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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Stanley Arts announces arts festival that responds to climate crisis

Arcadia is a creative and interactive festival sparking conversation, the imagination and activism to ‘re-forest’ our minds and places. Over four days, Stanley Arts will be taken over by young people’s response to the climate crisis, imagining a future in harmony with balance and nature. With many free events and activities, the festival features performances, film screenings – including headliner Can I Live? presented by Complicité – live music, guest speakers, eco-activities, dance, and ends in a colourful Holi celebration. Arcadia is presented as part of the legacy of Croydon Borough of Culture, and marks the venue joining the network Culture Declares Emergency in declaring climate and ecological emergency.

The festival is presented in five strands:

  • Performances: three promenade performances and experiences made by local young people with Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation, BirdGang and Syrus Consultancy including theatre, film and dance. Taking place twice a day from 4 – 6 April, the shows will travel around different spaces in the venue to explore the seasons, the elements and the impact of climate crisis on individual lives.

  • Installations: two installations will be open throughout the festival, both created with young people from Croydon. Cultivate Croydon, made by Croydon Youth Association, is a visual and textual arts exploration of what Croydon’s green space means to the borough, and HUH?!, made by Boundless Theatre, is a playful installation asking audiences to decode a communication from another planet.

  • We are the Forest: Marketplace, Workshops + Gardening: the whole day of 6th April will be an eclectic mix of activities for all ages. Attendees can connect with local climate and nature groups, learn about bike fixing and beekeeping, enjoy vegan and vegetarian food, gain tips in how to make their homes more sustainable and get into gardening.

  • Can I Live? Film Screening, Q&A + Party: inspired by Fehinti Balogun’s experiences in environmental activism, Can I Live? is a specially filmed performance prompting an urgent conversation about the lack of diversity at the heart of the British climate movement. Balogun (I May Destroy You) is an actor, writer and activist, and now delivers his energising exploration of where the climate emergency and social justice meet. Using rap, spoken word and theatre, it is a call-to-arms to anyone who may have felt excluded from activism or anyone curious about how to get involved. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Fehinti Balogun, eco artist Ian Solomon-Kawall (KMT Freedom Teacher), co-founder of Culture Declares Emergency Kay Michael and Arcadia young artists on the climate, activism and the arts. The evening will end with live music curated by the Hip Hop Garden, including Amy True, fusing rap, jazz and soul.

  • Spring into Action: Nature, Colour + Festivities: A collaboration with Beeja Dance to mark the arrival of spring and the joyous spirit of Holi with colour, music, dance, food and festivities. From mesmerising dance performances by both local and national companies to captivating music acts, a special exhibition, exhilarating workshops, food, and, of course, the thrill of playing with colours. Nature trails will be lead by Lira Valencia (@outsidewithlira) and journalist and cultural historian Chris Schüler, author of ‘The Wood That Built London’ to partake in tree-care activity and learn about the ancient Great North Wood.

Kay Michael, co-producer of Arcadia, said “Climate change and biodiversity loss is here and isn’t slowing down. We’re facing this head-on by galvanising our local community of artists, creative partners, young people and activists to imagine what a greener, healthier and fairer future looks like and how we can get there. Arcadia is a mythological utopia, a golden age of peace, harmony and prosperity for all.  We’re drawing on this vision of a green paradise, and centering young people’s responses to it, rooted in the locality, history and cultural diversity of Croydon, one of London’s greenest boroughs. We’re excited to see what comes next.”

Stanley Arts is one of South London’s premiere arts and performance venues, providing their local community with a vital home for cultural expression and discovery. As a radically inclusive space they seek to foreground under-represented voices, providing artists of colour and LGBTQ+ creatives with a platform to reach out to audiences across South London and beyond.

Programme and tickets are available at


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