The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival is one of the few great London institutions to have avoided skipping a year – it has a slimmed-down, delayed edition in 2020. Now in 2021 it returns for a bumper end-of-summer edition.
If you’re unfamiliar, GDIF means big, bold, mostly free outdoor events taking over the streets of Greenwich, the City of London, Canary Wharf, Thamesmead and the Royal Docks.
The full line-up has just been announced and it’s pretty damn spectacular. Most audacious is surely ‘Borealis’, Swiss artist Dan Acher’s recreation of the Northern Lights over Greenwich and Woolwich – we’re not exactly sure how he does this but it involves lasers and stuff and sounds amazing: it’ll run from 8.30pm-10pm in the skies above Greenwich August 7 to September 5, and then Woolwich September 9 to 11. Although it’s free it’s likely to be very popular, and so you need to book a half-hour timeslot – find out more here.
Other highlights include the Thames-side ‘Reflection Gardens’ and their spectacular closing event ‘After the Storm’; a site-specific version of Dennis Potter’s classic play ‘Blue Remembered Hills’ taking place on a restricted Thamesmead munitions site; ‘Black Victorians’, a celebration of marginalised figures from the era; and plenty of returning favourites like the family-friendly anarchy of the Greenwich Fair; and the City-wide dance fest Dancing City, returning for a special two-day-edition.
The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2021 runs August 27-September 11. See the full line-up here