Weekend One of Totally Thames will see the Creative Mile in Brentford come to life with events along this free art trail on a mile-long stretch of river. This is Creative Mile’s third year celebrating the artists and creativity flowing through the heart of Brentford, this year focused on the theme of water, profiling over 70 local creatives at venues around Brentford. At the riverside listed estate Syon House, Once Up On a Cube is a playful, site-specific performance promoting green architecture and reclaiming our public spaces. Created by Scirocco Dance Theatre, Once Up On a Cube aims to raise awareness of the impact that architecture has on our social settings, and asks if we can learn from the Thames a way of planning and designing our city that can be ever-flowing, fluid and dynamic.
The Royal Docks will host Weekend Two, with an exciting installation by artist David Cotterrell. Cotterrell works across media and technologies to explore the human condition, and is known for the Saltley Geyser, a temporary installation of a geyser in a Birmingham suburb in 1998, serving as a hub meeting point for this diverse local community. For Totally Thames, Cotterrell will create a new geyser at Royal Docks, shooting 500 litres of water 30 metres into the air daily, which the public will be able to see from the IFS Cloud Cable Car, streets and nearby buildings including City Hall.
On Weekend Three, festivalgoers can head to London Bridge for numerous events including Tied 3, an outdoor performance by XAP. Tied 3 is part of a series held in different locations, exploring connections between women and their environment, their work and each other, and their past and present. Six women in timeless clothing take their places on the foreshore of the Thames and begin their work, constructing a fishing net that gradually widens outward. Audiences are invited to linger, listen to their stories, engage in conversation and even collaborate with them in their work. At The Old Operating Museum and Herb Garret in London Bridge, audiences can discover Tidal Traces, an exhibition of video works, cyanography, micrography and chromatography by Irma Irsara. The exhibition explores environmental issues through the material that finds its way into the river Thames, especially microfibre plastics and pharmaceutical contaminants, and the impact of it on the health of the river’s ecosystem and surrounding population.
Weekend Four will be at the Greenwich hub, exploring the history of the Thames and one of its historic activities – mudlarking – in this centuries-old maritime area. Hands on History, an organisation dedicated to bringing history alive, will present exhibitions, walks and talks through the summer and September, including a Take Over of the Queen’s House in Greenwich on Weekend Four of Totally Thames. Their Mudlarking and Art exhibition is an interactive exhibit of visual and performance art that re-identifies this historic area, while considering the river as a depository of time. Artist Billie Bond MRSS SPS will debut her new sculptural collection, Foreshore Foundlings, while Mark Sowden, Coral Pearce and other mudlark-artists will form an Art Trail, and there will be creative workshops, interactive walks and artist talks throughout the weekend.
Kingston upon Thames will be the last hub during Weekend Five, closing out the festival. Creative Flow: Kingston, Art and the River delves into the borough’s centuries-long association with creativity and the river. The area has been an abundant source of creative inspiration for artists and authors from the 17th century through to the present day, including Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites. Featuring works from Kingston Museum’s permanent collection, historic images are juxtaposed with contemporary equivalents by local artists, including award-winning documentary photographer Alexander Beer.
Irene Fiordilino, Director of Scirocco Dance Theatre Company, comments, Participating in Totally Thames 2023 is an important milestone for our company.
We are enthusiastic about being part of a festival that celebrates the widest range of arts and cultural activities, bringing together London’s diverse communities around the Thames as a site for meaningful encounters between people and the territory. We truly align with the festival’s core values and we are looking forward to contribute in celebrating the heart of our metropolitan landscape.
These events and many more will bring each of the festival hubs to life along the river, with more events and activities to be announced at the hubs. There are also further river-related in person and digital events to be announced throughout the weeks in September, and at other locations across London, with plenty of activities all month long for visitors who can’t make it to the weekend hubs.
For Londoners who want to get a taste of the Thames before September, there are a series of mudlarking events in July. Mudlarks Mettle: Knives, Weapons and Warfare is at Cutler’s Hall, from 1st – 2nd July, with accompanying talks by Simon Moore and Graham deHeaume, further information head to our What's On page.
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