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Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2022

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) takes place from 26 August – 11 September 2022

This year’s Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (GDIF) opens with the spectacular UK premiere of SPARK, the creation of Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde, who takes inspiration from the natural phenomenon of fireflies, to create a reimagined and environmentally responsible public celebration, which updates the ritual of fireworks. The result is a poetic performance which will be presented over 2 nights in Greenwich after-dark on 26 and 27 August. Thousands of biodegradable light sparks will organically float through the air, inspiring visitors to wonder and reflect.

This year’s award-winning festival of FREE outdoor arts and theatre takes place across 18 days in London from the 26 August – 11 September. The eclectic 2022 programme welcomes a record number of international artists from countries including Spain, Germany, Flanders, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Ukraine and The United States and includes a total of 25 premieres (12 UK premieres and 13 new to London).

The festival theme of COMMON GROUND sets out to remind us of the importance of shared values, rituals and togetherness. Artistic Director Bradley Hemmings MBE said today: “As we emerge from the pandemic, with growing economic challenges at home and terrifying events on our doorstep in Europe, I hope that this year’s festival will offer audiences a moment of sanctuary from the anxious times that we’ve been living through. It’s heartening that many of the incredible artists we’re working with this year are using the outdoors to offer us a glimpse of collective possibility and purpose.”

Alongside SPARK are several spectacular and immersive art installations including: Peter Hudson’s 32ft high zoetrope Charon, originally created for Burning Man Festival recreated at Royal Docks; Stephanie Lüning’s environmentally-friendly foam fantasy Island of Foam: Version XVIII, Oliver MacDonald’s circular willow arena, This Woven O and Arjan Kreidhof’s mindful fairground ride, Relaxerette

Performances from leading theatre and dance companies include original new work as well as touring productions from Graeae, Common Wealth, Speakers Corner and Fuel, Gobbledegook Theatre, Royal Ballet, Protein Dance, Fevered Sleep, Chris Green, Tara Theatre, Middle Child Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company. GDIF’s annual ‘festival within a festival’, the Greenwich Fair returns to the Old Royal Naval College and Cutty Sark Gardens in Greenwich, Dancing City, a two day feast of outdoor dance at Canary Wharf is also back for a 2022 edition. On Your Doorstep, a hyper-local family-friendly street arts programme, will also be delivered in neighbourhoods across Greenwich and East London.

The Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “I am delighted that the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival is returning this summer, demonstrating that London continues to be a global hub for the creative industries. There’s a fantastic range of free events from art to theatre to dance. I’m particularly excited to see a record number of international artists, who will be celebrating the theme of ‘Common Ground’ promoting togetherness and cohesion.”

Councillor Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Equality, Communities and Culture said: “Our diverse and vibrant communities are what makes Royal Greenwich such a special place to live and grow up. The Royal Greenwich Festivals programme seeks to celebrate and connect us all through cultural activities, so we’re thrilled to be supporting Greenwich + Docklands International Festival as they explore the theme of Common Ground. I can’t wait to see residents of all ages enjoying the exciting programme of free theatre and arts events GDIF are creating this year.” 

You can find all the listings and ticket info at festival.org