British Queen celebrates

The London Borough of Croydon has announced a year-long programme of music and art events as part of its designation as London Borough of Culture for 2023. The events, which will run

from April 2023 until March 2024, have been arranged by This is Croydon, a partnership between residents, cultural groups, and the council.

The programme aims to showcase the people of Croydon and will begin with the Oratorio of Hope at Fairfield Halls in April. The performance will be led by the London Mozart Players and Grammy-nominated Croydon-educated Tarik O'Regan, and will feature more than 250 of the borough's young singers and instrumentalists.

Other events will include the Caribbean Influencers exhibition, developed by the Museum of Croydon, the National Portrait Gallery, artists, volunteers, and the borough's Poet Laureate Shaniqua Benjamin. The programme will also feature a Music Heritage Trail and the first play about Croydon's black composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, premiering in June.

Croydon, which is home to artists Stormzy and Loyle Carner, will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with a range of events. Pollock's Toy Museum, which was forced to close earlier this year, will pop up in the Whitgift Centre, and the Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra will return to the UK for the first time in 20 years for a concert.

Caterina Loriggio, creative consultant for Croydon London Borough of Culture, said she hoped the year of events would "enable change". The London Borough of Culture programme is a cultural policy from the mayor of London, supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Executive Mayor Jason Perry expressed his excitement about the programme, saying it was a chance to showcase the people of Croydon. He encouraged residents and visitors to get involved in the events and explore the borough's unique identity.

The year of events will culminate in March 2024, with a closing ceremony featuring a mass participation event involving Croydon's diverse communities. The event will celebrate the borough's creativity and cultural richness, bringing together residents and visitors for a memorable finale to the year of events.

The London Borough of Culture programme is an initiative designed to celebrate the unique character of London's different boroughs. It aims to promote culture as a driver of economic growth, and to showcase the creativity and diversity of London's communities. Croydon is the fourth borough to be awarded the designation, following Waltham Forest in 2019, Brent in 2020, and Lewisham in 2021. Photo by Ross Burgess, Wikimedia commons.