Diversity to be celebrated at Croydon’s first Festival of Peace

The founder of Croydon’s inaugural Festival of Peace hopes the event can celebrate the rich diversity of the borough.

During the centenary year of the end of WWI, the event organisers are inviting the public to be involved in a cross-cultural, cross-arts, interfaith celebration of Peace.

Sponsors and supporters behind the event include Croydon Council, Arts Council England, the Mayor of London and the London Mozart Players (LMP).

Festival Director Katie Rose said: “Croydon is rich, diverse and has so much going on here; it’s an amazing and underestimated community.

“It’s really great to celebrate that in a week and highlight some of the organisations that have been working to try and create more peace in the community.

“I think people understand, in Croydon, that there is a great for coming together because we are diverse.

“When we get together, we get to celebrate our diversity, learn from and experience each other. That builds community cohesion and peacefulness between people.”

The launch will take place within the Summer of Love Festival at Wandle Park on 16 June, where players from the LMP and Ecclesbourne School Choir will lead in singing the peace anthem together.

A finale performance of the anthem will feature a special commission by leading Asian dance specialist Anusha Subramanyam and local dance groups, that will close the Festival of Peace at Park Hill Park on 23 June.

A full week of activities is planned, including a night celebrating Bob Marley’s peaceful legacy, yoga classes, local history presentations, domestic violence awareness events; plus a singing event between acclaimed black British artists Cleveland Watkiss MBE and Randolph Matthews.

Ms Rose added: “We want to celebrate different sectors of the community.

“For instance, artists with asylum seeker backgrounds and learning difficulties are involved; people from a range of different cultures and ethnicities.

“It’s really important that this is an inclusive and participatory festival.

“Randolph and Cleveland are world class vocal artists.

“Those two men being at the centre of this event, in a community which has a very high Afro-Caribbean population, is really important – particularly for our young boys and men who see these creative men being celebrated.”

Julia Desbrulais, Executive Director of LMP, said: “As Croydon’s resident orchestra, the London Mozart Players are thrilled to be at the heart of this festival, bringing together the community and using the common language of music to express a shared desire for peace.”

Croydon Council’s Creative Director Paula Murray added: “This will be a lovely new event for Croydon and with a focus that is really positive and inclusive. It is a refreshingly different event to have in the centenary year of the end of the Great War, an event that highlights the importance of peace.”

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