The Mayors of Croydon and Arnhem will be special guests at the newly-refurbished Fairfield Halls tomorrow (Saturday 12 Oct) to formally reopen the Arnhem Foyer in honour of the two towns’ historic ties.
Together the Mayors will unveil a plaque which dedicates the space – which reopened last month following a multi-million pound council restoration of the venue – as a cultural hub for everyone in Croydon.
People are invited to gather in the Arnhem Foyer from 12.30pm, with speeches from Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Humayun Kabir; Mayor of Arnhem, Ahmed Marcouch and Neil Chandler, BH Live’s Venue and Artistic Director, Fairfield Halls.
Croydon’s ties with the Dutch town go back to 1946, when business and cultural links were formed following the Second World War. Both towns had been heavily bombed and there was a common bond which formed over the years of recovery and rebuilding. They have been formally twinned since 1985.
This special relationship has always been celebrated at the Fairfield Halls, where prior to the refurbishment the Arnhem Gallery was named in its honour. When the gallery was transformed into a new live music space – the Recreational – as part of the refurbishment, the council and BH Live renamed the foyer in Arnhem’s honour instead.
The Arnhem Foyer now hosts a year-round programme of free, diverse entertainment for all, funded by operators and social enterprise BH Live through commercial activities at the venue. Visitors to Fairfield Halls on Saturday will also be able to enjoy a host of free and ticketed events as part of Croydon’s Living in Poetry festival, from 11am in spaces throughout the venue, including a poetry open mic event in the Arnhem Foyer from 1.30pm. Now in its second year, the event is run by local organisation Well-Versed Ink in partnership with Young People Insight. It is funded by Croydon Council through the cultural partnership fund, and Arts Council England.
“Our historical relationship with Arnhem is incredibly important. Borne out of our shared experiences in more difficult times, it is all the more special when we come together to celebrate events like these that look forward to a brighter future. It is fitting that the foyer at our newly-refurbished arts centre – a space that will give our local community unprecedented access to the arts, and put culture at the heart of our regeneration – has been named in its honour.”
Councillor Humayun Kabir, Mayor of Croydon