Stu Mayhew/Camilla Greenwell

A Guide to London Theatre this September

Will Rathbone

As different buildings and organisations adapt to the shifting landscape of live performance, it’s important to highlight and recognise those who find themselves in a position to programme new work. Rather incredibly, the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) has spent the summer recalibrating it’s programme and, from 28 August till 12 September, will present a number of socially distanced dance performances alongside immersive installations - all for free.

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Dancing City, on 5 September, sees eight different troupes perform at staggered times between 1-5pm throughout the open squares and plazas of Canary Wharf. Highlights include Dandyism, from Patrick Ziza Dance, which showcases dance and fashion side by side - celebrating the flamboyance, colour and energy of Kinshasa and Brazzaville from the Democratic Republic of Congo - and Dulce Compania’s equally vibrant Rainbow Ballet, a Bauhaus-inspired piece combining costume, choreography and colour (also showing on 6 September).
Elsewhere in the festival, Ray Lee’s Ring Out installation sees volunteers man several industrial pendulums which, as their momentum increases, will unleash a harmonic range of electronic tones through Silvertown Square between 2-5pm on 10-11 September. 846 Live sees a group of Black and Asian writers present a series of short vignettes responding to the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, between 2-6pm on 12 September.
If you like the sound of live, al-fresco performance then C-O-N-T-A-C-T is definitely worth investigating. Running from 31 August till 10 October, the award-winning show crosses the channel from Paris to set up in four different London locations. You download an app, head to one of four different meeting points, and don your own headphones to journey into the mind of a mysterious woman sitting serenely on a bench. The interactive production then guides you through the streets of London, with the use of the app and innovative 3D sound design, as you discover the inner world of the characters. 

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If you’re longing for an auditorium and a more traditional theatrical experience however, the Bridge Theatre is presenting a series of monologues from 27 August till 31 October. Alongside a live recreation of the recent BBC revival of Alan Bennet’s quintessentially British Talking Heads monologues, the season also includes a new David Hare response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Beat the Devil starring Ralph Fiennes, and a revival of Inua Ellam’s award-winning Evening With an Immigrant. Completing the season, work from a pair of young writers - Yolanda Mercy’s Quarter Life Crisis and Zodwa Nyoni’s Nine Lives - deal with the pressures of adulthood and asylum-seeking respectively. 

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