A CULTURAL centre is planning its first arts, music and dance festival since lockdown – promising to be shot through with pride in its community and the spirit of activism.

The upcoming Made in Easterhouse is the first festival of that name put on at The Bridge community centre in the scheme, which lies in the furthest reaches of Glasgow’s east end, but it follows a melting pot model favoured by its host, the arts centre Platform.

Anna Hodgart, who programmed the centre’s first festival in three years, promised “performances and music popping up” throughout the building during the course of the event, which runs until late into the night.

It features work from photography duo Saskia Coulson and Colin Tennant, a dance performance devised by Eoin McKenzie - an emerging name on the Scottish performance scene, with Platform’s Thursday Night Drama and music from Glasgow acts R.AGGS, Town Centre, Bell Lungs, BRENDA and DJ Junglehussi.

For Hodgart, the excitement of the festival lies in it marking the return to life as normal at Platform, which has slowly returned since lockdown restrictions were lifted last year.

She told the Sunday National: “I think our intention is about celebrating people being able to come together in the space in a really simple way, and I think that’s been really missing everywhere since the pandemic.

“These moments, the things that festivals give us, of everyone coming together and doing something together.

"We love the mix where you’d have folk coming from across the city to come and see the work but also a really strong turnout from the local community – it’s quite a magic combo of different kinds of people from different backgrounds mixing together.

“[There is a] really joyful, celebratory feeling – feeling part of something, that’s what we’re looking for.”

Hodgart said while the festival was not specifically intended to be political, a sense of activism was inherent in Platform’s work based in an area often used as a byword for deprived and disconnected urban sprawl.

She said: “[People’s preconceptions of Easterhouse] is part of what we’re trying to shift or challenge.

“I think the north-east as a whole is a little bit left out of cultural activity, but actually there is really strong community working, a history of art making and activism in the north-east.

“For us it’s challenging that preconception a little bit but also celebrating the fact there are brilliant artists and makers here in Easterhouse, who are resident and live in the north-east.

“It’s also just an amazing community of people and organisations and partners, so when artists come and work in Easterhouse, they have a really great time.

“There’s not an explicit focus on [activism] in this event but it’s a really key part of everything that we do – whether that’s a ‘big P’ or a ‘small P’ political way – you could see [McKenzie’s] piece as an example of that, which is really staking a claim to people’s right to call themselves ‘dancers’ and who gets to dance and be on stage and who doesn’t.

“Again, the East End Portraits exhibition that will be launching at the event, it’s challenging who is seen, who is profiled, and giving these really beautiful portraits in the north-east.”

McKenzie discovered his passion for performance through Platform, calling his newest piece for the venue an artistic “return”.

The Bridge community centre was built on a “desire line” which was created by people using the land as a connecting path between one part of the scheme to the other.

The building is still used as a corridor for people to pass through, which artists said resulted in passers-by becoming involved in their work by chance.

McKenzie said: “Loads of folk have got involved in projects through just passing through and being invited to get involved. There’s a few like that in our group who just happened across the activity.”

Drinks (soft and boozy) will be on offer and food will be provided by Soul Sisters Kitch.

The centre’s artistic director Matt Addicott said: “With the exhibition launch of Coulson and Tennant's stunningEast End Portraits, a sharing of People Dancing - an intergenerational, riotous celebration - and a Soul Food Sisters takeover of the cafe bar here at Platform, there are plenty of reasons to head to Easterhouse on April 22."

Made in Easterhouse takes place from midday to late at The Bridge, Glasgow on Saturday, April 22 and will be a ticketed event. You can find out more, including ticket prices here.