Local arts centre to be at the forefront of the Lewisham Borough of Culture programme

Age Against the Machine Festival at the Albany Pic: Roswitha Chesher

A local arts centre in Deptford will be at the forefront of the Lewisham Council’s Borough of Culture programme.

The Albany centre will deliver a variety of activities focusing on climate change and ways to improve the borough. 

The centre said they hope to creatively raise local and national awareness of the climate emergency and want to encourage other local charities and organisations to do the same.  

Lewisham won the Borough of Culture 2022 through the ‘I AM LEWISHAM’ campaign – which pushed projects that sparked conversation and ‘cultural activism.’ Projects represented the power of art and how culture can change lives and perspectives.

The Albany also said they aim to lead programmes which fairly and accurately reflect the experiences of Lewisham locals.

The Albany, opened in 1899, is a multi-purpose arts centre in the heart of Deptford, which ‘exists to inspire, develop and support creativity’ for the benefit of the local community. 

Damien Egan, the Mayor of Lewisham, said: “I’m delighted the Albany will be leading our ambitious Borough of Culture programme. With a proven track record of producing fantastic collaborative projects in our community, they are the perfect fit for showcasing the very best of what Lewisham has to offer.” 

The Borough of Culture is part of Sadiq Khan’s plan to support artistic projects in London. The 32 boroughs are required to compete for more than £1 million of funding. 

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: “This is really great news – the Albany produces brilliant creative projects with a powerful social purpose. 

With a longstanding track record working with the community, they are the perfect lead partner to help realise Lewisham’s ambitious plans for London Borough of Culture”

In a Tweet on their Twitter page, The Albany said: “We look forward to nurturing and harnessing the talent, passion and creativity at home in our borough.”

The Albany and Lewisham Council have a pre-existing relationship, working collaboratively to fundraise for various different projects.

A past successful project is the ‘Age Against the Machine’ – a festival in 2019 running for three weeks. It aimed to bring together all ages to celebrate the benefits of being creative and to explore the idea of ageing with both the younger and older generations. 

Gavin Barlow, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Albany said: “London Borough of Culture is such a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and showcase the talent, creativity and passion at home in Lewisham. 

At a time when creating artistic experiences with and for communities is more important than ever, we’re excited to harness the spirit of activism within our borough and create a programme in collaboration with local people and world-class artists.” 

The Albany houses an impressive flexible performance space where (pre-COVID-19) which housed up to 300 people seated 500 standing. They also have a bar, two studio theatres, a cafe and meeting rooms which are also used as rehearsal rooms. 

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