The August riots gave young people in London a terrible reputation – but talented kids from Lewisham are doing incredible things to put this right.
Thousands of gifted youngsters are taking over the borough’s venues to showcase their talents in Lewisham Live.
The music, dance and song extravaganza, now in the middle of its run, sees more than 2,000 children from 80 different schools perform their well-practiced skills over the 17-day festival.
I went along to see the Dance Showcase at the Broadway Theatre, Catford on Tuesday night.
Brand new high-energy routines by children from 12 different schools and dance companies came together to entertain a truly buzzing audience in a show Lewisham should be proud of.
Months of hard work and care had obviously gone into each piece of vibrant choreography performed by children from primary and secondary schools.
A beautiful contemporary piece by pupils at John Stainer Primary saw the happy youngsters waltzing with colourful balloons which came together to create a real visual treat reminiscent of Disney’s Up.
And a group of around 25 Turnham Primary School kids wowed everyone with their lively routine that had everyone bopping along.
One little boy in the group had the crowd roaring with his special body-popping solo which was followed by the whole gang leaning into Usain Bolt’s trademark point in preparation for the Olympics.
Perhaps the most touching performance came from students at Forest Hill Boys School.
Their moving piece Brotherhood was dedicated to murdered teenager Kwame Ofosu-Asare from Catford who was stabbed to death earlier this month in Brixton.
Not only was this step-perfect, eclectic and highly-skilled routine an absolute joy to watch, it came with an important message as well.
The boys asked the audience: “How can we build a community in which such things can’t happen?”
Music changed from the poignant Bring Me a Higher Love by James Vincent McMorrow to which one teenager performed a stunning solo piece and ended with an upbeat, fun routine to music from the Austin Powers movie in which the whole group performed in sync.
These inspirational teens are just one act from a whole host of amazing shows to catch during the festival.
There is still an impressive line-up of musicians and dancers to go and see at various venues until March 30.
For the full program and ticket prices visit lewisham.gov.uk