On 18th January, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden joined 300 performers from schools, dance clubs and community groups across Brent to participate in RISE, the opening event of Brent’s year as London Borough of Culture.
The spectacular outdoor family-friendly show was hosted at Wembley Park on a five-storey stage against the iconic Wembley Stadium.
The programme was attended by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who met young members of the Blueprint Collective, a group of young people at the centre of every programme taking place this year. The mayor was informed about their 'Seen & Heard' project.
Thousands along Olympic Waybrought together theatre, dance, music and projection to tell stories of migration and cultural integration in Brent through a mass-participatory performance. A 45 minute road show took the visitors on a visual journey through the origins of Metroland to the birth of Trojan Records and archive footage of the Grunwick Strikes.
Whilst children from the Mandir performed the Shanti Path – Vedic prayers for peace, harmony and righteous prosperity to prevail in the local community and across the world. Children and youths from the Mandir also delivered a short cultural performance of lights amid vibrant projections of the Mandir on the large screens.
Devan Parekh, a lead volunteer of the Mandir, said, “Neasden Temple has been an integral part of Brent’s rich and vibrant culture ever since it opened in 1995. As we celebrate the Temple’s 25th anniversary this year, it was fitting to support the Borough in beginning its year of activities to celebrate the London Borough of Culture. We look forward to welcoming more visitors to Brent from all parts of London and around the country to mark this very special year.”
The show closed with an explosive live performance by Brent-born artist General Levy.