Thursday 17 December 2009

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me..........

Twelve legends dining
This image shows some of the stars who were associated with the now demolished 1886 Dalston Theatre buildings. They include Sir Robert Fossett (circus owner), Marie Lloyd (international music hall star), Stevie Wonder, Desmond Decker, Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols and The Prodigy. You can read the story that was never told here. Hackney Council demolished the historic buildings in 2007 to make way for New Dalston's tower blocks, brand name shops and a £40 million bus station on The Slab, which are now under construction.

Eleven pipers piping Having agreed to the GLAs demands that it help finance The Slab, and with road closures and 20 more of Dalston's buildings demolished to renew the train tunnel leading to Highbury, this year Members of Mayor Pipe's Cabinet approved the purchase of two development sites on the north side of Dalston Lane, in Ashwin street, as a "natural progession of the Dalston Square development". Following lobbying by OPEN Dalston and others, the Mayor's Cabinet has agreed to a survey of the Ashwin Street houses to see if, despite decades of neglect, they are fit for refurbishment. Perhaps Ashwin Street will become part of Dalston's cultural hub.

Ten floors and risingThe Worship of Mammon 1909 by Evelyn de Morgan, updated 2009 by
There were worries that Barratt's development of 10 to 20 storey residential towers on Hackney Council's Dalston Square site, where Dalston's historic buildings once stood, would be left as concrete stumps. Like all developers it had been hit hard by the credit freeze. With increased government subsidy, buy-to-let sales abroad and drip feeding the market, debt laden Barratt clung on and survived the year despite all the bad news. But there's no sign yet of a start on Phase 2 - further 10-20 storey towers on The Slab above TfL's Dalston Junction station - which was supposed to start last October.

Nine members voting 70 family homes and an £11million contribution towards affordable housing, intended for Dalston, are what desperate for cash Hackney Council gave up in its rush to grant planning permission for a 52-storey development in Shoreditch. Mega-developer Hammerson had agreed to buy Hackney's Shoreditch site for millions if it could build Foster designed tombstone scheme on it. Boris' GLA and New Labour's Secretary of State all agreed to ditch their affordable and family homes policies when approving Hackney's decision. Ads have since appeared for empty homes up north to help Hackney's 20,000 overcrowded and homeless off the Council's waiting list and on their way.

Eight years of fightingSpirit's eight year fight for justice had a further set back when a county court judge dismissed his claim for compensation against Hackney after it had sold his shop at auction in 2001 to an absentee landlord for less than Spirit had offered to pay."He was plainly proud of the business which he had built up since 1993. It is sad that this was taken from him "said the Judge "It is unfortunate that these offshore companies are purchasing properties and are able to avoid the same fees and taxes which others would have to pay". Last November we saw Court Bailiffs abandon plans to take possession of Spirit's home and shop after a rally of local people gathered on Broadway Market to show their support for one of the street's best loved characters. Shortly afterwards, to avoid confrontation, Spirit gave up his keys to his landlord. Spirit has lodged an appeal against the Court's judgment.

Seven blackened buildingsIn previous years they would burn down old buildings on Dalston's development sites, but this year they painted them black. A somber reminder of charred remains.... or a dark vision of more funeral pyres to come? Banksey's street art in Hackney shared a similar fate. The authorities developed the redaction technique further to deal with public interest in MPs expense sheets.

Six heart breakers

Five gold rings

In October OPEN learned of the extensive radioactive contamination uncovered across the London Olympic 2012 site during 2.5 million cu. metres of earthmoving and landscaping works. The regulatory authorities - the Environment Agency and local Council's - have left it to the Olympic Delivery Authority to manage the risks by means of planning permission conditions But extensive stockpiling and burials of radioactive materials have been carried out without any planning permission at all. OPEN called for an independent report - and the expert's conclusions now received are shocking. We hope that all will be revealed this forthcoming year.

Four Aces Club Winstan's Whitter's documentary "Legacy in the dust" tells the story of Dalston's legendary reggae club, its relationship with the Council and the police, how it went on to become the Labyrinth and the eventual demolition of its home in Dalston's historic buildings. You can hear Winstan talk about the history on Hackney Podcast. The film was most recently shown as part of the events at the Dalston Mill. Newton Dunbar's Four Aces Club was revisited in a recent press review.

Three charges dropped
Hackney Council announced, following government intervention, that it was dropping the outstanding prosecutions of Ridley Market stallholder Janet Devers for selling in pounds and ounces and by the bowl. Janet, with other metric martyrs, is now petitioning for a pardon following convictions for earlier offenses. Ridley Road traders are still fighting for survival in the depths of recession. But Hackney have now restored lighting to the stalls and approved the traders proposals for market refurbishment which they hope will start before next spring. Watch the video - Neneh Cherry and Andi Oliver buy some bunches of callaloo from Janet in Ridley Road Market, the home of the bargain (and lets keep it that way)!

Two writers speak

On Dalston Lane time itself seems to lie around in broken fragments....” was the title of an OPEN event in March when, despite being banned from speaking on Council premises, Iain Sinclair joined cultural historian and writer Patrick Wright to speak to a packed house at Cafe Oto. We were also honoured to have Lord Low of Dalston, Chairman of the RNIB and OPEN's patron, address us. The evening included 1969 Hackney film footage from Iain's archives and you can see his latest Guardian film here which describes Dalston and Hackney as its was and how it has become. The intrepid journalists of Hackney Citizen and Games Moniter meanwhile uncovered evidence of political censorship with Orwellian implications. The quirky Dalston Lane terrace, which Patrick Wright wrote of in his republished novel, now lies in ruins.

And a retail opportunity
Image gimped by
OPEN Dalston consulted the local community about Hackney's proposals for a massive residential/retail led 8-storey redevelopment of Dalston Cross shopping centre. But although the credit freeze poured cold water on Hackney's aspirations, Tesco progressed its plans for twin 12-storey residential towers on top of a new redeveloped Tesco superstore in Morning Lane which will overshadow St John in Hackney churchyard gardens and Hackney's oldest monument, St Augustine's tower.

"....The latest blocks, blindly monolithic, devour pavements and abolish bus stops. They aspire to an occult geometry of capital: Queensbridge Quarter, Dalston Square. Everything is contained, separate, protected from flow and drift. No junk mail, please. No doorstep hawkers. No doorsteps. The big idea is to build in-station car parks, to control ‘pedestrian permeability’, so that clients of the transport system exit directly into a shopping mall. Where possible, a supermarket operator underwrites the whole development, erecting towers on site, so that Hackney becomes a suburb of Tesco, with streets, permanently under cosmetic revision, replaced by 24-hour aisles. Light and weather you can control. Behaviour is monitored by a discreet surveillance technology"
Iain Sinclair, London Review of Books, June 2009

An artists impression of Phase 2 of TfLs Dalston Square development - flats for sale, brand name shops and no affordable housing planned. And all to pay for somewhere Tfl can turn its buses around - on The Slab .

Tuesday 24 November 2009

OPEN Dalston appeals to the Secretary of State

OPEN Dalston has written to the Secretary of State appealing against a huge cut in family homes and an £11million cut in a developers contribution to affordable housing planned for Dalston. Hackney Council agreed to the cuts when it granted planning permission for developer, Hammerson's, Bishops Place scheme on 4.11.09. The government has the power to call in and overule the decision.

Hammerson's £400million Bishops Place scheme in Shoreditch will have four towers of up to 52 storeys, 88,000 square metres of offices, a hotel and 240 flats

The application is presently being considered by the Greater London Authority (GLA), which also has power to overule the decision. But Hackney reported that the GLA had already approved the £11million cut in affordable housing which was linked, Hackney said, to Hammerson's agreement to pay the GLA £3.1million towards the London Mayor's Crossrail scheme.

The design of Hammerson's scheme by Foster and Partners has been condemned as "fundamentally flawed" by the government's design advisers, CABE, but its objections were not seen by Hackney's Planning Committee.

Desperate for cash Hackney Council owns most of the development site and stands to make tens of £millions under an option agreement to sell the site to Hammerson with the benefit of planning permission.The scheme first attracted controversy when Hackney recommended that its Planning Committee grant Hammerson permission to completely demolish The Light.

Artist Lucinda Rogers

The Light, an historic building at 233 Shoreditch High Street, which stands as a landmark on the border between the City and Shoreditch. Hackney have now approved the demolition of the rear part of the building.

In the face of community opposition the Committee deferred its decision on 24.7.08. Hackney then had to include The Light in the Shoreditch Conservation Area when the Secretary of State and English Heritage intervened at OPEN Shoreditch's request. Normally they would not intervene unless it appeared that a local authority's decision was being influenced by a conflict of interest.

Photograph by Mike Wells
The Slab above Transport for London's new station at Dalston Junction . The Slab has already had over £40million of public subsidy, and tower blocks of up to 20-storeys are to be built to pay for it - but there was no affordable housing planned at all.

Hammerson's original planning application for Bishops Place included 100 family size flats and it also offered to make a contribution of £14million to "off-site" affordable housing which the Council said it would spend on The Slab development in Dalston.
Hammerson amended its scheme which came back before Hackney's Planning Committee on 4.11.09. Hackney and the GLA usually look for up to 40% family homes on major schemes like this. But now Hammerson proposed to reduce the number of family homes from 100 to 33 (14%). Hammerson said there just wasn't enough open amenity space available to suit families. but Hammerson's planning application failed to include extensive neighbouring land which it owns, although its presentation to the Planning Committee showed that land also as developed . English Heritage objected to the Bishops Place scheme, criticising its "overbearing presence" and its "harmful impact on surrounding conservation areas and listed buildings". CABE said the scale of some buildings were "manifestly unsuited to their context"

And, although in August 2006 Hammerson had written to Hackney suggesting that 112 affordable flats (30%) on the site would be possible, it now proposed just 50, with only 11 for social rent. And it also dropped its contribution to "off site" affordable housing from £14million down to £3million because of market conditions. Hackney agreed to these cuts when granting planning permission on 4.11.09. However the Secretary of State has recently ruled, in a seperate case, that temporary economic difficulties do not justify abandoning affordable housing policies on major schemes.

Hackney's grant of planning permission was supported by the City which has several joint venture agreements with Hammerson for office developments in Shoreditch

OPEN Shoreditch has complained to the Standards Board, which regulates local authorities' conduct, that Hackney had a prejudicial conflict of interest when it rushed the poorly designed scheme through. Hackney's report to its Planning Committee members highlighted that it owned the development site and that it had an option agreement to sell the site to Hammerson. But committee members were not also advised that the £millions the Council would get from the sale if granting permission was not a planning consideration and that they should not allow it to influence their decision.

In 2007 Hackney earmarked the proceeds of sale from the development site to meet the costs of the new Town Hall annex which is now under construction. Soon people will be able to go these new offices to pay their Council tax. Meanwhile there are some 12,000 homeless and overcrowded applicants on the Council's housing waiting list and Hackney has described the shortage of family homes as "most acute".

Saturday 7 November 2009

Authorities abandon affordable housing policies.

On 4th November Hackney Council agreed to give up an £11million payment intended for affordable housing in Dalston, when it granted planning permission for Hammerson's 52-storey Bishops Place tower block development in Shoreditch.

The Bishops Place tombstone development designed by Foster and Partners. The City of London Corporation, which has several joint venture agreements with Hammerson on sites in Shoreditch, welcomed the scheme

In the face of community opposition Hackney had deferred the planning application in July 2008 and asked Hammerson to spare The Light at 233 Shoreditch High Street which was to be demolished. At that time Hammerson said there was room for only 50 affordable flats in its £400 million, 1.5 million sq ft., scheme. It offered to contribute £14 million to "off-site" affordable housing. The contribution was intended for TfL's Dalston Junction development, which has already received massive public subsidy, but where there is presently no affordable housing planned at all.

The Slab, a £40million concrete raft over the railway cutting, intended to provide a bus station and private flats in 8 blocks of up to 20 storeys at Dalston Junction.

Hackney's, and the Mayor of London's, policy is that in larger schemes developers should seek to provide 50% affordable housing of which 70% should be for social rental and 30% for shared-ownership. Hammerson's mixed-use scheme includes 290 flats and serviced hotel apartments but there are to be only 11 flats (4%) for social rental.

The Worship of Mammon, 1909 by Evelyn de Morgan, updated 2009 by

Hackney accepted that the international property developer, Hammerson, had been hit by the credit feeze , which meant that it could now only afford a £3million, and not a £14million, contribution to off-site affordable housing. But Hackney also extended the time to start the development to 5 years when it hopes that market conditions will have improved.
The Bishops Place scheme, which still involves partial demolition of The Light, has been condemned by the Government's advisory commission, CABE, which objected to the "fundamentally flawed" design and the "canyon effect" of the blocks. But the rushed consultation process meant that CABE's objections were not made available for Planning Committee members to read.
English Heritage advised that the "overbearing" development would have "a harmful impact on surrounding conservation areas and listed buildings". But English Heritage's letter was not on the planning file either.
The Council did not even consult it's own Design Review Panel which has objected strongly to the previous designs.

Hackney Council owns most of the Bishops Place site and will make £millions, under an option deal with the developer Hammerson, now the scheme has been granted planning permission. But the sale proceeds wont be spent on affordable housing or other community benefits in either Shoreditch or Dalston because they are earmarked to pay for Hackney's new annex to its Town Hall which, its Mayor hopes, will give Hackney citizens "a sense of civic pride".
The Bishops Place scheme will now be reviewed by the Mayor of London's office. Hammerson has promised Mayor Boris £3.1 million to help pay for Crossrail and Hackney report that his office has already approved the affordable housing arrangements.

Saturday 24 October 2009

Ashwin Street holds its breath.....

On Monday 26th October Hackney Council's Cabinet agreed to await a structural engineers report on the condition of 2-8 Ashwin Street before deciding whether to demolish the houses.
Over the summer the public were being consulted about how the Dalston Masterplan should retain the best of our local character. Options for the Ashwin Street houses included providing a new home for Arcola Theatre .
ONn 30 July 2009 the Council's Property Services obtained agreement, from the Council's Planning Department, that if the Ashwin Street houses were to be demolished planning permission would not be necessary.
Members of OPEN Dalston objected to the demolitions without further investigation. We asked for an independent survey of the houses before irreversible decisions were made. The Council's Cabinet listened and agreed to this request last Monday. Meanwhile Ashwin Street holds its breath.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Ridley Road market plans - make your views known

The Council is consulting the public on how to spend over £1million on improving Ridley Road Market. Three options have been offered - the third option being the one developed in consultation with the Ridley Road traders themselves. You can see the plans here and you have until 16th October to make your views known via email to

This latest round of consultation is part of a lengthy process which began with the Council obtaining a consultants' report back in 2007. Their recommendations covered most of the issues which are now part of the Council's consultation.

The consultants noted that traders are charged £430,000 a year for waste management but found "the worst market environment we have ever experienced in over 30 years".

The consultants' recommendations included a profit-led approach to market management so that the Council could obtain income by increasing the charges trader's pay for licensing, storage, electricity and parking. Ridley Market is presently the "Home of the Bargain" and, for many, a vital source of affordable goods and fresh produce. Increased charges to traders would inevitably lead to higher prices for customers. The consultants also suggested cashing in on Council assets, particularly the market storage land in Birkbeck Road, by identifying "potential disposal opportunities... of land for residential development".

Ridley Road's market traders are at the hub of Dalston's retail diversity, and its vitality, so why have they had so much grief? One of the first of the consultants' recommendations to be implemented was a crack down on traders by a restructured Council enforcement team. Since 2007 OPEN has reported on the prosecutions of traders (which were later declared by government to be"not in the public interest") rumours of a Council agenda to redevelop some of the market's land (strongly denied by Hackney's Mayor Pipe), electricity supplies to traders stalls cut off since May 2007, the sudden closure of the traders' market store and traders' appeals against revocation of their licences.

Larry Julian, Chair of the RRMTA, talks about the improvement plans

The Ridley Road Market Traders Association (RRMTA) has been consulted and it supports many of the Council's improvement proposals - refurbished lighting and electricity supplies, road and pavement upgrades, better publicity and gateway signage, improved waste collection and recycling and equal size but larger stalls. The RRMTA particularly favours improving the St Marks (east) end of Ridley Road market, part of which is on private land, and encouraging people to shop along its entire length.

But the Options the Council present make no express mention of refurbishing the market's store that was closed last year (although some work is going on there presently), or the storage yard for traders barrows, which are both in Birkbeck Road. When you look at the Council's proposals you'll see it is pushing to do away with barrows in favour of uniform stall types - flat pack stalls to be set up and dismantled daily (by someone) and stored (somewhere) off site - to "improve the look of the market". Nothing to do then with the consultant's recommendation that doing away with the barrows would "leave a considerable piece of land available along Birkbeck Road. LBH may wish to give consideration to alternative use of this area of land possibly for Residential Development"

Ridley Road Market - the home of the bargain
Neneh Cherry and Andi Oliver buy some bunches of callaloo. It's the home of the bargain - but how do we keep it that way?

Monday 12 October 2009

Tory conference learns about Spirit and "Tesco-fication".

In this video clip Graeme Archer tells the Tory Conference about how local people, and particularly Spirit, were powerless to prevent Hackney Council auctioning off local businesses to off-shore companies in 2002. The auctions were not just of properties in Broadway Market but a Georgian terrace of thriving businesses in Dalston Lane too - and just look what has become of them. Despite Council policies, and crocodile tears, the Dalston shopkeepers were deprived of the opportunity to buy their shops when the terrace was put in the auction as one lot and many have since been evicted. Then there were arson attacks and four houses were burnt out. The Council have since, at public expense, demolished three of the houses. Following recent public consulation the Council's planning brief for the terrace is awaited.

Graeme Archer also raises the issue of the "Tesco-fication" of our high streets - the loss of retail diversity, independent small businesses and local character. Local communities are resisting this all over the country. Tesco have an outstanding planning application for the major redevelopment of its Morning Lane site which includes two thirteen-storey residential tower blocks on top of a new store. The development will dominate St John at Hackney churchyard gardens and Hackney's earliest monument - the 13th century Grade 1 listed St Augustine's Tower.You can see and comment on the application on Hackney Council's Planning Department web site here.

Image gimped by

"....Where possible, a supermarket operator underwrites the whole development, erecting towers on site, so that Hackney becomes a suburb of Tesco, with streets, permanently under cosmetic revision, replaced by 24-hour aisles. Light and weather you can control. Behaviour is monitored by a discreet surveillance technology..."
Iain Sinclair, London Review of Books, June 2009

Sunday 4 October 2009

Even what they have will be taken away

Lowell 'Spirit' Grant has lost his claim against Hackney Council for compensation following the sale of his home and business at auction to an off-shore company.

"He was plainly proud of the business which he had built up since 1993. It is sad that this was taken from him " said the Judge "It is unfortunate that these offshore companies are purchasing properties and are able to avoid the same fees and taxes which others would have to pay".

Spirit had wanted to buy his property and met the Council's property agents, Nelson Bakewell, prior to the auction. Although he had handed over his cheque for £10,000 deposit, and signed a document, the property was later sold at auction for £15,000 less than Spirit had agreed to pay. The cheque was later posted back to him without explanation.

The Council's agent agreed it was possible that Spirit may have signed something at the pre-auction meeting but the Judge found that, whatever it was, it was not proved to be a sale contract. The property agents later returned the file to the Council but despite investigations by the Council's Internal Audit, and a Scrutiny Committee Inquiry, the document has never been produced .

The Council's agent said that Spirit must have known of the auction of the property well in advance because he had been there to measure it up. Why the auction catalogue described Spirit's residential flat above the shop as 'storage' remains a mystery.

The Council's agents gave evidence at the trial, which the Judge accepted, that they went ahead and auctioned the property because Spirit had told them that his cheque would not be honoured. A member of Spirit's family said on oath that they had agreed to make an immediate transfer of funds.

Following a three year battle, and despite all the rent being up to date, Spirit was evicted last year for failing to pay the off-shore landlord's legal costs awarded in its possession proceedings at a time when Spirit had no legal representation. The Court of Appeal found that in the case of business tenants the Court did not have the same power, which it has for purely residential occupiers, to allow them time to pay.

Should we beware the east wind?

Extensive radioactive contamination has been found on the 2012 Olympic site. OPEN has made an appeal for funds to meet the cost of commissioning an independent nuclear scientist to report on the working methods and risks arising from the excavation works on the site at Stratford. .

If you can assist with funding the independent scientist's report please contact

Thursday 17 September 2009

Bad news for Dalston. Worse news for Barratt.

Bad News: The Dalston Square"regeneration project" has beaten other shortlisted projects to win the first ever, but already notorious, Ceausescu Golden Spoon Award. You can see more here

TfL's artist impression of the Dalston Square development - with further enhancements by a Dalston artist. Click on the image to enlarge it. The scheme is a public/private development by Hackney Council (which itself described the development as "austere"), the Greater London Authority and their private sector "partner" Barratt. It has involved demolition of historic buildings, environmental blight and massive public subsidy.

The Dalston Square development was always a strong favorite to bottom out the Ceausescu Award criteria for oppressive scale, bulldozed planning and architectural hype but it only just managed to see off fierce competition from the Peninsula Square development in Greenwich, the Aldgate Union Tower in Tower Hamlets and Newham’s Queen's Market development. Queens Market scooped the silver spoon award and the wooden spoon went to Waltham Forest Council’s Arcade site scheme. Unfortunately the handful of politicians and public officials responsible for the Dalston Square project were not present at the ceremony to receive the award or the further public appreciation for their efforts which they so richly deserve.

Worse news: for debt-laden Barratt, the national volume house builder, which is contracted to build the 20-storey towers of the Dalston Square development. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has said that Barratt was "behind the curve" and now, say analysts at Investec, it could be described financially as "irreparably damaged".

The £40million concrete building slab spanning the soon to be reopened Dalston Junction overground station. The claims that Barratt are to build green and eco towers on The Slab has a hollow ring when the financial and carbon cost of The Slab are considered.

Investec's unfortunate comment comes on the eve of Barratt's anticipated £500million cash call for deperately needed investment and just when it is due to start building more tower blocks on The Slab, the second half of the Dalston Square scheme, this October. Barratt's difficulties could explain the mystery regarding its section 106 contributions which is said to put at risk Hackney Council's new library planned for the Dalston Square scheme

'The worship of Mammon' by Evelyn de Morgan 1909, updated by 2009

Barratt, like other housebuilders, has been hit very hard by the continuing credit freeze despite the assistance from government bail-outs and an enticing marketing campaign locally. It has sought to maintain cash flow by a "buy to let" campaign marketing Dalston Square in Singapore which has, reportedly, seen 23 of the flats "snapped up". Barratt, with other national housebuilders, is also reported to have been seeking to maintain house prices by "drip feeding" its new properties into the market.

PS Is that a rumour of a takeover we can hear snapping at Barratt's heels?

Sunday 2 August 2009

The curtains up on Arcola Theatre's plans

This week Arcola Theatre is presenting its proposals to the public for developing a site in Ashwin Street, Dalston, as its future home. The vision includes "an expanded Arcola Theatre venue including an enlarged main house to draw exceptional national and international productions. Around this core will sit the Arcola Energy sustainable technology incubator, enterprise and skills studios and ethical café/bar/restaurant facilities."

The Theatre has outgrown its current premises in Arcola Street, Dalston.

Whilst plans for what the new Arcola will contain are well developed, the precise site and architectural scheme are far from decided. Thus the launch of the proposals is accompanied by a public exhibition of 18 very different architectural possibilities which Arcola hope will further ongoing discussions about the future of Dalston Junction. More details about the Future Arcola consultation exhibiton can be seen here. You can visit the exhibition between 10.30am - 5.30pm every day until Friday 7th August at Studio 5 in Arcola Street Dalston. Let them know you are coming by telephoning 0207 503 1646.

Part of the Future Arcola Theatre exhibition.

OPEN members will recall how in 2005 Arcola's Executive Director and energy scientist Dr Ben Todd and Executive Producer and writer Leyal Nazli worked and campaigned with OPEN to try and save the old Dalston Theatre and locally listed Georgian houses for re-use. Arcola Theatre's founder and Artistic Director, Mehmet Ergen, wrote an impassioned letter to Hackney's Planning Comittee members urging them to consider multiple uses for the site, including a new and much needed expanded venue for Arcola Theatre.

The original plans for the new 1898 entrance to the Dalston Theatre of Varities, built forward from the original 1886 Dalston circus entrance, at 12 Dalston Lane.

Sadly Hackney demolished the buildings and that site is now part of Barrat's 'Dalston Square' tower-block scheme at Dalston Junction.

Nevertheless Arcola Theatre's ambition and determination has continued and many of its visions are already being realised - not least progress towards becoming the first carbon neutral theatre in the UK. These pictures illustrate some of its diverse activities.

Training in theatre technology takes place for young people at Arcola theatre.

Arcola Youth Theatre gives training and performance opportunities for the next generation of actors.

One of Arcola Theatre's many performances in their bar.

Arcola Theatre has gone international - here is its theatre in Istanbul.

Don't miss the exhibition Future Arcola. It's a chance to see and comment on what the future could hold for Arcola Theatre and for a key site at Ashwin Street, Dalston. The development could anchor the emerging creative hub there and greatly enhance the public space.

Ashwin Street, Dalston with the Reeves Printhouse at the northern end - already a hub for small creative businesses.