Site visits are a very crucial part of the programming of a festival; it’s when the idea that you have in your head about a particular show meets a particular space. They always represent a big challenge, not only for the artist but also for us as a Festival: there are many things to keep in mind when finding the right site for a show – it’s not only if the space is big enough what matters!
Access, noise control, structural weight, wind calculations, distance to public transport are just some of the things you need to bear in mind when looking around. Also, in such a packed festival like GDIF, where so many small and mid scale shows are happening all around Greenwich and the Docklands area (do you have our dates in your calendar for this year? If not, this is your chance to pencil it in! 21-29th June); we have to be clever and manage to give each show enough time and space, and allow the audiences to move from one site to the other.
This week we’ve had four super exciting site visits in some amazing Greenwich and riverside locations. I can’t exactly tell you what companies visited us (you have to wait until our programme is revealed!) but here are some photographs of the places we saw – well, of almost all the visits, but one as it was way too cold to get our hands out of the pockets and take pictures on that day!
Artists, producers, technical managers and responsible site managers or council representatives get together at these site visits, share their thoughts, visions, concerns and desires; compare ideal situations with worst case scenarios; and usually, you come out of these meetings with very creative solutions about the production, staging and timing as well as audience movement and marketing. You need to keep everyone happy to make it work.
And here is a little cool gadget we used to measure the wind with at the top of Greenwich Park! So you might be curious about what kind of show might find its place there. Well, watch this space!
And, what’s also amazing about these site visits: we all get to know each other! Putting a face to a name and meeting the people in person who really want to make these shows work is always so important and, of course, a good reason to venture out and explore the spaces of the local community; even if it’s a very cold mid February morning and you can’t feel your fingers any longer…
Malú Ansaldo, Projects Administrator
Sophie Akbar, Senior Production Manager
The GDIF Production Team