Today the London Borough of Waltham Forest and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced the programme for the first ever London Borough of Culture at a media launch at Walthamstow’s Wetlands.
As previously announced, the opening celebration Welcome to the Forest will run from 11 to 13 January. Mercury Award-winning musician Talvin Singh will collaborate with digital artists Greenaway and Greenaway and students of Leyton Sixth Form College for a striking audio-visual display telling the story of the borough through the eyes of young people. Each evening a spectacular light projection will illuminate Waltham Forest Town Hall. They will be joined by a new commission from world-renowned Addictive TV presenting the soundtrack of the borough through the video remixing of Waltham Forest’s rich and diverse musical talent.
At Lloyd Park, Nest, a 25m-wide kinetic light sculpture designed by Marshmallow Laser Feast in collaboration with composer Erland Cooper, will present an immersive audio-visual experience that brings the community together for a collective interactive experience. The opening event will culminate in a high-octane street party curated by locally-based festival producers Continental Drifts, combining music, food and performance drawn from the diverse communities of Waltham Forest.
New Adventures, an internationally renowned dance-theatre company led by choreographer and director Matthew Bourne, who grew up in Walthamstow, will lead the first in a series of artist residencies set to inspire young people to become the next generation of creatives; working with the whole school over three months to lead up to a performance at Walthamstow Assembly Hall.
From 25 to 29 March, Africa Express presents Africa Express: TOGETHER, a show of togetherness in Leytonstone – where founding member Damon Albarn grew up – bringing together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations to break boundaries and promote cross-cultural collaboration through music. Rehearsals will create new music for a five-hour headline show to showcase the rich cultural history of the borough.
In Leyton in April, Blackhorse Workshop will create a hands-on immersive performance Atomic 50 inspired by Waltham Forest’s manufacturing heritage of tin toy making.
On 6 May, thousands of bicycles will lead a mass procession through the borough to Chingford Plain for a 21st century re-imagining of Chingford’s traditional May Day Fayre.
Free contemporary art festival Art Night will come to Waltham Forest for one weekend, alongside the E17 Art Trail – the city’s largest community-led arts festival, with free exhibitions, workshops and artist events spanning the length of Walthamstow High Street Market and Europe’s longest market.
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