Greenwich+Docklands International Festival Announces Opening To Mark 25th Anniversary

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Greenwich+Docklands International Festival Announces Opening To Mark 25th Anniversary

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Opening the Festival will be the UK première of a new production by French performance company Gratte Ciel, featuring a gigantic suspended dreamcatcher, aerial performance, 360-degree pyrotechnics and the words and contributions of Woolwich-based community and cultural groups, curated by Booker Prize winner and Woolwich Laureate Bernardine Evaristo and poet and founder of RevolYOUtion London, Rasheeda Page-Muir.

Supported by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, GDIF's Opening Night, entitled Woolwich Rising will take place on 19 June in Woolwich Town Centre, kick-starting an ambitious two-week programme of outdoor arts, theatre and spectacle to mark its 25th anniversary. The festival runs from 19 June until 4 July 2020 and features local, national and International Artists with participants and audiences in public spaces across Royal Greenwich, the City of London, Tower Hamlets, Canary Wharf, Royal Docks and Thamesmead.

Bernardine Evaristo said today, "Woolwich has an incredible history and an incredibly diverse population who treasure their communities. This past year I've loved getting to know the town I left as a teenager when it was so different to today. I feel so inspired by its vitality, soul and possibility. I can't wait to see how the power of words can capture this riverside town in transition and encapsulate its wonderful spirit as part of GDIF's Opening Night."

The Artistic Director of GDIF, Bradley Hemmings said today, "Throughout the last 25 years the Festival has been an active participant in the life of a rapidly changing area of the capital, creating outdoor productions, which have lived on in the local memory. Against a recent national background of division and uncertainty, I want our 25th anniversary Festival to be a celebration of what brings us together. I am therefore particularly proud that our Opening Night will embody this, working with homegrown artists Bernardine Evaristo and Rasheeda Page-Muir to put local people's aspirations centre-stage in a free and spectacular new international outdoor production".

The Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Danny Thorpe said today, "We couldn't be more excited to celebrate the opening night of GDIF in Woolwich. Opening up amazing experiences to all our residents and bringing communities together was what motivated the Council to help establish the festival 25 years ago. We're proud that a quarter of a century later it has grown into a cultural extravaganza that promotes inclusion and unites residents from across the borough."

The full programme will be announced late March 2020.

Over 25 years, GDIF has reached audiences of 1.5 million, in more than 100 locations across 6 London boroughs. Last year's Festival alone saw over 130 shows from 43 companies from 12 different countries, with over 500 local participants taking part, supported by 120 volunteers. GDIF 2020 will take place over 3 spectacular weekends, celebrating 25 years of high quality outdoor arts.

GDIF has championed outdoor arts and worked with culturally diverse, D/deaf and disabled and LGBTQ artists to create new productions reflecting the demography of Royal Greenwich and East London. Accessibility, inclusivity, and diversity have always been at the heart of GDIF's values, with a commitment to accessibility for audiences and engaging communities, as well as building new audiences in areas of low arts engagement.

Building on its history yet looking firmly into the future, GDIF embarks on the 25th Festival with a commitment to celebrating what unites rather than divides us, offering a timely and compelling programme of outdoor theatre, dance, circus, and community participation.

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