There’s something for everyone to enjoy in our year of Culture

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The council’s cabinet member responsible for the arts, Councillor ANDY STRANACK, pictured above (he’s the one not wearing a tracksuit) outlines his plans for the Borough of Culture

Last weekend saw the launch of This is Croydon, a year-long celebration of the diverse communities and cultures that make up Croydon.

The first weekend of events saw Fairfield Halls buzzing with a concert hosted by London Mozart Players and combining different genres of music, visual and performing arts showcasing the very best talent that makes up Croydon. As Inside Croydon states, the standing ovation was well-deserved, and the four-star review in The Times summed it up rather well: “Oratorio of Hope – could this be a new start for Croydon?”

This is Croydon is a big, bold and cross-cultural celebration of the borough’s unique identity, heritage and character. Running until March 2024, it will celebrate Croydon as London’s most innovative and dynamic borough.

Four-star review: The Times was impressed with last weekend’s Oratorio opener

The programme is headlined with new events and commissions from leading international artists and emerging home-grown talent. It includes year-long schemes to enable sector development and more than 40 projects of varying scales supported via the This is Croydon Ignite fund.

The programme continues to develop; still to come is the announcement of a small grant scheme and community join-in programmes which will enable hundreds of grassroots activities led by organisations in every corner of the borough to take part.

But This is Croydon is more than a series of events, it is shining a spotlight on the creative and cultural sectors across Croydon. It has attracted nearly £4million of investment into the town through direct grants from the Mayor of London, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

There are now six Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations based in Croydon (previously there had only been one) – this also represents millions of pounds worth of new investment for the borough. The key role of National Portfolio Organisations is to develop cultural infrastructure and networks around Croydon, and this investment will boost the cultural sector across the town in the years ahead.

What’s more, Arts Council England has made Croydon a priority place for funding, so we should expect to see investment continuing long after the year of culture is over.

In tune: the year-long festival promises to offer a wide range of events

The development of the London Borough of Culture has been a true partnership between the council, the cultural sector and key businesses across Croydon. A steering group of more than 30 cultural organisations has developed the programme and the Croydon Cultural network, which includes more than 600 individuals, has acted as a sounding board. Through the Croydon BID and Purley BID and Crystal Palace Football Club, the business community are playing a key role in making the year-long celebration a success.

The series of events will launch music and heritage trails across the town, new productions, public art, street festivals, parties in parks and performances by international acts.

To keep up to date with everything that is going on throughout the year, please visit and sign up to the various social media channels. The vast majority of events will be free and the rich diversity of events means that there should be something for everyone to enjoy.

  • Andy Stranack is the Conservative Party councillor for Selsdon Vale and Forestdale ward and cabinet member for communities and culture

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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
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3 Responses to There’s something for everyone to enjoy in our year of Culture

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    Thankfully it will celebrate Croydon as London’s most innovative and dynamic borough.
    Not the innovative ways the Conservative Government non funded the Borough for a decade, not the dynamic way Fisher and Newman used to piss a billion plus into the ether.

    Although 8 times the money spent on a whole Negrini -over a thousand million times more beneficial. Hows that for max bang on the buck!

    A big welcome to the new organisation in the Borough – and despite the reputation it is only some types of creativity we hate – you know like creative accounting, debt, planning under HC, creative avoidance of tax raising referendums, creative liars, bullying discrimitive cultures, artful dodging mayors – ok maybe there was a reason we won so many rotton borough awards.

    But we have a lot of well meaning and helpful people who could do with a bit of cheering up as we have been starved. And the sun is shining now

    Looking forward to lots of fun and ideas.

  2. Gill Millman says:

    I think so many people just don’t care as they struggle to get by and now this 15% hike in council tax with no real fight back from the Labour group🤷🏼‍♀️

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    One month into the year of Culture and nothing has grabbed my interest yet – 11 months to go?

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