As previously tipped (See The Goss, 1 Mar 2005), the British Airways London Eye will be transformed into a spinning stage next month. For one night only, on the longest day of the year, Tuesday 21 June 2005, the giant Ferris wheel on the south bank of the Thames will become a showcase for a variety of theatrical acts, comedians, musicians and other performers.

The event, Flight 5065, is backed by CAFÉDIRECT, which campaigns for global fair trade so that coffee growers and their communities can share in the profits of their labour. The aim is to raise awareness of the need for fair trade in Africa and to celebrate the continent ahead of this summer’s G8 Summit. The 2005 Summit - which will be hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair at Gleneagles in Scotland from 6 to 8 July – is due to focus on the challenges of Africa and climate change.

During Flight 5065’s three ‘take-off’s, at 7.30pm, 8.15pm and 9.00pm on 21 June, there will be a different show in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules. Amongst the theatre highlights will be contributions from the National and the Royal Court. For its capsule, the latter is producing up to 27 one-minute plays from leading dramatists including Roy Williams, Joe Penhall, Simon Stephens, Anthony Neilson and Tanika Gupta.

Other highlights amongst the 96 performances include big names from the music world such as Blur’s Damon Albarn (who’ll be curating new African music with his Honest Jon Label), Beth Orton, Turin Brakes and hip-hop artist Jonzi D and comedians like Arthur Smith and new political comics Andy Zzaltsman and John Oliver.

Each London Eye capsule carries a maximum of 20 passengers each and each Flight 5065 performance lasts approximately 30 minutes (the time it takes for the London Eye to complete one rotation). Tickets cost £21 per flight. For further information, visit the event website.

- by Terri Paddock