In January 2017, Arts Council England awarded three year funding through its Cultural Destinations scheme to a consortium of arts and destination organisations in the borough. From 2017 – 2019, FESTIVAL.ORG will be working in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Visit Greenwich and the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust to raise the profile of Woolwich by delivering an arts-led events programme in Woolwich Town Centre and Woolwich Royal Arsenal. This activity aims to capitalise on the arrival of the Crossrail service in Woolwich in 2018, to increase local residents’ pride and engagement in where they live, and to position Woolwich as a developing tourism destination with a growing visitor economy.
In year one of the programme, Cultural Destination events were attended by approximately 16,000 people, with residents and visitors enjoying all sorts of activities including:
All Roads Lead to Woolwich
As part of Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2017, a series of pop-up world class music, dance and street arts performances took place across Woolwich Town Centre and Royal Arsenal Riverside, featuring an orchestral concert in a former ammunitions factory by the Arensky Chamber Orchestra, Rosie Kay Dance Company’s production of 5 Soldiers at St. George’s Garrison Church, a new outdoor production exploring cultural relationships with food from Avant Garde Dance, Nepalese music from Namlo, and a spectacular promenade finale of giant colour-wheels from Compagnie Off and composer Shri Sriram.
As part of 2017’s Woolwich Carnival, Woolwich Cultural Destinations supported music and performances from The African Stars Band and the UK African Acrobats, featuring Ghanaian musician and performer Emmanuel Okine.
Origami, Dance Umbrella
For the first time, Woolwich played host to London’s international dance festival Dance Umbrella, with two stunning performances in Artillery Square of Origami, an unlikely pairing of a monumental shipping container and a gravity-defying dancer, inspired by the ancient Japanese art.
Woolwich Winter Warmer
In early December, Woolwich’s annual ‘Winter Warmer’ festivities were complemented by two extraordinary, interactive installations supported by Cultural Destinations: Impossible’s illuminated Lightweight Globe in Beresford Square, and Luke Jerram’s remarkable Museum of the Moon, installed in the atmospheric disused factory space of Building 17.
“From its strong military connections and the rich history of the Royal Arsenal to its legacy as a host of the international Tall Ships Regattas, Woolwich is a special and unique place. FESTIVAL.ORG is proud to deliver its ‘All Roads Lead to Woolwich’ programme here. We are delighted to be a key partner in the Creative District and to support the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s vision of placing Woolwich at the forefront of arts and culture in the UK.”
Bradley Hemmings MBE
Artistic Director, FESTIVAL.ORG
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Woolwich Creative District
The Woolwich Cultural Destinations programme works closely with the council’s new landmark development of a new Creative District for London which will feature live performance spaces, theatres and restaurants within five historic buildings in the heart of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.
Read more about the ambitious plans to transform a section of Woolwich’s historic Royal Arsenal riverfront.
Image: Arensky Chamber Orchestra in rehearsal at Building 41, Royal Arsenal Riverside, Woolwich (2017). Photo by Stu Mayhew.