Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF), London’s festival of outdoor theatre and performing arts, will run from 21st June to 7th July in locations across Royal Greenwich, Royal Docks and Tower Hamlets.
Audiences are invited to midsummer days of outdoor theatre and performance, in which public spaces are transformed with more than 130 performances celebrating dreams of love, struggle, ambition and flight.
Opening with a union of public art and nature on the edge of the capital at Thamesmead, Duke Riley’s Fly by Night will see a flock of 1,500 specially trained pigeons take to the sky over the Thames at dusk.
Lit by LED lights in tiny leg bands, traditionally used in wartime for carrying messages, this event ‘transforms an aspect of everyday London life into an epic performance in the sky’.
From 21st to 23rd June, Fly by Night opens GDIF and features as part of LIFT 2018 festival and ‘14-18 NOW’, the UK’s arts programme for the World War One centenary.
The dreams of 492 pioneer migrants who sailed from Jamaica and Trinidad to Tilbury Dock on board the Empire Windrush exactly 70 years ago provide the inspiration behind Gateway, a specially commissioned series of events straddling Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.
Above the Thames, a sound installation, created and produced by sound artist Xana in tribute to the Windrush generation, will accompany passengers in the cabins of the Emirates Air Line.
Other elements of the programme take inspiration from global stories of mass movement and migration, including Never Set Eyes on the Land, a new installation from Nutkhut recalling the experience and legacy of Partition in 1947.
Plus, the French hip hop company Dyptik will explore the struggles associated with contemporary border crossings in D-Construction, an emotional production that takes place on and around a symbolic fence structure.
Windrush: 492, a durational performance, will see the names of the individuals who arrived on that ship transcribed in photoluminescent powder onto the ground around Cutty Sark Gardens accompanied by a soundscape written by Greenwich playwright Roy Williams.
Entry to the festival is free.
For more information, visit festival.org.