climate / Culture

Our future: Arcadia festival

28 March 2024

Over the last few seasons, we’ve had a bit of a gap in our climate series where we discuss the climate crisis with Croydon organisations and individuals. This was mainly because of our Borough of Culture coverage, but this week’s feature neatly ties them both together, as we look at the programme for Arcadia – an arts festival that responds to the climate crisis. This takes place at Stanley Arts next week (from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 April).

We chat with the festival producer, Kay Michael, to find out more.

Croydonist: To whet our readers’ appetites, what can they expect from a visit to Arcadia in one sentence?

Kay: A joyful, colourful and provocative venue take-over of local responses to the climate and nature crisis, with site-specific performances, practical green action, nature trails and a hip-hop fuelled Saturday night party!

Croydonist: How did Arcadia come about, and how long has it been in the planning?

Kay: Arcadia has been in the planning for about a year, and was designed as an opportunity primarily for young people to get active in response to the climate crisis via the arts. It’s a part of the legacy of the London Borough of Culture where we’re imagining what systems change can look like for Croydon. The model has always been one of co-creation: young people have been leading on the creative content whilst receiving professional training. The young are inheriting the Earth, so we’ve really been led by their creative voice and what they have to say in response to the climate and nature crisis.

Croydonist: What are you particularly looking forward to about the festival?

Kay: Saturday is going to be filled with so much activity. We have a market place in the daytime showcasing a range of local climate and nature action groups; we have gardening sessions and climate workshops for all the family. And our headline act in the evening is by Complicité Theatre: I May Destroy You actor Fehinti Balogin is presenting his acclaimed Can I Live? digital performance in which he shares his personal journey into the climate crisis, with spoken word, rap, theatre, animation and the scientific facts. It will be followed by a Q&A with Fehinti himself, as well as other leading artist-activists and young people, before we the end the night with an open jam led by the Hip Hop Garden, featuring KMT Freedom Teacher,  award-winning Afrofusion Hip Hop artist MoYah and Amy True, who with her band performs a politicised fusion of hip hop, jazz and soul.

Croydonist: What do you hope Arcadia will do for Croydon?

Kay: We hope it will fuel a re-imagining of Croydon as a centre for leading community action in response to the environmental and social crises we face. Croydon is still one of the most green boroughs in London, and Arcadia is celebrating that and connecting more people to the wonders and transformative powers of nature so we can bring about a better future.

Thank you to Kay for chatting with us. Check out the full Arcadia programme of free and low price events, and book tickets here

Images courtesy of Arcadia. From top: (first strip) Amy True; BirdGang by Vipul Sangoi; Croydon Beekeepers Association; (second image) filmed production, Complicité’s Can I Live with Fehinti Balogun © Photo by David Hewitt; (third strip) Croydon Community Energy; Ian Solomon Kawall; Lira Valencia.

Posted by Julia

If you missed the other features in our Croydonist climate series you can read them below.

First in our Croydonist climate series was fashion, with Croydon Community Clothes Exchange – read it again here.
Second in our Croydonist climate series was travel, with eco-conscious luggage brand OneNine5 – read it again here.
Third in our Croydonist climate series was pets, with eco pet food brand Scrumbles – read it again here.
Fourth in our Croydonist climate series was art, with Tina Crawford’s ‘What a Waste’ exhibition – read it again here.
Fifth in our Croydonist climate series was shopping, with refill shops ‘Pedrick’s Zero Waste Shop’ and ‘Roots & Cycles’ – read it again here.
Sixth in our Croydonist climate series was party gifts with Plastic Free Party bags – read it again here.
Seventh in our Croydonist climate series was eco textile plant pot brand Knttd – read it again here.
Eighth in our Croydonist climate series was climate-smart coffee company Coromandel Coast – read it again here.
Ninth in our Croydonist climate series was local environmental group Croydon Climate Action – read it again here.
Tenth in our Croydonist climate series was the eco-community art project Norwood Junkaction – read it again here.
Eleventh in our Croydonist climate series was the eco-friendly wrapping paper company Deleco – read it again here.
Twelfth in our Croydonist climate series was Aycorn Garden Design – read it again here.
Thirteenth in our Croydonist climate series was microgreens business Hamsey Greens – read it again here.
Fourteenth in our Croydonist climate series was about Sustainable Thornton Heath – read it again here.

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