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Annual Free London Festival Announces Death Defying Ice Dance, Pram Parties and Theatre on Thames Banks
Greenwich Docklands Festival

From death-defying vertical dances on St Paul’s Cathedral, to engulfing the streets with technicolour foam and sinking a house for a rooftop dance, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (GDIF) never disappoints.

And this year is no exception, as they announce THAW, an eight-hour, aerial performance on a suspended 2.5 tonne block of ice, which will be making its European premiere at the University of East London’s Docklands campus in Newham on 25 and 25 August.

Thaw Greenwich Docklands

The jaw-dropping spectacle will be created by Australian physical theatre company Legs On The Wall in response to the devastating bushfires, and performed on melting ice suspended on a crane high above Newham’s historic Royal Docks.

This year’s free, 17-day programme of more than 50 theatre, circus, dance and performance art shows across the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Newham and the City of London is inspired by the theme ALL CHANGE and takes place from 23 August to 8 September.

Other highlights announced so far, include a synchronised pram party, theatre on the banks of the Thames and a dance phenomenon in London’s new cultural quarter.

Pram People

PRAM PEOPLE (25/26 August) will form part of a two-day programme of family-friendly events, transforming Stratford Park, Newham into a theatrical playground for children and their families.

Australian children’s theatre company Polyglot, rolls out the red carpet for prams of all shapes and sizes, with an invitation for families to participate in an immersive celebration of community. 

In partnership with Discover Children’s Story Centre, participants will be invited to decorate their buggies in colourful ribbons and then use headphones to follow playful audio prompts and clues which lead to a synchronized pram-party in a surprisingly moving celebration of community and parent-child connection.

Bodies of Water Docklands

Experienced on the banks of the Thames as the tide comes in, the moving BODIES OF WATER production is based on Warsan Shire’s poem HOME, co-created with local sanctuary seeking people, with live music and directed by Olivier-winning director Matthew Xia.

Meanwhile, legendary Harry Styles, P!nk and Missy Elliot collaborator, Yoann Bourgeois’ gravity defying creation TOUCH combines the theatrical use of a flight of stairs and trampoline choreography. It will make its UK premiere at Dancing City, GDIF’s annual outdoor dance festival, which this year moves to Newham, with performances spanning Stratford Cross, East Bank and on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

Touch Dancing City

And GDIF’s flagship 2024 commission, PATOIS by world-renowned choreographer Jeanefer Jean-Charles MBE tells a universal story of lost languages, longing and belonging in Woolwich, Abbey Wood, Greenwich and Stratford.

Bradley Hemmings MBE, GDIF’s Artistic Director says: “For 2024, we’re foregrounding the great tradition of outdoor arts and activism with a series of commissions and events that invite us to reflect on making positive change, whilst disrupting the everyday rhythm of life and creating moments of joy and togetherness.”

The full GDIF 2024 programme of over 50 FREE performances, including a spectacular opening night event in Woolwich and a UK premiere in Thamesmead will be announced later this Summer.

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. Multiple locations across Royal Borough of Greenwich, Newham and the City of London. FREE. 23 August - 8 September 2024

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