Fire sculptures, magnificent giant puppets, strolling herds of rusted machinery, circus acts and much more – it’s time for the annual Greenwich & Docklands Festival again.
One of the biggest free festivals of outdoor theatre in London, this festival is definitely worth a look. It is just a short boat or train ride down river, and you can enjoy not just spectacular events, but an extremely visually beautiful location. The area around the Greenwich Old College and Maritime Museum is a UNESCO world heritage site combining an amazing landscape of architecturally significant buildings, parkland, artistic and scientific endeavour. In addition, a lot many holiday apartments in London are situated to give visitors a lavish tour with comfortable stay. It is even the only place in the world where you can literally step across time itself! You can even do some shopping for unusual gifts in the maze of little shops within the town.
Held between June 21 and July 7, the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, offers a fantastic opportunity to enjoy all manner of free entertainment. La Parade Amoureuse is guaranteed to enchant all who watch this herd of massive illuminated deer puppets parading through the evening streets. A very different herd will make you laugh – the Unusual Herd and their annoyed shepherd try to find somewhere to graze around the Cutty Sark Gardens. Made out of rusty metal salvaged from scrapyards, the herd slowly clank their way along the ground.
A tightrope walker edges her way along a taut rope set high above the Old Greenwich Naval College, fire sculptures burn through the night and there is a duel planned between a rotating, moving, robotic pole and a performer attempting to hold on many feet above the earth.
By far one of the most dramatic events in the festival is the opening performance across the river in Docklands. American performance art Duke Riley is bringing his epic Fly By Night to the UK. It involves over 1500 trained pigeons soaring into the sky above the River Thames. Each pigeon is fitted with tiny LEDS on their leg bands which sparkle as they twirl, soar and glide through the air in a stunning homage to the messenger pigeons who were unsung heroes of the First World War. Without them, it would have hard for crucial messages to be sent, sometimes even during the heat of battle.
Not all the events are pure spectacle. Audience participation may well be required! The warrior queen Boudicca is set to roam the streets, while Xics del Xurrac offer interactive street games for all ages.