A revamped Ambition Festival to be run by Boxpark, a visual arts fringe event, and an ‘Arts Partnership Fund’ for Croydon are just the start of the council’s new two-year cultural development programme.
The borough’s new permanent culture director, Paula Murray, leads on this project, and is tasked with putting Croydon into a more prominent position within the capital’s culture calendar. The two-year timetable has been set to coincide with when the Fairfield Halls re-opens in 2018, following their £30m refurbishment.
Whilst the halls are closed emphasis will be put on performances in Croydon’s other venues. These include established places like Matthew’s Yard and Stanley Halls, as well as making more use of the Clocktower and Town Hall spaces, local churches, and parks and open spaces.
Paula has already had a busy two initial months in talks with Croydon’s key arts organisations, event promoters and venues, and has outlined the council’s ambitions for culture in the borough in a newly published cabinet report.
This also outlines the important role that the external organisations such as the Arts Council and Visit London will have in helping to fund, shape and promote what Croydon has to offer.
“As we go through the early stages of designing how the future Fairfield will operate we are very pleased with the variety of interest we’ve already had from established arts and music venue operators. We are determined to ensure we can deliver an ambitious contemporary and classical music programme alongside a regional large-scale theatre offer and of course a community programme.
“And as well as the big names I know Croydon can start to attract in the future we have to ensure there is a grass-roots arts movement. This has to be affordable and accessible to all parts of the community and offer a wide and diverse range of things from dance and music to theatre, comedy and the visual arts.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport