July 27, 2016
Karena Johnson, Artistic Director of Hoxton Hall responds to #LondonIsOpen.
London Mayor, Sadiq Kahn, released a video under the hashtag #LondonIsOpen recently that struck a chord with myself and my team here at Hoxton Hall. As we enter into a new stage in our history and the country aims for greater independence, we are given an opportunity to reflect on what we, as Londoners, want to achieve from our independence.
As a born and bred Londoner I am proud of the city’s openness and proud that it remains fantastic, open city. Our mayor’s message was that London’s openness to business, creativity and innovation will help us to retain our place on the world stage. London is truly open to culture in a way that no other city in the UK, Europe or the world has achieved. In a time when the country has chosen to withdraw from the European Union, London will continue to be receptive to culture from around the world and will continue to lead the way in interacting with global culture on the stage.
Just before the EU referendum, we hosted STELLA, a piece by Neil Bartlett for the LIFT festival (London International Festival of Theatre). Many questions were asked as to whether London, a fantastically diverse city which hosts international acts throughout the year, still needed its own, specific international festival. However, now more than ever, we need to show that #LondonIsOpen. As a cultural industry, now is the time to keep showing that London is a place for global culture and that our relationship with the rest of the world can be strengthened through the arts – through cultural exchange programmes such as these.
As Artistic Director, it is my job to find the shows that will make up our next season. In the coming weeks, I will be delighted to present to London a brand new season of theatre, comedy and music from a variety of international artists from all around the world; from Italy, Japan, Nigeria, America and others, many of whom are Londoners too… Our next season will reflect London and the rich cultural diversity we are proud of and I cannot wait to share it with you.
Artistic Director, Hoxton Hall