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Our Story


From its roots in one-off arts performances, Lewisham Live Festival has grown to become one of the most important events on the borough's youth calendar!

Key dates in the history of the festival include: 


2015 saw the development of Lewisham Live's collaborative music & dance project strands. Building on from a pilot project in 2014, Live at Trinity Laban became a stalwart of the annual festival. This outstanding performance would see a cast of 40+ young people from both music and dance disciplines. Led by leading professional artists  these young people would work together over many months to devise a completely collaborative cross-artform piece. The event would also include collaborative music and dance performances created by local primary and secondary schools. 


Under the banner Lewisham Live STEPS UP we:


  • Continued with our music and dance collaborations but also provided an opportunity for alumni from previous combined music and dance projects to become choreographers and composers. 

  • Built on our Live Composers project which supported young people in their creation of brand new musical compositions and having them heard in a professional venue. 

  • Showcased works, open rehearsals and industry discussions in the Tate Exchange space at the top of the Tate Modern Gallery. 

  • Saw the launch of new events incorporating spoken word and urban music, a collaboration between musicians and theatre makers, and a spellbinding hip-hop theatre performance by Love2Dance.

  • Expanded the core Lewisham Live team by recruiting a festival intern and volunteer ambassadors. 


Lewisham Live festival turned 10 years old and to celebrate we ran our largest festival to date, including the launch of new events Live Bands and Live Unplugged!


Lewisham Live Festival began with gusto in early March 2020 with the Live Dance showcase, but all too quickly the global pandemic forced the lockdown of schools, event venues and then the public. Unsurprisingly, festival partners were busy learning how to work and deliver projects from home and it was agreed that all remaining festival events would be cancelled that year. 


Lewisham Live went ONLINE! With the continuing threat of the global pandemic and restrictions on venue capacity and social distance, the festival made use of our new skills on Zoom by running workshops, competitions, industry talks and choirs online. Live Dance became a sharing of 8 brilliant dance pieces created by school groups, The Alchemy Showcase took over the radio waves with a 'mixtape launch event',  and local industry professionals shared their top tips and held 'creative chats' with young people, as part of new project; Unlock the Arts. 


In 2022 Lewisham was London Borough of Culture. Across the borough a range of brilliant events and projects took place.  Many of the festival partners were involved in delivering activity during the year, with The Albany being announced the lead creative partner for the year and LEAN acting as the official education partner for London Borough of Culture 2022.  Lewisham Live Festival was postponed for 2022, to enable partners to deliver special activity and projects for the Borough of Culture year. 


And that takes us up to now!

Visit our festival listings page for all the events this season has to offer, and keep up-to-date on our plans in the news & updates page. 


Lewisham Live is only possible due to the dedicated support of our funders and partners, schools, local groups and the wealth of talented young performers. 

Lewisham Live Festival adheres to all current child licencing, safeguarding and Body of Persons Approval legislation. The festival also adheres to new legislation regarding personal data collection and use. 

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