A programme of events celebrating the community and heritage of South Norwood in Croydon has been launched.

Stanley Arts has put together the nine month festival, Stanley Stories, ahead of the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Stanley Halls, and Croydon’s year as London Borough of Culture.

The Stanley Halls were built 1903-1909 by inventor, manufacturer and philanthropist William F Stanley and has seen on its stage Samuel Coleridge-Taylor & W.Y. Hurlstone, Shirley Bassey, Matt Munro, and speakers Harold Wilson and John Smith.

It is also the 100th anniversary of Alice Abadam, president of the National Women’s Suffrage Society and resident of Upper Norwood, appearing at the venue to argue the case for women’s right to vote.

The full launch of the programme runs from early July 2022 to February 2023, and includes the Stanley Stories Community Festival, a takeover of the Stanley Arts building which has been created alongside partners including Kew Gardens, Zoo Co Theatre and Maya Productions.

A 3D online tour of Stanley Arts and its hidden stories, alongside events for children and adults will continue over the whole of the Summer and Autumn, and sculpture workshops with local schools.

Dr Daniel Winder, Stanley Arts Venue Director, said: “We’re looking forward to helping people get involved with the heritage of our wonderful idiosyncratic building & the people whose lives it’s touched. Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do, so we’ve put together a varied programme with lots of fun ways to participate, where everyone should be able to find something to join in with. “

The programme has been backed by a £235,710 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which will also be used to “make Stanley Arts greener and more accessible to the whole community”.

Stuart McLeod, Director England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said the programme “will strengthen the community by helping local people better understand their heritage and history.

“It is a great way of bringing people together and creating a sense of pride of place, that in turn can deliver wider economic benefits.”

Art Fund – News
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