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Greenwich and Docklands International Festival guide

Get the most out of the free south London spectacular, the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival 2016, with our guide to its best events and shows

© Iain Lanyon

Between June 24 and July 2 2016 Greenwich and its surrounding area will be flooded with colourful performances as part of London's biggest celebration of outdoor theatre, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival. Most events are free, so pick one you like the sound of from our festival listings below or just head down there to see what you can find –  and if you prefer your theatre performances with a roof over your head, check out latest London theatre reviews or our top ten new theatre shows for some more inspiration this summer. 

GDIF 2016 event highlights

The House

The 2016 edition of the GDIF kicks off with this new spectacular marking the four hundredth anniversary of the Queen's House, the Inigo Jones-designed Greenwich building that will reopen later this year. The production will be 'a mythic contemplation of the rise and fall of civilisations', which is a bit 'whu?', but we're promised spectacular video projections, hip hop dancing, performance and pyrotechnics from the German outdoor theatre company 'Pan.Optikum'.

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National Maritime Museum , Greenwich Friday June 24 2016

Dancing City

A regular fixture for the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is their big dancing line up. GDIF's 'Dancing City' takes place in the parks and open spaces of Canary Wharf and features everything from a new duet devised by Arlene Philips to Beeldend Danstheater Telder's 'In My Head', a piece that literally takes place in a giant sculpture of a head.

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Canary Wharf , Millwall Friday July 1 2016 - Saturday July 2 2016

The People Build

Part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival 2016, this 'architectural event' devised by French artist Olivier Grossetête invites you to help build a huge structure out of cardboard boxes – a democratically devisd and assembled building. Four days of workshops (to craft the boxes) will be followed by the build on Saturday 25. 

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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park , Stratford Tuesday June 21 2016 - Saturday June 25 2016


A major part of this year's Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, this new show from Poland's Teatr Biuro Podróży is a topical spectacular that uses stilts, fire, puppetry, music and more to tell a story of refugees and migrants caught up in a spiral of war, clinging to dreams of escape.  Seats are ticketed but there will be substantial numbers of free standing places. 

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Bethnal Green Gardens , Bethnal Green Thursday June 30 2016 - Friday July 1 2016

The Clash of Drums

The 2016 Greenwich and Docklands International Festival wraps up with 'a fusion of percussion and awesome fireworks' as French company Les Commandos Percu and Spanish street theatre group Deabru Beltzak join forces for the last blow out of the festival. Click here to go to our Greenwich and Docklands hub for more information.

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Royal Artillery Barracks , Woolwich Saturday July 2 2016

Greenwich Fair

The colourful, riotous and completely free two-day showcase of theatre, dance and games returns to Greenwich as part of the Greenwich and Docklands International festival. The Greenwich Fair features a load of UK and international companies that perform during the festival all over the Old Royal Naval College and the Cutty Sark Gardens. Highlights include 'Caravan of Love', a dance show that takes place around a bright pink VW campervan.

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Greenwich Town Centre , Greenwich Saturday June 25 2016 - Sunday June 26 2016

Moat Island

As part of this year's Greenwich and Docklands International Festival you can drop the kids (under-12) off after school for a 'daily arts adventure' that takes in theatre, dance, worshops and a series of interactive automata from Catalan company Tombs Creatius. 

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Well Hall Pleasaunce , Eltham Park Monday June 27 2016 - Friday July 1 2016


The streets of Woolwich are taken over by all sorts of weird and wonderful street art for the day as part of the 2016 Greenwich and Docklands International Festival. Events will include a herd of mechanical animals descending on a nearby park, and a performance taking place on a 13-tonne digger.

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Royal Arsenal , Woolwich Sunday July 3 2016

Find more outdoor theatre this summer