Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2021 opens with event highlighting climate crisis

The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, London’s premier outdoor theater and performance festival, will open on Friday August 27 with an evening of performances, lectures and installations. Taking place within the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, the event will address the climate emergency and feature guests such as Glenda Jackson, Lemn Sissay OBE, Dr Helen Czerski and Kiran Landa. The event is free and will start at 6 p.m.

Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director of GDIF, said today: “The Festival always tries to reflect and engage in contemporary issues and is proud to host the UK premiere of Dan Acher’s We Are Watching, ahead of a tour. nationwide through Global Streets. This iconic act of art and activism and the accompanying ceremony on August 27 is a powerful creative challenge for all of us to reflect on our responsibilities in addressing climate change. I hope everyone who sees the flag in Greenwich will send their own portraits and messages to world leaders in Glasgow using Dan Acher’s wearewatching.org website. ‘

The ceremony takes place in the evocative installation We Are Watching by Swiss artist Dan Acher, a ten-story flag featuring a giant eye made up of thousands of self-portraits. We Are Watching will be installed at GDIF ahead of the United Nations COP26 climate change conference, to be held in Glasgow in the fall of 2021, and sends a clear message to world leaders that the eyes of the world are on them. We Are Watching is part of the Global Streets program, which after GDIF will tour Hounslow, Birmingham, Doncaster and Liverpool between August and October, before further presentations in Scotland in October and November.

Under the powerful watch of Dan Acher’s installation, the evening’s programming includes:

  • A recording of Greta Thunberg’s founding speech, Our House is On Fire, recorded at the World Economic Forum 2019.
  • A special performance by the great jazz musician and composer Byron Wallen.
  • Former young poet laureate of Selina Nwulu’s powerful London poem We Have Everything We Need, read by Glenda Jackson
  • An excerpt from April De Angelis’ play Extinct performed by Kiran Landa, an evocative play about the climate crisis which premiered at the Theater Royal Stratford East in July 2021. De Angelis will also be in attendance.
  • Perspective on the Planet, a talk by physicist, oceanographer and presenter Helen Czerski, who has campaigned for the planet since her childhood.
  • Lemn Sissay OBE performing his poems Making a Difference and Hope Springs Eternal – written for Water Aid.

This event as part of the opening of GDIF will draw attention to the powerful issue of climate change, while also marking the start of the festival, with around fifteen theater and outdoor performances that celebrate our reconnection with the natural world. and offers a space for children and young people to rediscover the pleasure of play, creativity and conviviality.

For more information on the We Are Watching opening event, visit https://festival.org/whats-on/gdif-wearewatching-ceremony/.


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Darcy J. Skinner

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