Woolwich Works, the city’s latest cultural hub, will be host to a variety of major new music, dance, theatre and art productions alongside workshops and classes for the community with artists ranging from Ashley Henry, Afrikan Boy, Sara Pascoe and Reg D Hunter
Launching September 23rd 2021
Opening on the Royal Arsenal this September, new cultural district Woolwich Works is thrilled to announce the first wave of its programme of unique live shows, art exhibitions and first class workshops from world renowned artists; a reflection of Woolwich Works’ commitment to championing new, diverse and local talent. For more information on all events taking place, visit www.woolwich.works.
Kicking off the schedule is acclaimed jazz musician Ashley Henry, who will bring his refreshing fusion of jazz, hip-hop and pop to quarterly Jam Nights (30th September) with soulful music and good vibes. South Londoner Ashley will be joined by special guests of the likes of musician Emma-Jean Thackray and many others.
Beezkat (30th September) will close Woolwich Work’s first month with their synth alt-pop. Beezkat is the much-anticipated solo venture of South-London based composer Finlay Crowther, who after working with artists like Imagination, Odyssey, Hans Zimmer, Shabaka Hutchings Ron Pope is now embarking on his own journey.
Woolwich Works’ Black History Month programme will celebrate black artists across different art forms, as well as reflecting the Royal Borough of Greenwich's diverse community. The new cultural hub will be working with artists from places including Mali, Nigeria and Cape Verde to celebrate; making a clear line-up of music performances which is reflective of not just Woolwich’s community, but the surrounding areas, such as Thamesmead and other towns within the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Kicking off the Black History Month programme at Woolwich Works is Black in Full Colour by The Collective Makers (1st-31st October); an exhibition by emerging local black artists celebrating their heritage and culture. Led by two local emerging visual artists, Lison Sabrina Musset and Joseph Ijoyem want to create opportunities within the community and are calling all local artists to enter an open-call for a chance for their work to be featured in the exhibition.
The programme will include bringing together Tommy Blaize and Reginald D Hunter (6th October), two of the country’s most distinctive and soulful voices, and the 24-piece big band of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) for a unique performance celebrating the work of legendary soul singer and author, Gil Scott-Heron.
Artist Tommy Blaize, says:
“I’m very excited to be a part of the inaugural programme at this brand new live music and arts venue in South-East London, and to be celebrating the music of such an important artist.”
Also performing that weekend is Lewisham local, Shingai, the legendary front woman and bassist from the platinum selling band Noisettes (‘Never Forget You’). She will be performing her debut solo album “Too Bold”, a sound inspired by her London, Bantu and Zimbabwean heritage, which gives it an effervescent soundscape, fearlessly infused with a soulful yet spontaneous spirit, which is both electrifying and compelling.
Continuing the programme is Soothsayers (9th October) who take inspiration from Afrobeat; collaborating with South African township musicians to create their energetic, reggae fusion. Combining visual theatre and physical dance, The PappyShow presents GIRLS (10th - 12th October); exploring the pressures of contemporary femininity through the lives of nanas, mothers, aunties, friends and lovers. Specifically on October 11th, GIRLS will be helping Woolwich Works celebrate International Day of the Girl - a day that was founded to increase awareness of issues faced by girls all around the world.
Folkloric West African music collides with jazz and the sounds of Black London with 16-piece Balimaya Project’s (16th October) unique and vibrant style of music. Saxophonist Bukky Leo & Black Egypt (23rd October) with a showcase of their signature jazz and afrobeat style, perform music rich with Nigerian roots.
Closing the programme and combining Cape Verdean music with traditional jazz, Woolwich residents Carmen Souza & Theo Pascal’s free workshop (30th October) will form part of the regular ‘Café Conversations’ series, followed by an evening performance.
Woolwich-born MC Afrikan Boy, a friend and supporter of the project, says: “Woolwich Works is like a breath of fresh air in Woolwich. As a local artist and youth worker I believe this space is going to hugely benefit the community it is nestled in. Large open spaces and professional grade studios will open the opportunities for young creatives.”
Looking for family friendly events? Join Baby Gospel (13th November) for an uplifting concert of soul, motown and gospel music, featuring the vocal talents of London’s CK Gospel Choir. Resident artists Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair will also take over the Main Space (10th-14th November) where visitors can learn about artistic processes and discover new artists.
Paving the way for a greater gender balanced and diverse jazz scene is Woolwich Works’ own womxn-led jazz series curated in collaboration with Par Pascal. The W.led.Jazz Series (16th-17th November) has been curated to help recognise and celebrate womxn’s contribution to the industry. Artists like Raquel Martins, Plumm, Sarah
Tandy, COLECTIVA, Ms Maurice and Rosie Fratory-Taylor will unite for an evening of contemporary jazz.
Experience Live at The Works With Sara Pascoe and stand-up master Ed Gamble for a mixed-bill stand-up night (20th November) which will leave you laughing the restored walls down. Jazznewblood will present their annual showcase (20th November), providing a stage for six artists to present their original music.
Based on the world-famous story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (2nd-4th December) is brought to life using Protein’s award-winning mix of dance, humour and spoken word.
Finally, enjoy a high energy Christmas Weekender with comedian Luisa Omielan’s show (12th,13th and 14th December) and Grotteaux, a high-end cabaret show from Shotgun Carousel (16th December-8th January) with their signature queer, punk, party atmosphere - think a riotous spectacle of live music, lip syncing and circus.
James Heaton, Woolwich Works Chief Executive, comments: “The objectives for Woolwich Works are wide and varied, but whether looking at jobs and skills, economic impact, inclusion, education or inspiration, there is no arts centre without artists. As we announce our first performances and events I’m not only excited about them themselves, but for the huge potential for Woolwich Works to contribute to building a brighter future, for Greenwich and London that doing so starts to unlock.”
Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Danny Thorpe: “Woolwich is the civic and cultural centre of the borough, and now it will be an arts destination for people from across London, England and beyond. People have long said that London is shifting east, and to be opening Woolwich Works in our part of the city is further proof of that. I passionately believe that the arts and culture should be accessible for people from all walks of life, and I’m really pleased that our residents, community groups and schools will be able to make the most of such brilliant opportunities.”
- Ashley Henry on Thursday 30th September 2021, Thursday 24th February 2022, Thursday 26th May 2022, Thursday 25th August 2022 - £15 - Main Space
- Beezkat on Thursday 30th September 2021, £10.50 - Knight Gallery
- Tommy Blaize, Reginald D. Hunter & NYJO play Gil Scott-Heron, Wednesday 6th October 2021, from £15.00, Main Space
- Shingai on Friday 8th October - £20, £25, £30 - Main Space
- Adriano Adewale’s Catapluf on Saturday 9th October - £12, or a family ticket at £40 - Stonecutters and Ropekeepers
- Soothsayers on Saturday 9th October - £15 - Main Space
- Malika’s Poetry Kitchen on Sunday 10th October 2021 - £10 - Beanfeast
- GIRLS from the 10th - 12th October 2021 - £15 - Ropekeepers and Stonecutters
- Balimaya Project on Saturday 16th October - £12.50 - Stonecutters & Ropekeepers Studio
- Bucky Leo & Black Egypt on Saturday 23rd October - £15 - Knightgallery
- Carmen Souza on Saturday 30th October - £12.50 - Café (workshop), Knightgallery (evening Performance)
- Extraordinary Bodies, Human 5th and 6th November 2021 - TBC - Main Space
- Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair from 10th - 14th November 2021 - TBC - Main Space
- Baby Gospel on Saturday 13th November 2021 - £10 (under 6 months go free) - Knightgallery
- W.LedJazz Series on Wednesday 16th and 17th November 2021 - £16.50 - Main Space
- Live At The Works with Sara Pascoe on Saturday 20th November 2021 - Band A at £26, Band B at £24, Band C and RV at £20 - Main Space
- Jazznewblood on Saturday 20th November - £10 - Knightgallery
- Junior Trinity Laban on Sunday 28th November 2021 - £10 per concert (concessions around 50%), or £17 for both (again, concessions apply) - Main Space
- The Little Prince from 2nd - 4th December 2021 - TBC - Main Space
- Louise Oisleman on 10th, 11th and 12th December - £20 - Main Space
- Shotgun Carousel from 16th December – 8th January 2021 (including days off) - £15 to £50 (TBC) - Main Space
Woolwich Works is a landmark, multi-million pound restoration project by Royal Borough of Greenwich to transform the historic site of Royal Arsenal into a new 15,000sqm creative district for London. A multi-disciplinary arts hub, the site will include theatres, concert venues, dance studios, a recording studio, offices and places to entertain. The flexible spaces provide opportunities for public interaction, training and education, as well as being available to hire for weddings, parties, conferences, community meetings and events. The district will support the local community, enabling people to realise their creative potential, providing a platform for emerging talent, creating and delivering work-based learning, and supporting cultural and community organisations and initiatives.
The site is also the new home for immersive theatre pioneers Punchdrunk, as well as other resident artistic companies National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, Protein Dance and Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair. The project, with the launch of Crossrail, will have a significant economic impact on Woolwich and the surrounding borough when it opens in September 2021. Woolwich Works will be managed by an independent trust, Woolwich Creative District Trust, when work is completed and is chaired by Valerie Vaughan-Dick, with James Heaton as Chief Executive.