Tag Archives: lewisham

‘Tis the Season to be Kind: How You Can Give Back This Christmas

Christmas Day is but nine sleeps away! That’s almost nine whole days in which to get into the Christmas spirit and to give something back: and perhaps to make a resolution for 2015…

Here are five simple ways you can make a difference in the Deptford area:

1. Give to a food bank

foodbank

A great number of organisations across Britain have been working hard this year to support families and individuals who are struggling to feed themselves. And it’s easy to get involved: when you’re doing your Christmas Dinner shopping, simply pop a few extras into your trolley and donate to a food bank. Lewisham Council has made a handy suggestions page of what to donate and where in the New Cross and Deptford area.

2. Meet Me at the Albany

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Described as ‘the kind of stereotype-smashing thing that sticks two knitting needles up at anyone who dares assume day care for older people is about flower arranging and endless cups of tea’, you’d be hard-pushed to find a more entertaining way to give something back to your community this Christmas.  Hosted every Tuesday, Meet Me at the Albany is a new take on day care for Over 60s that is always looking for volunteers, so what are you waiting for?

3. Reach out to Deptford

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Deptford Reach is a drop-in centre for adults over 16 years of age who are vulnerable through homelessness, mental illness, loneliness, social exclusion and severe poverty. They support more than 70 people each weekday through a programme of courses, workshops, activities and advice sessions. They work on employment skills, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health and creative expression to name a few; so if you can contribute towards any of there areas take a look and see how you can get involved.

4. Get Souped Up

soup

Nothing says winter like a hearty soup to warm you up. Lewisham Soup Kitchen serves soup to those in need every Thursday from 6 – 7pm, so get your ladle out and serve some steaming bowls of soup.

5. Invite a lonely neighbour to Christmas Dinner

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This week The Independent published an article explaining that 400,000 pensioners will be alone on Christmas Day this year. One simple way to change that is to invite someone you know will be alone on Christmas Day around to join you for your festive meal. It’s  a small gesture, and they might decline your offer, but if everybody asked a neighbour to join them then the shocking figure of 400,000 could be much lower.

So make this the most wonderful time of the year and do just one small thing to make someone else’s Christmas as festive as yours. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Rachel McCall

Marketing Assistant

The Albany

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What Next for Arts and Culture in South East London?

whatnext_mainWe believe that arts and culture are the thread that binds humanity together, what shapes us as people, and what makes life that much more enjoyable. Imagine a life without arts and culture. There would be no television shows, no music, no theatre and nothing to fill art galleries and museums. The world would certainly be bland and uninspired. So, we ask: Does creative stuff matter in South East London? We want to hear from you – anyone working or living in South East London – if arts and culture are important to the area.

What Next? Lewisham and What Next? Southwark are hosting a free Open Space meeting on Wednesday 12 November, 6.30pm at our sister venue Canada Water Culture Space. We’re inviting anyone who lives or works in South East London to join in the conversation about the role of culture.

What Next? is a national movement that has sprouted up all over the country, asking arts and cultural organisations to come together and strengthen the role of culture in our society, working with individual volunteers who are passionate about the role culture plays in our everyday lives and want to ensure its prominence in society for future generations.

The conversation will be a facilitated Open Space event. The essence of Open Space is to bring people together around a shared question and to discover priorities which can be taken forward into action. As to the outcome, that will be up to you!

We’ll begin with the basic question: How can we (individually and together) ensure decision-makers know that creative stuff matters in South East London?

All participants then create an agenda by calling breakout sessions on topics they feel are important to this theme. In Open Space, everyone is encouraged to suggest a subject for discussion and to contribute in whatever way they feel comfortable.

So, does creative stuff matter in South East London? If you think it does, join us for What Next South East London: Does creative stuff matter in South East London? to explore how we can ensure decision-makers know that creativity matters to local people.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

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‘Still I Rise’: An Exhibition by Nadine Walker, Inspired by Maya Angelou

Inspired by the beloved poem by the late Maya Angelou, Still I Rise, visual artist Nadine Walker presents a stunning exhibition about overcoming racism, criticism and personal obstacles through a series of images featuring women who are beautiful, strong, occasionally sensual and infinitely empowered, on now in the Albany cafe through Monday 30 June. The images are made using mixed media with digital editing to create striking portraits that portray inner strength and endless endurance.

 

 Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

(with illustrations by Nadine Walker) 

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You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

 

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You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise?

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

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While completing her MA in illustration, Nadine’s lecturer challenged her to craft an image using both visual art and text. At the time, Nadine was reading one of Maya Angelou’s books and stumbled across a poem she immediately connected with, Still I Rise, leading to her inspiration for this exhibition. She shared her love of the poem with her year 7 and 8 students from Virgo Fidelis Covent School in Norwood- challenging them to illustrate the poem. She ran a competition across 8 classes, selecting four to join her in her exhibition: Akalia Newland, Tahreem Sattar, Shafia Ali and Tia-Louise Bryan.

Nadine Walker is an art educator, graphic designer and illustrator from Lewisham. She has participated in collaborative and solo exhibitions across Central London, most notably being selected by the BBC as one of 20 artists invited to visually document the HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pagent.

For more information about Nadine and her work click here.

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Reflecting on our £1 Ticket Scheme

We’ve made a Storify reflecting on the impact of our £1 Ticket Scheme. Click on the title above to check it out.

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January 6, 2014 · 4:09 pm

New Blood at the National: What the Appointment of Rufus Norris means to the Albany

It has been a big week in the theatre world. Last Tuesday, the new Artistic Director of the National Theatre was announced – the biggest job in our industry. It felt like a football transfer window, the new Doctor Who, and Christmas morning rolled into one, and it ended months of speculation about which of the top contenders – including the likes of Kenneth Brannagh, the Young Vic’s David Lan and Hampstead Theatre’s Edward Hall – would take the top spot. Finally it was announced that the job will go to Rufus Norris, a popular choice amongst the theatre industry, who generally hold the acclaimed director of Festen, Cabaret and London Road in high regard.

The new appointment provides a good opportunity to reflect on the role of the National Theatre in the UK’s theatre landscape. There will inevitably be a huge amount of focus on the shows Rufus Norris chooses to programme; the playwrights he commissions and the celebrities he’s spotted dining with. But for me there is a more important concern for Rufus Norris’s incumbency.

Ten years ago, I was brought to the Albany as part of a programme led by the NT that invested in the Albany and worked with young people in Deptford and Lewisham, aiming to reinvigorate the Albany’s role as a catalyst for the development of local communities and the area’s regeneration, and discovering what the role of a venue like the Albany could look like in the 21st century.

The enterprise was part of The Art of Regeneration, a three year project driven by the late Jennie Harris – NT Education Director and the Albany Director in the 80s.

The project wasn’t without controversy and its success compromised in some ways, but it would be fair to say that the Albany wouldn’t still be here if the project hadn’t existed. When it began, the fate of the Albany looked pretty grim: the building was falling apart at the seams with a skeleton staff of about five, a café open just a few hours a day, and a beautiful 300 seater theatre – that was permanently closed to the public.

The National Theatre was able to bring the infrastructure and expertise that reinforced the crucial role the Albany could, and has, played at the heart of the Deptford ecology. Although we’ve had our ups and downs in the intervening decade, the project truly set the course for the Albany to become what it is today: a thriving creative hub with over 300 arts events and over 130k visitors each year.

The Art of Regeneration ran from 2001–4, covering the last change over at the National; Sir Trevor Nunn, when he left in 2003, described the project as one of the things he was most proud of in his time at the helm. It was a fairly unusual project for the NT, but it needn’t be. It proved what a national organisation can achieve by working in partnership with specific communities.

The current economic and political climate is forcing arts venues across the country to radically reappraise the roles they play in their localities.

It strikes me that one of the challenges for Rufus Norris, as he seeks to define his own model for how the National Theatre must operate in today’s conditions, will be answering the question of the way in which the National Theatre can act as a leader, and supporter, of venues nationally. Ultimately the true test of his success will not only be the number of bums on seats on the Southbank, rather it will be the health of the performing arts landscape across the UK.

Gavin Barlow, CEO, The Albany

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Welcome to our Blog

The Albany is a different kind of arts organisation. Like many arts venues, we have a cracking programme of live events to sink your teeth into: from the best spoken word artists appearing at regular nights, a diverse theatre programme of work from some of Britain’s best theatre companies, regular events for families and kids, music, comedy and club nights – the building is never quiet for very long!

But that’s only a small part of what we do. We are truly, and quite radically, driven by the idea of being a community arts centre, and that means so many of the activities that go on within the walls of the Albany, at our sister venues Canada Water Culture Space and Deptford Lounge, and indeed out and about in Deptford and further afield, are rather more ‘below the radar’. But we think they are an extremely important part of who we are and what we do, and we think it’s vital that they make up a part of the picture of what the Albany is all about.

Many won’t know, for example, about the rich array of resident companies that we have within the Albany building- like performance poetry maestros Apples and Snakes, Heart ‘n’ Soul, an arts organisation with learning disability culture at its heart, and the Independent Theatre Council. Or that we have a (semi) regular market stall in Deptford Market, the incredibly bustling, diverse market that pops up on our doorstep every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (where shoes are ‘three pound each; two for a fiver’). Or that we have chickens in residence in our beautiful garden (OK, we’re pretty obsessive about telling people about those already…).

The blog will play a part in building this richer picture of what we do. We’ll peek behind the scenes, and chat to actors, artists and other company members about what they’re working on. We’ll share videos and photographs of what we’re getting up to. Most importantly we’ll give a voice to the people that engage with our work – like the participant in Meet me at the Albanyour day club for over 60s, who wrote a wonderful poem about her experiences here, or our Uncover Youth Theatre’s hilarious video spoofs of cookery shows.

We also plan to use the blog to share some of the expertise and experiences of those working in the Albany building, and to comment on wider issues relevant to the arts and to the local community.

Most importantly, though, we want our blog to be a forum for discussion, to help us learn more about our audiences and communities. Please do leave your comments and questions, and let us know what the Albany means to you.

And remember you can tweet us or connect with us on Facebook.

Gavin Barlow, CEO, The Albany

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