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Make Hammersmith & Fulham the capital of London culture

Categoriesnews Arts and parksnews

Image captionImage 1: Sergo Vares and Charlotte Josephine in Secret Theatre: Show 4 at the Lyric, Hammersmith

Our bid to be the next London Borough of Culture is unveiled today, as Hammersmith & Fulham trumpets its claim to be king of the capital’s arts world in 2019 or 2020.

For rich cultural diversity, vibrant theatre, musical variety and stimulating youth projects, H&F is already ahead of the field, channelling the energy of a thousand different arts groups into a buzzy scene which inspires others to get involved.

Culture in Hammersmith & Fulham is extraordinary: but we want it to be bigger, better and louder. If H&F wins the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture competition for either 2019 or 2020, it will:

  • build a Cultural Capital for West London in H&F
  • produce the best art and enable the best artistic talent to grow
  • ensure everyone has their lives enriched by the arts.

Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said he believed the borough had the foundations in place to make the most of a London Borough of Culture bid. “We are working to make H&F one of the best places to work, live and socialise in Europe, and our heritage and arts venues give us an edge,” he said.

“Winning the bid for 2019 or 2020 would allow us to build on the arts scene generated by our existing facilities and inspire other Londoners – and people from the UK, Europe and further afield – to share what we are able to offer.”

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Image caption: Image 2: Nas performing at Under the Bridge in Fulham

Get cultured

The borough already has the basics in place to maximise the possibilities that a London Borough of Culture designation offers.

Artistic endeavours underpin the dynamic local economy, with the council’s collaborative new arts strategy (pdf) designed to put culture at the heart of policy-making.

The core aims of the council’s new Arts Strategy include:

  • Destination: Boosting the local economy by developing and promoting a thriving borough for the arts
  • Creation: Supporting people to create and produce excellent art of all kinds
  • Inclusion: Giving residents from a wide range of backgrounds more opportunity to experience and participate in artistic and cultural activity.

World-class venues

Hammersmith & Fulham already boasts world-class venues for theatre, music and dance, including Lyric Hammersmith, Bush Theatre, Fulham Palace, the Eventim Apollo, the Bhavan Centre, Bush Hall, the Irish Cultural Centre, the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, LAMDA, the Carne Studio Theatre, Sainsbury Theatre and Under the Bridge.

“We are proud to call Hammersmith our home and to be part of the vibrant west London arts scene supported by H&F Council,” said Sian Alexander, Executive Director of the Lyric Hammersmith. “We fully endorse their bid for London’s Borough of Culture, which will enable them to inspire even more Londoners, national and international visitors through the arts.”

And Joanna Read, Principal of LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) said: “We’re proud to have contributed to H&F’s richly diverse cultural and creative scene for over 150 years. We are delighted to fully support its bid to become London’s Borough of Culture.”

While Siân Harrington, Chief Executive of the Fulham Palace Trust, said: “Fulham Palace is delighted to back Hammersmith & Fulham’s bid to be the London Borough of Culture. As the Bishop of London’s former Summer home, we want to engage with as many people as possible and provide an insight into over 1,300 years of English history, so this seems like a wonderful opportunity to share the area’s rich cultural history and stories.”

We need you

Winning the bid to become London’s 2019-20 Borough of Culture would give a tremendous boost to existing drives to involve more residents in the arts, drawing on the pool of local talent and expertise to bring together diverse communities and celebrate worldwide culture.

If the bid is successful, a year-long calendar of events will be created using the £1.1million of fresh funding, aimed at bringing people together and acting as a springboard to create full-time jobs for young people, and mentoring programmes around the existing theatre, film, music and art centres of excellence.

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Image caption: Image 3: Bhavan dancers performing at Westfield shopping centre in White City