Woolwich Works: The New Venue In Town
When I think of a vibrant cultural hub in South East London, Woolwich is not the first destination that comes to my mind.
Once an important naval, military and industrial area, it has been for some years undergoing extensive urban regeneration supported by Greenwich Council and other property developers. Some of those investments are already visible in the Riverside area in the development ‘Royal Arsenal Riverside’ which regenerated an abandoned historical area into a vibrant neighbourhood to be the centre of the Greenwich Cultural district.
The new local venue – Woolwich Works – is a project by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to turn five heritage industrial buildings into a new landmark cultural hub for London.
The beautiful venue, comprised of several large to mid-size performance spaces, bars and a café, just opened in September and is partially operating with a full programme of concerts and other events. Resident companies include National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein dance theatre, theatre-makers Punchdrunk and Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair.
I’ve been based at Royal Arsenal for the last 4 years and when I reached out to the Woolwich Works team they were very open to collaborations with me as a local music promoter.
In October I curated a show by Carmen Souza and Theo Pascal, two award-winning composers and musicians from Cape Verde and Portugal, part of the Black History Month.
In November, as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2021 , I’m excited to announce a Jazznewblood partnership with Woolwich Works to host the annual showcase -JazznewbloodALIVE – on November 20th. This is an event that I produce and curate.
The showcase will run 6 different sets starting at 2:30pm, presenting 8 different young talented composers and jazz artists.
The 2021 line-up features Allexa Nava, Kielan Sheard, Scottie Thompson, Morgan Wallace, Miles Mindlin, Sultan Stevenson, Maddy Coombs and XVNGO.
More info and tickets here:
The Woolwich Works team shows commitment to presenting a programme that reflects diversity and supports gender equality. With that in mind, together we curated a new series of concerts called W.LED JAZZ, also part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, over a period of 2 days – Nov.16 and Nov.17. The series focuses on ensembles led by female musicians featuring rising stars like Ms. Maurice by Sheila Maurice-Grey, Juanita Euka, Rosie Frater-Taylor, Rachael Cohen, Raquel Martins and PLUMM.
For tickets and information, please go to:
This new cultural hub faces a lot of challenges in such a socially divided community as Woolwich. But if there is anything with the power to unite and create bonds among people, it is art. All we have to do is support and nurture these essential spaces of culture.
(photo of Sultan Stevenson by Patricia Pascal)