture: Jane Hobson.

A joint statement from the UKJFF and Tricycle Theatre said: “Some weeks ago the UKJFF fell out, very publicly, with the Tricycle over a condition imposed by the Tricycle regarding funding.

“This provoked considerable public upset. Both organisations have come together to end that.

“Following lengthy discussions between the Tricycle and UKJFF, the Tricycle has now withdrawn its objection and invited back the UK Jewish Film Festival on the same terms as in previous years with no restrictions on funding from the Embassy of Israel in London.

“The UKJFF and the Tricycle have agreed to work together to rebuild their relationship and although the festival is not able to return in 2014, we hope to begin the process of rebuilding trust and confidence with a view to holding events in the future.

“We both profoundly hope that those who take differing views on the events of the last few weeks will follow our lead and come together to acknowledge that dialogue, reconciliation and engagement will resolve points of difference and ensure that cultural diversity thrives in all communities.”

This news comes mere days after one of the Tricycle’s donors reportedly ended his five-year relationship with them.

The playroom’s original standpoint had divided opinion.

Last week, more than 100 people from all over the capital staged a demonstration outside the theatre in protest. Another had been discussed.

British actress, Maureen Lipman CBE, who backed the UKJFF, said: “The Tricycle have decided to punish Jewish people in the Diaspora for one view of what is taking place in the Middle East and that is quite unacceptable.”

However, Philip Himberg, artistic director of US theatre company Sundance Theatre Program, commended the Tricycle’s stance.

He said: “As a great lover of Jewish theatrical culture, there was a clear way for the UKJFF’s celebration of diverse Jewish culture to go forward at the Tricycle – but at this particular moment in time, utilizing funds from any of the governments in power in the region would be taking an unfair political stand.”

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