It can be unsettling when someone’s doing it heavily over the phone, but at the end of the day it’s what keeps us alive and ticking.
The artsy people behind Bloomsbury Festival recognise this, and have thus made ‘Breathe’ the theme for this year’s edition of their creative extravaganza, going down for ten days this October. A fixture since 2006, it’s the district’s annual reminder to the rest of London that it’s a really creative neighbourhood, and, as always, the line-up isn’t short of things to see and do.
It all kicks off with the Store Street garden party on Friday 14th October, where you’ll be able to browse the stalls at the global street food market; enjoy live klezmer music from the Trans-Siberian March Band; join a yoga class in a ‘zen zone’ lit entirely by hydrogen cells from UCL; see Impact Dance perform their gravity-defying choreography; and watch pop-up poetry performances in shops around the neighbourhood.
And in the ten days to follow? Here’s a very small sample of what you can expect:
Pierrot XXI: a concert of chamber music, in which the order of the programme is decided entirely by a deck of tarot cards.
Yifan Wu, Choking Game: An East-Asian new wave play questioning whether the current Western presentation of dealing with climate change is too much talk and not enough action – particularly the performative tokenism that sometimes creeps into marine wildlife conservation.
The Art of The Duo: A concert from Ireland’s ‘premiere world-jazz outfit’, Éamonn Cagney and Niwel Tsumbu, who combine a fairly unique mix of classical, jazz, Congolese, West African, Irish and flamenco music…
Do Souls Breathe? An immersive dance performance through a subterranean church crypt, accompanied by music inspired by the heartbeat.
Zun Wu, Dancing Chopin: The Chinese pianist makes playing the piano look deceptively easy in her performance of famed Polish composer Frédéric Chopin’s third sonata – with contemporary dancers and new choreography by Noé Engelbeen.
Sally Pomme Clayton, The Magician’s Apprentice: Armed with a top hat picked up from a junk shop and a bag full of antique jokes, the professional storyteller and writer uses her nous with the spoken word to ‘explore the secret world of the magician’.
26 Orphans: A group of writers have each taken up the task of producing a sestude (a form of writing that’s exactly 62 words) on a super sad theme that the world of fiction seems to love, characters who’ve lost their birth parents early in life (David Copperfield, Batman, Spiderman, Harry Potter, and others).
Winners Exhibition: View works from the three winners of this year’s Bloomsbury Festival Art Competition (Jan Pimblett, Glenda Frieder and Emma Todd), who have each interpreted the theme ‘breathe’ in their own unique (and evidently successful) way.
The Garden of Privatised Delights: For those who couldn’t make last year’s Venice Biennale, you’ve got a second shot at viewing the 2021 British Pavilion (also known as the The Garden of Privatised Delights), because The Building Centre, the Architectural Association School of Architecture, the Museum of Architecture aaannd the British Council have teamed up to bring it to London.
Silent Calligraphy: Professional and amateur calligraphers from the South London Lettering Association will be showcasing their impressive pen work in St George’s church to the tune of quiet music.
Again, this is only a mere drop in the ocean in terms of what’s in store. There’s over 100 events that you can cram into your calendar, with workshops, talks, tours, silent films and more.
Ironically, there’s not a lot of breathing space.
NOTE: The Bloomsbury Festival takes place from 13th-23rd October at various venues in the neighbourhood. Tickets are on sale now, and can be booked right HERE.
Looking for more things to do? Here’s what’s on in London this weekend…
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