North London Food & Culture

Mother Canteen, Gospel Oak: autumn arts festival is here

A season of events kicks off with Pride, Potato Printing Pride Icons, Slam Poetry, Kids Workshops, Clown Shows and more

We first checked out Mother nearly two years ago now, when it brought some much-needed cheer to a then-unlikely spot in Gospel Oak.

And since 2019 – and despite bloody Covid – the small LGBTQ-friendly team has gone from strength to strength, making their mark with decent coffee, mouthwatering cakes and an always delish international (and often plant-based) menu, from karaage to roti, corn dogs to jerk chicken.

The team’s latest winning idea is a ‘Big Up the Arts’ festival, part of Camden Together 2021. Their mission is to bring new creative experiences to the local community by funding up-and-coming artists and performers who have been impacted by the pandemic to showcase their work in Mother’s courtyard.

“Covid hit the arts industry really hard over the last year and a half,” says Mother’s founder Chris Ilankovan (pictured above) “both those working as artists and performers as well as the local communities that nurtured them, with growing boredom and loneliness. We’re all starving for joy and fun and connection. What better way than through food and the arts?”


The events are being staged in Mother’s courtyard, otherwise known as their urban amphitheatre, to make them as Covid-safe as possible.

The good news is the festival is running until 30th of October, so take a look at the schedule below and make sure you pop by and support this brilliant little western corner of NW5.

Mother’s ‘Big Up The Arts’ Festival timetable of events

Mother Canteen
The Mother crew. Photo: Mother

9th September: Mother’s Crafternoon. Mother is making a HUGE paper chain Pride flag for their Pride event on Saturday 11th and they need your help to make it happen. Plus a cream tea social for local over 65’s.

11th September: It’s Pride at Mother with Pride icons, potato printing workshops, drag king Gorgeous George, designer-makers stalls, clowning, line dancing, and more.

18th September: Privates: Great Ideas By Geniuses Clown Show. Three brilliant, big-headed idiots try to make history with some totally stupid homemade inventions. Enjoy an afternoon of comedy in Mother’s urban amphitheatre.

25th September: Mother’s Poetry Slam. Come down for an afternoon of fast-paced storytelling and watch some of London’s best up-and-coming slam poets.

23rd October: Children’s Upcycling Halloween Costume Workshop. Who’s ready to be the best-dressed ghost on the block? Sign up for Mother’s costume-making afternoon with the wonderful ‘Little Hands Design’.

30th October: Mother is getting spooky for an afternoon of Pumpkin Carving followed by a performance from the brilliant Story Beast. Who’s ready to hear some silly ghoulish tales?

Big Up The Arts runs till 30th October. Tickets: Free. Turn up on the day. Mother at The Mosaic, London School of Mosaic, 181 Mansfield Road, NW3 2HP, Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am – 3pm (Saturday 10am – 4pm with later openings on event days). More on the website here

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.