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Performers at The Golden Key
Photograph: Simon Jacobs

The City of London is turning into an open air theatre in October

The one-day event is part of the Square Mile’s mission to drop its nine-to-five image

Written by
Ellie Muir

If you’ve ever ventured into the City of London on the weekend, you’ll know that it’s a ghost town, with tumbleweed rolling across its spotless pavements as paralytic bottomless brunchers stagger to Farringdon station.

But on Saturday October 15, the eerie and skyscraper-shaded streets of the Square Mile will be transformed into an open-air festival as part of the City’s bid to become a cultural destination to rival the South Bank. 

Usually the stomping ground for suits and pencil skirts, the City’s streets will fill with more than 200 performers, from 30 independent theatre companies, putting on shows at various points across the City for a day of interactive theatre. 

Running from dawn to dusk, the event will use street theatre to bring the area’s millennia-long history to life, and invite visitors to explore the hidden streets of the City. The event is part of the £2.5 million Destination City project which aims to power the Square Mile’s recovery from the pandemic, which left it deserted.

The City of London Corporation is on a mission to shake off the district’s nine-to-five image and transform it into a destination for eating, shopping and culture. The City’s ‘culture mile’ will stretch between the Barbican Centre and the Museum of London, in a bid to bring more visitors to the area traditionally known as the capital’s financial sector.

Here's what's going down:

The ‘Topsy Turvy Fair of Power’ inside Guildhall's Great Hall will allow little 'uns to build their dream city, while in the courtyard, acrobats, stilt walkers, giant puppets and brass bands will be doing their thing. 

At Guildhall's Roman Amphitheatre, there will be a circus and in the crypt, drag Queens will take over. Meanwhile at St Paul's Churchyard, there will be a marketplace inspired by the ancient market at nearby Cheapside. Along the way, storytellers, poets and puppeteers will take to the pedways to tell tales of ancient Londinium to the suffragettes. 

So, you’re invited to tear it up in the Square Mile’s next month. In a way that doesn’t involve drinking 12 pints with your team and tying your tie round your head.

The Golden Key, across the City of London, Sat Oct 15. Free. More information here.

Surprise. There's a ‘screamatorium’ coming to Leadenhall Market

Everything you need to know about the rail and Overground strikes in October.

Need a laugh? Get your mitts on a copy of our hilarious ‘Word on the Street’ book.

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