Thursday, 17 May 2012

A grand theatrical tradition at Goldsmiths Community Centre

The Goldsmiths Musical Theatre Company offers acting, dance, singing and voice projection for adults and children over 12 years old. The Company was formed by Ray Giles and former members of the Lewisham Operatic Society, to offer musical theatre skills to young people in the local area.

Last year's show, 'A Musical Journey'
Every Friday from 7.30 - 10 pm the company rehearses in the venerable George Green Hall (constructed 1939 - more later). It costs £1 per week to join or £3 a year. You can't say fairer than that!  Last year Levi and Elijah from the Friday night youth club interviewed the directors and performers as part of the Community Voices project supported by the Media Trust.

The company pose for a group photo

Each year the company works towards a show which is usually performed during the October school half-term. In 2010 the company performed 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' and in 2011 they performed 'A Musical Journey', a selection of songs from West End Shows. The shows raise money for the George Green Hall fund. Tickets for the show are £5 and £4 for concessions, with discounts for groups of 10 or more and evening and matinee performances. Please support this wonderful local resource by booking tickets when they become available in October.

As you can see from the photos the cast is predominantly female. The next show requires a male cast. If you are a male aged 12 and over and interested in drama, why not join the company on a Friday evening? Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult on the first visit. 

This year they are auditioning for 'Scrooge'. Auditions will be held on Sunday 20 May at the community centre, Boundfield Road entrance. Registration is at 10.30 am and auditions start at 11 am. Why not come along? They are all very friendly!

Here's Ray, recruiting new members at the Phoenix Festival in Forster Park
For further information please contact Ray on the following numbers or come along on a Friday evening. 020 8244 2151  or  07903 405 525.

Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington

Grand opening, 11 May 1939
The community centre opened in May 1939 and the theatre company, then called Goldsmiths Amateur Dramatic Society (GADS) was formed in the autumn. In 2009 on the the centre's 70th anniversary the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant, as part of The Story of London, to find out the history of the centre, record local people's memories and to set up a community centre website. You can listen to their stories here.

The George Green Hall, with vaulted ceiling and stage

Dickie Eagle kindly shared his memories of the centre and the main hall via the Downham Online discussion forum:
My cousin Bert Crosk and I were regulars at Goldsmiths right through from the beginning of the war almost. Basically it was a local club that attracted youngsters from Downham, Sydenham, Bromley, Hither Green, and had regular Dances with Band etc, sometimes a performer in the form of a comedian although there were enough locals who could have qualified for that role can't remember all the names, It was also an ARP post and local Wardens etc from the Civil Defence used the offices. It had "soft" drinks only (A bar would have made a bomb too!) Plus I joined the Navy in ‘43 but never went to the club in anything but Civvies, as with my old chums I would have felt uncomfortable 

The Goldsmiths Community Players, who succeeded the amateur dramatic society, were the social hub of the centre. Putting on plays, musicals and Christmas parties for pensioners their members also sat on the committee along with the Goldsmiths Gardeners Society, organising dances, socials and clubs including the Caged Birds' Society meetings! Peggy Spencer's formation dance team used to practice on the sprung floor of the main hall on Sunday mornings in the 1960s and 70s - strictly come dancing.
Goldsmiths Community Players, playing to a packed hall in the 1980s
The hall is much loved and used by local people, from under 5s activities to festivals and fairs, weddings and wakes. It is looking its age now and needs a lot of investment to bring it into the 21st century. We have plans and ideas, encouraged and supported by the local community - who protested loudly when we suggested removing the stage! Will you help us make it a creative and social focus for the south of the borough by supporting the theatre company, the groups that use the centre and the community association to realise this vision?

Do you live in Whitefoot and like to sing?

If you like singing and would like to be part of a choir in Whitefoot Ward, why not contact Jason from Whitefoot & Downham Local Assemblies, Tues - Thurs 9am -5pmTelephone 020 8314 3253 (Wednesday 020 8314 8417) Mobile 07955 130 099
Or email

Whitefoot has no choir in the ward or very close to its border. If enough people would like to get together and sing, it can be arranged at Goldsmiths Community Centre. Goldsmiths has a long history of singing, acting and drama with a dance academy and two theatre groups.

Forster Park Choir singing at the Harvest Festival 2009

Lewisham Operatic Society at Goldsmiths Community Centre, 1990s

More information about local choirs can be found on the Sing Out! page on Lewisham Council's website

Sing Out! Lewisham also has a Facebook page

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Phoenix Festival update

A jolly time was had by all at yesterday's Phoenix Festival, Phoenix Community Housing's fifth annual event in Forster Park, Whitefoot Lane SE6. Bigger and better than ever, and with the sun shining, there was a great turnout from the local community and beyond - and something for everyone.  I was there to contact organisations and promote the benefits of sharing their information about local events, courses and activities. There is so much to do in the local area, much of it low cost or free. I may live to regret this but I've entered the Goldsmiths Community Garden into a competition! (I did get some free bulbs and seeds though).

Free seeds and bulbs in return for entering 'Best Community Garden' (better get cracking)

The Downham Nutrition Partnership Go for Gold area was enthusiastically assisted by a team of hospital doctors and their colleagues from the London Deanery Team Up programme who helped with everything - the smoothie bikes, tomato planting and supporting general health checks.

London Deanery Team Up members help set up the Go for Gold marquee
Planting tomatoes, with the Assembly Lion in the background
Children choose the fruit, ready to pedal into a drink
After some furious pedalling, a smoothie is produced!
Colin and Kate from EnviroLewisham were there promoting composting courses and general awareness about the changes to what can be recycled, free mattress removal and other initiatives. They had some great fridge magnets Bin Your Gum - chewing gum is banned in Singapore!

Colin, environment champion from EnviroLewisham
Colin and his team have been really helpful to Goldsmiths, last year he organised a Capital Clean Up of Castillon Road and the alleyway by the community centre and only a couple of weeks' ago they donated three compost caddies for our new compost heap. Local people were amazed that we were volunteering to clean up the mess, and it was good to talk to them about initiatives. We aim to run some composting and Love Food Hate Waste workshops during the summer - watch this space.

The Assembly Lion - who is in the suit?
Jason from Whitefoot and Downham Local Assemblies and his colleague from Bellingham promoted the assemblies and did a mapping exercise to find out their concerns about their environment. They also held a competition to name the Assembly Lion, with a lucky dip for the children!

Ray from Goldsmiths Musical Theatre, on a recruitment drive

Here is Ray from Goldsmiths Musical Theatre. The theatre company, then called Goldsmiths Amateur Dramatic Society, was formed in 1939 when the community centre opened and teaches children and adults stagecraft and acting. All this for only £1 a week! They are looking for new members and are auditioning for their new production Scrooge today 13th May and next Sunday 20th May. Registration is at 10.30 and auditions start at 11. More on this wonderful local resource soon.

Farmstead Road Community Garden
A good day all round, thanks to all who came and supported the event!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Phoenix Festival 2012 - Forster Park SE6, 12 May

Forster Memorial Park, Whitefoot Lane, SE6 2NZ

photos (c) Phoenix Community Housing

2012 marks the fifth anniversary of Phoenix Community Housing

This year’s festival will be on Saturday 12th May from 11.30am – 4.30pm in Forster Park.

Phoenix are taking inspiration from the Olympics and introducing the Phoenix Sports Arena – with demonstrations, workshops and stalls from sports and physical activity groups in the local area. There will be live music and dance, archery, arts and crafs and a Wii tournament.

Phoenix are also delighted to be welcoming the Sillympics – with their giant slug races, dinosaur egg and spoon and Pirates and Parrots race!

All of this alongside the old favourites such as Morris Dancers, Archery, the Climbing Wall, the Surrey Docks City Farm and music from the hilarious Cosmic Sausages.

Downham Nutrition Partnership  and friends present...
GO FOR GOLD at the Phoenix Festival

Come and pedal your way to health… and a free Smoothie…

Are you fit enough for the Olympics? Come and find out…

How to change your lifestyle, change your life - healthy and fun tips from the MEND programme.

Grow your Own Food for Free (high in anti-oxidants and vitamin C and part of your 5-A-Day)

Find out about Healthy Walks and

How to stop smoking

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Who stole the chicks?

This photo, of the preschool chickens, ducklings and (big) chicks was taken yesterday afternoon at around 5pm. This morning, two of the chicks were gone - stolen between this photo and this morning. The chicks were incubated and hatched in the preschool and the children have watched them grow and develop along with the ducklings who hatched at around the same time. 

I wonder what sort of person or people would do this to local little children and the staff who have looked after them and brought them up. The community garden is right next door and I look forward to seeing them when I'm there, how they've grown and how they come running up to the fence.

Whoever did this, I hope you are ashamed of yourself and I wish you would consider returning them to their home.