There is nothing that says Christmas more than the amuse-bouche assortment of tinsel tinted events that build up to the main day in question.
We’ve collated a round-up of some of Bethnal Green’s jolliest of occasions, so you can steer clear of the anxiety of Oxford Street crowds and instead celebrate local craftsmanship, culture and community. An advent calendar of occasions more enduring than the chocolate kind, if you will…
We’ve included a few events with an entirely non Christmassy feel, for those who don’t celebrate Christmas or are already over the long preamble of baubles and supermarket jingles.
Whether it’s sitting back to enjoy a performance, having a good old knees up or getting on top of the stocking fillers, there is something for everyone:
- 1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd December – Columbia Market Christmas Wednesdays
- 11th December – A Christmas Carol Story at St Margaret’s House
- 11th December – A Maker’s Fair at the Oxford House
- 11th December – An auction run by local legend Maureen Flanagan at the Blind Beggar pub in aid of the NHS
- Throughout December – Lady Lane Kitchen x The Canvas
- 15th December – The Great Big Cabaret F*ckabout at Bethnal Green Working Mens Club
- 18th December – Raise the Banner by The Grand Union Orchestra at St Johns on Bethnal Green
- 18th & 19th December – Performance, music and spoken word by Cardboard Citizens at Rich Mix
A Christmas Carol Story
11 DECEMBER at 2.30PM & 5PM
Ebenezer and his ghoulish gang are back! Hunker down into the Christmas spirit with The Dickens Theatre Company and of course… the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. This unique adaptation of Dicken’s classic novella presents two actors taking on every role in a fast-paced & action-packed 60-minute production.
Check out the St Margaret House website to book a seat at this festive performance.
A Maker’s Fair
11 DECEMBER 11AM – 15.30
Discover unique gifts from local makers at the Maker’s Fair at Oxford House. Expect creative and affordable handmade goods and homewares from up-and-coming independent artists, traders and makers, against a backdrop of live music.
If you’re feeling inspired by the artistic atmosphere, then seize the opportunity to join craft workshops which are open for all ages.
Ensure your pennies spent this Christmas are invested back into the community, whilst also the world greener and more sustainable.
An Auction in Aid of the NHS
11 DECEMBER 1PM TILL LATE
Local celeb Maureen Flanagan is hosting a fundraising event to raise money for the NHS. There will be music, a raffle and an auction, including the chance to get your mitts on personal memorabilia from the notorious Kray twins and Charlie Bronson.
Come and feel like a true East Ender at the Blind Beggars pub on the 11th December, and be regaled by the raconteur Flanagan (who was famously proposed to by Reggie Kray three times). It will sure to be a hoot, whilst also sending a big thank you message to the NHS.
Lady Lane Kitchen x The Canvas
Looking to eat well this Christmas season but wanting to avoid the glut of dry turkey sandwiches and mince pies?
Join the cosy and delicious evenings with The Lady Lane Catering company, a cooperative of six female chefs, who have launched a new residency at social enterprise cafe The Canvas. Enjoy Ethiopian feasts, Middle Eastern platters, Caribbean suppers, Bangladeshi bites and more, inspired by the caterers’ own home-cooking.
These evenings have been so successful, they extended them to run throughout December. Browse the range of Eventbrite dates to book yourself a seat at the table.
‘Raise the Banner’ with the Grand Union Orchestra
Be simultaneously cheered and riled by this musical extravaganza that commemorates the significant anniversaries of famous events of dissent, protest and resistance in London’s East End – the Poplar Rates Rebellion (100th), the Battle of Cable Street (85th) and the publication of Stepney Words (50th) – together with the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh and the 20th of the attack on the World Trade Centre, 9/11.
The show features Grand Union Voices, representing the diverse demographic of East London. Some of the newer young professionals will be showcased performing alongside the veterans for the first time.
Check out the eventbrite page to book your ticket.
An evening with Cardboard Citizen
18 & 19 DECEMBER
During lockdown, Cardboard Citizens members wrote short plays and recorded music about the housing crisis – what might lie ahead for those of us whose living situation becomes unstable, and what solutions might there be to address the crisis in the future.
Sketches of resistance and dissent, of chosen communities, and alternate ways of living as we emerge from the time of COVID into an era of creativity. From hostels, squats and temporary housing, direct to the Rich Mix stage – join your community in a festive-free two-day festival that looks towards a better 2022.
Go to the Rich Mix site to secure yourself a ticket.
Columbia Market Christmas Wednesdays
1, 8, 15 & 22 DECEMBER
Columbia Road is extending it’s Sunday market to Wednesdays throughout December, so you can maximise the opportunity to enjoy it’s eclectic mix of independent traders ahead of Christmas.
There will be Christmas Carols performed by St Peter’s, a brass quintet and plenty of mulled wine to warm your cockles.
House plants – stand aside for the almighty Christmas Tree.
The Great Big Cabaret F*ckabout
And finally, here’s one for anyone fancying a proper knees up to get the spirits high (and on a school night, too!).
A good ol’ classic variety night at the iconic Bethnal Green Working Mens Club…but with a twist!
Stars of the international cabaret scene as you’ve never seen them before, performing lesser-known routines, trialling ridiculous concepts they’ve never dared perform before or even attempting to swap genres for the night.
Feel their fear, applaud their audacity, sheathe your schadenfreude!!
50% of proceeds go to Cabaret vs. Cancer
Have a look at the BGWMC site for more information.
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