How A Street Piano Keeps The Community In Tune

By Ioanna Karavela Last edited 34 months ago
How A Street Piano Keeps The Community In Tune

What happens when you put a piano on public display with a sign saying: "Play me, I'm yours"?

This melodious London Short by independent filmmaker Maureen Ni Fiann shows how such an experiment has transformed the local community in Herne Hill. The street piano in question is located in the underpass next to the train station where it has become the talk of the town, attracting both a loyal following and national interest.

The People's Piano is Ni Fiann's first film, which she made with the help of cameraman Tom Rochester. She tells Londonist: "I was interested in the overlapping of different communities: homeless guy, kids, traffic warden, professional musician — all around the same piano. It's rare for people to mix outside their usual networks and it was striking how they did so easily around the piano."

It's an uplifting film that shows how much we all really have in common. Ni Fiann is now working on Street Piano: Instrument of Change, a longer documentary about the subject, so stay tuned for more soon.

Want to be featured? If you have a London-themed short film that you’d like us to consider for this series, send an email with the subject “London Shorts” to Stu Black and Ioanna Karavela via our email:

To see other London Shorts click here.

Last Updated 03 July 2015

Ruth Hargreaves

That was really lovely, thanks for sharing.

Lindsey Berthoud

It's the piano's birthday this weekend, there's a party!


what an absolutely brilliant idea......well done London (my birth city!).....I can't play and never learnt but music is in my soul (play the whole family of recorders) so know the worth of just listening to someone sharing their own capabilities... it's not about concert halls and posh clothes... it's about sharing music which doesn't need words to communicate.... thanks for sharing with me here in Clogland (*_*)


I'm sharing this piano with pianists worldwide on my website locating public pianos:


Such a wonderful idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beautiful article Ioanna!!!!
Thanks for sharing :)

Maev Kennedy

Play Me I'm Yours, the street pianos, was the magnificent inspiration of my genius acquaintance, the artist Luke Jerram. He originally made it for the Birmingham Fierce festival, though Bojo very nearly managed to take credit for it when the pianos moved into London. The beautiful simple idea has since been recreated all over the world. The two in Saint Pancras station are almost always in use, often astonishingly well played