Lewisham arts centre launches new strategy to work with community

An arts centre in the heart of Lewisham has announced a new creative strategy which will distribute its leadership and decision making across the community.

Albany in Douglas Way, Deptford, sees more than 60,000 people attend its events each year, ranging from music to theatre, spoken word and family performances.

As part of the new strategy, the arts centre will recruit a community council, offer community commissions and recruit young creatives and producers.

The centre will relaunch its music programme, platforming artists from vibrant South London music scenes, including jazz, soul and Afrobeats.

Albany is the Anchor Arts and Cultural Organisation for Lewisham, one of the most diverse boroughs in the UK with just under half of residents from the Black and ethnic minority communities.

Alongside four performance spaces, a bar, café, garden and co-working rooms, Albany offers a range of low-cost rehearsal spaces, meeting rooms and private offices for community and creative businesses. 

Since it was established in the 1970s, Albany has been known as a home for radical community arts, from hosting Rock Against Racism gigs in the 70s and 80s, to producing works which highlight the climate emergency as part of London Borough of Culture.

Gavin Barlow, chief executive and director at Albany, said: “Like many organisations across the arts and cultural sector, we are facing a challenging time. However, we believe that this is not a time to shy away from adventurous programming and making change. 

“We are grateful for a grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation for enabling us to take this new step and look forward to working closely with local people over the next few months as we put our plans into action.”

Pictured top: The Albany in Douglas Way, Deptford (Picture: Ellie Kurttz)

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