Immersive and pop-up productions, street theatre, surreal walkabout performances and a giant painting will be part of a free festival in East London.
Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF), London’s annual free outdoor festival will feature more than 130 performances and 15 UK premières. This year’s opening and closing ceremonies will celebrate the spirit of the people and places in which these two events will take place.
These opening and closing ceremonies will be two specially created versions of Cristal Palace, a new high-flying, immersive production from internationally acclaimed French company Transe Express.
Presented with professional and community casts – first in Woolwich on 21st June and then at the Royal Albert Dock on 6th July – these UK premières will fuse dance, music, acrobatics and locally inspired storytelling, to transform two very different public spaces into glittering outdoor ballrooms… with the help of a giant overhead chandelier of course.
Comprised of 1500 light bulbs, weighing 3.5 tons and suspended 40m above the ground with seven live musicians, the Cristal Palace Chandelier is the only aerial structure of its kind in the world.
Other highlights will include Pasture with Cows from the Flemish artists collective Captain Boomer, featuring a large gilt picture frame in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College. Blurring the boundaries between art and reality, a giant painting comes to life as you take your seat on the frame, whilst a bucolic scene unfolds, with cows grazing against the backdrop of Wren’s riverside masterpiece.
Guildhall Yard, the historic site of London’s Roman Amphitheatre, is the venue for the UK première of the Italian company Teatro dei Venti’s retelling of Moby Dick. A bus journey through Silvertown Quays in the Royal Docks reveals an astonishing live cinematic experience in Jessica Wilson’s Passenger. DAEDALUM is an all-encompassing, walk-through sensory experience, created by Alan Parkinson, inviting audiences of all ages to wander, sit, lie and absorb the dazzling temporary architectural spaces at RAD London, a new business district in the Royal Docks.
GDIF’s Dancing City this year focuses on thought-provoking work, including a sophisticated fusion of dance and oscillating objects, a parkour production revealing experiences of modern day slavery and a series of performances which imagine the last nine minutes of life, all against the backdrop of Canary Wharf.
Not just an antidote of fun in these politically complex times, GDIF also actively celebrates human rights, activism, community and togetherness. Throughout the programme there are emotive and powerful stories, responding to current political narratives, including meditations on migration with MO and the Red Ribbon and Talawa’s The Tide.
There will also be an exploration of people and place from Compagnie XY in Les Voyages in Thamesmead; Ray Lee’s Congregation will bring communities together in Woolwich with a chorus of singing spheres; Buck a Brenda is a boisterous and inclusive exploration of disability politics, and Tickertape Parade’s Fantabulosa! will be revelling in diversity, in a pop-up inclusive world of imagination and storytelling where boundaries are forgotten and anyone can be whoever they want to be.
Other highlights will include mannequins coming to life in high street fantasia Shop Plastique, presented by Authenticity; an interactive and surreal walkabout performance with i-Puppets; and a low-tech rollercoaster in PolderCoaster.
When: 21st June – 6th July 2019
Where: Greenwich, East London and the City of London
More info: festival.org/gdif