Zara is coming to the Elephant

19 February 2019
Zara: coming to GMH Park
Zara: coming to Elephant and Castle in May

Zara is a giant outdoor theatre event coming to Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Elephant and Castle, in May.

Featuring a giant baby, 3D projections and a large cast of local performers, Zara is the epic story of one learning disabled mother, Zara, and her fight to protect her baby.

When Eva was born, her mother wasn’t prepared for what was coming next. Eva is no ordinary baby. Eva is a giant threat to society. The army is called; the world’s media descend on the UK; there are protests and placards, opinions and destruction. And there is Zara, her mother. A mother who will defend the child she loves with all her might. A mother against the world.

Part of the council’s Southwark Presents programme for 2019, Zara is A Mind the Gap and Walk the Plank co-production. It takes place on 10 and 11 May 2019.

Find out more


Community grants of up to £10,000 now available

12 February 2019
Elephant and Castle Community Fund
2019 Fund now open for applications

The 2019 Elephant and Castle Community Fund has gone live.

This is your opportunity to apply for grant funding to support an existing project or to get something new and exciting off the ground.

Since it was established by Lendlease and Southwark Council in 2012, the fund has awarded more than £200,000 to local community organisations and directly benefited thousands of local people. From film projects and school drama to skill-sharing and language classes, the wide range of initiatives supported so far reflects the amazing breadth of talent that exists in Elephant and Castle.

This year, the grants on offer are between £500 and £10,000 and the deadline for applications is midday Monday 8 April 2019.

Your project must be based in the Elephant and Castle regeneration area and should address one or more of the five themes below:

  • Further Education / Skills Building / Training and Entrepreneurship
  • Arts and Culture
  • Environment
  • Older Residents
  • Wellbeing


If you’re interested you can apply online and there are also a couple of dates in March when you can get face to face help with your application.

Find out more


The Blue Elephant and Southwark Playhouse win big at the Offies

5 February 2019
Jo, Niamh and Jacqui
The Blue Elephant Theatre

Elephant and Castle’s two local theatres, Southwark Playhouse and The Blue Elephant, both enjoyed huge success at the Offies this week.

The Off-West-End Awards – or Offies for short – were held on Sunday in the newly reopened Grand Hall at the Battersea Arts Centre.

Southwark Playhouse won for its revival of The Rink while The Blue Elephant Theatre scooped five awards in the People’s Vote including ‘Most Welcoming Venue’ and ‘Best Programming Policy’.

The Playhouse, which has established itself as a firm favourite amongst locals during its tenure on Newington Causeway, is due to expand into a new purpose-built venue this autumn as part of the regeneration of nearby St Mary’s Churchyard. Meanwhile, The Blue Elephant – a small theatre with a particular focus on working with the local community – celebrates 20 years in the neighbourhood, this year.

Find out more about The Blue Elephant

Find out more about Southwark Playhouse

Find out more about the Offies


Construction starts on The Kite

4 February 2019
Artist's impression of The Kite
Artist’s impression of The Kite

Work has begun on The Kite, a 25-storey tower on Newington Causeway.

Situated between Southwark Playhouse and the Signal Building, when complete, this mixed-used scheme, from Neobrand, will house a 140 room hotel, 48 apartments (including 15 affordable homes) and retail at ground level.

Designed by SPPARC Architecture (the firm behind the Music Box on Union Street) the development will also create a new pedestrian route linking Newington Causeway to Tiverton Street – helping to make Elephant and Castle a better place to walk.

Find out more


Dima Beautiful opens on Sayer Street

29 January 2019
Dima Beautiful at Elephant Park
Dima Beautiful at Elephant Park

Dima Beautiful has opened at 4 Sayer Street Elephant Park.

It’s the first retailer to open on Sayer Street – Elephant Park’s new street featuring local and independent businesses, set to bloom as more traders open their doors later this year.

Locals will recognise the name Dima Beautiful, as the business was one of those based in Artworks, the temporary business and retail hub which closed in December. Its new premises at Sayer Street, which opened last Friday, is the unisex salon’s first permanent home.

Business owner Nadia, who is thrilled to be expanding her business in Elephant and Castle, said: “I’m extremely excited to be opening Dima Beautiful in Elephant Park. I’m aiming to offer customers a pampering experience whether they’re simply popping in for an express treatment or spending the whole morning or afternoon with us.”

Elephant Park developer Lendlease is committed to helping new and existing companies in the area and has given support to Nadia throughout the relaunch of her business.

Find out more


MM Factory comes to Elephant Park

22 January 2019
Mercato Metropolitano
Mercato Metropolitano

The team behind Mercato Metropolitano, the popular Italian food market and dining venue on Newington Causeway, are set to launch a second operation at Elephant Park in the summer.

MM Factory will combine an urban production centre – a unique and immersive food experience where customers will be able to observe and participate in the traditional arts of food production – with Mercato’s signature mix of micro-restaurants and high-quality, sustainable food concepts from around the world.

MM Factory will be situated at an important gateway to Elephant Park. Facing onto Sayer Street  – a new street for local and independent businesses – and overlooking Walworth Square, it will help to establish this part of Elephant Park as a new food hub for London.

Find out more


New Year’s Honour for Elephant and Castle’s Irene Hayes

21 January 2019
Irene Hayes
Irene Hayes BEM, Superarts

Irene Hayes, better known as Rene from Superarts Dance Academy, has been awarded a BEM in the New Year’s Honours List.

Rene has been teaching dance and the performing arts to local children for more than 50 years at her non-profit dance academy just off Walworth Road.

Many of her pupils have gone on to enjoy great success in West End shows, television and theatre around the world. And anyone who’s lived in Southwark for any length of time is bound to have come across some of the current crop of young dancers performing in shows and events throughout the borough.

The BEM (Medal of the Order of the British Empire) is awarded to people for ‘hands-on’ service to the local community. In Rene’s case, the award comes in recognition of her lifetime of service to dance and the community in Southwark.

You can read more about Rene and Superarts here


A new library for Walworth

16 January 2019
A new library is planned for Walworth

Southwark Council is honouring its commitment to provide a new library and heritage centre for Walworth.

A report, that sets out plans for a new library and heritage centre on Walworth Road, will be considered by Cabinet Members on 22 January.

The council plans to secure units in the new Elephant Park development on a long-term lease from Lendlease. If the report is approved, work to prepare the new library and heritage centre will start directly.

The council will work closely with the local community and schools to ensure it meets the needs of its users. In addition to library services, it will include space for heritage and cultural displays, creating an opportunity to showcase some of the Cuming Collection and to celebrate Southwark’s great heritage.

Find out more


Town Centre development approved

14 January 2019
CGI of the proposed Town Centre development
CGI of the Town Centre development

Planning permission to build a new town centre for Elephant and Castle was formally granted by Southwark Council on 10 January 2019.

The scheme, which involves redeveloping the shopping centre along with the adjacent London College of Communication site, will create 979 new homes, 35% of which will be affordable homes, including 116 at social rent. It will also provide new leisure space, shops and restaurants and a cutting-edge new campus for the university.

The development will open up new walking routes through the area and help to make Elephant and Castle more accessible for pedestrians. There will also be a new entrance and ticket hall for the Northern Line tube station.

Proposals to create a temporary retail village at nearby Castle Square have also been approved. Alongside space at Perronet House and Arch Street, Castle Square will provide affordable units for traders relocating from the shopping centre as well as opportunities for other businesses which are just getting started.

Find out more


Have your say on the future of Walworth Town Hall

7 January 2019
Illustration for one of the proposals
Illustration for one of the proposals

There’s still time to have your say on proposals for the future of Walworth Town Hall, the Grade II listed building that was gutted by fire in 2013.

Southwark Council is consulting on two proposals to help bring the building back into use – one from Castleforge and the other from General Projects. The latest round of consultation began on 22 November and runs until 21 January.

You can read about the two proposals, download presentations and provide your feedback via the council’s consultation hub . The council has also published a video of the recent consultation session held for local residents at the Art Academy on 12 December.

All consultation responses will feed into an evaluation, leading to a report to Southwark Council’s Cabinet in spring 2019. Read more about the background to the project at

Find out more



Read archived news from last year (2018)