Around 1500 Thamesmead residents took advantage of the arts being offered on their doorstep during the week-long Thamesmead Arts Festival which took place during half term last week (25 – 31 May 2015).
The festival which was managed by the Peabody Group offered over 50 activities including workshops, screenings and performances by some of London’s most innovative and diverse artists, many of whom are from Thamesmead.
Beginning with African drumming, dancing and singing workshops and performances and concluding with a fete showcasing performances by local choirs and dance groups, archived films of Thamesmead and offering maypole dancing, singing hand puppets and the chance to engage with Peabody. Also Thamesmead’s Got Talent and a tea party and unique cabaret by a comic hip hop artist and a stunning cello performance by Oliver Coates in the Victorian grade 1 listed building, Crossness Pumping Station who also offered a rare steaming day.
Peabody’s CEO, Stephen Howlett said: “What an amazing week. When speaking with residents over the past year, many spoke about the want of accessing the arts on their doorstep and the past week has proved there are many people out there who did just that. The arts, whether it’s through music, dance, film or photographer, add colours to our communities. They bring people together, spark conversations between strangers and bring new life to buildings, streets and parks. We hope the week-long Thamesmead Arts Festival will be the beginning of something bigger, kick-starting an arts programme that will leave a legacy lasting well into the future.”
Trust Thamesmead’s Head of Business Development, Richard Fishlock said: "The festival was a great success with diverse audiences engaging in a wide variety of art, from local dance troupes to African music, street theatre and workshops to cello recitals. The week had a great atmosphere throughout and it was wonderful to see the community coming together and sharing experiences. It was also a great opportunity to showcase the many resources at The Link Thamesmead, including an exhibition in the ground floor cafe and live music, cinema and plays in their 160 seat theatre."
Thamesmead resident, Debbie Millward-Jones said: “I love coming to all the events in Thamesmead with my children and friends. The fete has been great fun and having the ability to talk to Peabody staff is really good. They are really easy to talk to. We are so blessed in Thamesmead to have these free events happening on our doorstep.”
Thamesmead resident, Fred Davies who is Dad to Tommy and Jeanie said: “It is great attending community events like this. It is brilliant for all the family.”
Cellist, Oliver Coates said: "Playing at Crossnes Pumping Station as part of the Thamesmead Art Festival was utterly memorable and perfect for the music I play. A brand new, mixed audience assembled with no expectations, no pretensions, just a simple love of deep cello tones, minimalist patterns and old Bach. Wth the organisers we drew up the lines of engagement spontaneously and the building started to mesh with the music, telling its own story."
Peabody fully supports the arts, making them fully accessible to residents and helping them to explore their full potential whilst bringing the community together.
Trust Thamesmead which is part of the Peabody Group is looking for residents to volunteer their time and lead on an on-going arts programme in Thamesmead with their support. Residents interested should contact Trust Thamesmead’s Community Development Outreach Worker (Volunteering), Sarah Feleppa, T: 020 8320 4490.