Croydon looks east for its next big party

By - Friday 29th January, 2016

Let’s celebrate Chinese New Year in Croydon, says Charles Barber

Over the weekend of Saturday 6th – Sunday 7th February, Croydon will stage a celebration of the Arts and Chinese New Year. We hope that you’ll want to join in.

This Chinese New Year celebration has been coordinated by  and was initially inspired by the Whitgift Centre‘s artist-in-residence, Hale Man, who has created a large copper sculpture called ‘Phoenix Rising’. Although the sculpture itself is still looking for a new home, if you come to the Fairfield Halls during the celebrations, you’ll have the first opportunity to see Hale Man’s new work, a dramatic eight metre high painting of a phoenix, hanging in the Sun Lounge.

On the Saturday the four art galleries in central Croydon will stage a series of events to coincide with the start of Chinese New Year, while on Sunday there will be two lion dance parades and a variety of workshops and performances at both at the Elements of Transformation gallery and Fairfield Halls.

The lion dance parade will weave its way out of the Whitgift Centre

You have an excellent opportunity to get your children interested in art at the family art fun day, ‘Making Music with Zenny’ at the Turf Gallery on Keeley Road from 12:00pm to 2:00pm on the Saturday, or you could try your hand at Chinese lantern painting at Matthews Yard from 12:00pm to 4:00pm, while sampling a range of Chinese teas. Alternatively you could take in an exhibition of contemporary Asian art at RISE Gallery in St George’s Walk or check out a special exhibition of contemporary Chinese photography at the Click Clock gallery in Katharine Street. There is also storytelling, puppetry and poems at the Oval Tavern on Oval Road from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

To get in the party mood and wake up on Sunday morning, you should head on down to the Elements of Transformation Gallery, where the Carib Dance drummers will rouse the spirits of the earth, before the Chinese lion is lured to the gallery by the beautiful singing of Catherine Pestano. At 12:00pm a collection of performers, volunteers and representatives of community groups will begin the lion dance parade that will weave its way out of the Whitgift Centre across North End into the Centrale shopping centre and back again. It will be led by a Chinese lion who will give a couple of dances en route, and welcome in the Chinese Year of the Monkey with the traditional joyful fanfare.

Fairfield Halls will resound to the sound of Chinese drumming

In the afternoon, festivities move to the Fairfield Halls, where on the forecourt Mum’s the Chef will provide a range of cuisines from China, India and the Caribbean. The Fairfield will be decorated with Chinese lanterns and will resound to the sound of Chinese drumming and music as the lion gives his blessing to this famous Croydon institution, followed by the opportunity to try dancing, drumming and even tai chi.

For children, there will be face painting and a chance to enter the Phoenix art and poetry competition and to be inspired by the schools, groups, artists, singers and poets performing, including some from the Brit School.

The Friends hope that as many Croydonians as possible will take the opportunity to get involved in this innovative and exciting celebration of Chinese New Year.

Charles Barber

Charles Barber

Adoptive Croydonian, currently trying to publish a book and find gainful employment within the Croydonian urban jungle. Environmental campaigner, Twitter@rainforestsaver, founder of the Croydon Rainforest Club and of the Friends of Whitehorse Park.

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  • Serena Alam

    Today’s event at the Fair Field Halls was extremely well-organised. Everyone involved with event planning should be feeling REALLY pleased with themselves… and I would thoroughly recommend anyone on the team for hire as freelance events planners (or similar job titles).

  • Charles Barber

    Thank you Serena, and sorry it’s taken me so long to spot this. We hope we’ll be able to build on this event to organize others, to promote and support the arts, and to set up a social/networking community for creative people in Croydon, similar to the the one those clever Techies have created with Croydon Tech City.