Greenwich+Docklands International Festival announces full 2017 programme

A View From The Bridge

A View From The Bridge

Artistic Director Bradley Hemmings today announced the full programme for this summer’s Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (GDIF), London’s leading festival of outdoor theatre and performing arts, which takes place from 23 June to 8 July in locations across Royal Greenwich, Docklands and Tower Hamlets.  It follows the previous announcement in March of eight newly commissioned productions.

This year’s opening night production on Friday 23 June will be FierS à Cheval from French street theatre ensemble Compagnie des Quidams. Under the gaze of the Cutty Sark’s famous figurehead, with outstretched hand clasping a horse’s tail, an equine spectacular will unfold, featuring nine, luminous, 3.5m high inflatable horses.

Marking 160 years since it was banned for its uproarious disruption of Victorian Greenwich, GDIF’s annual reinvention of the historic Greenwich Fair returns from Friday 23 June – Sunday 25 June with more than 30 productions taking over the outdoor spaces of Maritime Greenwich. This year, the Fair also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the inscription of Maritime Greenwich on the UNESCO World Heritage List: performances and installations will be located for the first time at the top of Greenwich Park Hill with its panoramic views of the capital. The programme features exciting new outdoor productions from South Korea including a hypnotic performance in a column of water from Creative Group SUM BI, as well as Skagt (The Shaft), a new immersive theatre experience from Antwerp based arts group Captain Boomer, who return to the festival following their installation of an extraordinary life-sized, hyper-real sperm whale, which beached in Greenwich in 2013, and Out In The Streets, a series of events marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

On 1 July, the outdoor spaces of Canary Wharf will be taken over by Dancing City, a day of international dance performances including artists from South Korea, the Netherlands, Spain and France. On the same evening, a new street arts spectacular entitled Sense of Unity will see illuminated drummers and giant puppets processing along Roman Road, whilst from 6 –8 July All Roads Lead to Woolwich will feature theatre, dance and music from groups such as Avant Garde Dance Company, Rosie Kay Dance Company and Arensky Chamber Orchestra in unusual locations across Woolwich.  In its commitment to reaching new audiences and locations, the Festival will also present promenade performances of BELONGING(s) by Tilted Productions in Thamesmead, from 6 – 8 July, a site-responsive performance exploring memory and place which will take place against the background of a community undergoing rapid regeneration and transformation.

Today’s confirmed programme joins the previously announced eight specially commissioned productions including a new outdoor version of Arthur Miller’s tragic masterpiece, A View from The Bridge from the Flanders based theatre collective De Roovers, presented in a dramatic Thameside location; Museum of the Moon, acclaimed artist Luke Jerram’s seven metre diameter illuminated moon sculpture, located at the Old Royal Observatory Garden in Greenwich Park; Rear View, a journey with performance poetry presented on a specially adapted double-decker bus; and The Colour of Light, this year’s festival finale from legendary French street theatre group Compagnie Off and leading UK South Asian composer Shri Sriram taking place in Woolwich.

GDIF’s Artistic Director Bradley Hemmings said “Even for a Festival that has always prided itself on breaking new ground, this year’s programme offers something different; whether being transported to a cinematic waterfront world of dockworkers and dreams of a promised land; plunging into the depths of the earth; encountering exquisite South Korean choreography in a column of water; or being caught up in a exuberant techno parade in Woolwich; – GDIF 2017 offers outdoor theatre adventures for everyone”.

GDIF forms part of the Royal Greenwich Festivals, an annual series of high-quality events organised by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to celebrate cultural vibrancy.

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Royal Borough of Greenwich Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries and Community Wellbeing, said, “This summer residents and visitors can look forward to watching – and participating in – an incredible array of events during the Royal Greenwich Festivals, many of which are free. Greenwich+Docklands International Festival is a central part of the celebrations.”