London Grilling: Sugarhouse Studios
This week, we decided to zone in on a project close to our own doors; Sugarhouse Studios in Stratford.
One of those multi-tasking projects which you may have seen popping up increasingly over London in general and East London in particular, the Studios is a collaborative project intertwining food, film, work space, theatre and community activity.
We spoke to Amica to get the lowdown on some of the super-exciting events coming up at the Studios over the next few weeks.
1: Tell us a bit about how Sugarhouse Studios and how it came about.
It’s a bit of a complicated story! Sugarhouse Studios is a project by Assemble, a company made up of architects, designers, artists and researchers all interested in public space and making fantastic spaces in cities for community and cultural activity. We are interested in finding ways to get people more actively, critically and creatively engaged in the cities they live in, and often use very practical, hands-on means to do this.
The creation and running of Sugarhouse Studios is the first phase of, or you could say the base for, a residency in Bromley-by-Bow, in which Assemble is supported by the London Legacy Development Corporation.
2: What projects have you been doing recently?
We converted an abandoned sign-makers workshop into a cinema, cafe, pizzeria (with amazing and very cheap fresh sour-dough pizza!) and workshop. We have opened the cinema, cafe and pizzeria first, and are now beginning to develop the workshop, which in many ways will be the core of the residency.
We are running a couple of exciting projects from here which are in the early stages of development, including MAKE, DON’T MAKE DO, in which we will be working with people who live and work locally to develop a series of live-built projects which will address existing and planned public spaces in the immediate area. The idea is to create conditions where people have the confidence and means to make an impact on the places they live in and improve them in a practical way. In the broader sense, it’s also about creating a sense of possibility and hoping to engage people with larger-scale planning issues.
3: What can Sugarhouse visitors look forward to over the coming months?
More fantastic pizza! We’ve just had to recruit a couple of new chefs to keep up with demand. We’ll be starting super-local take-away at lunch time too. To go with the pizza, we have a really fun series of live music and film events which have been supported by CREATE festival. These include a night of journeying into Shostakovich’s string quartet No. 9 in E flat, Op. 117, guided by the extraordinary The Evropska Quartet. Short films and film fragments inspired by Shostakovich’s early Soviet origins will lead the audience closer to Shostakovich’s world, before a recital from the Quartet.
4: Sounds amazing! Any extra special events?
On June 29th, we have the UK premiere of THE NONSENSE EXPRESS, a new film from young director Rob Dumas, following singer/song writer Sasha and his London-based band, The Highly Skilled Migrants, as they embark on a challenging tour of Eastern Europe, taking their unique ‘Russophone Bolsha-Nova Folk n Roll’ out on the road. The screening will followed by a question and answer session with Rob and the The Highly Skilled Migrants, with vodka cocktails and a gig from the band.
We are also extending the popular season of UK film, curated with Phil Ilson from LSFF. A highlight of the new programme is a night with filmmaker Andrew Kotting and writer Iain Sinclair. They have been collaborating on Swandown, a project documenting a journey from Hastings to Hackney in a swan pedalo using Sussex and Kent waterways. There is a chance to see clips from the film, planned for release later in 2012, and the two filmmakers discussing the project. We’ll be screening a selection of shorts by Kotting, and Sinclair will be reading from his book Ghost Milk.
4: What is your secret tip for people looking to move to the Hackney/Newham area?
If I were to move elsewhere in the area, I’d go as close to the canal as possible. I’m always so surprised at how few people seem to use it to commute. Also, move somewhere you can keep a bike! Hackney and Newham are both getting more cycle-friendly every day.
It’s a fascinating project and, having been down to the opening night, we can highly recommend Sugarhouse Studios as a venue. Fancy going down? Want to know more?
Well, now you can; we’re giving away 3 pairs of Friday evening tickets to Sugarhouse Studios – just head over to our twitter page for more info!