Bow Arts is a community engagement enterprise for local artists and operates through a number of sites. Its studios at Bow Road and Taylor Place contribute to nurturing local talent by providing affordable workspace for artists. The annual summer Bow Arts Open provides a platform for the 400-strong artist community to showcase and sell their work. Visit Bow Arts contemporary gallery space, The Nunnery, which regularly holds events and exhibitions and then enjoy a cup of coffee afterwards at the gallery’s Carmelite Café.
This thriving independent bookshop has been trading for 35 years and has a loyal base of customers. The shop stocks a variety of titles but specialises in literary and academic books, plus half the shop is dedicated to children’s books.
Elevator Gallery was set up in 2007. As of 2012, the gallery has been on location at various venues around London. The gallery is committed to exhibiting artists at all stages of their career. The curators are especially interested in transgressive and thought–provoking work. Besides regular exhibitions of contemporary art, the gallery has a varied programme of live art, cinema and musical events.
The Picturehouse is a luxury 4-screen cinema showing the latest big releases as well as British and international art-house films and children’s films. The bar is a great place to spend time either before or after the film to enjoy a coffee or a glass of the locally brewed Meantime Pale Ale or Wheat Beer.
Rosetta Art Centre
The Rosetta Art Centre offers various initiatives to encourage community engagement and has been a key player in ensuring that art and culture has been at the forefront of the regeneration of Stratford. The Centre’s varied programme of events caters for all sections of society from local artists to school children and includes the Children’s Saturday Art School and exhibitions at its flagship gallery space, the Rosetta Windows Gallery.
Stour Space is a socially minded project offering part-subsidised work studios for local artists and enterprises to enable them to develop and grow their business. Alongside the studios, the gallery hosts regular exhibitions, a monthly designer market and has recently opened SHOP selling exclusive one-off pieces from resident artists, including jewellery, sculpture and photography.
The Cre8 Studio
This versatile venue within a historic Art Deco building is a film and photography studio and it also regularly hosts events from pop up art exhibitions to a Christmas market. The on-site café serves a tempting selection of cakes, teas and coffees, which can be eaten in the pretty community gardens.
The Theatre Royal
The Theatre Royal plays a key role in Stratford’s arts scene and has been producing ‘plays for the people’ since it began in 1884 and is renowned for championing new writers and plays. Originally home to Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop, this is the place that debuted ‘A Taste of Honey’ in 1958 by Shelagh Delaney, a play that was later adapted into an award-winning film and also ‘Oh, What A Lovely War!’ The compelling bestseller ‘Room’ and musical ‘Tommy’ are on stage in 2017.
The Yard Theatre
A contemporary 130-seat theatre venue made from recycled materials, with the emphasis on showcasing diverse and eclectic productions. The Yard’s highly regarded bar and kitchen runs an innovative programme of chef residencies, allowing the restaurant’s menu to remain fresh and varied.