London mayor Ken Livingstone's annual Thames Festival takes place this weekend, with events on the South Bank, from London Eye to the Oxo Tower, on both Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September 2003.

Theatre-wise, the festival centrepiece will be the staging of Sticky, the first large-scale theatrical event to be presented in the riverside Jubilee Gardens (in association with the South Bank Centre) in many years. Earlier this year, Sticky went down under where it was seen by some 15,000 people during the Sydney Festival. The creation of Improbable Theatre (best known for cult junk opera hit Shockheaded Peter) combines theatre, art, installation and fireworks into one visual feast.

The Thames Festival also includes street theatre, music, food and craft stalls, funfair rides and the 'Midnight Menagerie' Procession of Lights. For further information, visit the Thames Festival website.


And later this month in Covent Garden, the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre will host a week-long "Festival of Firsts", under the direction of Deborah Bull in collaboration with the Helen Hamlyn Trust. The programme consists of three mixed bills juxtaposing different artists and forms more normally seen on the fringe.

Amongst the artists and companies taking part in the event, which runs from 20 to 25 September 2003, are Base Chorus, Clod Ensemble, Eddie Ladd, Hoipolloi, Jean Abreu, Stan's Café, Tiebreak Theatre, Ursula Martinez and Wild Roots Collective. The two-part aim of the Festival of Firsts is to highlight emerging talents and attract new audiences to the ROH. All festival tickets are priced £5.

- by Terri Paddock