Things To Do

Jason Allen 22/08/23

The Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

The Greenwich & Docklands International Festival | A feast of theatrical talent in South London

A troupe of dancers on the side of St Paul’s Cathedral.

A regatta of glowing robotic swans.

A play set on the roof of a house slowly sinking into the docks.

These are all featured in this year’s Greenwich & Docklands International Festival (or ‘GDIF’ to anyone who wants to save precious syllables). If you don’t know it, it’s basically a big showcase of outdoor theatre & arts featuring one of the highest concentrations of performing talent in the country. And the kicker? Pretty much all of the shows are free.

(Plus, it’s a good excuse to visit Greenwich, and check out the Cutty Sark, the Naval College, the Maritime Museum, grab a bite at one of Greenwich’s best restaurants, and sink a pint at one of Greenwich’s best pubs while you’re there.)

This year we’re getting a full 17 days of arty action, taking place between 25th August and 10th September, and the lineup’s looking preeeetty impressive. Among the highlights, you’ll find:

RESURGAM – this spectacular-sounding show is performed by a troupe of aerial performers called BANDALOOP, and they’re going to dance along the side of St. Paul’s Cathederal. Yes the side. Several floors up. It’s insane.

Dancing City – a showcase of dance styles that range from a show set on a treadmill, to one in which audiences are placed inside a shipping container with a trampoline as a roof.

Cygnus – a light art installation comprising a dozen colourful robotic swans that will perform a sort of choreographed dance in the Royal Victoria Dock.

Open Lines – In which renowned tight-rope walker Tatiana Mosio Bongonga will cross a high wire cutting through the sky above General Gordon Square, all choreographed to live music.

sliding slope show at gdif

Sliding Slope – a play performed on the roof of a house that’s slowly sinking into the water as you watch.

Ancient Futures – a spectacular Afro-futuristic dance party that somehow combines “West African folklore, fantasy and science fiction” into one package.

RoZéO – a trio of dancers perform a show on top of perilously thin, 10m high poles. And, in the process, basically tell the laws of physics to jog on.

And that’s just a taste. Seriously, there’s a ton more, including the Greenwich Fair, which is like a festival within a festival, featuring an aerial acrobat (who happens to be, amazingly, in a wheelchair throughout the whole act); a high-energy fusion of hip-hop and contemporary circus; some Chinese pole artistry; a rollerskating dance act; a collection of robotic animals; a Catalan street theatre company; and a food-based gameshow.

All you need now is enough time to see it all…


NOTE: The GDIF takes place from 25th August – 10th September 2023 across the borough of Greenwich. You can find out more, and book tickets at the website right HERE.

While you’re down there… here are a few more of the best things to do in Greenwich