Mayor backs new drive to bring arts and culture to more Londoners

06 September 2013

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has welcomed an ambitious new initiative, which will see leading arts venues around the capital bringing newly commissioned outdoor theatrical work to local high streets.

'Spin Cycle' has been created by acclaimed UK company Emergency Exit Arts and is the first show to be commissioned by Circulate, a consortium set up to develop an outdoor arts network in outer London and build on the successes of the London 2012 Festival.

Six organisations are involved in the new consortium, which is supported by Arts Council England: The Albany in Deptford; Tara Arts, Earlsfield; Watermans, Brentford; Harrow Arts Centre; Millfield Arts Centre, Enfield; and artsdepot, Finchley. The first commission Spin Cycle is a lively and humorous musical-on -the-move, with a cast of circus aerialists, dancers, singers, local young performers and a 30-foot 'mountain of more'. The show is aimed at the whole family and comes with a message. It tells the story of a game show and its panel of competitors, each going on an extreme shopping spree and trying to win the 'ultimate luxury lifestyle'. The fantasy fable fuses physical performance with street theatre and the audience is encouraged to take part over the course of the next few weeks, into November.

A significant element of Spin Cycle is the involvement of young people. Over the past few months Emergency Exit Arts has been training forty young Londoners to help lead performances as 'Spinners' through its Street Arts Academy scheme, which helps youngsters develop skills in outdoor arts and performance. They will help guide audience members as they go on a journey through the streets to meet the ultimate game show hosted by the Spin Cycle Supremo.

The first performance will take place this Saturday 7 September at 3pm in Giffin Square, Deptford, staged with The Albany. Subsequent performances, staged with other members of the Circulate consortium, will take place at other locations in outer London over the next few weeks into November.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Culture has a critical role to play in the success of our city, helping to breathe new life into local high streets and I am delighted to support this exciting new initiative bringing cultural activity to outer London. The London 2012 Festival was extraordinarily successful, involving millions of people across the capital. It wasn't just the big events that captured people's imaginations, it was also smaller local events in high streets, town centres and parks that added to the magic. Circulate builds on that momentum and, as well as entertaining audiences, I hope it will inspire other arts organisations and boroughs to look at how they can create work to enhance our high streets.'

Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: 'Circulate is a really important project that continues the work undertaken during the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Through collaborative working and a variety of activity strands, the six partner organisations will bring a wealth of outdoor performance art to areas of London with relatively limited access to arts and culture. We are delighted to see the first commission, Spin Cycle, from this three year programme of work come to fruition and look forward to seeing future developments. Arts and culture have an important role in making life better for all and we are very pleased to be supporting this project.'

Emergency Exit Art's artistic director, Deb Mullins describes the plot of the new show, which is free to attend: 'Through it's dark humour some difficult questions are asked of the audience and yes, Spin Cycle does feature at least one washing machine!'

The Mayor has published 'Culture on the High Street', a guide to help local authorities, town centre managers and business improvement districts improve the quality and ambition of culture on the high street. Featuring 16 case studies, the guide argues that arts and culture have an important part to play in the regeneration of high streets. www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/events/spin-cycle www.eea.org.uk/whatson/events/spin_cycle/  

Notes to editors

1. The Culture on the High Street guide published by the Greater London Authority can be downloaded from http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/promoting-arts-culture/culture-on-the-high-street

2. More details about Spin Cycle can be found on the Emergency Exit Arts website: www.eea.org.uk/shows/spin_cycle. Dates below. For further information contact [email protected]  or [email protected] .

7 September, 3pm The Albany, Giffin Square, Deptford, SE8 14 September, 7pm Tara Arts, Earlsfield, SW18 21 September, 3pm Trinity Square, Hounslow High Street / Montague Road TW3 28 September, 4pm St Ann's Street / Station Road, Harrow HA1 26 October, 4pm Millfield Arts Centre, Enfield 2 November, 4pm artsdepot, Finchley, N12 0GA

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk