INSPIRELogoThe INSPIRE Festival was part of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham’s 50th Anniversary celebrations as a school based arts and culture festival. INSPIRE brought together dancers, actors, artists and musicians to celebrate 50 Years of Barking and Dagenham and explored some of the local, national, and international events, movements and ideas that shaped 1965 and beyond. We were inspired by our theme of ‘Social Change’, and through our performances and artworks we wanted to reflect the positive effects that these social changes have had on residents in Barking and Dagenham.


In conjunction with artists from Green Shoes Arts, five schools (Beam County Primary School, Dagenham Park Church of England School, Eastbury Comprehensive School, Northbury Primary School, and The St Teresa Catholic Primary School) worked hard to devise performances for the Festival, which were seen 10 & 11 June at Dagenham Park Church of England School. We’d like to thank all our artists and participants for an amazing run!




From an email from Councillor Evelyn Carpenter on witnessing a devising session at Beam County Primary School: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the dance performance, the amazing athletic ability of the students, their enthusiasm for the different dance genres since the 1960s, and the musicality of their performance. I very much look forward to seeing this dance performance again at the event on 11 June at Dagenham Park School. It was inspirational to see Merlin in action. There was a calm, focussed atmosphere in the classroom and all the pupils were engaged and enthralled by the tasks Merlin set them. Very quickly the pupils got to grips with Keith Harring’s artistic style and made it their own. When talking with the pupils, I found them thoughtful, articulate and loving what they were doing. The pupils used the word ‘inspirational’ about Merlin and said that she had taught them new skills and increased their appreciation of art’.



We know that being involved with the arts as a participant or as a viewer can have a profound effect on people's lives; whether it is running a film project for young people at risk of exclusion or giving adults with learning difficulties the chance to create stories and perform in front of an audience, we know that life is made more enjoyable and rewarding when we spend time doing something creative with a group of friends, old and new.If you believe the arts are as important as we do, please consider making a small donation. We appreciate your continued support!