Bradley Hemmings MBE is the founder and creative director of Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF), the free annual outdoor performing arts festival which has run since 1996. He was also granted the Freedom of the Royal Borough of Greenwich in 2017. We asked him to talk us through his neighbourhood.
1. Made in Greenwich
‘I love it because you walk in and you find all these locally-made ceramics, pictures and gifts. It’s a little treasure trove of places that represents work made authentically in Greenwich. I always go in there to buy thank-you cards for all the artists and the guest companies who perform at GDIF.’ 324 Creek Rd, SE10 9SW
2. Ben Oakley Gallery
‘It’s a beautiful gallery in Greenwich Market, focusing on outsider art. We worked with Ben to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. He created rainbow-coloured love locks from acetate. Throughout the day, people filled in messages on the back before they were fixed onto the gates of the Naval College.’ 9 Turnpin Lane, SE10 9JA
3. The Point
‘Everybody goes to the top of Greenwich Park Hill, but very few people know about this site which has an equally beautiful view across southeast and east London. There’s also a touching WWII memorial for an Australian pilot who was shot down and crashed there.’ Point Hill, SE10 8QW
4. Uber Boats (from Greenwich to Woolwich)
‘You can take in amazing riverscapes and get a view of the Naval College, but also see odd and interesting sights like the Thames Barrier and the Royal Docks, as well as all the wildlife. Plus, there’s a bar so you can have a glass of wine as you’re going along.’ Greenwich Pier, SE10 9HT
5. Woolwich Library
‘It’s a newly-built library at a time when many are closing. How fantastic is that? We worked there with Bernadine Evaristo, who’s from Woolwich, when she did a reading of her book ‘Girl, Woman, Other’. This whole borough is rich with stories and Woolwich Library has got that right at its heart.’ 35 Wellington St, SE18 6HQ
6. Gallions Reach Park
‘It’s like a mountain created from demolished buildings and the spoils from draining the marshes. We performed Jonathan Harvey’s ‘Beautiful Thing’ there, right in the community where it was originally imagined. The production was around a block of flats backing onto a lake that covers a lot of Thamesmead; it’s a wonderful vantage point.’ 43 Hutchins Rd, SE28 8SE
7. Old Royal Naval College
‘Our offices are right in the heart of Greenwich, and this is where we present our annual Greenwich Fair. A new production from House of Suarez will also take place on its grounds, which is using contemporary dance and voguing to show a uniquely Black and queer perspective on the Greenwich of today.’ King William Walk, SE10 9NN
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