The Greenwich+Docklands International Festival returns to the streets of Greenwich, the squares of Canary Wharf and all points in between on Friday, June 24, running to July 2.
It represents London’s largest and most ambitious festival of outdoor arts including six world premieres, five UK premieres and 12 London premieres.
Artistic director Bradley Hemmings said: “Over the festival’s lifetime, there’s been a revolution in our national appetite for outdoor cultural experiences and GDIF has played a proud part in this story, building from a local festival to one of the most influential festivals of outdoor arts in Europe. I’m thrilled to see the festival come of age in 2016.”
Here are six to look out for but go to festival.org for full programme details.
1. The House
GDIF’s opening event is a specially commissioned spectacular marking the 400th anniversary of The Queen’s House, Greenwich, and its re-opening this year. The production is a mythic contemplation of the rise and fall of civilisations, inspired by Britain’s first classical building and its architect Inigo Jones.
It brings together video projections, contemporary hip hop from Avant Garde Dance, music by Novello Award winning composer Dan Jones, and performance and pyrotechnics from the German outdoor theatre company Pan.Optikum.
Queen’s House, June 24, 10pm, £15
2. Greenwich Fair
The annual “festival within a festival” spills out on to the streets of a car-free Greenwich offering the largest programme of street arts in the capital, with more than 21 productions including circus, theatre, dance, street games, cabaret, live art and mass participation.
There will be opportunities to join in a step by step recreation of the audition scene from A Chorus Line in Audition Project, led by Miss High Leg Kick and Ida Barr will be creating her very own block party.
Town Centre, June 25-26, free
3. The People Build
As the foundations of a new cultural district, Olympicopolis, start to be laid in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, visitors are invited to take part in a architectural event devised by the French artist Olivier Grossetête.
Over several days, hundreds of cardboard boxes will be crafted into the building blocks of a democratically assembled building, built solely through human power and collective endeavour. On the final day the extraordinary new buildings will rise from the ground.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, June 21-24 (workshops), June 25 (on site construction), various times, free
Award-winning Polish company Teatr Biuro Podrózy present the world premiere of Silence. Physical theatre, stilts, fire, unusual staging, puppetry and music tell a story of refugees and migrants caught up in a spiral of war, fences and the dream of escape.
Bethnal Green Gardens, June 30, July 1, 10pm, £7 with substantial free standing
5. Dancing City
A journey across the parks and piazzas of Canary Wharf will mean an encounter with the annual outdoor dance extravaganza. This year’s programme features the London premiere of You And I Know, a new duet from Candoco Dance Company, choreographed by award-winning choreographer and theatre director Arlene Phillips. Another highlight is In My Head from Beeldend Danstheater Telder, a multidisciplinary dance performance combined with art and music that takes place in a 5m sculpture of a head.
Canary Wharf, July 1-2, various times, free
6. The Clash Of Drums
GDIF’s afternoon Ignite! programme is followed by this year’s spectacular finale – a fusion of percussion and awesome fireworks from the French company Les Commandos Percu and the Spanish street theatre group Deabru Beltzak.
Out of nowhere drummers march towards each other in a wild parade which culminates in a theatrically staged fusion of percussion and pyrotechnics.
Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, SE18, July 2, 10pm, pre-show from 9pm, free
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