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Waltham Forest: The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2019

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Greenaway and Greenaway, Talvin Singh, Addictive TV, Waltham Forest. Photo by Matt Alexander. Image courtesy of The Corner Shop PR
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The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture celebrates Waltham Forest’s cultural heritage, diversity, talent and places, during a 12-month programme of events. Read More


Enjoy a year-long series of events and activities celebrating Waltham Forest and its community, as the area is put in the spotlight as the first ever Mayor’s London Borough of Culture.

Throughout 2019, you can find activities in this north-east London area built around three key themes: makers, radicals and fellowship. You’ll discover events showcasing radical thinkers in the community, activities highlighting creative industries and initiatives bringing the local community together. 

Highlights of Waltham Forest’s 2019 programme

  • See the town hall transformed by a spectacular audio-visual show from award-winning local artists as part of the three-day Welcome to the Forest opening event. 11-13 Jan
  • Enjoy the smooth sounds of the Waltham Forest Jazz Festival, featuring top musicians and rising stars. 16 Feb
  • Experience a collaboration of African and Western musicians at Africa Express: Together, featuring local star Damon Albarn. 29 Mar
  • Head to the Chingford May Day Fayre celebrations, part of The People’s Forest season, and enjoy a collective bike ride over Chingford Plain. 4 May
  • Feel inspired as Walthamstow hosts Art Night, an all-night festival of art, featuring a series of new commissions inspired by the local area. 22 Jun
  • Enjoy a global lineup of music, theatre, dance, circus and spoken word acts alongside craft activities, food and drink at the Walthamstow Garden Party. 13-14 Jul
  • Celebrate homegrown talent at this year's Chingfest, with a line up full of local artists including headliner NAO, performances and talks. 31 Aug
  • Watch local and international films in unexpected places during Leytonstone Loves Film, which also includes workshops, activities and music. 27-29 Sep
  • Open your ears to a series of sound art and listening events during the We're All Bats programme. 5 Oct-3 Nov
  • Visit the William Morris Gallery to celebrate the Bauhaus centenary in the first UK exhibition of its kind. 19 Oct-26 Jan
  • Celebrate the work of deaf and disabled artists at Liberty Festival, with British Sign Language performances, talks and cutting-edge installations. 23-24 Nov
  • Give a grand send off to Waltham Forest as the first London Borough of Culture at Forest Uprising and marvel at illuminated installations of tree-like structures in a stunning winter garden designed by Block9. 13-15 Dec

What is The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture?

Introduced by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2017, The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award offers more than £1m of funding for two boroughs to host a range of cultural events, activities and initiatives over a whole year. 

Waltham Forest was named The Mayor's London Borough of Culture for 2019, and Brent in north-west London won the award for 2020. The two winning boroughs were selected from a competition that was open to all London boroughs.

The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award brings Londoners together. Putting culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs. Shining a light on the character and diversity of London’s boroughs and showing culture is for everyone.

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