With over 150 events on, beneath and beside the River Thames this September, there is no reason for you not to join us!
The programme is packed with arts, cultural, archaeological and active river events including concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, installations, performances, walks, a boat party and even a wild swim!
This year’s programme is curated around the timely issue of plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans, Handel’s 300th Anniversary of Water Music, and stories of the river.
Plastic Pollution, River litter
This timely, global environmental issue affects the Thames, waterways and oceans. The World Economic Forum has predicted there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight by 2050. This is highlighted in Future Dust, an installation by artist Maria Arceo; for the last year, Arceo has been collecting plastic from over 40 beaches along the tidal Thames down to the Estuary. By beachcombing, handpicking, identifying, and colour-coding found plastic debris, she will create a large-scale artwork that responds to the sheer scale of plastic litter that is being deposited into the Thames. The installation will tour to different riverside locations across London and will be illuminated at dusk by Dutch interactive light artist Tim Scheffer. The Plastic Ocean Festival runs over the month with screenings of film A Plastic Ocean, which David Attenborough has described as one of the most important films of our time, environmental talks, paddle boarding and river clean-ups to encourage direct action.
300th Anniversary of Handel's Water Music
Composer Iain Chambers returns with his third edition of the Bascule Chamber Concerts inside the cavernous bascule chamber of Tower Bridge. The programme of new works includes a response to the 300th anniversary of Water Music from Langham Research Centre that uses live recordings of the bridge’s river and road sounds. The intimate concerts will also feature performances from clarinettist Kate Romano, spoken work artist Kayo Chingonyi plus award-winning Franco-Cameroonian singer Coco Mbassi will perform a new work imagining the conversations happening onboard boats carrying immigrants. On the shore, Kid’s Choir sees 400 Primary School children from across London come together at The Scoop to perform an array of songs including a contemporary response to Handel’s Water Music by Hunter Cobblentz.
Stories of the River
The River Thames has a rich history as a working river which has affected its heritage and the communities and cultures that adorn it. Working River: London’s Boatyards will bring the living history of the boatyards on the Tidal Thames alive through oral history, film and photography in a series of exhibitions. While Boat Poets places four young emerging spoken word artists on tidal residencies. Artists will explore life on the river through time spent in the wheel houses of river boats, barges and tugs central to industry on the Thames. The Boat Poets will perform at the National Poetry Library and the Tongue Fu Boat Party and will be popping up on MBNA Thames Clippers for National Poetry Day.