From brand new opera to reimagined Greek classics, electronic contemporary music to experimental physical theatre, the CLF Art Cafe is a venue known for its eclectic and adventurous programme, specialising in new and contemporary work across the arts. 


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Ecstatic Dances
Manchester Collective
presented by CLF Art Cafe

Fri 17 Jan, 8.00pm

Poul Høxbro has been called “the great man of small instruments”. He’s an endlessly fascinating and inspiring musician - a Danish master of ancient flutes and bells, of bones and drums.

While building the show, MC had a moment when they realised that this combination of instruments has literally never been heard before. The set MC are presenting is all new - terrifyingly, ink-barely-dry new. Ancient music, brought vividly to life for 21st century ears.

Rounding out the artistic team for the project is composer Paul Clark, who will be writing new music for the show. Paul makes his Manchester Collective debut fresh off the back of a hugely successful collaboration with Renee Fleming and Ben Whishaw at The Shed in New York.

Ecstatic Dances is kindly supported by Arts Council England and the RVW Charitable Trust

GOLD | Riot Ensemble

presented by Riot Ensemble and CLF Art Cafe

Fri 31 Jan - Sat 1 Feb, 7.00pm

Peggy Polias "Mati" for ensemble (World premiere, Call for Scores Commission)

Igor Santos "Clonewheel(s)" for ensemble (World premiere, Call for Scores Commission)

Laura Bowler "Scenes from GOLD" for ensemble and voices

Anna Korsun "Sottilissime" for amplified singing string trio


The Riot Ensemble and the multi-talented composer/vocalist Laura Bowler join forces to create GOLD, an original, vibrant and highly political piece of multimedia music theatre which has its world premiere performances at CLF Art Cafe, Peckham.

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What Happened to Agnes

Wed 5 - Thu 6 Feb, 8.00pm

"When my grandmother’s sister Agnes was nine years old, she disappeared…”

What Happened to Agnes brings to life the vivid imagination of singer and story-teller Nishla Smith, as she spins her grandmother’s Malaysian childhood memories into a magic-realist realm of talking tigers, hidden dangers and infinite staircases. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Luca Shaw's hand-painted projections and a stunning piano score from Tom Harris, Nishla's haunting songs bewitch and enchant, drawing the listeners ever deeper into a dark world of lost memories.

Developed by Opera North Projects and Leeds Playhouse, with support from the PRSF Talent Development Programme.

The Night Shift

Tue 25 Feb, 7.30pm

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment brings its renowned, fresh music-making to CLF Art Cafe. Come for early music by chamber forces, but don’t expect to leave without singing a few 18th-century drinking songs…

Full programme to be announced.

If Mouth Could Speak

presented by Sense Assembly

Written by Timotei Cobeanu

Thu 27 - Fri 28 Feb, 7.30pm

‘London has a voice. It’s raw, it’s a woman, it’s sexy and I want her to speak to me more.’

It’s midnight. Peckham. Danny takes London by foot. Desolate. Psychotic.


If Mouth Could Speak mixes rave poetry, deep electronica and jazz to tell the story of a young immigrant lost in the dizzying tides of underground London.


'An impressive debut for Cobeanu'

– The Scotsman

‘Exquisitely written and performed. Brimming with humanity.’

– Fairy Powered Productions


‘A poem of stunningly visceral personality. An utter triumph.’

– EdFringe Review


‘The future of performance poetry.’ 

– Jason Hall, Royal Court

‘Tips you into an emotional awakening. Unimaginably brilliant.’

– Young Perspective

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Cries and Whispers
Manchester Collective
presented by CLF Art Cafe

Tue 10 Mar, 8.00pm

MC's string quartet concerts are some of the most personal shows that they build. There’s something about that particular lineup which feels terrifyingly intimate - like there’s a direct connection between each of the four players, and every listener in the room.

There is darkness in this programme. Widmann’s “Chorale” Quartet is inspired by the seven last works of Christ on the cross - his string music is augmented by unsettling sounds of rubbing and scratching that evoke skin and bone on wood. Britten’s music emerges from a mist: fragile, lost, and precious. MC perform some intensely expressive and sacred music by Carlo Gesualdo, an Italian musical genius hundreds of years ahead of his time.

Finally, they conclude with the huge emotional impact of Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet, a biographical scream written by a man desperate to create, haunted by fear and political oppression.

This music will move you if you let it - it will scare you and inspire you. 


Creative Team

Manchester Collective - string quartet



WIDMANN String Quartet No. 2, "Choralequartett"

BRITTEN String Quartet No. 1

GESUALDO Selected Madrigals

SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 8

Pandora's Box

presented by The Opera Story

Wed 25 Mar - Sat 4 Apr, various times

Some stories are better kept secret…

The Opera Story's fourth new opera retells the Greek myth of Pandora’s Box in an exciting new work with music by Alex Woolf, and a libretto by Dominic Kimberlin (returning after his wonderful Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs two years ago.).

Follow the story of these five friends who are about to learn they did not know each other so well after all.


Secrets don’t stay secrets for long!

Handel Remixed: Volume II

presented by London Handel Festival

Fri 27 Mar, 7.30pm

After last year’s exhilarating debut appearance, Festival Voices return to the London Handel Festival and Bussey Building with a varied setlist of well-known Handelian choruses and arias from Messiah, Jephtha and Theodora, remixed live with electronic music in FV’s unique house style. Featuring baroque ensemble, chorus and a wicked dose of playfulness, Handel Remixed: Volume II will challenge conventions, surprise the sense and inspire the imagination in ways the composer would no doubt have utterly relished.

Festival Voices
Ensemble FV
Gregory Batsleer Conductor
Nico Bentley Producer/DJ

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Enescu Octet
Manchester Collective
presented by CLF Art Cafe

Sat 27 Jun

Quite simply, MC have put a bunch of their favourite music into this show. Rather than sticking to a single theme or composer, in this programme they get the chance to show off their musical range - to flex their muscles as they get close and personal with some of the greatest music ever written.

This show takes us from focused and intense works for just one instrument (Bach’s G Major Cello Suite), to the huge combined string sound of Enescu’s String Octet; from the shape-shifting Koan by James Tenney to the haunting Modlitwa, a musical prayer by father-daughter compositional team, Andrzej and Roxanna Panufnik.

In the words of Stephen Pritchard (Observer/Guardian/Bachtrack): “Catch it if you can - the future has arrived.”

Creative Team

Manchester Collective - string octet


BACH Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major




ENESCU String Octet in C Major, Op. 7

Block A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST

020 7732 5275

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