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Greenwich+Docklands International Festival Announces Line Up For Ceremonies Taking Place Around Luke Jerram's In Memoriam

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In Memoriam acts as a ceremonial space for reflection and remembrance. 

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival today announces the line-ups for two special ceremonies planned in tribute to the NHS, which take place on the opening weekend of the 25th annual festival, at the site of Luke Jerram's In Memoriam on Woolwich Common. Created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, In Memoriam acts as a ceremonial space for reflection and remembrance. As well as a temporary memorial, the large-scale outdoor installation, constructed from bed sheets flying from tall flagpoles arranged in a 36-metre wide circular formation, has been created to honour the NHS staff and key workers who have worked so tirelessly to care for so many.

The ceremonies will be held on the opening and closing days of the installation (28 and 31 August) for audiences of 120, with priority given to NHS workers, and made available to a wider audience online later in the festival. The programmes of music, readings, poetry and spoken word performance has been chosen to reflect on and respond to the current global crisis. These include music from the chart-topping Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir, singing together for the first time since Lockdown began, singer Abiona Omonua with the London String Group and a BSL choir , The Alexandras, formed for the occasion. There will also be contributions from poets Lemn Sissay, Mark "Mr T" Thompson, and NHS Nurse Molly Case; artistic directors Kwame Kwei-Armah and Jenny Sealey; actors Nadia Albina, Rakie Ayola, Tanya Franks, Martina Laird , Joseph Millson and Jay Simpson; award-winning author of Life As a Unicorn Amrou Al-Kadhi; as well as a newly commissioned piece from Greenwich Dance.

Luke Jerram said: "The whole world is in a state of mourning. In Memoriam is a blank canvas for people to put their feelings onto. It's a memorial but also something like a temporary sacred building that people can visit, where communities can hold their own ceremonies, to help perhaps with the grieving process."

GDIF's Artistic Director, Bradley Hemmings said today, "Ceremonies have always been an important way in which people can connect emotionally with loss and remembrance. Given the challenging times we have recently been living through and the vision of Luke Jerram's installation, it felt important to create moments of reflection at this year's Festival. The contributions, voices and performances that will come together over these two days are our way of showing the Royal Borough of Greenwich's appreciation to the NHS staff and key workers who have given so much in recent months".

Leader of the Council Danny Thorpe said, "We're proud that the UK's first major outdoor cultural festival since the beginning of the pandemic is happening here in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. However, as we can start to enjoy some of the things we missed most about the pre-COVID world, we must never forget the lives that have been lost to this terrible disease. In Memoriam will be an opportunity to reflect and remember as we rebuild and recover."

The UK premiere of In Memoriam is supported by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Royal Greenwich Festivals, and Arts Council England.

Following detailed advice from leading safety consultants Blue Yonder Events, and drawing on the Festival's 25 year track record of producing outdoor theatre and performing arts in Greenwich and East London, there will be many special measures put in place this year - including controlled entry to sites to allow for socially distanced audiences of 50-250 depending on the event, seating for most performances and ticketing to manage capacities, plus localised pop up performances. Staff and volunteers will be wearing face coverings and adhering to 1m+ social distancing. All audience seating and distancing will be at 2m.

Sites will offer hand sanitation stations at ingress, egress, and at all touch points, which will be disinfected regularly, including between performances where applicable. There will also be increased signage and announcements to guide audiences. Additional access arrangements will be put in place for d/Deaf and disabled audiences and those with access requirements, and some Festival events will also be available to enjoy online on GDIF's YouTube channel. All artists appearing at the Festival will also have reviewed their rehearsal and performance arrangements in the light of current guidance on social distancing and travel. FESTIVAL.ORG has received the Good to Go Industry Standard introduced by Visit England in recognition that we have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing for GDIF 2020.

Full information and performance times are detailed below, and also at https://festival.org/gdif/whats-on/



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