Sit Back, Hold Tight!

A blog written by Sarah Blanc, Artistic Director of Moxie Brawl, a fresh and currently all-female dance theatre company. ‘Sit Back’ evokes the spirit of the 1940’s through music, text and dance, this new dance theatre piece recalls the role of women at times of war.

photo by Bruno Rodrigues

I believe dance is for everyone so making and presenting work outdoors gives me a great opportunity to reach as wide and diverse an audience as possible.

Last year Moxie Brawl won the Gone In 20 Minutes 2013 Jury Prize following performances at over 5 festivals in the UK. Since then we have gained the support of Watermans, investment from Arts Council England and producing support from Candoco Dance Company (with whom I have been an Associate Artist for over 3 years).

Being part of GI20 was fantastic as we were able to learn how to adapt our work for the outdoors in a supportive way, gaining feedback along the tour. It was such an invaluable experience. I am excited that this year we have been able to develop the piece further with the help of all partners and festival presenters.

We used our 2 weeks of development time in the studio to go into more detail for certain sections of choreography and revisit costume, props and even the British Trollyebus Museum as part of our research.IMG_8473a

We worked with Mark Smith of Deaf Men Dancing to help make the piece more accessible for Deaf audiences and those with hearing impairments.

We have just returned from our first performances at Fetes Tour de la Blanche in Issoudoun, France and it is exciting to see audience reactions to our work and seeing it all come to life!

As a choreographer I have been so privileged to work with some gorgeous performers for Sit Back. First up is Lucy Starkey whose character Alice during the piece gets accepted to the Women’s Volunteer Service. Katie Cambridge, new to the moxie line up, plays Agatha whose fiancé is away at war and constantly dreams of his return. Josephine played by Kimberley Harvey is the most maternal of all the characters, constantly looking after everyone but during the piece she receives some devastating news. Winnie, played by Jenny Reeves, is younger more innocent and with her Dad being away in the war working as a doctor, she wants to follow his footsteps and study medicine.

It has been such a great few weeks and we are more than buzzing to get this show on the road. Looking forward to seeing you along the way at GDIF and hope for you to meet Alice, Agatha, Josephine and Winnie- four trolley bus clippies working in London of 1942.

Hold Tight Please!


Show time:

Sat 21 June 14:05, 17:10
Sun 22 June 13:15, 15:00
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10
FREE (Runs approx. 20 mins)

Click here to watch the highlights of Sit Back at Gone In 20 Minutes.

Explore love relationship with HURyCAN

Spanish company HURyCAN’s stunning duet Te Odiero represents the meeting point between love and exasperation, which boost love relationships and lead to sentimental ups and downs. A place where movements and desires clash with the clumsiness of the bodies they inhabit. Confrontation and union merge and the performers embark upon a dazzling dance that is both volatile and uniting.

We asked ourselves what does our fantasies look like when we live them out? We decided to experiment who we are, to search for the particularities, specific features that could bring us to actions and expressiveness.

How to build a concrete and physical language able to communicate with humor and emotion? We tried to draw our experience, as a living journey through love relation : different, similar, learned and invented. The unstable balance of an evolution process – a process of life.

te odiero 4

Burning our feet on a fiery blazing floor at midday, sinking under rain’s waterfalls at dusk, chock and caress, sometime nobody, sometimes not even a space left…  caching the attention of empty squares, bringing people almost from their homes, across their windows and balconies… or inventing a space to perform, between legs, shopping bags, pets and willchairs, when the thick crowd covers the hole stage.

Te Odiero is a place to coexist, a place where we cling to each other to survive, it is not always easy or pleasant, it is what it is : potential, limits, passion, exasperation, uncontrollable life.

Sat 21 June 15:50, 18:10
Sun 22 June 14:10, 17:25
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10
FREE (Runs approx. 20 mins)

From Trolleys to Market Stall

GOOD NEWS for those who loved ‘Trolleys’ in GDIF2013, C-12 Dance Theatre is returning to GDIF this year with their new production ‘Market Stall’!!

C-12 Dance Theatre is back!


Guess who is the thief?


Watch Out…










Blended with circus skills, parkour and dance, Market Stall shows you a thrilling and comedic battle between fruit seller and fruit thief. Are you ready for this fruity adventure?

Sat 21 June 13:10, 15:45
Sun 22 June 12:10, 14:45
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10
FREE (Runs approx. 20 mins)

Catch me if you can!


GDIF2014 Artist-In-Residence: Inua Ellams

‘Introvert and show-off; literary geek and hip-hop scenester – Ellams looks set for a long career mining his rich stock of internal contradictions.’ – Fest Magazaine

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is an award winning poet, playwright and performer. His style is influenced by both classical literature and hip hop. Following is an article written by Inua himself, telling how GDIF helped him to overcome the fear performing in an open space and his return this year with more interactive activities with the audience.

Inua Ellams (credit Blake Ezra Cole)-small


The first time I went to the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, I went as a theatre maker/playwright telling Knight Watch – a story about the destruction of a city by the four elements: earth, wind, fire and water. The story was divided into four sections and told in three different styles. The first in mellifluous prose, the second in classic poetic ballad form, the third in intense loose rhyme – closer to hip-hop than to any poetic form – and the last style was the first’s. The story was scored by Akinori Fujimoto on percussion and Mikey Fitzpatrick on flute, and was performed outdoors as is customary of the festival. Years before embarking on the project, following a disastrous Glastonbury festival where all the elements conspired against my poems, I swore never to perform outdoors. It was the reason I began to work in theatre, to share intricately written stories with audiences who’d want to hear them, in spaces where I could even control the smell should I wish.

Performing at G&D was in a sense, facing up to my greatest fears – to say I was terrified as the audience filed into the basketball court, took their seats patiently as Akinori struck the drums and Mikey began to blow, is an understatement. There were artistic and personal demons to wrestle with. The show happened in a blur; I wasn’t sure if the message embedded in the tale was understood, if the audience had stayed with me, if anything had worked. Days later, Kate McGrath of Fuel who produce my theatre work explained that not only had her twelve year old daughter understood the story, she had gotten the subtext; that the forest raised the young protagonist from the dead because he had been kind to the trees, and to survive, we have to rebuild our world in harmony with nature and the elements. Greenwich+Docklands Festival made me believe again. It taught me that if you respect the world and the spaces in which you live and create art that responds to it, the audience will walk with you to the liminal place where art exists, they will cross the line into that realm and follow you through to the other side.

It is said that in the in-between places (where the ocean meets the shore, in doorways when you are neither in nor out, in twilight when it isn’t dark or light) the fabric of the world is thin and ideas come into being; things materialise and dematerialise – magic happens, and is gone. The festival taps into this unquenchable of sources with the River Thames flowing to lap against the land, the mouths of streets that become theatres and disappear with applause, and at night when the acrobats and aerialists dive in and out of flood lights, existing and vanishing from one moment to the next, the world, our senses and our selves within it become fluid and this year, I will be attempting to document as much of this as possible.  I am incredibly excited to be returning to the festival not as a playwright but as the festival’s poet in residence. Over the weekend, I will be looking and listening out for glimmers of those liminal moments. I will run interactive poetry workshops from my twitter account for audiences at the festival, comment on shows and the general happenings, employing my visual arts background, I will also draw and sketch as the action unfolds, and finally I will write a poem inspired by the event to read at the close of the festival. The 2014 programme suggests this year’s festival will be just as magnificent as the years before and I hope you will join me in crossing the line, in following the performers on their journeys into the various realms, and through to the other side.

During the weekend of the festival, Inua will be running short interactive poetry workshops and writing an original composition to be performed on Sunday at 17:45.

More about Inua:

Without Walls 2014 Programme

GDIF is a founder member of Without Walls, an Arts Council funded consortium of leading festivals dedicated to the development and touring of new and exciting outdoor work. Behind the scenes, artists, performers, designers, producers and technicians have been hard at work developing some tantalising new projects, which will all be shown as part of this year’s Festival.



GDIF is very excited to be co-commissioning Metro Boulot Dodo’s new large scale storytelling adventure with a fusion of digital imagery and aerial choreography coming together on an ingeniously designed larger-than-life house; Marc Brew’s eagerly anticipated new production which takes place on a 7 tonne island of sand; and Tiata Fahodzi’s contemporary African physical theatre parable “The Legend of Hamba”, which had a recent very successful research and development week at Diorama Arts.

Alongside these co-commissioned projects GDIF will also be presenting other new Without Walls productions by Acrojou, Wet Picnic, Nuno Silva and Ramshacklicious.  Over the course of GDIF’s opening weekend, you’ll be able to see all seven of these new Without Walls productions for 2014, so don’t miss this great opportunity!

GDIF2014 and LIFT Announce UK Premiere!

Rara Woulib’s Deblozay

'Deblozay' by Rara Woulib. Photo Credit: Photo Bushido

‘Deblozay’ by Rara Woulib. Credit: Photo Bushido

 Fri 20 June & Sat 21 June, FREE

Rara Woulib explore des zones frontières, où le spectacle a peu l’habitude d’aller

Liberation – France

Dance with the Dead
Haitian culture looks at death in a very different way to our own. It is not a hushed-up affair of coffins and closed doors but a loud celebration of all that life has to offer, in this world and the next.As the sun sets, join French company Rara Woulib in conjuring the ghosts of the city’s departed for this joyous pilgrimage. See for yourself why the dead have so much more fun than the living.

This show is free but capacity is limited. Reservations have now closed, but stay tuned, as we will let you know if more spots are released.

[Meeting place and route to be confirmed].

Co-produced by LIFT and Greenwich + Docklands International Festival and David Binder Productions, as part of Festivals in Transition — Global City Local City with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, and the Institut Français.

Paralympic Heritage Flame at Stoke Mandeville

GDIF has been busy working with a stunning creative team on a programme of events at Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury in early March. Commissioned by Aylesbury Vale District Council and supported by Arts Council England, this ambitious project will inauguarate an exciting new biennial Heritage Flame Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville supported by the International Paralympic Committee and the British Paralympic Association.

Paralympic Opening Ceremony - Ziya Azazi © Getty Images

Paralympic Opening Ceremony – Ziya Azazi © Getty Images

Why Stoke Mandeville?

1948 saw the commencement of the first ever organised athletic day for disabled athletes alongside the Olympic Games. The Stoke Mandeville Games, founded by neurosurgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann on the lawns of Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, transformed into the global phenomenon that is now the Paralympic Games.

Stoke Mandeville Games ©

Stoke Mandeville Games ©

The London 2012 Games and the Legacy

Building on the momentum of the London 2012 Games, including the Paralympic Games, and in recognition of Stoke Mandeville as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, the UK has been awarded the honour of involvement in all future Paralympic Games Torch Relays.

This March, ahead of the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville will host the first ever international leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay, and will become the first place in history to be involved in the Relay outside of the Games’ hosting country.

Paralympic Flame ©

Paralympic Flame ©

Heritage Flame Celebration ‘Spirit in Motion’ – Sun 2 March, 2014
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 7:30pm, Free tickets via ballot

Enter the public ballot now (Deadline: Sun 16 February – click image below) for a chance to win free tickets to this celebratory occasion bringing together Paralympic athletes and live music, art and performance, including disabled aerial artists from the 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, visual artist Rachel Gadsden, and performances by soprano Denise Leigh and by Andrea Begley, winner of BBC One’s “The Voice”.


Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony Broadcast – Fri 7 March, 2014
Tune in to the global broadcast of the Winter Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony in Sochi to watch the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony. Follow the Paralympic Torch Relay from the Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium to its joining with torches from 46 cities throughout Russia. This unified flame will be used in a final relay before the Opening Ceremony.

For more information on these events, please visit or the Paralympics’ site at

Paralympic Opening Ceremony © Deck Accessory Flickr

Paralympic Opening Ceremony © Deck Accessory Flickr

To share the Paralympic magic with you in Aylesbury and Stoke Mandeville, we invite you to continue connecting with us via our blog, Facebook and Twitter for updates on this exciting international artistic endeavour.