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Top things for Adults in Redbridge this Easter!

Now that the kids are all sorted, it’s finally time to focus on yourself! Find out what Redbridge has to offer adults this Easter, and take that well deserved break from everyday responsibilities!

1. Curl up with a good book

April is the chance for the whole of London to come together and enjoy something collectively. This year, Cityread encourages you read the book ‘Prophecy’ by S.J Parris, a gripping Elizabethan spy thriller, focused on the plot against Elizabeth to put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. Join our book groups, learn secret codes and meet the aumusic festthor at events taking place throughout April. Find out more on our website.

2. Enjoy some music

Enjoy music and the outdoors? Pack a picnic and head down to Valentines Mansion Gardens on Sunday 9 April for an afternoon listening to musicians and singers from in and around Redbridge. Enjoy mixing folk and jazz, soft rock and classical, pop and country, and everything around and in-between. Find out more here.

3. Take a tour of the mansion and surrounding gardens

Do you ever wonder about the history of the mansion that sits within Valentines Park? Well here’s your chance to find out. Come along on Sunday 16 April for a costumed guided tour through the house. If you’re interested in the surrounding beautiful gardens, then you won’t want to miss the tour of the gardens on Tuesday 11 April. For more tour dates, visit the website.what redbridge wore

4. Learn about Redbridge’s fashion trends

It’s fascinating to see how fashion trends have changed over the years, and this exhibition is no different. Learn what Redbridge wore over the last 400 years including 20s flapper dresses, an Edwardian wedding dress and a police uniform from the 60s! Find out opening times on our website.

5. Go DancingThe Streets, Ilford Town Centre, Events - 11 Nov 2016

Get your dancing shoes on and head over to Sir James Hawkey Hall on 12 April for our tea dance! Resident DJ Mr Wonderful has the best tunes lined up this Easter which promises an afternoon of great fun. Visit the website for more information.

6. Watch a play

Take part in a new interactive kind of play at Redbridge Drama Centre. Using your mobile phone, you can interact with David and shape his movements and sounds around you. An interesting look into how the digital world shapes us. Book your tickets now!

Post Author: Nida Hussain


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#TheStreets Take Over!

The Streets, Ilford Town Centre, Events - 11 Nov 2016

Perhaps Contraption perform in Redbridge Town Hall

Last week The Streets music festival returned to Ilford to brighten the high street with music, jazz and entertainment. The public were treated to fantastic performances in locations in and around the high street. The event started off with a musical street parade with progressive brass band Perhaps Contraption and ended with a soulful performance by international artist Allan Harris at the General Havelock pub.

The Streets, Ilford Town Centre, Events - 11 Nov 2016

Tea Dance at Redbridge Town Hall

Walking in and out of Redbridge Central Library all day, I had the pleasure of catching glimpses of just some of the great acts performing last week. The space next to the welcome desk was transformed into a small stage area where artists such as Randolph Matthews, Ryan Green and Stan Edelman picked up their instruments and amazed the public with their smooth sounds. Over at the Town Hall on Friday, our regulars (and even a few new faces!) were treated to an extra special free tea dance with DJ favourite, Mr Wonderful playing great jazz beats. He was later accompanied by Perhaps Contraption, who made a guest appearance at the dance to get people moving!

The Streets, Ilford Town Centre, Events - 11 Nov 2016

Arun Ghosh at ‘Jazz for Toddlers’ workshop in Redbridge Central Library

The Friday buzz carried on into Saturday as the wet weather wasn’t enough to keep people away! This year Ilford hosted The Jazz Exchange where The Exchange Shopping Centre became a venue for a number of performances by featured artists such as Allan Harris and Natalie Williams. Shoppers were treated to the unique sounds of jazz while they stopped for a coffee in Debenhams Cafe or shopped around the mall. Many visitors stopped to enjoy the full performances before they went on about their day.

The two day event was enjoyed by all the public including adults, families and children. One of my personal highlights was the afternoon street parade, which brought in a huge crowd! Perhaps Contraption, with the power of their instruments and the sound of their voices impressed onlookers who followed the brass band through the high street, many of which were filming the wonderful performance on their phone. One excited child showed her appreciation when she shouted out “They’re good. They’re fantastic.” Now there’s a statement I can agree with!


Perhaps Contraption perform in a street parade

To re-live the highlights from the event, visit our Twitter moments.
To find out more about The Streets visit the website.

Post Author: Nida Hussain


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Let’s take it to ‘The Streets’

One of the best things about London is how much is going on around every corner, and in each and every community. Festivals like The Streets are doing excellent work to highlight some of the capital’s local gems.”  Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London)

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House Gospel Choir

After its successful launch last year, The Streets returns this summer with weekends packed with performances, workshops, parades and pop-up events. This year features an ambitious programme showcasing the local streetscapes of outer London, engaging and surprising residents with unexpected performances aiming to revitalise the high street for local communities and businesses. On Saturday 16Sunday 17 July, the event reaches Ilford where a diverse and exciting range of events and artists singing from a variety of genres will take to the streets. The event will showcase a stunning selection of featured and local artists who will perform in a Choir Clock – a performance on the hour every hour.

Fullwood Primary School at Tesco Barkingside (13) (1)

Fullwood Primary Choir

Local artists include the City Gates Choir, who are based in City Gates Church in Ilford, and have been in existence for over 20 years. They are a diverse group of people of all ages and carry a unique sound of passionate and colourful harmonies! Glade Community Singers are an adult community choir established in April 2013, and are an enthusiastic group who perform regularly at local events. Their varied and eclectic repertoire includes gospel, multi-cultural, contemporary, jazz and folk. Inspiring and animated, the Spare Tyre Band will get your toes tapping to their driving rhythms and impulsive beats. This inclusive band, featuring performers with learning disabilities, create their own instruments made from recycled materials. The Fullwood Primary Choir are our youngest performers at the event. The ever-growing group of spirited and enthusiastic 8 – 11 year olds love a challenge and tackle all songs thrown at them with an impressive tenacity. The Streets will provide them the opportunity to showcase highlights from their performance of the musical ‘Oliver!Dhruv Ensembles, Shadja & Panchama, have been present since 2004, and have nearly offered 120 concerts to date. Shadja, the tonal note in Indian classical, comprises of children featuring Indian classical music choir singing of young children. Panchama is the 5th natural note in Indian music and features young people playing the violin. Both Shadja & Panchama help build team spirit and other soft skills alongside the main theme, Indian classical music. Equal emphasis is laid on classical Carnatic and contemporary genres.It is both an audio and visual delight to see the children on stage with some of the orchestra members are as young as 6 years old!

Our featured artists include The Spinettes, a glamorous, vintage inspired trio formed of London West End and International performers. These beautiful starlets are sure to have those toes tapping, hips swinging and voices singing, with hits from the 40s, 50s, 60s and more. Travel back in time and experience these timeless classics. The House Gospel Choir are famous for delivering a live show that’s epic in every sense of the word. Performing house hits in true gospel choir style, the choir bring together outstanding voices and musicians and take them to a place where spirituality and euphoria meet. The Beatbox Collective is formed of the leading beatbox artists in the UK. Each credited for their respective styles and statuses, they have merged to form incredibly high impact and energetic shows, ranging from live music production of all genres, physical theatrics and crowd participation. The London Gay Men’s Chorus has over 200 members, and is the largest gay choir in Europe. The Chorus entertains, inspires and educates through song – performing a diverse range of music to the highest technical standard and regularly playing to sell-out crowds. If you want song delivered with unfettered enthusiasm, alongside vibrant and original arrangements, then LGMC are not to be missed!

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The Beatbox Collective

Along with a host of amazing live performances, The Streets is a chance for families to get involved and brush up their singing skills in our very special Disney workshops! Fun for the whole family, you will have a chance to learn and perform songs from Disney’s Frozen and The Jungle Book. The workshops will be run by Katy Seath, an experienced choir leader and singer, working with both children and adults for over 10 years. Everyone can enjoy singing songs they know and also have fun with things they don’t – all connecting them to the wonderful worlds from each story. Rhythm, movement and voices will bring the whole group together in perfect harmony!

If you would like to find out more about the event and locations, please visit The Streets website.


Workshops at Redbridge Central Library

For more on The Streets, including the schedule of performances visit our website.

Visit The Streets website for more on the event.

Posted by Nida Hussain

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Tea Dance celebrates 50 years of Redbridge with 50 years of Dance

This month Redbridge is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a London borough. To mark the occasion the monthly Tea Dance at Sir James Hawkey Hall in Woodford Green, hosted its April dance with a difference including a special dance performance from The Youth Council. This talented group of dancers performed dance routines to the most popular songs of music history. The dances featured music ranging from different decades starting from the swinging sixties up to the noughties. One of the regular attendees of the Tea Dances, June Foskette, told us about her experience of the day:

“The Tea Dance is always a popular event and there was a very good turnout on Wednesday with over a hundred people. There were also some new faces which are always good to see. The Tea Dance is a very social event and is a great way to meet people and make new friends. It gives people the opportunity to get out the house for a few hours, get some exercise and have fun. The young dancers from the Youth Council were very good and everyone enjoyed seeing their performances of dance through the ages. It was an insight into the way dance has evolved and how it has changed. For the young people as well it was a chance for them to see the other side of the coin; how we dance and the music that we enjoy. I believe any encouragement of dance is good and the young group certainly inspired us. Sir James Hawkey Hall is one of the nicest places to dance and I think the Youth Council enjoyed dancing there as well.”Tea Dancers

The next Tea Dance is a special one for St George’s Day on Thursday 23 April. The dance includes an afternoon tea (with sandwiches and cake) and dancers are encouraged to wear red and/or white to celebrate England’s national day and Patron Saint. View more details on the St George’s Day Tea Dance

The regular monthly Tea Dance returns on Tuesday 19 May. View the dates for the next Tea Dances.

There also other events taking place in Redbridge to celebrate its 50th anniversary. View our website for details.

Post Author: June Foskette

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Seeking local musical performers to take part in public art project

Artist Lucy Harrison is looking for Redbridge based musical performers to take part in a one-day event in Ilford, as part of her public art project Good Company.

Good Company is a project focussing on how local businesses contribute to the social and cultural life of Ilford. Lucy is selecting local businesses to be hosts for the event, where musicians will appear throughout the day in incongruous settings. The event is scheduled to take place in autumn 2014.

A modest fee will be paid for performances, which are generally expected to be acoustic only. Performers must provide their own equipment. The day will be advertised and people will be encouraged to follow the trail throughout the day, so it could be a good opportunity for some exposure.

To apply, please send an email including MP3 files and / or links to documentation of your performances to by 5pm on 29 August.

For queries or further information email or call Lucy on 07964 878315.

Good Company is part of the Ilford This Way public art programme commissioned by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure.

More details can be found on the Good Company website

Post Author: Jane Leighton

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The Very Successful Labyrinth Theatre Festival Ends With A Magical Performance Of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Picnic baskets, blankets and brollies were out in full force on Sunday evening as an audience gathered in the beautiful gardens of Valentines Mansion, awaiting Oddsocks’ 25th anniversary performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I had barely entered the gates of Valentines Park, yet it was instantly clear to me that spirits had not been dampened, despite the rain. The crowd was being entertained by some fantastic live music that echoed throughout the park, building anticipation for the imminent performance. As I settled on the grass, I didn’t even have time to worry about it being damp as I was immediately drawn to the stage. The backdrop of the wondrous Valentines Mansion and the gardens that encircled the audience, created a truly mesmerising atmosphere.

When the bellows from the director began, all sounds of chatting, shuffling and eating ceased – it was time to begin. As the actors were introduced, the liveliness of the show was immediately established. Each of them announced the trio of characters they would be playing and once this was done, the story of ‘love, magic and fairies’ ensued.

The plot of this performance, for those unfamiliar with the Shakespearean play, is centred around four lovers. Demetrius is set to marry Hermia at the request of her father, however, Hermia is in love with Lysander (who broke out into song every now and then, serenading the audience with his bright red guitar) and finally there’s Helena or ‘the queen of whining’ as her actress described her – she is besotted with Demetrius who wants nothing to do with her. That is of course until the fairies cunningly intercept these wires of crossed love. Oberon, the king of the fairies was in the most impressive costume. It gave him the height to accompany his domineering character that causes havoc when Lysander and Hermia run off to the woods in the hope that they can be together and escape the wrath of those who disapprove.

Armed with a wild flower that causes the wrong people to fall in love with each other, the fairies thoroughly stir the pot of trouble and mischief. Among all of this exhilarating drama, that was heavily lined with comedy, are the actors or mechanicals who are also in the woods preparing for a play to perform for the Duke of Athens. These scenes of the play were full of audience interaction and comic relief as the characters weaved in and out of the audience, grabbed some food along the way and stumbled over umbrellas.

Oddsocks cast Midsummer Nights Dream

The four lovers provided the perfect amount of high-energy drama, the mystical fairies in their vibrant costumes that dazzled the audience with neon reds and pinks were the source of all mischief, while the ‘mechanicals’ generated the most laughs. Physical action and comedy were not scarce at all – it was carried out flawlessly and was complemented by the abundance of jokes on stage.

The whole show was just excellent with its perfectly timed wit and engaging performances by the actors who oozed enthusiasm during every part that they played. Laughs, gasps and applause rippled throughout the audience from the hilarious hunting dogs being brought out to the magical moment that the skies above, that had only sent rain down upon us, became brighter as if it was directly responding to Helena’s dramatic plea to the skies for some comfort. The magic of the play was kept alive and burning until the final bows were taken – even though I’m sure many people including myself took the magic home with them as the performance was so memorable.

Guest Author: Raeesa Mukhtar

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Ilford Welcomes Summer With Fantastic Outdoor Performances In The Sun

Shoppers in Ilford Town Centre on Saturday were in for a right treat as Redbridge Music Lounge was set up right at the heart of the hustle and bustle which offered a chance to sit down and enjoy some great music in the sunshine. If people hadn’t quite made it to the music, then they were being greeted by the illustrious Nutkhut stilt performers that were mingling with the shoppers and proving to be a great addition to the usual sights of Ilford.

It was the wonderful sounds of the talented musicians performing at Redbridge Music Lounge that perfectly complemented the glorious sunshine that had graced Ilford Town Centre on Saturday. Plenty of people stopped in their tracks to enjoy the music that echoed throughout the High Road.

One of the performers was 17 year old Ryan Green from Essex who treated his audience to a wonderful selection of songs. His final song was ‘Don’t Go’ by Josh Kumra, which he had previously sung for the likes of Kylie Minogue and Tom Jones when he was a contestant on the third series of BBC’s singing competition The Voice.

His soulful voice captured the attention of passers by who were then stunned by his musical talent as he not only sang but he showed off his skills on the keyboard. After his set, many people rushed over to congratulate him on a great performance. After he thanked and posed for photos with his admirers, I had the chance to ask him a few questions.

Wowed by this young man’s talent I had to ask him how long he had been performing.

“I’ve been performing since I was 12 years old. I started off with Redbridge Music Lounge, I like to get back to my roots to perform whenever I can”

Ryan truly means this as he also performed at the Christmas Light’s Switch on at Redbridge Town Hall!

After hearing Ryan’s covers of Frank Ocean and Example I was keen to know who his other musical influences are.

“Originally James Morrisson was a big influence on me and on my voice. But now, Frank Ocean is definitely a big influence, so they are my two main influences.”

Ryan also told me that he is currently at The Brit School, so I am sure that he will continue to excel at music and performing as he certainly put on a great show for the people of Ilford!

For more information on this exceptionally talented young man you can go to his website

RMSStilt walker

As I continued on my way through the High Road it was then that I saw the magnificent stilt performers, who were part of the Labyrinth Theatre Festival street entertainment. It was a sight you could not miss as they stood tall and proud, high above everyone else. Firstly it was the majestic maharajah who was causing many of the shoppers to avert their gaze upwards as they craned their necks to take in his full gloriousness. He was draped in a mesmerising blue gown and had a very golden turban to suit his attire that was clearly fit for royalty. As he walked confidently down the street he attempted to include passersby into the world of a maharajah and make them part of his performance! His charming demeanour enticed many people, children especially who wanted to stop for a chat and a photo!

Following not too far behind were the more mischievous looking casual but cool DJ stilt performers wearing their baseball caps and jerseys who looked like they could cause some trouble for the maharajah! They walked down the street with not a care in the world, as if they were just blending in with the crowds.

I stopped to watch the stilt performers continue on their way, weaving remarkably comfortably through the busyness of the street and I waited until they had become just tiny dots above the heads of shoppers. I could still hear shrieks of laughter in the distance of each person who had just been caught by surprise at the sight of the tall figures.

The Labyrinth Theatre Festival continues until Sunday 29 June with performances all over Redbridge.  So don’t miss out, for more information visit the website.

Guest Post: Raeesa Mukhtar