New Digital Arts Festival Celebrates the Centenary of the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921  - Broke in London

New Digital Arts Festival Celebrates the Centenary of the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921 

Guest post by Lianne DeBruin

Curated by Beth Watton of Poplar Union and Neil McPherson of the Finborough Theatre, Poplarism! is the new digital arts festival celebrating the centenary of the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921. Read on to learn how you can apply for a micro-commission as part of the festival…

So, first things first, what is the Poplar Rates Rebellion?

Led by George Lansbury, former Mayor of Poplar and future leader of the Labour Party, the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921 was one of the milestones of local London history where local government stood against central government on behalf of the poor and the least privileged in society. As a result of the revolt, a bill was rushed through parliament that more or less equalised the tax burdens between London’s rich and poor boroughs. Read more about the Rebellion here.

Poplar Rates Rebellion

Poplar Rates Rebellion

Thanks for that! Now, what is Poplarism!?

Poplarism! is a unique collaboration between two very different venues in two very different parts of London – the recently opened arts and community space, Poplar Union, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, one of London’s most deprived boroughs, and the long-established Finborough Theatre, located in one of London’s wealthiest areas, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The two venues are now joining together in a spirit of cross-London partnership and reconciliation to celebrate this milestone in London’s history with a Digital Arts Festival.

The festival will take place on Saturday, 1 May 2021 to Tuesday, 4 May 2021. The winning submissions will be streamed online – submissions from Tower Hamlets will be streamed on Finborough Theatre’s YouTube/digital channels, and submissions from Kensington and Chelsea will be streamed on Poplar Union’s YouTube/digital channels.

Sounds great! How do I Apply?

Submissions open 1 February 2021 and close. 1 March 2021, and anyone living in the Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Kensington and Chelsea are invited to submit a proposal outlining their creative response to the events of 1921. This an opportunity for those who do and don’t consider themselves ‘artists’. Whether you’re a musician, an actor or a teacher who likes to paint in their spare time, you’re welcome to apply! Applicants should respond to the theme as naturally and instinctively as possible, though the work should be in some way a response to the events, personalities and issues of 1921.

The 10 winning submissions will be streamed online as part of the festival taking place on Saturday, 1 May 2021 to Tuesday, 4 May 2021.

Read more and apply now on the Poplar Union website.


Application date deadline: 1 March 2021


About Lianne

Lianne DeBruin is from Ireland, but has been living and working in London for 3 years. She works in events, and has a long background in the arts and heritage sector.