Hackney’s town centres come alive with art and culture

A series of creative events to bring alive Hackney’s town centres is being run this summer.

The Savoy Café in Hackney Central will be opened up to the public as part of Hackney Council’s programme of support for town centre businesses. While the CLR James Library in Dalston will host a tea dance with a difference and the Dalston Mill is giving visitors an unusual outdoor space to relax in.

Savoy Café, 240 Graham Road, E8

Every Saturday from 25 July to 29 August, the Savoy Café in Graham Road, E8, will host talks, screenings and shows, including Saint Etienne’s series of short films ‘Today’s Special’.

The café has been vacant since the mid 1990s. It is a rare example of a vintage, Italian-run formica café with its original features intact and has long been part of Hackney’s cultural history. In the 60s, it was regularly visited by actors performing at the Hackney Empire. The series of shows is being curated by Rosie Cooper.

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The first event of the series on 25 July – In Conversation with Corrado Coltelli - is part of the London 2012 Open Weekend, an annual UK-wide celebration counting down to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Find out more:

The Savoy Café events are also part of CREATE09 – the annual arts festival held across the five host boroughs for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest).

Dalston Junction, E8

Just up the road in Dalston, the CLR James Library will hold the ‘Litera-Tea Dance’ on Saturday 25 July from 2-5pm.

The free event will include music by Russ Jones ‘The Hackney Globetrotter’ and The Bees Knees, teas from Age Concern Hackney, readings by contemporary poets, artworks by local students and more.

Visitors are encouraged to dance the afternoon away to the sounds of Swing or relax in the garden behind the library with a cream tea and live poetry readings.

Also at Dalston Junction, visitors can enjoy the Dalston Mill - part of the Barbican Art Gallery’s exhibition Radical Nature – Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009. Experimental architectural collective EXYZT has created a ground-breaking satellite project featuring a 16 metre-high windmill with bread oven. The commission is accompanied by the recreation of Agnes Denes Wheatfield – A Confrontation 1982 and a full programme of special performances, activities and summer feasts. The Dalston Mill is open to the public until 9 August.

Cllr Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “Hackney Central and Dalston are where the arts, commerce and creativity come together in London. The Savoy Café and Dalston Mill are two arts-led initiatives, supported by the Council, which celebrate Hackney’s creativity and encourage residents and visitors alike to explore and enjoy our town centres.”