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Waterloo Festival




Artistic Director


Annual (June/July)


St John's Waterloo, London + others across the neighbourhood


2018 - Transforming Minds
2019 - Transforming Being
2020 - [Online Edition in lockdown]
2021 - Respair
2023 - Circus
2024 - Gardens, Marshes, Rivers [upcoming]

Waterloo Festival is an annual celebration of arts, heritage and community in Waterloo, on the South Bank fringe. It draws inspiration from the local community and its neighbourhood's heritage. The Festival, organised by St John's Waterloo, has run regularly in summer since 2010, including an online edition in 2020.


- The Messengers: a 30-piece band made up of students and graduates from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and inspiring musicians with lived experience of homelessness, workshopping and performing a show of original songs. (2021)

- COMING GOOD (Come Hell or High Water), Nothing Endures But Change and Coming Up for Air: three outdoor exhibitions of sculpture in the gardens of St John's by The London Group collective of artists. Supported by a digital art exhibitions in the Old Crypt and visual art at The Cello Factory. (2018, 2019, 2021)

- Spotlight Chamber Concerts: intimate concerts featuring international artists Steven Isserlis, Angela Hewitt, the Doric Quartet, Samson Tsoy and Alina Ibragimova. (2021)

- A Jewish Jesus: Art and Faith in the Shadow of WWII: a conference exploring the works of Jewish artists featuring the figure of Jesus in the late first half of the 20th Century. Part of St John's Waterloo's campaign to restore the Hans Feibusch mural. Featuring Edmund De Waal, Aaron Rosen, Monica Bohm-Duchen and Marc Allum. (2021)

- Run Away and Embrace Your Circus: a participatory day of creative exploration in collaboration with the Mental Fight Club: singing, folk and jazz music, dance, and theatre and mask workshops. (2023)

- Bach, Music and the Mind : travel writer Horatio Clare's new book Heavy Light, a gripping account of his recent mental breakdown, treatment and recovery, alongside the Orchestra for the Earth. (2021)

- Jazz in the Churchyard: an afternoon of jazz, blues and grooves presented by the Unity Music Arts Team, featuring some of London’s finest up-and-coming musicians. (2019, 2021, 2023)

- bangs, ghosts and mutterings: a collaboration with IKLECTIK and Coin Street. A new audio work made from recordings made by local children on a walk around the neighbourhood, discovering the usual sites through sounds rather than visuals. (2019)

- London's Housing Crisis: a panel featuring voices from across the political spectrum, including James Murray (London Labour Deputy Mayor responsible for Housing), Anna Minton (writer of 'Big Capital: Who is London for?) and Tony Devenish GLA (Conservative Member of the Housing Committee of the Greater London Assembly). (2018)

- Waterloo Carnival: a communal feast, featuring dance, costumes and processions, in tribute to the rich cultural and creative heritage of the neighbourhood, in partnership with local businesses, community groups and school. (2023)

Waterloo Festival 2020 - Special online lockdown edition [April to June]
The onset of COVID-19 in London led us to promptly cancel our June 2020 plans. Instead, we opted to regroup and channel all our efforts and energies into providing an online experience for our local community.

The digital iteration of Waterloo Festival 2020 was unveiled on April 27th and featured multiple daily posts focusing on history, heritage and local artists, together with online creative projects, podcasts and audiowalks. This edition reached new audiences and pu new voices in the spotlight through online community building at a time when social life as we knew it was inexistent.

To build our online platform and design we commissioned Hart Club, a local gallery working with neurodiverse artists.

Photos: Eleanor Bentall for Waterloo Festival

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