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Community arts festival returns to Peckham

Photo credit: Benedict O'Looney Architects


Community arts festival returns to Peckham

Following the success of the first season last December, Making Connections has returned to The Old Waiting Room with a brand-new series of free and affordable art events.

Running from now until 14th July 2024, this summer’s series will include film screenings, large scale artworks and site-specific theatre, plus several talks and community workshops. Hidden above Peckham Rye station and closed to the public since 1965, The Old Waiting Room has been dormant, derelict and waiting to be repurposed. It sits between two working platforms, with trains and passengers visible beyond its windows. Originally a waiting room, it has been a billiards hall, an illegal rave venue, and a pop-up art space. Making Connections 24 will engage new audiences and maximise the potential of the space as architects, artists and activists reimagine and reinterpret it.

Designed and directed by majority female, marginalised or under-represented artists, Making Connections focuses on community, care and social connection through creative experiences. The series highlights the importance of these narratives and the need to stand together in the face of adversity and conflict. Work presented explores how healing and solidarity have an impact on mental-wellbeing and our sense of belonging. Produced by Lost Text/Found Space, the series aims to be a platform to share and connect, to enable future collaborations in Peckham and beyond.



7th – 14th June, free

Launch event: 7th June, 4-9pm

An exhibition of large-scale canvas by Russian artist Pavel Otdelnov, who moved his family to London on

a Global Talent visa after protesting against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Otdelnov casts an exile’s

jaded eye on his birthplace, uncovering the lives of those who have worked and of those who remain

working in Dzerzhinsk, a Soviet city built on sand, once a chemical capital and now one of Russia’s largest

munitions hubs. Otdelnov’s paintings, which are often populated by ghosts, feel tailor-made for the Old

Waiting room – a space haunted by exoduses. These fantastical ghosts, from his grandmother standing in

what was once her plexiglass workshop to gang members who are now often in positions of power, depict

the toxic legacy that has poisoned the environment. Hometown narrows in on Otdelno’s first London

exhibition, Acting Out, which looked at the wider signs hidden in Russia’s history that led to the ongoing

humanitarian catastrophe.


9th June 5-6pm, free

Svetlana Stephenson, Professor of Sociology at London Metropolitan University and the acclaimed author

of Gangs of Russia, from the streets to the corridors of power, will discuss street gangs with Otdelnov, who

has been a keen observer of the notorious gangs of Dzerzhinsk for many years. In this unique talk he and

Stephenson will discuss why these gangs were so common, their unique nature, how their ethos pervaded

society, and how their members rose to become influential and notable politicians.


Presented within London Festival of Architecture’s ‘South Focus’ week

Thurs 13th June 6-9pm, tickets £6/11.50 price includes free drink and nibbles

An innovative event to explore the Old Waiting Room’s history and its present. A panel discussion will be

followed by a Brief Encounter conversation, which will invite people to hear about the process of

rediscovering the space and the ambitions for its future from the architects, artists and activists involved.

Small, one-to-one conversations with strangers will explore what we can imagine and dream from our

public, civic and community spaces. Chaired by Rumi Bose, the event will feature architect Benny Looney,

and artists/creatives Anna Burns, Pavel Otdelnov and Creative Director Rebecca McCutcheon.


18th – 23rd June, free

Launch event: June 18th, 6-9pm

Peckham-based artist and set designer Anna Burns will question human intuition’s role in the current age

of algorithmic monotony. Apps now tell us when to get up, when to get pregnant, who to date, and what to listen to. Burns urges us to pay attention to our gut – encouraging us all to allow the analogue sound, vibrant

colours, ritualistic iconography and literal spilling of guts to physically move us through a speculative, ritual

space of the future. 13 female doll figures spill their guts and attempt to connect, to tap into an

interconnected, cosmic and divine feminine spectacle.


26th – 30th June, free/PWYC

Junkerry’s Together Apart London preview: 26th June 6 & 8pm

Fulldome Gathering: 28th June 6-9pm

South London based film-maker Em BW curates a four-day immersive 360 dome film festival celebrating

experiences of connection and togetherness. Audio-visual experiences will illuminate the collective space

to explore our mental state with softness, creativity and without judgement. Visitors will step into the

immersive dome and discover untold narratives of female, non-binary and non-human vulnerability.

The film festival also includes the London preview of Junkerry’s Together Apart. This 55-minute immersive

feast unfolds in five chapters, delivering strong positive messages of how we disconnect, divide, belong

and unite. The piece uses music, songs and spoken voices, along with beautiful, intriguing visuals tailored

for the full dome, by artists Alice Kilkenny, Lucy Hardcastle and Natalia Oliwaik to transport audiences into

another reality.


2nd – 14th July, Tuesday – Saturday, 7.30pm (& 4pm matinees Saturday) tickets £22.38/13.70 or PWYC

Press performance: 3rd July 7.30pm

90 mins

A new, site-specific production of Noel Coward’s Still Lives, which inspired the film Brief Encounter.

Directed by Peckham-based Rebecca McCutcheon and adapted by award-winning playwright Dan

Rebellato, this version interweaves Still Lives with Coward’s lesser-known Quadrille, creating a world of

shifting relationships, desires and missed opportunities for love in the comings and goings of a station

platform. Delicately written and deceptively light, the play explores life’s deepest dilemmas, the sliding doors

effect of each of our decisions, which carry us along, away from other lives which might have been. With

an all-female cast playing cross-gender roles, women’s desire and agency is placed at the heart of the

production. With live music, installations and movement, Still Lives will create a world of charged beginnings

and endings in the symbolic and literal space of The Old Waiting Room. The production will combine

emotionally engaging narrative with immersive theatre techniques to create an unforgettable experience.


Peckham Rye Station, Station Way, London SE15 4RX

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