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Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2021 Opens With An Event Highlighting The Climate Crisis

The festival will open next Friday 27 August with an evening of performances, talks and installations.

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2021 Opens With An Event Highlighting The Climate Crisis

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, London's leading festival of outdoor theatre and performance, will open next Friday 27 August with an evening of performances, talks and installations. Taking place in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, the event will address the climate emergency, and features guests including Glenda Jackson, Lemn Sissay OBE, Dr. Helen Czerski and Kiran Landa. The event is free to attend and will begin at 6pm.

Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director of GDIF, said today, 'the Festival always tries to reflect on and engage in contemporary issues and is proud to be hosting the UK premiere of Dan Acher's We Are Watching, prior to a national tour through Global Streets. This iconic act of art and activism and accompanying ceremony on 27 August provides a powerful creative challenge to all of us to reflect on our responsibilities for engaging in climate change. I hope that everyone who sees the flag in Greenwich will send their own portraits and messages to Global Leaders in Glasgow using Dan Acher's wearewatching.org website.'

The ceremony is set against Swiss artist Dan Acher's evocative installation We Are Watching, a ten-storey high flag featuring a giant eye comprised of thousands of self-portraits. We Are Watching will be installed at GDIF in anticipation of the COP26 UN Climate Change conference, which will take place in Glasgow in Autumn 2021, and sends a clear message to global leaders that the eyes of the world are on them. We Are Watching forms part of the Global Streets programme, which following GDIF will tour to Hounslow, Birmingham, Doncaster and Liverpool between August and October, before further presentations in Scotland in October and November.

Under the powerful watch of Dan Acher's installation, the evening's line-up features:

  • A recording of Greta Thunberg's seminal speech Our House is On Fire, recorded at the 2019 World Economic Forum.
  • A special performance by leading jazz musician and composer Byron Wallen.
  • Former Young Poet Laureate for London Selina Nwulu's powerful poem We Have Everything We Need read by Glenda Jackson
  • An extract from April De Angelis' play Extinct performed by Kiran Landa, an evocative play on the climate crisis which premiered at Theatre Royal Stratford East in July 2021. De Angelis will also be in attendance.
  • Perspective on the Planet, a talk from physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster Dr. Helen Czerski, who has been campaigning for the planet since childhood.
  • Lemn Sissay OBE performing his poems Making a Difference and Hope Springs Eternal - written for Water Aid.

This event as part of the opening of GDIF will draw attention to the potent issue of climate change, whilst marking the start of the festival, with a fortnight of outdoor theatre and performance which celebrates our reconnection with the natural world and offers space for children and young people to rediscover the joy in play, creativity, and togetherness.

For more information for the opening event for We Are Watching, please go to https://festival.org/whats-on/gdif-wearewatching-ceremony/.



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