London Borough of Culture programme revealed

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the London Borough of Waltham Forest revealed the programme for the first ever London Borough of Culture at a media launch at Walthamstow Wetlands on 30 October 2018.

Welcome to the Forest

The programme will kick off with an opening celebration, Welcome to the Forest, featuring Mercury Award-winning musician, Talvin Singh, who will collaborate with digital artists, Greenaway and Greenaway, students from Leyton Sixth Form College and electronic music producers from Waltham Forest to create an audio-visual display telling the story of the borough through the eyes of young people.

They will be joined by a new commission from electronic duo, Addictive TV, presenting the soundtrack of the borough through a video remixing of Waltham Forest’s diverse musical talent.

Meanwhile, in Lloyd Park, a 25m-wide kinetic light sculpture, Nest, designed by Marshmallow Laser Feast in collaboration with composer, Erland Cooper, will present an immersive audio-visual experience in collaboration with local choirs and schools.

The opening event will culminate in a street party curated by locally based festival producers, Continental Drifts, combining music, food and performance drawn from the communities of Waltham Forest.

Other London Borough of Culture musical highlights

Other musical highlights include the following:

  • In March, Africa Express will present Africa Express: TOGETHER in Leytonstone – where founding member, Damon Albarn, grew up – bringing together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations to promote cross-cultural collaboration through music. Rehearsals will create new music for a five-hour headline performance showcasing the cultural history of Waltham Forest.
  • In September, audiences will be invited to journey into the forest for a family concert experience, GIANT, as the canopy becomes the stage for a musical performance inspired by Oscar Wilde’s fairy-tale, The Selfish Giant, and Epping-born Romantic poet, John Clare.

‘A year-long programme of celebration’

Sadiq Khan said:

‘I am determined to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunity to experience our cultural riches regardless of their background or where they live and to increase the level of participation in culture across London.

‘That’s why I’m delighted to announce Waltham Forest’s inspirational vision for their year as the first-ever London Borough of Culture. Waltham Forest’s exciting plans – from lighting up the marshes to uniting Londoners through music – will bring different communities together to enjoy the positive impact of the arts.

‘Culture has the power to inspire and provide positive opportunities for the next generation so I’m particularly pleased that Waltham Forest will be involving young people across the borough in their year-long programme of celebration.’

‘The transformative power of culture’

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader, Waltham Forest Council, said:

‘As the first London Borough of Culture, Waltham Forest stands shoulder to shoulder with the Mayor of London’s vision and commitment to the transformative power of culture.

It is not an optional add-on, an afterthought or something nice to have; investment in culture is essential to ensure that everybody in Waltham Forest enjoys a great quality of life.

The imaginative programme we announce today will shine a light on the stories and cultural heritage of our borough. It will create a platform that is not only for the people but by the people, blurring the line between residents and artists for the benefit of everyone in this community.

‘Welcome to the Forest!’

To find out more about the London Borough of Culture, please click here.

Header photo: Other London Borough of Culture highlights include a performance by Africa Express bringing together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations to promote cross-cultural collaboration through music

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