You hang out in East London quite a bit right? So you know about Rich Mix then? Oh, you don’t? Well that’s a shame, because this Arts Council-supported, truly community based and genuinely diverse venue has more going on under its four-storey high roof than you can shake a glow stick at. You may have thought it was just a cinema – and it does have a very nice big screen showing a mix of blockbusters and independents – but it also features dance, theatre, literature, spoken word, live music, workshops, children’s events, visual arts, debates and discussions, comedy and cabaret. In fact there doesn’t seem to be much they don’t support – and that includes housing a number of arts-based organisations within its office space. Sitting opposite the top of Brick Lane, and with big bar and cafe spaces for lounging in, Rich Mix’s role as the hub of East End culture is an exciting one, and it’s expanding.
Their new programme launches this week, and it’s packed. Live seasons include the Shoreditch Jazz Sessions in October, in partnership with Jazz FM, giving local musicians the chance to book themselves a slot and get heard. There’s also the first major festival of South Asian literature, with a mix of poetry, music, travel writing, and spotlights on literature in Kashmir and Pakistan. There’s monthly Friday cabaret at the Popcorn Club with a mix of new and established talent; spoken word performance with Tongue Fu and Apples and Snakes; live music from the likes of The Correspondents, an African Hip-Hop Special (next Tuesday), Manouche’s gypsy folk, Arun Gosh’s South Asian jazz fusion, Eat Your Own Ears ‘Born in London’ showcase, live hip-hop from Lyrix Organix, UK folk from Skinny Lister, blues from Eddie Angel, Bobby Friction presenting a South Asian mashup, acoustic niceness from Krystle Warren, heavy dub from Dennis Bovell…and, yep, loads more.
Besides which: Peter and David Adjaye presenting a day of African art, film and music on 2nd October, five separate film festivals, including Gaywise and Colombiage (experimental video art and film from Colombia) plus regular screenings of shorts and documentaries, a celebration of More 4’s 5th birthday which includes a screening of ‘Taking Liberties’ about the stripping of civil liberties under New Labour, and the Industry Takeover event for aspiring musicians to get the lowdown from the professionals. And a whole educational programme for children, families and young people that features storytelling and filmmaking workshops, art sessions, theatre about Divali, puppetry about Kenya, and workshops for 16+ on dance, music video, and film.
Prices range from £5-£15 and are cheaper in advance. But, pick up the programme and wherever you see a blue circle, that means it’s part of a wide range of FREE events which happen every week, including live music most Sundays (see www.richmix.org.uk/free).
So if you haven’t been spending time at Rich Mix, perhaps it’s time you should. It really is what the East End is all about. See www.richmix.org to find out all the details.