Where: At various locations around Bloomsbury, London
What is it?
Hidden Cities presents The Bloomsbury Festival, a weekend of over 150 free arts and cultural events. This annual celebration of one of London’s most culturally rich neighbourhoods returns with an eclectic programme of events including live music, theatre, dance, walks, talks and food. Bringing together locally based organisations such as the British Museum, Wellcome Collection, The Place, The Foundling Museum and Faber & Faber with community groups and businesses, the Bloomsbury Festival transforms the streets and parks of the area, inviting visitors to enjoy all that makes Bloomsbury unique.
It all kicks off on Friday with a lantern parade that promises to transform Russell Square, and for those worried about the cold, why not enjoy a warming cup of mulled wine? The weekend highlights include the return of SOAS’s popular world music stage bringing you rhythms from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe with guerilla dancers from The Place popping up throughout the area. Parks are to be transformed with new artistic works from local architecture and sculpture students. There will be a local food market to explore, a festival bar for the thirsty, crafts to peruse, secret gigs in unusual locations and poetry performances. If that’s not enough why not help build a den, plant some bulbs, enjoy a communal Sunday lunch or discover the histories of Bloomsbury’s parks and gardens by taking part in the festival trail?
Because all events and activities are free to attend, visitors are encouraged to take a risk on new creative experiences; perhaps delving into the darkness of St Pancras Crypt Gallery for Kalliopi Lemos’ eerie art installation, Navigating in the Dark; joining in a riotous night of literary cabaret at the iconic St Pancras Hotel, or by joining a tea party as part of an unusual living art work by Central St Martin’s students. Other events include the sharing of a new work by Darshan Singh called Caravaggio: Exile and Death, and an immersive theatre performance by students of RADA, inspired by the Bloomsbury Set.
Families will be well catered for with a host of activities for children. Grant’s Museum of Zoology opens its doors for Dino’s Dodos and Dugongs, a tactile exploration of extinct animals. Kids can learn how to cartoon with comic artists Steve Marchant and Sally Kindberg at the Cartoon Museum. They may also take their teddy bear and be transported to another time via green screen technology at the British Museum.
Bloomsbury is one of London’s most culturally rich corners, with thirteen of the world’s leading museums and galleries situated along ‘Museum Mile’ which runs through the heart of the area, including The Brunei Gallery, the Charles Dickens Museum and the Foundling Museum. Bloomsbury is also London’s academic hub, with many universities and schools situated here, including leading creative education establishments such as Central St Martins, The Place and RADA.
More info: Vist www.bloomsburyfestival.org.uk for the full programme of events.