Danny Boyle’s shuffle festival nears funding goal

Danny Boyle is heavily involved in Mile End's Shuffle Festival. Pic: Kate MacTier

Danny Boyle is heavily involved in Mile End’s Shuffle Festival. Pic: Kate MacTier

Danny Boyle’s Shuffle Festival is in the last days of crowd funding a new renovation in Mile End’s Cemetery Park Lodge.

The Lodge, a stand-alone building in Cemetery Park, will be completely reinvented by the festival team if their fund raising is achieved. It will be redesigned, in keeping with the architecture of the cemetery, but adapting to become a modern space to be used by the community. If Shuffle’s plan to redesign The Lodge meets its £59,000 target, the building will include a café, music venue and a gallery space, all to be used by the community.

Shuffle Festival moves around Mile End and hosts events such as film screenings and exhibitions in different areas.

Previous locations included St Clements, a former mental institution, which was reopened by Shuffle. Director Danny Boyle, known for being the artistic director for the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, is a strong advocate of Shuffle Festival, helping them find a location for their inaugural festival, as well as giving public support for the festival’s, and Mile End’s, community causes. Boyle annually curates a selection of films, art and community workshops to show off the Mile End community spirit.

Alongside the newer additions to The Lodge, the space will also be used as an educational area, where Shuffle will hopefully stage workshops for children and adults. While The Lodge now finds itself in Cemetery Park nature reserve, run by the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (FTHCP), it continues to hold free nature and science based classes that work alongside the national curriculum for members of the Tower Hamlets community. After being held at St Clements last year, Shuffle quickly saw an opportunity to begin a permanent addition to the community.

“10,000 people came and we knew we were onto something”, said Kate MacTeirnan, director of Shuffle Festival. She began to construct a festival that worked to better the community, as well as showing strong elements of Tower Hamlet’s culture, not just specific an anti-gentrification message.

“We are anti anything that denies the true riches of the city.”

Kenneth Greenway, director of Cemetery Park, said: “Shuffle fell in love with the building, they want to support the Friend (FTHCP), and make the building that we all dream it could be”. After forming a connection with Shuffle, the Friends have worked to raise funds to help supply both a new addition to the Tower Hamlets community, as well as create a permanent home for Shuffle.

FTHCP have worked closely with Shuffle Festival since it’s first festival last year, as well as with Danny Boyle. Greenway said: “Danny Boyle was present during last shuffle, here [Cemetery Park] everyday, he’s an ordinary person, but it doesn’t take away from the amazement of seeing Danny Boyle walking around“.

So far, Shuffle have opened a competition to find a local architect to redesign The Lodge, in keeping with its community led ethos. The renovation is aiming to begin in April, in time for this years Summer Shuffle festival. With MacTeirnan stating, “We want to work with a young practice that has our ethos at its heart and we will launch the search once we have the money.”

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