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Greenwich & Docklands Fest Holds Victorian Fair

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The line-up has been announced for this year’s Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF), which runs from 24 June to 2 July 2011.

The festival will pay tribute to the Greenwich Fair, which was closed down 150 years ago for being “too unruly”. According to press material, it was “the largest and most uproarious gathering of outdoor entertainment in the country”, and was described vividly by Charles Dickens in his collection of London scenes Sketches by Boz.

GDIF will “bring the Greenwich Fair back to life 2011 style - complete with gravity-defying performances evoking the hazardous 19th-century tradition of hill-rolling in Greenwich Park”.

Organisers will assemble a large showcase of British and international street theatre in Historic Maritime Greenwich, including a Punch and Judy show with life-sized puppet actors and an outdoor aquarium. 

In addition, this year's theatre programme will include:

  • A production of Samuel Beckett’s Act Without Words II by Company SJ coming from last year’s Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival.

  • The premiere of All that is Solid Melts into Air, a poetic exploration of urban regeneration from Tangled Feet, directed by Kat Joyce and Nathan Curry (Little Platoons at The Bush).

  • A new version of Ted Hughes’ children’s story The Iron Man adapted by Paul Sirrett, directed by Jenny Sealey of Graeae Theatre Company, with an iron giant as tall as a double-decker bus.

  • A powerful staging of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference as epic human tragedy in As the World Tipped, directed by Nigel Jamieson who created the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.


The Festival’s finale in Woolwich welcomes the return of Compagnie Off, one of the world’s leading street theatre companies, with their outdoor spectacle Les Girafes, featuring “a herd of life-sized bright red giraffes, a team of zoo keepers, a ringmaster and an opera diva, accompanied by pyrotechnic effects and music”.

    The GDIF was one of the winners in the recent Arts Council spending review, receiving a 46.6% cash (33.4% real terms) uplift in funding which will see its grant rise from £167,000 in 2011/12 to £262,000 in 2014/15.

For further information on this year's line-up, visit www.festival.org

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