Mayor Khan reveals brand identity for Borough of Culture 2023

The Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture 2023 has launched its striking look – under the banner of This is Croydon – and is inviting Croydon communities and audiences to get involved.

The Borough of Culture is an initiative by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in partnership with local authorities and cultural organisations.

“This is Croydon will be a big, bold and cross-cultural celebration of the borough’s unique identity, heritage and character,” the Mayor’s office said.

“It will celebrate Croydon as London’s most innovative and dynamic borough. From 15 flagship events with international headliners and emerging home-grown talent to over 20 projects funded via This is Croydon’s Ignite Fund, plus hundreds of grassroots activities led by organisations in every corner of the borough, the programme will showcase the very best of Croydon.”

Celebration of cultures: Subrang Arts at the Croydon Mela offers a glimpse of what’s to come

The full programme will be announced in the spring, ahead of the opening event in April, Oratorio of Hope to be performed at the Fairfield Halls, but some of the projects are putting out appeals for people to come forward to take part.

Croydon is the borough of Samuel Coleridge Taylor and Stormzy, Leona Lewis and Loyle Carner, the birthplace of dubstep and home to a wide variety of music venues. Now, the Museum of Croydon and Apsara Arts are inviting people to share their stories of Croydon’s rich and diverse music history to form part of a Music Heritage Trail. Residents and visitors are encouraged to submit stories about their favourite musical hero or music venue at

London Mozart Players will present Oratorio of Hope, the opening event of This is Croydon, featuring a new composition to be premiered at the Fairfield Halls. They are seeking volunteers to be part of the opening festival on April 2, from amateur choirs and musicians to dancers, to artists and performers, to budding stage managers, producers and technicians. LMP is also seeking amateur filmmakers who would like to join a team of camera people, directors and editors creating a brand-new film about culture in Croydon to be shown on the opening weekend. Those interested in getting involved with the opening event, should e-mail

“I created the London Borough of Culture to celebrate creativity at the heart of our communities,” Mayor Khan said.

“As Lewisham’s incredibly successful year draws to a close, I am proud that Croydon will be picking up the baton in 2023.

“This is Croydon will be a thrilling year showcasing great culture and using the power of creativity to bring communities together, helping to build a better London for everyone.”

For a taste of what’s to come ahead of the full programme launch in 2023, visit and follow @CultureCroydon on social media.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Art, Borough of Culture 2023, Croydon Council, Fairfield Halls, London Mozart Players, Mayor of London, Music, Sadiq Khan, Talawa Theatre Company, Turf Projects and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Mayor Khan reveals brand identity for Borough of Culture 2023

  1. derekthrower says:

    How can a bankrupt Council be a borough that is going to provide a year long event of cultural?
    Perhaps the Mozart players should change their composition to the Oratorio of Wishful Thinking?

  2. Ignoring the fact that has been and is more to Croydon’s culture than simply music, and that attending the BRIT School (e.g. Leona) does not in anyway make you a Croydonian IMHO, the first thing the MOC needs to do is get hold of a copy of Chris Grooms’s excellent Rockin’ (and around) Croydon otherwise, going by the above, the Music Heritage Trail might be a short one.

    And while it’s entirely right and proper to acknowledge Croydon’s place in the development of grime, bashment and dubstep, the MOC would do well (unlike its website) to ignore – or even distance itself from – drill.

    While its certainly reflective of the culture and ‘lived experience’ of some people in the ends, it (its content and ethic, at least) is not something to be celebrated.

    Studied and understood yes, celebrated no.

    There’s enough actual kweffing and cheffing and chinging going on out there without promoting those lauding it with their toxic output.

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    Quite a good and talented mix there is in the groups. There does appear to be cultural gaps in the representation so far so some reason but I am sure they will be filled by the steering group by next year.

    I do have a concern that there may not be funding in place to showcase everything properly.
    I also wonder if with the cuts some of the intended venue’s, providers, suppliers etc will still be in business by the time events are due to happen.

    A real concern is when local Government has failed, confidence goes. Sadly here it has failed so completely and it continues to fail. But it still fails to tell the public the whole truth.
    So people are moving on.

    They shop at Bromley, London in fact so many are doing the ABC (Anywhere But Croydon) shuffle.
    That includes business, and not just retailers. After all when in a high cost area with low footfall – those that can, move to lower cost and higher footfall areas.

    If we are bringing people back as we should it needs proper services to meet the increased demand.
    Frankly that requires logisitcal planning and facilitation that is way beyond the competence of this administration to deliver due to its cuts alone.

    So what will Mr Stranack be saying to the Mayor and Improvement Board to rectify that?
    Will there be some changes and investment to allow a regrowth from a broke Council?
    Will there be some reverse in cuts by the Improvement Board?

    Perhaps not.

    Maybe funding from all sources should be ring fenced (definitely not with Croydon Councils Accounts) so that surety can be given to those facilitating events – including Charities that bring Volunteers and a team spirit and togetherness to events.

  4. Lewis White says:

    The rail service to London is so good nowadays, that it takes barely more– or even less time — to get up to the cultural heart of London round Charing Cross, the South Bank/ London Bridge area and Victoria etc, than it takes people from North and South Croydon to get into Croydon. The River Thames is a big part of its attraction.

    Culture is a social thing– normally accompanied by the social culture of food and drink and socialising.

    Was it the National Gallery which was described as “Ace caff with gallery attached”?

    The beauty, diversity and human scale of London and its mainly, low-medium rise architecture and parks, shows central Croydon with its tower bocks, and barely more than two-dimensional street layout of High Street and shopping centres to be rather windswept and dull.

    People like to go where other people go—-who wants to go to an empty pub ?
    Currently, Croydon is still like a Polo– a hole in the middle with sugar round the outside.

    Looking back at the 19th and early 20th Century, in common with most of the rest of the urban UK, Croydon had music halls, theatres and cinemas.

    By the 50’s, the high street theatres had died out…. in the last part of the 2oth C we lost most cinemas. Purley had 2–now nil.

    Did TV kill it all off– instead of going dancing, do we prefer to watch others on “Strictly”???

    It seems to me that there have been Croydon cultural nuggets over the years, like the Warehouse Theatre. Gone. There are brave initiatives in the Surrey Street area, and Whitgift, but they are operating in the vacuum that is current Croydon.

    Youth culture- evidenced by discotheques and clubs– seems to have seriously waned too. Is Box Park and Valley Park the current place to go?

    The most interesting area of Croydon in terms of character seems to be the High Street down to the Minster area. It’s more intimate in scale. In Spain it would be full of little bars.

    The Minster itself offers so much culture, and beautiful music and singing. If only more people beacame aware of the riches it offers, spiritual-music-cultural.

    All I can hope is that, in the many tower blocks of new Croydon, come to live many people from Hong Kong, so that we end up with lost of people in the town centre, and loads of decent Chinese restaurants, plus from South America, so we end up with Samba, salsa and other enlivening music.

    Is it Iceland where they turn off the TV once a week? Does that get people dancing in the street and indulging in culture– whether food and drink based fun, or going to a show?

    Are we in the UK, too poor and over-worked, too anxious now to go out, or just too tired? I nearly said “old” but in fact, the retiree age groups seem to go out to see Classical and other Live Music, in local clubs once dubbed “working man’s clubs” to be found in many places across Croydon. Bluegrass in Coulsdon, for example.

    The vitality of Croydon has always been affected by the number of hours that commuters to London have to put in. By the time you get home, you are too tired to go back out. That was my own experience for decades.

    Maybe, with more working from home, some employed people will have more time and energy to go out in the evening, from the suburbs into Croydon centre?.

    A 4 day week (for the same pay) might help, but like many, I can remember the time in the 70’s when experts were predicting that by 2020 we would all have so much leisure time because work would be mechanised and done by robots. Now, we fear the robots will take our jobs away.

    I really hope that the many people who are coming to live in the new blocks of Croydon bring a critical mass of new people who will populate new bars and seek activities in the middle of the town.

    Meanwhile, I have no excuse to sit at home in the evenings- I really ought to get out more, and go to some of the Cultural offerings of Croydon Borough of Culture.

    • It’s Panto Season! Oh yes it is!

      Fairfield Halls panto: some sort of Peter Pan spin-off, “With a star-studded cast, headed up by EastEnders bad boy Ricky Champ” and Gemma Hunt, Mark Rhodes and David Ribi. Tickets: from £20.

      The Palladium panto: Jack and the Beanstalk, with Dawn French, Julian Clary, Alexandra Burke, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot and Paul Zerdin. Tickets: from £22.

      Hmmm. Tough choice…

    • Elarna says:

      Is culture necessarily a social thing? I think I make a mistake myself in thinking about Croydon’s culture and how there is a distinct lack of what I would consider to be culture or yearn for from days past….music, bands, venues for such things, drinking, dancing etc but Croydon has a huge population for which those kind of activities do not appeal or don’t fit with their culture. I’m not sure Croydon supports either very well.

  5. I’m still uneasy about seeing the words ‘Croydon’ and ‘Culture’ linked. ‘Grime’ and ‘Croydon’ yes, but … Great point from Jack that having born in Croydon or just passed through does not make you a ‘Croydonian..

  6. Chris Flynn says:

    Is it a remake of This Is Spinal Tap? Who’s the Nigel Tufnel character?

  7. Pete Jenkins says:

    We mustn’t forget the likes of Croydonian singer/songwriter Ralph McTell.
    He is still going strong and tours extensively. Not at Fairfield recently but the Management have probably never heard of him.

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