- Miles Hedley
LAUNCHING YEAR 2 at Woolwich Works
Updated: Sep 25, 2022
It’s a year since cultural hub Woolwich Works opened its doors with a huge launch party that starred soul queen Mica Paris and homegrown international grime star Afrikan Boy. Since then, it’s hosted top comics such as Reginald D Hunter and Milton Jones, acclaimed poet Lemn Sissay, beloved dance company Protein and musical maestros like jazz legend Bukky Leo and the Hackney Colliery Band as well as giving new artists the chance to make their mark.
Now the venue in the Royal Arsenal development is preparing for Year Two with a schedule that continues the trend of bringing in star names to its main Fireworks Factory stage and the stars of the future to its smaller spaces such as Beanfeast and the open-air courtyard.
Programme manager Becca Thomason said: “Being able to have orchestras, mixed-bill comedy and a variety of musical genres while also offering work-in-progress comedy nights and monthly world music gigs makes this a very exciting place to be.
“At a time when more than ever we need to connect and be inclusive of all people, it’s been wonderful to see how this quirky ex-factory building with its multiple performance spaces and studios is already making a broad contribution to supporting artists and the local community.”
Early autumn shows this year begin on 23 September with the ever-popular Bring Your Own Baby, a midday banquet of comedy in Beanfeast for laugh-starved parents of little ones.
October kicks off at the Fireworks Factory on the 7th with Trigger Happy TV comedian, writer and traveller Dom Joly, who’ll be showing us his Holiday Snaps of some of the remote, dodgy and downright dangerous places he’s visited - such as North Korea.
At Beanfeast on the same evening the venue’s monthly music strand Arsenal Of Sounds features the Orchestra of Samples and Parasang in a collaborative jam.
The following night, Live At The Works welcomes comedy giant Alan Davies (top) with Kerry Godliman and Ivo Graham supported by, among others, Fatiha el-Ghorri and Leo Reich.
Baby Gospel in Beanfeast at 11am on the 22nd in Beanfeast features the London CK Gospel Choir who will sing Motown, soul and gospel classics for families.
And on the 28th and 29th Extraordinary Bodies: Delicate at the Fireworks Factory promises a signed evening of inclusivity, diversity and equity for D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists as theatre meets circus meets dance.
Woolwich Works once again plays host to the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, whose seventh edition will fill the Fireworks Factory from 3-6 November.
The month’s Arsenal Of Sounds gig at Beanfeast on the 4th features the Mediterranean rhythms of Italian band Amaraterra’s pizzica and roots music and Moroccan gnawa by Simo Lagnawi.
Four concerts in the globally important London Jazz Festival are at Beanfeast in November – guitarist Rosie Frater-Taylor’s Big Band on the 12th, pianist Fergus McReadie's Trio on the 13th, multi-instrumentalist Tara Cunningham and pianist Maria Grapsa on the 17th and singer Ineza and guitarist Emily Jane Roberts on the 19th.
Meanwhile, Arabs Are Not Funny returns to Beanfeast on the 12th with a bill that includes stand-ups Ahmed Ibrahim, Prince Abdi, Isabelle Farah and Fathiya Saleh.
Happy Mondays’ legend Shaun Ryder (above) will be answering questions about his wild rockstar life on the 17th. And November is rounded off by a return visit to the Fireworks Factory by the amazing London Video Game Orchestra whose set-list is just that - video game themes.
December gets us in the festive food with Kansas Smitty's Big Band who are performing Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's fabulous arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracket Suite in the Fireworks Factory on the 2nd. Alternatively you might prefer to revel in a Balkan vibe with Raka and Balamuc in Beanfeast.
The next evening sees garage veteran DJ Spoony host a club night with MC Ranking and MC McCreed. And on the 7th family favourites will be getting jazzed up by Myele Manzanza, Amy Gadiaga, Emma Rawicz and Rupert Cox in Jingle Bell Jazz at the Fireworks Factory.
There's another night of top comedy planned in the Live At The Works strand on the 10th and from the 17th to the 18th families can bring their little ones to The Showstoppers' Christmas
Show at the Fireworks Factory when kids will be able to shout out their heroes and the Showstoppers will join them together and create a unique improvised musical.
Full details of all the events are at https://www.woolwich.works/whats-on