Fun festival kicks off with campaigns to improve Waterloo and celebrate its history

A festival of sleep-outs, community action, talks, performances and parties will begin tonight with a panel of experts discussing the housing crisis.

The Waterloo Festival celebrates the past and its characters as they transformed their communities – and looks to continue that process.

Performers include Southbank Sinfonia, with their audience-centred concerts; Royal Academy of Music students, with an evening of new protest songs, and Berakah Arts, whose concerts bridge religious and cultural divides. Artists from The London Group will be bringing outdoor sculpture into the gardens of St John’s, and the latest moving-image art into the crypt.


Lunchtime Concert: Pimlico Academy Steel Band. An exhilarating mash-up of traditional calyso, jazz, soul and funk from the young performers who aim to ‘take steel bands to different levels’. 1pm, St John’s Waterloo. Free.

Our House: Tackling London’s Housing Crisis Anna Minton, author of ‘Big Capital’, and James Murray, London’s deputy mayor for housing, and others join an important panel discussion on the housing challenges facing Londoners. 7pm, St John’s Waterloo. Register (free).

Festival Sleep-out: A church sleep-over with a difference, to raise money for the ROBES project to help London’s homeless. More details hereRegister online. 9/10pm-8am, St John’s Waterloo.


ART TRAIL: ‘Nothing Endures but Change’. Tour the ephemeral sculpture installations  in the gardens of St John’s Waterloo, with exhibitor Rebecca Feiner. Meet on the steps of St John’s at 2pm.

‘Transforming London: Community in Action’. Guided walk around Waterloo & Southbank, with Coin Street Community Builders. Walks start at 11am (register here) & 1pm (register here). Meet on the steps of St John’s Waterloo. Free registration.

A guided walk around Coin Street area led by local residents Natalie Bell and Coin Street board member George Nicholson. Find out about the history of the area and the Coin Street campaign from someone involved in the 1970s and 80s, hear what it’s like to live and work at the Oxo Tower, and who was Bernie Spain Gardens named after? All this and more will be revealed on the walk with stops at the roof garden of the Coin Street neighbourhood centre, Bernie Spain Gardens, Oxo Tower Wharf, and Rambert studios. The walks are free and participants will meet people active in the community along the way.  Meet on the steps of St John’s Waterloo. Registration is FREE. Please register by visiting theFestival website


Festival Eucharist Celebrating the theme of the Waterloo Festival (‘Transforming minds’) with guest speaker Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. St John’s Choir will sing Ethel Smyth’s ‘March of the Woman’, commemorating the mass rally in Hyde Park in June 1908. 10.30am, St John’s Waterloo.


Altered States: An Exhibition of Artists’ Moving Image.

Catch the latest in moving-image art from the London Group and friends. Until June 18th. Mon-Sat 1pm-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm, Crypt of St John’s Waterloo. Free.


‘Beyond Image – The Permanent Revolution.’

Exhibition of paintings, film, sculpture and installation from artists of The London Group, curated by Tom Scase. The Cello Factory, 35A Cornwall Rd, London SE1 8TJ. Runs until June 23rd. Free.

‘Thinking Ahead: What will our Community look like in 30 years?’ Panel Discussion, in collaboration with Coin Street Community Builders. Chaired by Giles Goddard, with Baroness Jenny Jones, Kofi Oppong, Amir Eden and James Asfa. Introduced by George Nicholson of Coin Street Community Builders. St John’s Waterloo. Register here (free).

Waterloo is at a crucial point in its history, with redevelopment and change already underway. This evening of ideas and exchange brings together urban thinkers and local activists to discuss change, community and local action. Chaired by Canon Giles Goddard, Vicar of St John’s Waterloo, with context setting and introduction by George Nicholson, local resident and board member of Coin Street Community Builders. Panel members include James Asfa of Citizens UK, Baroness Jenny Jones of the Green Party, Amir Khan, Chair of Bankside Residents Forum, and Kofi Oppong of Urban MBA.

Registration if FREE. Please register by visiting the Festival website


Living-LAB For Improving Air Quality with the University of Surrey and Professor Prashant Kumar. Exploring innovative ways of improving air-quality in cities. Talks at 1.15pm & 6pm. 1-7pm, St John’s Waterloo. Free.

Protest! Jazz-inflected evening of new and old protest music, hosted by celebrated music journalist Paul Morley. Written and performed by musicians from the Royal Academy of Music. 8pm, Aures London, 18 Leake St, London SE1 7NN. £5 online or £7 on the door. Book tickets.


Launch of Word Weekend & Waterloo Festival Anthology. New fiction read from the winning entries of the very first Waterloo Festival Writing Competition. With performance, poetry, and an Open Mic session! 6.30pm, St John’s Waterloo. Free.


Lunchtime Concert. Transformation: The Flute Speaks. A concert by Gavin Stewart, which reflects on the radical transformation of the flute over the past centuries, from Baroque masterpieces to contemporary works. 1.05pm, St John’s Waterloo. Free.

Gary Crosby Quintet The jazz ensemble play Wayne Shorter’s jazz classic ‘Speak No Evil’. Southwark Stanza poetry group opens the evening. Tickets: £12 concert only or £20 to include poetry & supper. 7pm, St John’s Waterloo. Tickets.


Literature Workshop: Transforming Minds. Drawing on “The Good Immigrant”, edited by Nikesh Shukla, we discuss the effects of travelling on our approach towards cultural diversity. 11.30am, Travelling Through Bookshop, 131 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE. Tickets £10.

Second-hand Book Fair, in association with Oxfam. Sat-Sun, St John’s Waterloo. More details soon.

Ice & Fire & Teatro Vivo: #ArmingTheWorld. Street theatre performance about the British arms trade, from the renowned agin-prop theatre group. Three performances (open to all): Saturday, June 16th, 2pm, outside 131 Lower Marsh, 6.30pm outside St John’s Waterloo. Street Theatre Workshop, 3pm at St John’s Waterloo. Register here.

‘Impressions: Summer Evening of Readings and Music.’ The Japanese pianist Masahiro Yamaguchi performs works by Debussy and Ravel, with literary readings from Shakespeare and Verlaine. 7.30pm, St John’s Waterloo. £12 or £8 concessions. Book Tickets


Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop. Explore the techniques of Brazilian theatre activist Augusto Boal. 2-6pm, Calder Bookshop & Theatre, 51 The Cut, London SE1 8LF. £20. Book Tickets


Lunchtime Concert in the Garden. Percussionists Elaine So and Jordan Murray from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama perform percussion in the open air. 1.05pm, St John’s Waterloo. Free.

‘Is Art Transformative?’ Panel discussion with artists and curators. The panel includes dancer and choreographer Rebecca Evans, poet Kate Miller, art editor Javier Pes and artist Tom Scase.. 7pm (doors 6.30pm), The Cello Factory, 35A Cornwall Rd, London SE1 8TJ. Register (free).


Festival Quiz, with Matt Brown of Londonist. Includes Fish & Chip supper. 8pm, St John’s Waterloo. £10. Book tickets.


Summer Solstice Mandala Ritual, performed by artist Venetia Nevill. Expect the extraordinary from this performance art event, which precedes the Festival’s big Gala concert (see below). 7pm, St John’s Waterloo. Free.

Festival Gala Concert. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, performed by the Southbank Sinfonia with Epiphoni Consort and soloists. Conducted by James Hendry. 8pm, St John’s Waterloo. £12/£8 concessions. There will be a mandala art performance by artist Venetia Nevill to celebrate summer solstice at 7pm (see above). Book tickets.


In Harmony Lambeth & Southbank Sinfonia. Young Lambeth musicians join the SBS for a performance ranging from Dvořák to Justin Bieber! 7pm, St John’s Waterloo. Free.


Come and sing! Choral conductor Jack Apperley invites singers of all abilities to rehearse and perform three pieces for the public. Rehearsal: 1-2.30pm, St John’s Waterloo. Performances at 2.45pm (St John’s Churchyard) & 3.15pm (Southbank). £3 to cover sheet music. Register.

Concert for Peace & Healing, with The Berakah Players & Guests. Interfaith concert of songs and music, guaranteed to recharge your hope batteries! In memory of Ruth Richman. 7.30pm, St John’s Waterloo. £20/£15 concessions. Book tickets.


Festival Garden Party & Evensong: Traditional garden party with afternoon tea and children’s games (with Coin Street Community Builders). Followed by Evensong with the choir in St John’s. Garden Party, 3pm. Evensong, 5.30pm. St John’s Waterloo. Free.

The Coin Street community will bring with them family activities including games, arts and crafts for party-goers to participate in while enjoying traditional afternoon tea. Everyone welcome to celebrate the close of the Festival.

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