Brent’s London Borough of Culture 2020 programme has been announced

Brent London Borough of Culture Wembley Stadium Wembley Park

Artists and young people joined together today (Tuesday 12 November) at the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn to unveil the programme for Brent London Borough of Culture 2020. Brent 2020 will take place against a backdrop of next year’s UEFA European Football Championship with key matches at Wembley Stadium in Wembley Park. Brent 2020 will present high profile cultural events throughout the year across the Borough exploring the spirit and creativity of Brent, with hundreds of the Borough’s local residents taking a leading role in shaping the programme.

Highlights of the programme include:

Saturday 18 January 2020 – RISE: Opening Celebration

RISE – a spectacular outdoor celebration spanning the length of Olympic Way curated by Southpaw Dance Company and hosted by Wembley Park. A cast of hundreds will take part in a giant dance performance, with large-scale projections illuminating Wembley Park’s newly regenerated Olympic Way welcoming people to Brent to celebrate the start of its year as London Borough of Culture.

Saturday 11 July 2020 – The Kilburn High

A mile-long street party celebrating the Kilburn High Road Kilburn High Road is Brent’s main thoroughfare and London’s oldest, longest and liveliest road. A mile-long stretch will be closed to traffic for a people-powered celebration of the music, migration and movements that made the ‘Music Mile’ famous. It will be a mile of music stages and monuments, singers and sound-systems, DJs and dancefloors. A mile of feasting; of tastes, dishes, food and drink that found their way to Kilburn from across the world. For an entire day this ancient road will be closed from Kilburn station to Kilburn High Road station. Please find alternative routes. Kilburn will be dancing in the street.

July 2020 – A new anthem for London, told by Brent

Brent-born singer-songwriter Rahel Debebe–Dessalegne and Young People’s Poet Laureate for London Momtaza Mehri are creating a new anthem, celebrating the diverse and united community of Brent and London. Working with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Brent Music Service will also compose an orchestral version of the anthem, featuring the voices of 4,000 local school children which will be performed at the Wembley Arena in July 2020.

3 – 4 October 2020 – Bass Weekender, celebrating Brent’s contribution to music in partnership with Wembley Park

No Bass Like Home will celebrate Brent’s rich contribution to music in Britain, from the explosion of reggae in the 1970s to the pioneering Grime and Hip-Hop artists who have emerged from the borough. The Bass Weekender will be a weekend-long take-over of Harlesden’s high street, showcasing performances from some of Brent’s finest reggae and bass pioneers, from Don Letts, Big Zeeks, Carla Marie Williams/ Girls I Rate, General Levy and Janet Kay to emerging artists.

12 November 2020 – Return of the MOBO Awards to its birthplace of Brent

Brent’s The SSE Arena, Wembley will play host to the prestigious MOBO Awards – one of the world’s most influential music award ceremonies which celebrates British and international talent in the musical fields of Hip Hop, Grime, RnB, Reggae, Gospel, Jazz and African music.

December 2020 – Zadie Smith: The Wife of Willesden

Acclaimed author Zadie Smith will write a new work as a gift to her home borough. Smith has been praised as one of the finest chroniclers of contemporary London, presenting a vivid picture of a multicultural city through her depictions of the North West London neighbourhoods where she grew up. For Brent 2020 she has reimagined Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale as The Wife of Willesden. The work, penned 630 years after the original, will raise important questions about the place of women in society and will be performed at the Kiln Theatre, directed by their artistic director Indhu Rubasingham.

Throughout 2020 – Brent Blueprint Collective

The voices of young people will be central to Brent’s year as London Borough of Culture thanks to the Brent Blueprint Collective – a cultural leadership programme which will see 100 young people aged 16 – 30 from Brent take a leading role in directing the programme for the year alongside the Brent 2020 team.

Members will receive career advice and attend skills workshops as part of the scheme, which aims to nurture the creativity of young people and develop a blueprint for how arts programmes can be led in the future.

Throughout 2020 – Blueprint Collective with London School of Economics and Quintain: Seen and Heard

In a major initiative to develop concepts for new urban spaces, Brent 2020 have commissioned a manifesto

for public spaces designed by and for young people in collaboration with Quintain and the London School of Economics. Building on initial studies, the Yellow Charter calls for the needs of 15 – 21 year olds to be at the heart of the redesign of public spaces across London, and will be trialled in public spaces around Wembley Park in 2020.

Throughout 2020 – Supporting local creativity in Brent

Brent 2020 has pledged to support local creativity and imagination in the borough, now and into the future. Winners have been announced for the first round of the 2020 Culture Fund, a £500,000 funding scheme to support local organisations in Brent to produce their own cultural activities as part of the London Borough of Culture year. The Artist Network will see artists working in Brent receive training and support with accessing new opportunities, partnerships and collaborations. The newly developed digital resource Spacebook will give creatives working in Brent a platform to discover affordable workspaces for hire across the borough, from dancehalls and studio space to function rooms and music venues.

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