Ensemble Festival 2024 From Certain Blacks To Be Presented At Royal Docks

Ensemble once again presents an action-packed and diverse programme of spectacular circus, street theatre, live music, dance and more.

By: May. 21, 2024
Ensemble Festival 2024 From Certain Blacks To Be Presented At Royal Docks
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Ensemble Festival returns to London's Royal Docks from 20 to 21 July. Produced by East London arts development organisation Certain Blacks, Ensemble once again presents an action-packed and diverse programme of spectacular circus, street theatre, live music, dance and more. Ensemble Festival is completely free to the public.

At this year's Ensemble Festival, Docklands audiences are set to experience the celebrated feats of NoFit State Circus, one of the UK's most treasured contemporary circus companies, set to create and perform their signature stunts on towering structures built entirely from bamboo. Following a dazzling display last year, Gorilla Circus are back for 2024, their new show combining acrobatics, street dance and roller skating, performed on a giant moving treadmill.

Renowned theatre company Cardboard Citizens present Cardboard Citizens Collective Youth Programme and as a festival opener and JW3 pay homage to an East London working class tradition via the Great Yiddish Parade. All of this and much more at Ensemble's outdoor extravaganza including commissioned emerging artists from the UK and beyond.

This year marks the fifth Ensemble Festival, which first took to the streets in 2019 as part of Newham's Join the Docks Festival. With ongoing support from the Royal Docks and as part of the Without Walls consortium, Certain Blacks have grown and diversified Ensemble year on year, including a Covid-safe event in 2021. Clive Lyttle, Artistic Director of Certain Blacks, says:

'Ensemble represents everything we're about at Certain Blacks. Our aim is to bring diverse artists from the margins into the mainstream, and we're wowed by the imagination, diversity and sheer artistry of this year's line-up, including new work commissioned especially for Ensemble 24. I think the range and ingenuity of artists creating work for the public realm is only matched by the appetite of audiences for these often transformative experiences. The arts are increasingly integral to how we connect with where we live, or to the places we visit, and there is nothing quite like the thrill of a shared, live performance to bring people together.  

We are grateful to the Royal Docks team for their continued support and for sharing our vision for Ensemble, and to the very many agencies and individuals who make the festival possible. Everyone on the ground (and in the air!) is gearing up for Ensemble; we are so excited to meet the audience.'

Ensemble Festival 24 takes place at the Royal Docks in London. For full details of all events, including details of performance times and precise locations, please visit www.certainblacks.com

Schedule of events:

Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 July 1-8pm, times to be announced

Cardboard Citizens - Collective Youth Programme (Saturday only)

Created and performed by young people aged from 16 to 25 with lived experience, or who are at risk of homelessness and poverty. Renowned Theatre Company Cardboard Citizens showcase a sharing of high calibre work developed over the course of the year via music workshops. Expect hip hop elements, spoken word performance and more.

Gorilla Circus – RPM

RPM stands for revolutions per minute as Gorilla Circus present a mesmeric new show combining acrobatics, street dance and roller skating, performed on a giant moving treadmill. RPM explores tragic, comic and absurd aspects of modern society, unravelling links with the UK's troubled history and asking the question, 'Has this country ever confronted its colonial past?'

Joli Vyann - Life's A Beach

A playful new performance piece, happening across three locations at the Royal Docks. Life's A Beach observes family life and classic seaside culture via a fusion of dance and circus skills. Expect plenty of fun nostalgia, with a look to the future of beach life as the planet inevitably changes….

Chad Taylor - Closer to My Dreams

Follow the story of two young Black brothers from inner-city Manchester as they pursue their shared dream of becoming professional dancers. Weaving poetry and rap with hip hop choreography, the show is a joyous, heartfelt take on family and friendship and how we respond to the trials and tribulations life throws at us. Chad Taylor is the creator behind this new work featuring Chad alongside Ziggy Taylor, Kieron Simms, Miguel Gomez and Ellis Brownhill.

Head Over Wheels - Anchored in Air

A thrilling journey into the world of flying wheelchairs, integrated audio description and acrobatics. Anchored in Air is the debut work from this company of disabled and non-disabled performers, who combine circus, dance, spoken word and live music as they grapple with themes of isolation, connection, struggle and rewards, all while navigating a colossal tower.

Bureau of Silly Ideas - Island Storm

Returning to Ensemble by popular demand, Bureau of Silly Ideas present a story set where coastal erosion has caused the catastrophic loss of a family-run amusement arcade. The survivors are now on tour and scratching out a living with what they managed to salvage. Join them for circus, watery fun, laughter and stunts as audiences enter their magical arcade.

NoFit State Circus - BAMBOO

This celebrated alternative circus company arrive in Docklands armed with bundles of bamboo. Arriving at an empty space they build towering sculptures, creating an improbable, delicate circus playground as live music, comedy and amazing feats of strength and agility take centre stage. NoFit State Circus celebrate what's possible when humans and the natural world trust each other and work in harmony.

Tit for Tat Circus - Now I am become Deaf (Destroyer of Words)  

With physical comedy, eccentric juggling and absurd acts of balance, a solo performer explores his hearing loss as a celebratory source of play and invention. A visual spectacle that tears down barriers, celebrates silence and fires an ear-splitting laugh in the face of frustration.

JW3 - The Great Yiddish Parade

Prepare for a Klezmer big band, singers and street theatre performers marching on the Royal Docks. Inspired by the migrant protesters in the Victorian East End and with audience participation at its heart, this is one huge marching, musical creation giving voice to Yiddish song and culture.

La Casa Oscura - Uroboros

Combining contemporary dance and physical theatre, two performers take a journey through the cycle of life. Universal themes and intensity of movement are offset by emotional tenderness and a sense of fun from this exciting duo, who are based between Catalonia and Italy. 

Stompy - The Mod Father

A walkabout act with a specially modified Zimmer frame, complete with speakers, soundtrack and an old parka-clad Mod in the frame! Performed by comic, absurdist and theatre maker Richard Stamp aka Stompy.

New Commissions

Certain blacks have commissioned two short new works performed by local artists especially for July's Ensemble festival following an open call.

Photo Credit: Hugo Glendinning


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