Battersea Arts Centre: celebrating 125 years young during ‘phoenix’ season

The Battersea Arts Centre celebrated 125 years yesterday.
The old town hall works with more than 400 artists to showcase 650 performances a year that are developed in its 80 rooms.
As well as monthly tea dances the centre hosts children’s workshops and even marriages.
A BAC spokesperson said: “Our building had its 125th birthday yesterday, and we held an event to celebrate the historic events over the years, celebrate its new re-opened and revamped state post-fire and look forward to the possibilities it holds for the future.”
In March 2015 a fire destroyed the Grand Hall and after three years of rebuilding the hall was reopened this summer.
The centre began their phoenix season by continuing the run of the aptly named Missing, the production that was stopped when the hall burnt down.
David Jubb, Artistic Director and CEO said: “In the midst of uncertain and often challenging times for many communities in London and beyond, we hope the Phoenix Season will be a reason for tens of thousands of people to come together, rise up and make a difference.”
The centre is an advocate of ‘scratch’, a process where new ideas are tested with members of the public.
They use this feedback to make theatre and develop entrepreneurial ideas with young people.
They host two or three festivals a year, such as the recent UK Beatbox Championship and tour a minimum of 12 shows a year.
From tonight until December 1st the centre will give a world premiere of Superblackman.

UP NEXT: Lekan Lawal performs in Superblackman at Battersea Arts Centre. Photo credit: Wolf Marloh
Described as part show, part gig and part clubnight this production about mental health and representation was created and will be principally performed by Lekan Lawal, the winner of the Stage Debut Director Award 2017.
Lekan is one of three artistic directors working at BAC as part of Up Next, a partnership between the BAC, the Bush Theatre and Artistic Directors of the Future.
A BAC spokesperson said: “Up  Next  is  designed  to  catapult  visionary  artists  of  colour  into  leadership  roles  in  the  UK’s  theatre  industry.”
The production is supported by the Wellcome Trust and uses input from mental health practitioners.
It has been timed to coincide with the government’s review of the Mental Health Act 1983, that will try to find out why ethnic minority groups are more likely to have mental health problems.
From then children aged six or older can attend the Christmas show that unearths the story of Elm House, which once stood where the BAC does today, and Jeanie Nassau Senior who lived there and was an early pioneer of modern foster care.
From December 5th there is a jazz-musical version of Orpheus re-imagining legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt as the lead of a new production.

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