We, at Londonist, love all things artsy that try different things in unusual places. We also really love free things hence we’re collectively hopping up and down with excitement at the prospect of this year’s Greenwich & Docklands International Festival which kicks off four amazing days of free arts festivalness this week. We went last year. It was great.
"Festival Fanfare" promises to open proceedings on Thursday evening with riotous street arts, music and spectacle in Beresford Square, Woolwich, SE18: stilt apparitions, a radical brass band, Strange Fruit on sway poles, paper men, ribbons, confetti and pyrotechnics. A tree may explode.
Friday night at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich SE10 will be in “K@osmos” as gravity defying aerialists and bungee performers crawl over a cosmos sphere suspended from a crane.
On Saturday afternoon, if London walks aren’t your thing, go see dance claim Canary Wharf’s corporate dreamland. See Hofesh Shechter’s testosterone fuelled and fantastically popular “Uprising” by the riverside and Place Prize winning Nina Rajarani’s “Quick!” inspired by 24/7 city life set in proper context, performed against the backdrop of the Reuter’s Plaza clocks. Elsewhere, find a contemporary dance picnic, La Dolce Vita style jugglers, aerialists in the East Winter Garden, Motionhouse picking up people in bars, some Catalan mechanicals and a street theatre interpretation of Les Ballets Russes.
If that hasn’t totally knackered you out, get yourself down to Roman Road, E3 for 9.36pm and see the camels.
Sunday brings your excuse to check out shiny new Peninsula Square and visit O2 for "Out Of The Blue" – "a massive array of UK and international street artists in spaces so huge they could be outside!" Highlights include Strange Fruit returning with their sway poles and Wired Aerial Theatre bringing back their incredibly graceful bungee choreography. Watch out also for whirling dervishes and a helium filled zeppelin.
Back at the Naval College in Greenwich, the festival will close with a reflective performance of “Mass Carib” by Nitro company to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
The GDIF website is a bit broken at time of writing but download the full festival programme here. It seems churlish to miss such an awesome array of free stuff. GIDF runs from Thursday 21 - Sunday 24 June.
Image author's own of Wired Aerial Theatre in the East Winter Garden GIDF 2006.