West End theatre to stage Kids Company musical

The Donmar Warehouse is to put on a production based on Camila Batmanghelidjh's appearance before a committee of MPs last year

The Donmar Warehouse
The Donmar Warehouse

A West End theatre is to stage a musical production of the Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh’s appearance before a committee of MPs.

The Donmar Warehouse has announced that as part of its 2017 summer season it will be putting on a production based on the appearance of Batmanghelidjh and the former Kids Company chair Alan Yentob before the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee in October last year.

The pair had been asked to give evidence to the committee to explain the charity’s dramatic collapse after it shut down abruptly last summer.

The three-hour long session, which committee chair Bernard Jenkin had prefaced with the statement: "We're not here to conduct a show trial, but to learn some lessons," included Batmanghelidjh blaming the charity’s closure on "malicious civil servants" and a media witch hunt, and revealing that she offered to put her flat up as surety in return for government funds.

It also included committee member Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West, describing Batmanghelidjh’s answers as "verbal ectoplasm" and "psychobabble".

The Donmar’s production, which will be titled The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence on Whitehall’s Relationship with Kids Company, or Committee for short, will examine "how civil society holds itself to account", a statement from the theatre said.

Its show will be based on a script adapted from the transcript of the parliamentary session and will include music from the composer Tom Deering.

It will be directed by Adam Penford using words and lyrics by Hadley Fraser and Josie Rourke, artistic director at the Donmar.

Rourke said that alongside a play about the 1981 split in the Labour Party that gave birth to the Social Democratic Party and a satire from Bertolt Brecht starring Lenny Henry, the show was part of a season focusing on the themes of "truth and accountability; democracy and demagoguery; passion, despair and the rebirth of hope".

Committee will be staged at the Donmar Warehouse between 24 June and 12 August.

The PACAC’s final report into Whitehall’s relationship with Kids Company, concluded that the charity folded because of an "extraordinary catalogue of failures", with ultimate responsibility for the failure put down to the charity’s "negligent" trustees.

The charity's former trustees issued a statement at the time saying the report was "inaccurate, unbalanced and irresponsible" and that the committee would have received defamation claims had it not been protected by parliamentary privilege. 

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