Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

Features

Jason Allen 27/02/22


Pop Up Events This Month

What’s On In London | August 2022

Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room

When you fail for the twentieth time to get tickets to Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms at Tate Modern, you can take out your frustration in the Obliteration Room instead. First staged in Australia in 2002, the room’s now popping up at the Tate for the summer, starting out as a purely white space that gradually gets covered in multicoloured dots by passing visitors. It’s free to enter, and you don’t need to book in advance, which is already pretty therapeutic.

Details: Daily until 29th August | Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG | Free

The Camden Fringe

Camden Fringe

Bringing you a Fringe Festival that doesn’t require six hours on the train, Camden is going to be home this month to an impressive lineup of over 200 acts, including the murderous comedy ‘I Heart Michael Ball’; sketch comedy from Wuthering Tights; and the one-woman show ‘Gentrif*cked’ from British Writers’ Guild nominee Kate-Lois Elliott, who actually was at the Edinburgh Fringe…

Details: 1st-28th August | Venues Across Camden

Metropolis & Underground with Live Music

Wilton’s Music Hall is so ancient, it was already 68 years old when these silent, black and white movies were first released. So it makes for a pretty atmospheric setting to watch them in this month, especially given that they’ll both be accompanied by live, newly composed piano and percussion scores, played for the very first time.

Details: 1st – 4th August | Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley, London E1 8JB | £8-13

This Bright Land

This Bright Land

Imagine a Venn-style diagram representing Ferris wheels, psychedelic pop ups, voguing, cocktails, and opulent 18th century neoclassical courtyards. The teeny tiny area where they all somehow overlap is This Bright Land. It’s a month-long, colourfully psychedelic festival hitting Somerset House for the whole of August. It’s going to be free to enter, open to all, and it’ll all be centred around a huge pop-up Ferris wheel…

Details: 1st-29th August | Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA | Free (some events ticketed)

Music Sessions at Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Gardens

If you were looking for the most perfect venue for a relaxed little live music in a balmy summer’s evening in London, then you’d be hard pressed to beat the Chelsea Physic Garden because A) it’s a 300 year old secret, walled garden with thousands of plants and a stunning main lawn, and b) there’s a bar.

Details: 2nd, 7th & 16th August | Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS | £25 for 1, £40 for 2

Thailand Showcase at Canopy Market

In a bid to lure people to Thailand, the Royal Thai Embassy have decided to basically take all the best bits of the country and somehow stuff them all into the Canopy Market for three days this month. Which may well end up backfiring, because with authentic food & snacks, a Thai beach bar, some traditional arts & crafts, dance performances, and other goodies… you may feel like you don’t need to go to Thailand anymore.

Details: 5th-7th August | West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH

Campfire Club

Remember when everyone used to huddle around a campfire on school trips while someone played the guitar, and you all told stories, and had a singalong?

Well, this is like that, except instead of your PE teacher, the person with the guitar is a celebrated folk musician, and there’s a full bar stocked with home-made wines, ciders, ales, and mead.

Details: 5th, 6th, 12th & 19th August Across London £15

Halcyon Nights at Crazy Coqs

Halcyone Nights

Brasserie Zedel‘s resident entertainers, The Black Cat Cabaret, are putting on a new show for the first time since 2018. It’s called Halcyon Nights, and it’s going to be a glorious showcase of old school Hollywood glamour – they’ll be turning the restaurant into a golden-age nightclub with energetic live jazz, dazzling cabaret, and some classic Bohemian flair. A night at Zedel is good on any day of the week, but this will be something else…

Details: 6th-21st August | Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED | £32.50 / £22.50 (Earlybird)

Zorbing on the Canal

Zorbing on the Canal

Move over boats, there’s a new king of water-based transport in town: zorb balls. They’re literally hitting the canal for a couple of days this month, and you could be in one of them, for free. The pre-booked tickets have been snapped up, but there are plenty of walk-in spaces reserved for anyone who still wants to try it out.

Details: 10th & 11th August | Merchant Square, Paddington, W2 1JX | Free

Future Cargo

If you’re only interested in dance shows that are performed by silver morph-suited dancers in a haulage truck fitted with a moving conveyor belt inside, inspired by the idea of making contact with alien life forms… well, Future Cargo is going to tick a lot of boxes for you. It’s popping up in King’s Cross this month, where you can watch from outside with a soundtrack played through headphones.

Details: 10th – 20th August Lewis Cubitt Square, 11 Stable Street, King’s Cross, N1C 4DR £15

Summer Sounds at King’s Cross

Summer Sounds

If the new, free Summer Sounds festival in King’s Cross is just a cynical attempt to get people down to Coal Drops Yard and peruse the shops & restaurants there while they see performances from gospel choirs, gypsy jazz quartets, modern Indian dance outfits, upcoming singer/songwriters, West End musicals, and a whooooole lot more then… we’re all for it.

Details: 10th-21st August | Coal Drops Yard | Free

Summer on the Square

Summer on the Square

The National Gallery are setting up an alfresco exhibition in Trafalgar Square this month, complete with daily interactive creative sessions in which you can basically learn how to sketch & paint like one of the Great Masters. For free.

Details: 11th-29th August | Trafalgar Square

Night at the Res

West Reservoir

Stoke Newington’s wild swimming spot, West Reservoir, doesn’t usually open after hours. That’s reserved for special occasions. And it just so happens that:

1) One of those occasions is coming up, and

2) There are actually still tickets available. For now.

This is one of those ones you’ll want to tell all your friends about… after you’ve booked. Because it not only involves a profoundly refreshing swim, but the jetty fronting the water will also be buzzing with street food stalls and pop-up bars…

Details: 12th August | West Reservoir Centre, Green Lanes, Stoke Newington, N4 2HA | £25

London Craft Beer Festival

The London Craft Beer Festival is turning ten, and like any good 10th birthday party they’ll have DJs, food from the likes of Decatur and Tendril, and over 100 international breweries (serving a lot more beer). And your ticket includes unlimited tastings from all of them…

Details: 12th & 13th August Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane, E1W 2DA From £47.50

Bearpit Karaoke

Bearpit karaoke: not just home to Super Furry Animals, apparently. It’s a Berlin tradition that’s been transported over to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in recent years, and makes its return this month. The idea is simple: you get up, belt out your best karaoke song, and hope that the crowd joins in before you need to hit the high notes.

Details: 13th August Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5HL | Free

The Wunderkammer Collective: Human Nature

The Wunderkammer Collective present themselves as a kind of living cabinet of curiosities, and this month they’re popping up in the Bedford pub in Balham and inviting you to wander from room to room, uncovering live musicians playing chamber music composed in the last 50 years alongside poetry, video and tape. It’s basically a musical art gallery, with a lot of booze thrown in for good measure.

Details: 13th August The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9HD£7-15

River Stage

The National Theatre‘s pop-up river stage is making waves again with a programme of free cabaret, drag and music performances, curated by a line-up of visiting companies from Manchester’s HOME to Jonny Woo of The Glory and the Hofesh Schechter Company. And this summer, there are also lobster rolls.

Details: Weekends until 14th August | Outside the National, South Bank, SE1 9PX | Free

Summer Lights

In the summer months, the light is mostly provided by the sun. So the Summer Lights displays dotted throughout Canary Wharf are designed to make the most of all that natural light, which allows them to sparkle, glimmer, and throw out many rainbows-worth of colour.

Details: Until 20th August | Throughout the Estate, Canary Wharf, E14 | Free

The Original Jerk Cookout

To celebrate 60 years of Jamaican Independence, the Horniman Museum is going big. The entirety of their gardens is going to be hosting a cookout with food stalls (including, naturally, a lot of jerk dishes); live performances; comedy; music; DJs in bandstands; charity stalls; classic cars and a Candy dance-a-long.

Details: 21st August Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, London SE23 3PQ £12

See a Beer Opera

Besse: Water, Rye and Hops is apparently the world’s first opera about beer which, considering the sheer amount of singing its inspired, seems like it can’t possibly be true. But here we are. And appropriately, it’s being set in a brewery down on the Bermondsey Beer Mile…

Details: 24th August | Anspach & Hobday: The Arch House, SE1 2HH | £15

Jurassic World: The Exhibition

Jurassic World: The Experience

The movie studio behind Jurassic World: The Exhibition have spared no expense bringing the show to life – it’s going to be a 20,000 square-foot immersive experience in which you’ll get to freely wander around a fern-filled, immersive jungle (or park, if you will) and go snout-to-snout with dozens of life-sized, moving, snarling, booming, and impressively realistic dinos, ripped straight out of the movies/your childhood…

Details: 25th August – 3rd November | ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL | £26+

Tiger Is Coming

Tiger is Coming

Fan of South Korean culture? Well, you’ll be happy to know that Tiger Is Coming is coming. Because when it lands in the Coronet Theatre later this month, it’s going to showcase a whole spectrum of South Korean cultural goings-on, from traditional Korean storytelling, to bleeding-edge algorithmically generated music, to ice-inspired dance shows, award-winning K-pop, and art installations that wrap around the entire building…

Details: 26th August – 1st October | The Coronet Theatre, 103 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3LB

The Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

The Greenwich & Docklands International Festival (or ‘GDIF’ to anyone who wants to save precious syllables) is a completely free showcase of outdoor theatre and performing arts, and this year’s lineup is looking like an absolute corker – you can expect mountains of rainbow coloured foam, a sky filled with an extraordinary array of artificial fireflies, and what can only be described as a 32ft high Ferris wheel of skeletons…

Details: 26th August – 11th September | Across Greenwich | Free

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

Fancy seeing some Hidden Figures in a crypt? Not in a creepy way – it’s the return of 2018’s hit immersive show celebrating the unsung heroes of WW2. For its second run, it’s made its home in a brand new dedicated immersive space based in the crypt of an 18th century church in Bethnal Green, which the creators have converted into a Blitz-era bar and wartime bunker where you’ll solve puzzles, interact with performers and uncover your character’s true story as the night unfolds. Combining entertainment with real history, it’s unlike anything else you’ll have encountered…

Details: Until 27th August | St. Peter’s Church Crypt, St Peter’s Close, Bethnal Green, E2 7AE £30

The Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival

After a cruelly long three year hiatus, the Notting Hill Carnival is back. Which means steel pan bands; dancers in glittering, elaborate costumes; dozens of food stalls serving traditional Caribbean dishes like curried goat and jerk chicken; rum cocktails; sound-stations blasting out calypso, dancehall and soca music; and, of course, the Grand Finale Parade.

Details: 27th – 29th August | Notting Hill & Ladbroke Grove

Backyard Cinema Romeo & Juliet

Yep, it’s back. The now-classic screenings of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 classic Romeo + Juliet in a Grade I listed, Gothic Revival church, bookended by performances of the soundtrack by a live choir, has sold out for the last seven years they’ve screened it. And this year, there’s just one date remaining with tickets left (although tickets are available for one person only on the other dates).

Details: 28th August | Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, N1 2UN | £35

Fashion Freak Show

Fashion Freak Show

It’s fashionable, it’s freaky, and it’s most definitely a show: designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s celebration of his life and career is a carousing cabaret of giant teddies in Madonna’s pointy bras, voguing, segways and hip-hop dance offs. We’d try explain that further, but that really is as simple a description as we can muster.

Details: Until 28th August Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH £15-120

The Ice Cream Project

We scream, you scream, we all scream when we go to Anya Hindmarch’s new pop up concept store. Because it’s an ice cream store stocking 14 extremely eccentric flavours, some of which sound potentially delicious, and some of which sound like warcrimes. Meaning you’ll find Frosties, Coco Pops, and Birds Custard ice creams sharing the chiller with ketchup, soy sauce, and (shudder) mayonnaise ice creams…

Details: Until 28th August | 11 Pont Street, SW1X 9EJ | £10 per tub, £3.50 per scoop

Greenwich Park Bandstand Concerts

If anywhere keeps a good beat, it’s Greenwich. So it makes sense that the stunning Victorian bandstand in Greenwich Park is getting revived over the summer with free jazz concerts popping up every Sunday. A different band will tip up each week (this month includes scheduled appearances by the Kix Jazz Orchestra and Graham Pike Big Band), who’ll serenade you for a couple of hours as you picnic in one of the city’s lushest parks.

Details: Sundays in August, from 3pm Greenwich Park Bandstand Free

See an Outdoor Movie

We’ve compiled an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of every single outdoor screening in London this summer – this month you can look forward to seeing Top Gun: Maverick up in the clouds (well, on a roof); watch Notting Hill in Holborn; catch a screening of Liquorice Pizza while eating a Turkish pizza; and get a screening of Grease with an actual brass band performing the music to the movie…

Peaky Blinders: The Rise

The people behind everyone’s favourite WWI-era Birmingham gangster show – including Steve Knight, the man who created it to begin with – have opened on an official Peaky Blinders immersive experience. And no, it’s not in Birmingham. You’ll find it in Camden Market. Which will be dressed up just like Birmingham, complete with its own version of the betting shop in Small Heath, The Garrison pub, and the bakery too. Read our full review of Peaky Blinders: The Rise

Details: Throughout August | Horse Tunnel Market, Stables Market, NW1 8AH | £52-£72

Superbloom

It looked a little touch and go for a while there, but the Superbloom has finally… well, bloomed. The moat surrounding the Tower of London has been transformed into a sea of wildflowers to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, and you can check it out from the surrounding streets for free – or, buy a ticket to walk through the meadow itself, with the option to enter via an enormous slide.

Details: Throughout August | Tower of London, EC3N 4AB £10+

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Open air theatre always brings the house down. Especially when it’s got a line-up like this amphitheatre hidden in a pocket of Regent’s Park, which this month is staging a brand new 101 Dalmations musical starring Kate Fleetwood; comedy with Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osborn; and an improvised Jane Austen novel…

Details: Throughout August Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4NU

Black Chapel

serpentine pavilion

Design critics have been singing the praises of Black Chapel, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion commission by artist Theaster Gates. Drawing inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome, the Musgum mud huts of Cameroon and the pottery kilns of Stoke-On-Trent, it’s a vast, dark cylinder filled with seven new paintings made with roof tar. It’s open til October, and while it’s up there’s a host of events taking place in there, from Japanese tea ceremonies and Gregorian chanting to evening jazz.

Details: Throughout August Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA Free to visit, some events ticketed

Summer by the River

summer by the river

London Bridge’s riverside festival is back to make a few waves this summer. Expect a lengthy calendar of free events including music, movies, theatre, comedy, yoga, you name it – events this month include the likes of euphoric massaoke nights; outdoor tango classes; Dirty Dancing screenings; Dabbers bingo; hip hop karaoke; and a load of live gigs curated by BBC Music’s dedicated up-and-coming artist scouts.

Details: Until 2nd September | The Scoop, London Bridge, SE1 2AA | Free, just turn up

Carpark Concerts at Bold Tendencies

Unlike at a super-fancy concert hall, there are no barriers to enjoying the music at Bold Tendencies’ concerts. Apart from the very literal barriers on the ground floor that is, but they’re mainly there to keep the cars out. This Peckham multi-storey car park transforms every summer into an open-air arts venue with a difference, inviting artists like the resident Multi-Storey Orchestra and, this year, The National Youth Dance Company and South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, to perform against a brutalist-framed sunset. Tickets start at £6, and Frank’s is quite conveniently upstairs for a pre-show drink…

Details: Until 10th September Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4ST £6+

Sculpture in the City

sculpture in the city

If there’s one thing you can be sure of at Sculpture in the City, it’s that nothing in the show will be a bust. After all, it’s a completely free sculpture trail, with works dotted around between Liverpool Street & Aldgate from artists like Eva Rothschild, Victor Seaward, and Jocelyn McGregor. And if none of those names mean anything to you, it’s because you just haven’t been to a sculpture show yet. Which makes this one all the more convenient.

Details: Until Spring 2023 | Across The City | Free

Roof East

East London’s finest pop-up activity complex on a carpark rooftop has returned for the summer, bringing with it old favourites like batting cages, crazy golf, outdoor cinema, and bringing in newness in the form of ‘car-aoke’ and archery. Plus, there are street food stalls and pop up bars, who make a great shot – even if you don’t.

Details: Throughout August Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi-Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE | Free entry, pre-book activities here

Kayak to CRATE Brewery

We can name at least one great way of paddling down a canal. Canoe? And apparently so can the adrenaline junkies at Secret Adventures, who’ve arranged a kayaking tour of London’s oldest canal ending at the water-side CRATE Brewery (which is also just below the excellent sustainable fine dining restaurant Silo, and opposite the lovely Barge East, as it happens). And they’re giving Nudge Members a sweet 25% off the experience, too…

Details: Throughout August | Canoe Shed, Limehouse Basin, Limehouse, E14 7JZ | £47 (Nudge Members get an additional 25% off)

Take In An Exhibition

milton avery exhibition

This month London’s art galleries and museums are awash with treats for the eyes, ears and mind, including gigantic diamonds; a Munch retrospective (turns out he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder); squashed tubas and a very interactive jaunt into the world of ASMR. See London’s Best Exhibitions

Go To The Theatre

The Play That Goes Wrong

You may laugh. You may cry. You may throw up, or potentially do all three. London’s theatre scene is back in full swing, and this month you can catch the return of a hugely praised, classic 30s musical; a fascinatingly knotty imagined sequel to A Doll’s House; a subtle rendition of a Tennessee Williams classic starring Amy Adams; a razor-sharp piece interrogating race and racism; and a comic musical based on a real WW2 secret project… See The Best Shows On At The Theatre Now

Dine Al Fresco

lighterman al fresco dining terrace

Umbrellas always seemed a little shady. But they really come into their own when you’re dining al fresco in London, where even in the warmest months rain is never truly a stranger to our skies, and where – just occasionally – it’s actually scorchingly hot. So we thought we’d show you round the best places to eat outside… See London’s Best Alfresco Restaurants

Head To A Rooftop Bar

Aerial at The Broadcaster

If there’s one thing that’s better when done on a rooftop, it’s literally everything. And that includes drinking. Which is why we’ve nobly taken it upon ourselves to put together a comprehensive guide to the very best rooftop bars in London for 2022, including a couple of brand new ones… See London’s Best Rooftop Bars

 


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