Southwark based Arts Odyssey has secured Arts Council England funding to work in partnership with Canada Water Culture Space to deliver its cross arts and intergenerational participation and performance project In Curious Company.

What makes us curious? Curiosity, a human quality which pushes us to inquire, explore and learn inspires this project. Arts Odyssey will be exploring the curiosities of their local Southwark community through contemporary and creative dance, storytelling and creative writing.

Initially, Arts Odyssey will offer free taster workshops for families, disabled and non-disabled youth and adults.

Participants will learn new creative and technical dance, writing and storytelling skills whilst having fun and meeting new people.

Arts Odyssey will then work regularly with a group of youth and a group of adults, building towards an evening of performance, sharing and entertainment at Canada Water Culture Space.

Participants will work with professionals and be given the opportunity to create their own movement with others in friendly and enjoyable weekly sessions.

The newly formed youth dance company and Odyssey Community Adult Dance Company will start rehearsing in April ready to entertain an audience of 150 people at Canada Water Culture Space in June. Using Canada Water Library as a resource they will creatively explore what interests them, what they find peculiar, funny or bizarre.

Louisa Pestell, artistic director of Arts Odyssey, said: “Arts Odyssey prides itself on offering high quality dance opportunities accessible to all. In Curious Company is particularly exciting for us because working in partnership with Canada Water Culture Space and creative writer and storyteller, Sandra Agard, enables us to provide access to fun and free cross-arts participation opportunities for a wider range of people regardless of their age or previous experience.”


Thanks to funding from British Land, the arts charity Create has extended art:space, its creative arts programme for young carers, to Southwark.  Working for the first time with KIDS Siblings Project Southwark, the multi-art form project culminated last week in two performances  at Surrey Quays Shopping Centre.

During January and February, different groups of young carers have been involved: photography produced by the first group (taken at venues including Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and Surrey Docks Farm) was used as inspiration for music activities, which has in turn been used as the soundtrack for dance participants to create original choreography.  Last week’s performance  showcased the music, dance and photography to an audience of friends, family and the general public.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that nearly a quarter of a million children in England and Wales are caring for a relative, whilst 27% of young carers aged 11-15 miss school and 68% experience bullying and social isolation.  Many care for 50 plus hours a week – more than the average adult working week.  Create uses the creative arts to help young carers develop trust, social skills and supportive relationships with their peers, enhance their self-confidence and self-esteem, and most importantly have fun away from their caring responsibilities in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Create’s co-founder and chief executive, Nicky Goulder said:  “Thanks to continued funding from British Land, we are delighted to be working for the first time with youngcarers in Southwark. The project has given them an opportunity to get creative and have fun away from the responsibility of their caring duties.  It is our huge privilege to give them this opportunity.”

Ian Moore, manager of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, said: “This is the first time Surrey Quays Shopping Centre has been involved in art:space and it’s been a joy to have the young carers visit and take photos of the centre.”