Peckham creatives reclaim The Old Waiting Room for summer season – South London News

Peckham creatives reclaim The Old Waiting Room for summer season – South London News

Following the success of the first season last December, a series of free and affordable arts events will return to Peckham’s Old Waiting Room across the next two months.

Launched on June 1, Making Connections will run until July 14, featuring film screenings, large scale artworks and site-specific theatre, plus a number of talks and community workshops.

Hidden above Peckham Rye station and closed to the public since 1965, The Old Waiting Room on platform 3 has been dormant, derelict and waiting to be repurposed. 

Now open, Making Connections hopes to maximise the potential of the space as architects, artists and activists reimagine and reinterpret it. 

Designed and directed by majority female, marginalised or under-represented artists, many of whom are Peckham based, the arts festival is grounded in community.

From June 18 to 23, Gut Feelings by Peckham-based artist and set designer, Anna Burns, will question human intuition and its role in the current age of algorithms and monotony. 

Live music performances at Making Connections (Picture: Alex Leggat)

Apps now tell us when to get up, when to get pregnant, who to date, and what to listen to. 

Ms Burns urges audiences to pay attention to their gut using sound, vibrant colours and ritualistic iconography.

Following off the back of Ms Burns exhibition, Em BW will take over the waiting room with Overexposed, running from June 26 to 30.

The South London based film-maker has curated a four-day immersive film festival celebrating experiences of connection.

Visitors will step into an immersive 360 dome and discover untold narratives of peoples vulnerability.

Anna 20Previous art shows from Making Connections December 2023 (Picture:Making Connections)

The film festival will also include the London preview of Junkerry’s Together Apart. 

This 55-minute screening unfolds in five chapters, delivering strong and positive messages of community.

The piece uses music, songs and voice recordings along with intriguing visuals tailored for the full dome, by artists Alice Kilkenny, Lucy Hardcastle and Natalia Oliwaik to transport audiences into another reality.

Next up, a new site specific production directed by Peckham-based Rebecca McCutcheon and adapted by award-winning playwright Dan Rebellato.

Presented between July 2 and 14, Still Lives – an adaptation of Noel Coward’s Still Lives – interweaves the original story line with Mr Coward’s lesser-known Quadrille, to create a world of shifting relationships and missed opportunities in the comings and goings of a station platform.

Benedict OLooney ArchitectsThe newly reopened Old Waiting Room (Picture: Benedict OLooney Architects)

Delicately written and deceptively light, the play explores life’s deepest dilemmas, the sliding doors effect of decisions, which carry people away from other lives which might have been. 

With an all-female cast playing cross-gender roles, women’s desire and agency is placed at the heart of this production. 

Making Connections is funded by Arts Council England and Southwark Council’s Thriving High Streets Fund.

The Old Waiting room sits within a Grade II listed Victorian building, designed by architect Charles Henry Driver and opened in 1865.

Network Rail, Southwark Council and the Railway Heritage Trust have worked with architects to restore the space.

For tickets and listings visit:

Pictured top: The Old Waiting Room in Peckham (Picture: Edmund Sumner)

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