PROMETHEUS AWAKES, CROW & More Set for Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, June 22-24
Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF), London's ambitious annual festival of outdoor arts and spectacle, breaks new ground this year with visual storytelling on an epic scale, pioneering text based theatre on the street, site-specific outdoor dance framed by pre-Olympic London and, in a Festival first, GDIF brings the essence of the outdoors inside, with Crow, the world premiere of a visceral new production from Handspring Puppet Company UK, breathing new life into TEd Hughes' celebrated Crow poems.
Artistic Director Bradley Hemmings said "This year GDIF is reaching for something new. We are keen to build new bridges between the outdoor arts world and the UK's most dynamic theatre makers, so are delighted to be working with the Lyric Hammersmith, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude on a raft of new commissions which will bring some of Britain's most exhilarating cutting edge talents into the outdoors for the first time.
"In the same spirit we're blurring the barriers between outside and in with our first ever indoor production, a prestigious world premiere of Crow, co-commissioned by the London 2012 Festival and the Royal Borough of Greenwich, which will give audiences a chance to witness Handspring's latest breathtaking puppetry at first hand.
"And as both Artistic Director of GDIF and Co-Artistic Director (with Jenny Sealey) of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, I'm particularly thrilled that we're able to premiere an epic new production from Graeae and La Fura dels Baus, led by disabled artists, which, with its fantastically diverse cast and breathtaking staging will epitomise the 2012 Paralympic spirit".
This year's Festival highlights include:
Prometheus Awakes, 22 June: This piece of spectacular theatre on a grand scale re-interprets the famous Greek myth in a collaboration between Graeae, the boldly inventive disabled-led theatre company and CatAlan Masters of visual magnificence La Fura Dels Baus. Set against the backdrop of the Royal Museums, Greenwich, this production has been commissioned especially for the year in which London will host the Paralympic Games and is presented as part of the London 2012 Festival. (FREE – no ticket required)
Crow, 21 June – 7 July: For the first time ever, GDIF will bring the spirit of the outdoors inside, with this world premiere from Handspring Puppet Company, whose work on The National Theatre production of War Horse has been seen throughout the world. Co-commissioned by the London 2012 Festival and the Royal Borough of Greenwich the production will combine Handspring's extraordinary puppetry with Place Prize winner Ben Duke's choreography to illuminate TEd Hughes' powerful Crow poems. (Tickets: £18, £15, concessions £15, £12 Booking opens 3 April 2012: Greenwich Theatre www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk and National Theatre ww.nationaltheatre.org.uk) Presented as part of the London 2012 Festival.
Word On The Street, 21 June – 30 June: A groundbreaking programme brings new writing to outdoor performance. Original performances have been commissioned from 11:18 with Bryony Lavery, nabokov with Nick Payne, Elinor Cook and Tom Wells, curious directive, tangled feet, Helen Chadwick, Rash Dash, High Hearted Theatre with Frazer Flintham and Les Enfants Terribles. Inventive and subversive, the productions include the use of a bouncy castle, physical theatre, live music, olfactory stimulus and trains. The only UK opportunity to see all these performances together is over the opening weekend of the the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. (FREE – no ticket required)
Greenwich Fair, 23 – 24 June: Hugely successful at last year's Festival, the nineteenth century Greenwich Fair, described by Dickens, will be again reincarnated in contemporary guise throughout Cutty Sark Gardens, St Alfege Park and the Old Royal Naval College. A weekend programme of 25 different productions will bring together contemporary circus, theatre and dance, interactive games, booths and music. Roll up and view a show through the udder of a pig, glimpse a flying grand piano, get lost in a Spanish labyrinth or have your tea leaves read. (FREE – no ticket required)
Dancing City, 30 June (preview performances 28 & 29 June): GDIF's popular, annual, outdoor dance event at Canary Wharf features runaway trolleys, a seaside picnic, eccentric beds and a fairytale forest. Artists include Shaun Parker, Company Chameleon, Jeanefer Jean Charles with Tomorrow's Men, Bad Taste Cru, Maresa Von Stockhart's Tilted Productions and contemporary Tango choreography by T. M. Voss performed to a live score from the Arensky Chamber Orchestra. (FREE – no ticket required)
Motorshow, 23 – 27 June: From directors Frauke Requardt and Shunt's David Rosenberg, creators of the 2010 award-winning Electric Hotel, the London premiere of their most ambitious project to date. This story of young love is told with 10 cars and a cast of 8 dancers sharing their stories via a soundtrack the audience experiences through headphones. Located at Greenwich Peninsula against the backdrop of the city's skyline, this production is presented in association with LIFT. (FREE – booking required. From 3 April 2012: Greenwich Theatre www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk)
Insectes, 23 June: In a street performance which might have been dreamt up by the visionary architect Gaudi, a parade of giant insects will take over Roman Road in Bow. Beautifully designed by the Catalan company Sarruga and operated by cycle power, see a fantastical spider which dwarfs cars, an energetic ant feasting on trees and a praying mantis staring into top floor windows! With wonderful music and special effects, these insects will advance with the Olympic Park in their sights. (FREE – no ticket required)
Voyage des Aquareves, 30 June: One of GDIF's most captivating productions returns to provide the finale to this year's Festival. The French company Malabar set sail through the streets of Woolwich on a giant ship of dreams with a crew of stiltwalkers, musicians and aerialists, drawing you into their aquatic adventures. This is your chance to get swept up in a truly spectacular experience as the ship docks unleashing an ocean of foam and special effects. (FREE – no ticket required)
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival, said: "My huge thanks to our co-commissioner the Royal Borough of Greenwich for enabling the world famous Handspring Puppets to make one of the most exciting shows of the London2012 Festival."
Cllr Chris Roberts, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: "Already a well-established feature of London's cultural calendar, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival creates a unique outdoor spectacle that is enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors and local people each year.
"The festival's free outdoor events will be a key element in The Greenwich Festivals, a yearlong cultural celebration through which Greenwich is celebrating both its status as a Royal
Borough, and its role as a host borough for the London Games.
"These events promise to display the Royal Borough at its very best, offering tremendous
opportunities for local people of all ages to take part, against the backdrop of Greenwich's
iconic settings. With cultural industries playing an increasingly important role in the borough,
they also make a vital contribution to the long-term economic health of the borough."
Full Festival programme and schedule to be announced. www.festival.org