Miracles at GDIF

'The Colour of Time' by Artonik in association with East London Dance. Photo by Doug Southall

‘The Colour of Time’ by Artonik in association with East London Dance. Photo by Doug Southall

Described in The Guardian as an “annual miracle”, this year’s Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (26 June – 5 July) presented a series of stunning and unforgettable outdoor arts experiences attended by audiences of over 106,000.

Kori Kori by Compagnie Oposito. Photo by Warren King

Kori Kori by Compagnie Oposito. Photo by Warren King


From the UK premiere of Compagnie Oposito’s wonderful musical promenade through the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College to Periplum and Corn Exchange Newbury’s brilliant reinvention of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel in “451” in Bethnal Green Gardens, the Festival offered new perspectives and approaches to outdoor theatre.

451_Photo by Doug Southall_8

’451′ by Periplum and Corn Exchange Newbury. Photo by Doug Southall

Our spectacular landmark production of “The Four Fridas” moved audiences to tears in Woolwich with its finale ritual flight of the Voladoras, whilst at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park “The Colour of Time” was a joyously immersive dance theatre experience with Indian gulal powder flying.

'The Four Fridas' - Photo by Doug Southall

‘The Four Fridas’ – Photo by Doug Southall

This year’s Greenwich Fair and Dancing City programmes provided further exceptional moments, whilst ingenious woodland storytelling in Look Left Look Right’s “Secret Princess of Severndroog Castle” delighted school groups, children and their families.

'Sens Dessus Dessous' by Collectif Mallunes. Photo by Warren King

‘Sens Dessus Dessous’ by Collectif Mallunes at Greenwich Fair. Photo by Warren King

Here are just a few of your comments from this year’s stunning Festival:

“We were children again for an afternoon, laughing at clowns, acrobatics, amazing by the imagination, the beauty and the talent of all artists.”

“Spectacular and unmissable.”

“Fantastic and free! A real treat in London.”

“Breathtaking, amazing, unforgettable!”

Join us again next year for GDIF2016: June 24 – July 3, 2016!


Greenwich Fair 2015 Photo Blog

Greenwich Fair 2015 photo blog

by Stu Mayhew

Weekend off work – check. Beautiful sunny weather – check. Free outdoor arts event right on my doorstep – check ! Well this can only mean one thing then, its the opening weekend of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival!!

Once again I find myself in the lucky position of being one of the GDIF 2015 photographers and have once again been asked to write a blog – which is what you are now reading. I spent all morning cleaning my camera equipment and getting batteries charged and set off early to get to the Naval College. The weather was warm and sunny, pretty near perfect I would say and well before the scheduled start of 1PM there were large crowds enjoying picnics in the grounds.

I always enjoy a performance with the magnificent Cutty Sark ship as a back drop so I was off to the best of starts with Sens Dessus Dessous by Collectif Malunes. Appearing from the roof of an ancient caravan the performers put on a dazzling display of acrobatics, the flying trapeze and physical humour he likes of which i’m not sure I’ve seen the brilliance off at GDIF. The crowd were enthralled for the entire 40mins of the show and cheered their appreciation at the end – it was quite some start for sure !

Sens Dessus Dessous by Collectif Malunés (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Sens Dessus Dessous by Collectif Malunés (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

As ever its hard to know where to go next – the best way is to consult the free GDIF newspaper, copies of which are easy to find right across the festival site, and see what you fancy and make time to get to the various performance’s. I always try this technique but generally wander around and stumble upon a performance instead

Audience member at Greenwich Fair (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Audience member at Greenwich Fair (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Next up were an equally physical circus company 15feet6 with their show Dynamite and Poetry. It literally starts with a bang , and almost drop your camera type bang , and certainly shocked the packed crowds. Great to see so many children in the audience – GDIF really has something for everyone and I certainly think there were more families this year then ever before. Anyway this show was again packed with gymnastic skills and a very humorous story line along with the odd explosion.

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6 (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6 (Photo by Stu Mayhew)


GDIF2015 Photo Ambassador Toby Hawkes at Greenwich Fair

GDIF2015 Photo Ambassador and winner of our GDIF2014 photo competition Toby Hawkes took on Greenwich Fair yesterday. We had a bit of rain, but soon enough the sun came out and the fair came to life once again.

Remember to submit your photos from the festival to this year’s photography competition hosted by Award.io. You just might win a Thames sightseeing cruise, a ThamesJet experience, or tickets to the ArcelorMittal Orbit and a giftcard to JOY!

Smoke by Plunge Boom. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Smoke by Plunge Boom. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Monotone Man by The Human Zoo. Photo by Toby Hawkes

Monotone Man by The Human Zoo. Photo by Toby Hawkes

Camping Delight by TinCanCompany. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Camping Delight by TinCanCompany. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Pendula Fantastica by Travelling Light Circus.

Pendula Fantastica by Travelling Light Circus. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Île O by Barolosolo. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Île O by Barolosolo. Photo by Toby Hawkes.


Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, Toby Hawkes discovered his passion for landscape photography in 2007. It was an opportunity to combine an interest in technology with his love for the great outdoors. After a few years of mastering his craft, he had his first successful exhibition in Turangi in 2010. Toby Hawkes now has work on permanent display in various locations around the central North Island. Toby Hawkes is currently overseas taking a break in Europe.

For the latest updates from Toby Hawkes see his facebook page here




GDIF2015 Photo Competition

We’re happy to announce this year’s photo competition! In collaboration with Award.io we are running a photo contest for the third year in a row for this year’s Festival. So, if you came to GDIF2015 and take some great shots with your camera, mobile phone or tablet, upload them onto the portal and get a chance to win an incredible series of prizes.

Muaré @GDIF 2014 by Award.io Photo Contest winner Toby Hawkes.

Muaré @GDIF 2014 by Award.io Photo Contest winner Toby Hawkes

This year we continue our theme “Street Theatre”

To submit your entry go to award.io/GDIF. Participation in the contest is free. GDIF will also pick a selection of submitted photos to feature in our photo galleries on our website.

About the Prizes

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 7.54.13 PM1st Place: 

  • GDIF2016 Amateur Photo Ambassador
  • ThamesJet high speed experience (private charter for 12 people)


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2nd place:

  • GDIF2016 Photography Accreditation


3rd Place:photoblog

  • GDIF2016 Photo Accreditation

Last Year’s Photo Competition Winner Toby Hawkes

My involvement in the GDIF 2014 all happened by chance. Having moved to London from New Zealand two months earlier, my wife and I decided to spend a Friday evening in Greenwich, not realising the festival was on.

As we were looking out over the Thames we saw a performance by the Cutty Sark, then realised what was going on. After eagerly reading the programme we quickly decided what we would be doing that weekend!Muare was spotted and we knew we couldn’t miss it. Without realising we ended up sitting in one of the best spots we could have, which lead to the chance taking of my prize winning photograph.

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the sunshine, performances and atmosphere in Greenwich, and we knew it would be a highlight of 2015 as well.

Visit Toby Hawkes’s website and photography

About our Sponsors

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City Cruises

City Cruises plc is the leading operator of tourism and leisure passenger services on the River Thames, carrying in excess of  four million passengers annually on their route through the heart of London between Westminster and Tower of London…then through Tower Bridge to Greenwich – a journey through 2,000 years of liquid history.

ArcelorMittal OrbitScreen Shot 2015-06-19 at 7.47.15 PM

The ArcelorMittal Orbit: a giant sculpture that swirls and swoops and delivers you to views of the London skyline up to 20 miles in to the distance.You’d need six Angels of the North to reach The ArcelorMittal Orbit’s height. It’s a spectacle for people who think they’ve seen it all! Located in The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


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With 30 locations across the UK, including one on Nelson Road in Greenwich, JOY provides unique, fun and exclusive womenswear, menswear, accessories and gifts. Four in-house brands complete the retailer’s roster; Louche, a ‘trends du jour’ label with a charming vintage touch, Valley Of The Dolls, a distinct bohemian range with an ultra-feminine vibe, HYMN, influenced by British heritage with a modern twist and quirky gift brand Oola. Discover JOY in Greenwich or online at www.joythestore.com.





The Four Fridas


Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2015


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

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

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

Commissioned by Without Walls

"Ear Trumpet" by GOBBLEDEGOOK THEATRE  Commissioned by Without Walls

Commissioned by Without Walls

"Carousel" by SOUTHPAW DANCE COMPANY  Commissioned by Without Walls

Commissioned by Without Walls

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

Commissioned by Without Walls

"8 Songs" by GANDINI JUGGLING  Commissioned by Without Walls

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.