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BritWeek LA Reception and Gala Review – Star Studded Event in Santa Monica

By Ester Benjamin Shifren

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BritWeek’s 10th Anniversary VIP Reception and Gala opened to a packed house on Sunday May 1, 2016, at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, in Santa Monica.




The star studded celebrity appearances included Co-Founders of BritWeek, Bob Peirce and Sharon Harroun Peirce, Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Downtown Abbey, Absolutely Fabulous), Huw Collins (Pretty Little Liars), Kathryn Prescott (Finding Carter, Skins), Nigel Lythgoe, Darren McGrady (former Royal Chef to HRH Princess Diana), Harry Hamlin, British music industry legend Peter Asher, Fred Willard, Karina Smirnoff, Lotte Verbeek (Agent Carter, Outlander, The Last Witch Hunter), and many more.


In past years, stars like Nigel Lythgoe (co-founder), Richard Branson, Helen Mirren, Jane Leeves, Stephen Fry, Judi Dench, Seal, Cat Deely, Ben Kingsley, Piers Morgan and Jane Seymour have attended. This year’s lineup was no less impressive, with Nigel Lythgoe and Ross King co-hosting a wonderfully entertaining evening.

Following the star-studded red-carpet appearances of gorgeously attired celebrities, Ross King hosted a jam-packed VIP reception in the large banquet room. It included a unique program, featuring Peter Asher, British Music Industry legend, Fred Willard—50 Shades of Black, Modern Family, Jim Piddock, actor, writer, producer, and Gina Yashere, British Comedian.



This was immediately followed by an outdoor Gala. A myriad of guests flocked down to the garden to enjoy cocktails and select from a huge array of British food on tables laden with favorites like fish and chips, bangers and mash and more, and a delectable dessert selection from former royal chef Darren McGrady.


The outdoor entertainment, hosted by Nigel Lythgoe, featured an endless stream of wonderful all-star music and dance performances from Alexander Jean, comprised of Dancing with the Stars’ Mark Ballas and his fiancé BC jean, season 7 contestant of “American Idol” Carly Smithson, and “So You Think You Can Dance” winner Fik-Shun, who will feature as an “All Star” in the show’s upcoming season.



Also getting everyone clapping, toe tapping, singing, waving, rocking and dancing were performances by world famous guitarist Albert Lee, and musician Chesney Hawks. Resounding Beatles music, songs from the 50s, and many others, including, Crying in the Rain, World Without Love, and Here Comes my Baby, blanketed the garden. Nowhere outside of England were so many British accents to be heard in one place!




I spoke with several gracious stars, including Irish born actors Jack Lowe and Audrey Hamilton, now happily living, enjoying, and making their mark in Los Angeles. Many expressed pleasure with living in Los Angeles. It was difficult to tear myself away from BritWeek’s truly lavish, memorable 10th Anniversary Gala event, and I look forward to attending many happy returns.




BritWeek is a non-profit organization, started in Los Angeles in 2007 by Nigel Lythgoe and then Consul General Bob Peirce, to highlight the creative fusion between the United Kingdom, California and Miami. BritWeek’s mission is to create greater awareness of the many ways in which Britain and the US work closely together, and to further build this relationship to advance business, the arts, and philanthropy in both of these thriving regions of the world.

Every Spring, BritWeek hosts a program of events that promote British creativity, innovation and excellence in California across multiple categories including film & television, music, art, fashion, design, retail, sport, philanthropy, business, and more. It continues to be a landmark event bringing together the best entertainers of the UK and the US, while supporting noble causes. BritWeek in LA will conclude on May 8th. For more information on BritWeek and upcoming events please visit http://www.britweek.org/

Images courtesy of Getty.


Published on May 05, 2016

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