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A Free Outdoor Theatre Festival With Some Incredible Shows

Greenwich is mostly famous for making time.

But now it’d like you to spend yours there.

Because from 27th August until 11th of September, that’s where you’re going to find the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival (or ‘GDIF’ to anyone who wants to save precious syllables). It’s basically a big showcase of outdoor theatre and performing arts, and it’s almost all completely free. Plus, it’s a good excuse to visit Greenwich, and check out the Royal Docks, the Naval College, the Maritime Museum, and grab a bite while you’re there.

So what to expect over the next two weeks? Well, here are a few of the highlights for you to dive into:

  • Borealis – a digital recreation of the Northern Lights, this show will apparently involve a ton of lasers lighting up the sky.
  • Dancing City – this two-day blur of limbs will involve an acrobatic performance on a forest of poles, a fusion of water & dance, some “ingenuity on an airmat” and a lot of creative juggling.
  • Black Victorians – inspired by nineteenth century studio photographs of black men, women and children, this show combines dance, music, and theatre in a powerful, thought-provoking way.
  • Future Cargo – described as a “contemporary sci-fi dance show”, this whole thing is enhanced with 360-degree sound on personal headsets.
  • Reflection Gardens – bringing together “light, sound and fire effects”, this art installation will take place across both sides of the Thames.
  • Greenwich Fair – a ‘festival within a festival’, the fair has been around since the days of Charles Dickens, and will take over the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College & Cutty Sark Gardens.

This flag is literally 10 storeys high

Although all that stuff is free, there are a couple of paid-for events this year (nothing over £15), including a show called Family Tree – it’s all about the utterly fascinating story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman who died in 1951, but whose apparently immortal cells survive to this day, and are used in medical research the world over. There’s also Balsam, which is taking over Building 41 at Woolwich Royal Arsenal’s Riverside in order to put on a “sensory show” that involves creating some “aromatic potions”.

Smells like immersive theatre to us. 


NOTE: The GDIF takes place from 27th August until 11th of September across the borough of Greenwich. You can find out more, and book tickets at the website right HERE.

ALSO NOTE: Advance tickets to Borealis have sold out, but there are tickets available every half hour on a first come, first served basis.

Like theatre, but more indoorsey? Then head right this way

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