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Creative Elephant celebrates arts and cultural venues across Elephant and Castle

An animated typographic gif which reads 'Creative Elephant'.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date11 May 2021
An animated typographic gif which reads 'Creative Elephant'.
Work by Peter Roden for Creative Elephant.

Elephant and Castle is underpinned by the rich diversity of its people, places and creativity. As London begins to navigate a path out of Lockdown, the launch of the Creative Elephant digital platform aims to provide the latest highlights and events from leading local venues.

With a focus on organisations ranging from galleries and dance studios to theatres, clubs and museums, the website features an interactive map and venue mini-guide to support visitors and community residents to explore the Elephant and Castle area. Featured venues include Southwark Playhouse, Corsica Studios, and the Imperial War Museum (IWM), as well as art spaces like Drawing Room, performing arts institutions like Superarts Academy, and food outlets such as Mercato Metropolitano.

Creative Elephant originated as a 5-day showcase held in parallel with the 2019 Degree Shows at London College of Communication (LCC). With thousands of extra visitors in the local area, a programme of 20 events across 13 venues introduced wider audiences to the vibrant creativity of Elephant and Castle through activities including street dance classes, exhibitions and live radio broadcasts.

While the global pandemic led to the cancellation of similar plans for 2020, Lockdown provided an opportunity to fast-track an ambition to create a website that could support arts and cultural venues throughout the year. Featuring a visual identity designed by BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design graduate Peter Roden, Creative Elephant provides useful updates as organisations evolve and adapt, helping them to connect with new and returning audiences, as well as with each other.

The platform is set to launch in mid-May 2021 as restrictions ease and more organisations start to reopen their doors to the public.

A photograph of an exhibition in a large concrete space.
Image credit: The Exhausted Student - Donna Huddleston, 2019. Photography by Angus Mill.

"This is just the beginning"

Gill Henderson, Cultural and Communities Partnerships Manager at LCC, explained how the initiative developed from supporting businesses across physical to digital worlds.

“Being without a crystal ball, we had no idea how events would unfold way back in April last year when we decided to create a website to showcase and promote the wonderful creative and cultural spaces in and around the College at Elephant and Castle,” she said.

“Now, we are delighted to be able to support those venues in a small way as they gradually reopen.

“LCC is proud to be part of a vibrant, diverse and resilient community, and we look forward to working in partnerships as Creative Elephant comes back to real-life. This is just the beginning.”

"The one-stop place to find out what's on"

Both Chris Smyrnios, Artistic Director at Southwark Playhouse, and Mary Doyle, Co-Director at Drawing Room, emphasised the impact of Creative Elephant on supporting local venues to emerge from Lockdown.

“The new Creative Elephant website is a great resource, especially with the reopening of theatres and cultural venues from May,” said Chris.

“I'm looking forward to using it and directing our audiences to it so they can check out all the wonderful offerings in the Elephant!"

“Creative Elephant is the one-stop place to find what’s on in the rich cultural life of Elephant and Castle,” agreed Mary.

“Drawing Room is excited to welcome everyone back from 21 May for our major exhibition, Drawing Biennial 2021, which will include 292 artists - many of whom are south London-based.”

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