With world-class galleries and museums, there’s no question London rivals the top cities in the world when it comes to arts and culture offerings. While many of the iconic cultural landmarks can be found in Central London, there’s plenty more to engage those whose interests lie in dance, arts, history and theatre in the neighbouring boroughs and districts. Blending the best of surburban and urban life, Streatham, in the south west of London, has exhibitions, events and shows to feed your cultural appetite for days. Here’s where to head for a taste of the local arts and culture scene.
Engage with the community at… Streatham Festival
Streatham has a long history in the local arts, and no event supports that rich heritage more than the annual Streatham Festival, now in its 15th year running. Every year, the festival partners with local shops and businesses to showcase works by talented local artists, poets, musicians and writers, while hosting a number of exciting events from youth music showcases to literature festivals and photography competitions. Nurturing artists and audiences throughout the community, the Streatham Festival is a vibrant celebration of the local arts scene while fostering strong community spirit.
Catch poetry or a play at… Streatham Space Project
A multi-arts venue in Streatham Hill, Streatham Space Project aims to be a multi-sensory, interactive space for engaging with the arts, while providing a local community hub for South London-based creatives. The venue hosts events and exhibitions throughout the year, while show line-ups offer everything from scintillating live jazz to open mic nights, comedy to classical recitals. Featuring a multi-purpose theatre, café & bar, studio and office space, the venue can also be rented out for private shows, exhibitions, and even weddings.
Watch a show at… Streatham Hill Theatre
Perhaps the biggest push for the local arts scene right now is the drive to revitalise the iconic Streatham Hill Theatre, first opened to the public in 1929. As the then-third largest theatre in London, the magnificent theatre played a key role in the cultural renaissance of the time, seating 2,800 and subsequently being Grade II-listed as a historical landmark. Now that the Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre are fundraising to reopen the theatre as a multi-purpose arts venue, supporters are hoping it won’t be long until the theatre can once again play host to star performers both locally and abroad, inspiring imagination and creativity in the community.
Engage your artist’s imagination at… The New School Of Art
The New School Of Art prides itself on bringing established painters from around the world to provide courses and masterclasses across London—a central hub connecting like-minded creatives and supporting the artistic community. Classes are small and led by well-established historians and artists, with workshops ranging from oil painting to art history, and catering to everyone from beginners to experienced artists. For those living in the Greater Streatham area, you can kick off your art journey with group classes, workshops or even one to one tutorials offered in the area, choosing from life drawing, landscape painting, portrait painting, fine arts courses and more.
Pick up a pencil at… Streatham Sketch
Providing a welcoming space for anyone looking to dip their toes (or pencil, rather) in drawing courses, Streatham Sketch provides community classes built around the mission of inspiring artistic growth. From art aficionados to those who are learning to draw for the very first time, Streatham Sketch encourages you to get started on your artistic exploration with helpful, hands-on instruction and themed drawing classes to pack in the practise. While the studio was temporarily shuttered due to Covid, online classes are now available by request, with in-person workshops set to resume in the future.
Take a stroll around… The Grand Houses of Streatham
Steeped in culture and history, Streatham’s streets offer remnants of some of the great estates of the past which once adorned the wealthy neighbourhood. While most of the buildings have been demolished, rebuilt or repurposed, some of the beautiful architecture remains and can be observed from a walk down High Street or through the suburban lanes lined with Victorian and Edwardian houses. With the history of Streatham extending back thousands of years, the cultural identity of Streatham is palpable at every turn, and history and architecture buffs will find much to pique their interests from a simple stroll through the area.