The Four Fridas

frida-landscape-art11-20cm_april22_lores

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2015

presents

The Four Fridas

A large scale theatre spectacular inspired by the life and work of Frida Kahlo

1 – 4 July 2015

Royal Borough of Greenwich, venue to be announced

“The Four Fridas” is a spectacular, outdoor theatre production celebrating the life and work of the legendary Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, taking place from 1 – 4 July at 10pm, as the centerpiece to this year’s Greenwich+Docklands International Festival*.

Audiences of up to 3,000 people per night will be immersed in a visually thrilling experience, integrating elements of ritual, music, narration, contemporary dance, and aerial choreography performed alongside video projections on a giant flying canvas.

The Four Fridas brings together an outstanding creative team led by Greenwich+Docklands International Festival’s Artistic Director, Bradley Hemmings who co-directed the Opening Ceremony to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Designed by Georgia Lowe, with an original script by award winning writer Jay Griffiths, music by BAFTA and Novello Award winner Dan Jones and lighting design by Olivier Award winning Natasha Chivers, the production will include a specially commissioned appearance by Shechter Junior, an exciting apprentice programme from Hofesh Shechter Company, representing the very best of a talented new generation of young dancers.

Frida Kahlo is recognised as one of the world’s formost women artists. Her work, which reflects her turbulent and colourful life, has been described as ‘a ribbon round a bomb’. and is celebrated as emblematic of Mexico’s national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form. She spent much of her life in her home in the Casa Azul (Blue House) in Mexico City, and was married to muralist Diego Rivera. She suffered severe injuries after a traffic accident and spent long periods in bed. In her 1953 notebook, when facing possible amputation of her leg, she wrote“Feet, what need do I have of you, when I have wings to fly?”.   Flight and the aspiration to fly is a key theme in her work of and the production takes inspiration from this.

In recognition of Frida Kahlo’s lifelong empathy with indigenous Mexico, The Four Fridas will feature a unique and powerful pre-Hispanic Mexican cultural tradition. For the first time ever, a group of young indigenous women from the tiny remote village of Xochiapulcho in the Sierra Puebla, will travel to London to enact the extraordinary flight of the Voladores. In this breathtaking ceremony, a 30m wooden pole is central to an ancient, but also very much living, fertility ritual, now recognised and protected by UNESCO in its schedule of “intangible heritage”. At the top of the pole a “caporal” communicates through flute and drum music with the gods above, whilst the four women Voladoras, release themselves and descend in an exquisite and spectacular flight.

Women Voladoras are a rare and very 21st century development of this ancient tradition, and therefore particularly appropriate in celebrating the life and work of one of the world’s most iconoclastic women artists.

The production will also include a specially commissioned collaboration between leading UK aerial dance company Wired Aerial Theatre and BAFTA Award winning film maker Tal Rosner: Frida Kahlo’s paintings will literally take flight, with aerial performances by an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled dancers, integrated with giant video projections on a giant overhead “canvas”.

Award winning artist Rachel Gadsden will explore the continuing legacy of Frida Kahlo as a disabled artist, with a specially created animated film, whilst the production’s Assistant Director, Amit Sharma is Associate Director at Graeae, a theatre company which places disabled artists centre stage.

Artistic Director, Bradley Hemmings said “Three years on from co-directing the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games it’s a great privilege for me to be working at large scale once again, particularly in celebration of one of the world’s most visionary disabled artists”.

The appearance by the women Voladoras as part of The Four Fridas has been planned and produced in partnership with the Centre for Indigenous Arts and the Cumbre Tajin festival, the two organisations responsible for promoting the recognition of the status of intangible heritage for the ritual ceremony of the Voladores by UNESCO.

*Greenwich+Docklands International Festival is London’s largest and longest established festival of free outdoor arts, last year attracting audiences of more than 110,000.

The performances of The Four Fridas will take place in the Royal Borough of Greenwich with venue to be confirmed in May.

There will be both paid seated ticketing available in advance and substantial free promenade access available on the day. Tickets for reserved seating will go on sale on 14 May. Please check www.festival.org for regular updates.

 

Opening Weekend Programme Announced

GDIF is delighted to announce programme highlights for the opening weekend of this year’s Festival.

As part of the Royal Greenwich Festivals, kicking off on Friday 26 June at 20:03 precisely, La Compagnie Oposito will be making a welcome return with their latest processional production Kori Kori.

On Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June, Greenwich Fair will be unpacking a massive two day programme of outdoor arts, with a particular focus on circus for 2015, whilst across the river in Tower Hamlets the London premiere of a new outdoor production, 451, will feature inventive storytelling, fire and special effects.

More details of our opening weekend programme appear below. We’ll be revealing further exciting plans for the rest of this year’s GDIF (26 June – 5 July) later this month, so save the dates in your diary now!

 

La Compagnie Oposito - Kori Kori

La Compagnie Oposito – Kori Kori

Kori Kori
Fri 26 June, 20:03
Greenwich, SE10
Presented by La Compagnie Oposito

This UK premiere leads audiences on a theatrical journey through Greenwich packed with colour, music and passion.
[Part of Royal Greenwich Festivals]

 

Gandini Juggling - 8 Songs

Gandini Juggling – 8 Songs

Greenwich Fair
27 June (12:00 – 21:00)
28 June (13:00 – 18:00)
Cutty Sark Gardens, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park,
Greenwich, SE10

This weekend of European style outdoor street theatre and dance features artists from the UK, Belgium, France, Denmark and Spain.

15feet6 - Dynamite & Poetry

15feet6 – Dynamite & Poetry

Companies include: Southpaw Dance Company, Avanti Display, Artizani, Stefano di Renzo, Gandini Juggling,  Cathy Waller Company, StopGap Dance Company, Baroloso, Plunge Boom, TinCanCompany, Emergency Exit Arts, Travelling Light Circus, Toc de Fusta, The Human Zoo, 15feet6 and Collectif Malunés.

Collectif Mallunes - Trailler Sens Dessous Dessous

Collectif Mallunes – Trailler Sens Dessous Dessous

Offering the largest and most intensive programme of street arts in the capital, Greenwich Fair is an overload of unconventional theatrical experiences, from a musical performance on a stage filled with water, to juggling reinvented to 8 classic Rock & Roll tracks, a choreographed fairground Carousel and an explosive acrobatic experience.

[Part of Royal Greenwich Festivals]

 

Periplum and Corn Exchange Newbury - 451

Periplum and Corn Exchange Newbury – 451

451
Sat 27 June, 22:00
Bethnal Green Gardens, E2 9PA
Commissioned by GDIF and presented by Periplum and Corn Exchange Newbury

This spectacular, immersive show, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, depicts a society where reading is forbidden and books are burned.

 

UK premiere to open GDIF2015

La Compagnie Oposito

La Compagnie Oposito

Kori Kori

La Compagnie Oposito

UK premiere to open GDIF2015
20:03pm on Friday 26 June
Part of the Royal Greenwich Festivals

Last seen at GDIF in 2007 with their visually stunning production which evoked the streets of Africa, this year, the Festival welcomes back Compagnie Oposito, one of France’s most highly regarded street theatre companies.

Kori Kori_Cie.Oposito_course@_web Rarely seen in this country, Compagnie Oposito are famed for their virtuosic approach to processional performance. For GDIF’s opening night they will present the UK premiere of “Kori Kori”, featuring a chorus of actors and musicians carrying chairs. This very topical production, takes inspiration from the idea of community, and how by acting together, it’s possible to create a better world.

Photo by Xavier Cantat

Photo by Xavier Cantat

Accompanied by an energising musical score combining rock, waltz, tango and classical music, this entrancing promenade production is an opportunity to catch street theatre at its very best.

Photo by Xavier Cantat

Photo by Xavier Cantat

Unlike previous GDIF’s opening nights, “Kori Kori” will be presented in daylight with the simplest of staging, to create a stripped back, yet emotionally compelling experience.

Conceived as a journey, the production will start at 8.03pm precisely.

We’ll see you there!
The GDIF Team

 

Without Walls 2015

Following on from a successful open call, Without Walls has just announced the 12 shows that they will be commissioning and supporting in 2015!

Without Walls is a consortium of leading arts organisations and festivals dedicated to the development of the UK’s outdoor arts sector. The Associate Touring Network supports the onward touring of work commissioned and presented by Without Walls.

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival is a proud member of Without Walls, which is also composed of Brighton Festival, Hat Fair, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Salisbury International Festival and Stockton International Riverside Festival.

We’re thrilled to be having many of these companies with us this coming festival (GDIF2015). More details to come soon!

"BEES! The Colony" by ARTIZANI  Supported by Without Walls

“BEES! The Colony” by ARTIZANI
Supported by Without Walls

"451" by CORN EXCHANGE NEWBURY & PERIPLUM  Commissioned by Without Walls

“451″ by CORN EXCHANGE NEWBURY & PERIPLUM
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Smoke" by PLUNGE BOOM  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Smoke” by PLUNGE BOOM
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Reliquary" by AVANTI DISPLAY  Supported by Without Walls

“Reliquary” by AVANTI DISPLAY
Supported by Without Walls

"Of Man and Beast" by COMPANY CHAMELEON  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Of Man and Beast” by COMPANY CHAMELEON
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Navrattan: A Quest for the Lost Gems" by NUTKHUT  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Navrattan: A Quest for the Lost Gems” by NUTKHUT
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Louder than Words" by CATHY WALLER COMPANY  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Louder than Words” by CATHY WALLER COMPANY
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Hold On" by STEFANO DI RENZO  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Hold On” by STEFANO DI RENZO
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Ear Trumpet" by GOBBLEDEGOOK THEATRE  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Ear Trumpet” by GOBBLEDEGOOK THEATRE
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Carousel" by SOUTHPAW DANCE COMPANY  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Carousel” by SOUTHPAW DANCE COMPANY
Commissioned by Without Walls

"Bill & Bobby" by STOPGAP DANCE COMPANY  Commissioned by Without Walls

“Bill & Bobby” by STOPGAP DANCE COMPANY
Commissioned by Without Walls

"8 Songs" by GANDINI JUGGLING  Commissioned by Without Walls

“8 Songs” by GANDINI JUGGLING
Commissioned by Without Walls

 

2015 Outdoor Theatre Commissioning Opportunity


Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.43.52 PM    Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.46.18 PM    Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.38.46 PM    GDIF Logo

Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude Festival have come together to offer two exciting commissioning opportunities to theatre makers who want to create new work for outdoor spaces in 2015.

Over the last three years our organisations have collaborated on developing new small–scale outdoor performances. This year we are inviting artists to submit ambitious proposals for new mid-scale commissions for 2015. The commission size has increased to allow for increased scale, ambition and visually strong work.

GDIF2014 Full Stop by Light the Fuse

GDIF2014 Full Stop by Light the Fuse

For 2015 we’re particularly keen to see work with strong design content and visual presence/impact, which can engage with large and diverse audiences.

Deadline for applications:
5pm Monday December 8th

Download the full information pack here.

 

Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival R&D opportunities

Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival

Research & Development opportunities

With support from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts programme in 2014, we are delighted to announce a Research and Development opportunity for Deaf and disabled artists wishing to develop new ideas for outdoor work. We are seeking to offer three Research and Development awards for new outdoor projects led by Deaf and disabled artists, and subject to available resources, with the intention of work moving towards presentation at the Liberty Festival in the summer of 2015 or 2016. Submissions may focus on any art forms that can be presented outdoors. We encourage artists collaborating with other arts organisations, in particular those based in East London, across art forms, culturally diverse artists and new and emerging artists. NB Initial applications should be submitted by 30 November.

Information Pack (PDF version)
Information Pack (DOC version)
Application Form

More information from London.gov.uk

Stop Gap Dance Company’s ‘The Awakening’ choreographed by Chris Pavia at Liberty 2014.
This work was developed following a Liberty R+D commission in 2013.

 

 

 

GDIF2014 Photo Competition Award Announcement!

This year GDIF held a Street Theatre photography competition, our second year running a photo competition with the amazing Award.io.

We saw a record 687 submissions, giving our judges Tony Othen of The Greenwich Gallery and GDIF’s marketing manager an amazing portfolio of work to choose from!

All of the below winning photos along with selected one’s will be exhibited on a digital screen atThe Greenwich Gallery in the coming weeks.

Toby Hawkes with his Muaré @ GDIF 2014 entry is the overall winner of this contest and will be GDIF 2015 Photo Ambassador. As Photo Ambassador, Toby’s photograph will be used for any photography competition materials in 2015 and he will be invited to GDIF2015 as an accredited photographer and photo blog contributor.

'Muaré@GDIF 2014' by Toby Hawkes‘Muaré @GDIF 2014′ by Toby Hawkes.

Judge’s comments:

Captures the heart and soul of GDIF including the color, the passion and the energy of the festival.

A riveting photograph the brings the work to life and engrains the performance in one’s memory.

�'Laundry'‘Laundry’ by Debbie Bevan.

2nd Place Judge’s comments:

Superb timing gives us a memorable moment in the act.

Enough of the props are shown to give us an idea of what is going on and the reaction from the audience(of all ages) shows that the performance is appreciated.

�'Opus‘Opus Music’ by Campbell Skinner.

3rd Place Judge’s comments:

An inventive and inspiring photograph that combines performer, audience and instrument into one lovely piece of art.

It tells the story of this show from multiple perspectives and there is always something new to discover every time you look at it.

�'Flood‘Flood 20′ by Przemyslaw Szyduk..

4th Place Judge’s comments:

Superb composition and timing.

The expression on the faces of the two performers shows how careful the timing has to be and the expressions on the faces of the audience shows engagement, apprehension and amusement.

�'Clown‘Clown Impression’ by Campbell Skinner.

5th Place Judge’s comments: A mesmerizing photograph which pulls at the heartstrings.

The color and facial expression invoke an amazing level of emotion and passion, and one is left wondering whether to find the photo heartwarming, sorrowful, nostalgic, or a little bit of all of the above.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed, Tony and The Greenwich Gallery and of course the ever-amazing Award.io team!

 

 

One Million Opening Ceremony

Image

hemmings

GDIF Artistic Director

Bradley Hemmings

 

 

Tomorrow at 8.30pm, I’ll be sitting in a control box overlooking the Tyne and taking a deep breath, as the Opening Ceremony to the one millionth finish of the Great North Run gets underway. I remember back to two years ago in 2012, when Jenny Sealy and I were similarly poised, looking down at the crowds in the Olympic Stadium. It’s going to be an equally emotional and poignant night.

gnr_2

 

This time, the Arena is even bigger than an Olympic Stadium. It has a tidal river running through it, alongside the most beautiful collection of bridges in the world, plus of course, the breathtaking Sage Gateshead, which, in the course of the show, will be transformed with groundbreaking video mapping. Some of the awe-inspiring behind the scenes production statistics reflect the Ceremony’s ambition: 248 glass panels on the Sage have been covered with vinyl on which 480,000 lumens of projection power will cover an area twice the size of Buckingham Palace. Twelve river vessels will take part, whilst the Millennium Bridge, (the world’s only tilting bridge) and Sir William Armstrong’s hydraulic Swing Bridge, will both be choreographed as part of the show. I’m therefore very fortunate to be working with one of GDIF’s longstanding production managers, the brilliant Gary Beestone, as well as Production Stage Manager, Sam Hunter, who has worked on countless Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies.

great-north-run

 

Large scale ceremonies like this don’t come around very often and so it’s been a big honour to have been invited to create and direct, particularly as the finishers of the Great North Run are every bit as inspiring as those Paralympic athletes were two years ago. I’ve been able to meet with many of them at our Volunteer Rehearsals, where I’ve been humbled by their commitment and pride in this pioneering mass participation sporting event, which in complete contrast to the Olympics or Paralympics is not about elite athletes, but running for everyone. It’s this inclusive and democratic spirit that lies behind the Great North Run and in creating this Ceremony which I very much wanted to celebrate. The ceremony boasts a world class creative team, including designer Jon Bausor, hotfoot from his recent success with the National Theatre of Scotland’s critically acclaimed James plays.

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It’s also been an amazing experience to work with Carnegie Award winning writer David Almond. When David and I first met in a bar overlooking the Tyne, we saw a salmon leap out of the river and the emotion of that miraculous moment seems to have found its way into the show. David’s beautiful script will be performed by Jill Halfpenny and Tim Healy, taking audiences on a spectacular time-travelling journey through the story of the North East, from the dawn of time to the one millionth finish which take place three days after the Ceremony on 7 September at South Shields. An astonishing and suitably epic score for the Ceremony has been created by Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones, performed by the Royal Northern Sinfonia with spectacular architectural film projections onto the Sage Gateshead from BAFTA award winning film maker Tal Rosner.

The Lords of Lightning

The Lords of Lightning

 

And throughout, at the heart of the Ceremony, will be a cast of hundreds of volunteer performers who have been inspiringly led by Mass Movement director Nathan Curry. With Ant and Dec welcoming the crowds, and featuring musical performances from Sting, Mark Knopfler, Mercury Music Prize nominees The Unthanks and platinum-selling drum’n'bass Chase and Status, together with Glastonbury favourites Lords of Lightning and Alchemy Fireworks, September 4 will be a night to remember. The Ceremony will also be screened on BB2 on Sunday 7 September as part of the coverage of this year’s Great North Run Millionth Finish event. The countdown begins!

gnr_3

 

GDIF’s Spectacular Summer Continues!

Following June’s record-breaking Festival, GDIF has been hard at work preparing for three more extraordinary events to bring the summer of 2014 to a festive climax.

Moxie Brawl_National Paralympic Day 2014

Moxie Brawl_National Paralympic Day 2014

On Saturday 30 August between 12 – 8pm, we’re producing National Paralympic Day, featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This free, fun, family festival brings together the very best of disability arts and sports.

www.QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

 

Then GDIF’s Artistic Director, Bradley Hemmings will be heading north on 4 September to direct the The Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony, featuring live performances by Dire Straits legend Mark Knopfler, drum’n'bass superstars Chase & Status, Mercury Prize nominees The Unthanks, and electrifying performers Lords of Lightning, as well as fireworks and pyrotechnics, mass choreography, a giant floating sculpture, and video mapping onto the Sage Gateshead!

http://greatnorthrunculture.org/gnr-million

 

TallShips

Finally, on Friday 5 September at 8.30pm, as part of Royal Greenwich’s Tall Ships Festival GDIF will present the Catalan street theatre company Sarruga’s production of Peixos (Fish). As the sun sets, the event will transform the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College into an underwater Mediterranean world of brightly coloured fish and sea creatures.  Giant illuminated fish puppets will swim amongst and over the heads of audiences, to captivating effect.

http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/tallships/site/index.php

 

 

Arka Photo Blog – Stu Mayhew

So I had spent an enjoyable, if occasionally wet, day in Canary Wharf it was time to get home and charge my batteries. My camera batteries naturally ! I made the short trip from where I live in Shooters Hill down to Artillery Square in Woolwich where Teatr Osmega Dnia would bring and end to GDIF 2014 with Arka.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

This Polish theatre group began their performance amongst the large gathered crowd, winding their way up on to the main stage. It looked like a wedding celebration but was soon interrupted by a military invasion symbolised by fire eating men who being wheeled through the square on wood and metal contraptions spitting flames high into the night sky, drawing cheers and gasps from everyone.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Meanwhile the stage had turned into a scene of huge burning windows , silhouetting the crowd. This large flaming structures were then moved through the crowds and the scene was strange yet beautiful to behold.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

The performance is about war and refugees being displaced from home. It was quite a moving piece and visually captivating. GDIF has really discovered Artillery Square as a great performance venue and bring the Arts right into the the center of Woolwich has to be applauded, there is always a really big, highly appreciative crowd and tonight was no exception

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

As a huge ship gently sailed into the crowd the show ended and the curtain was closed on GDIF 2014. It is a real privilege to be apart of it, in my own small way. Over the years I have met many of the performers and photographers and its nice to see old faces. A massive effort goes into to bringing such a prestigious event to Greenwich Borough and long may it continue.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

If you live locally and enjoy photography or want to learn how to get more out of your camera then visit http://www.woolwichphotographic.com and find out more about Greenwich’s award winning camera club!

See you next year

Stu