Night of Festivals returned to London at a new home on the Southbank. The free 2-day outdoor event took place next to the iconic Oxo Tower, at Bernie Spain Gardens.
As part of the VOICES Creative Europe funded project, this year’s London event brought together artists, theatre makers and street performers from across Europe. In addition to the festival’s famous carnival creations, there was music, dance, quirky installations, living statues and live art.
Carnival interventions created a stir throughout the weekend as the world renowned Mandinga Arts brought their incredible creations to party on a sunny Southbank.
Ahead of the main weekend, the festival team spent time with vulnerable communities of Southwark, Lambeth and Waterloo to create and perform a parade of ‘Welcome’. Sharing through a series of cross-community workshops and gatherings, participants, from refugee and non-refugee communities, designed and created banners and placards depicting positive messages of ‘welcome’. Working with acclaimed artist Gil Mualem-Doron, participants placards reflected his bold artwork – the ‘New Union Flag’, a re-imagining of the Union Jack that celebrates diversity and multicultural society.
Europe’s leading company in the art of the Living Statue, Masca Theatre, brought to life characters of Parisian street traders, transporting you back in time to discover the forgotten crafts through mime, powerful mask and costumes and unrivaled theatricality. Their performance ‘The Forgotten Crafts of Paris’ certainly did show the Southbank’s usual living statue population a trick or two! Thanks also to the Romanian Cultural Institute audiences were treated to a special show of ‘#Romanians’, a quirky dance parade exploring and celebrating 100 years since Romanian independence.
The Creative Europe funded VOICES project shared performances created specifically for the VOICES programme from the UK, Germany and Romania.
‘Wheeze – the Wind of Change’ by Parrabbola, commissioned by ArtReach, was a family friendly tale of the evil Generlissima versus the Engineer and his aerial performing pal. Whilst, ‘Behind the Wall’, commissioned by Teatrul National Radu Stanca used live graffiti, a DJ and contemporary dance to challenge thoughts and views of the disintegration of the European Union. Borderline, commissioned by Altonale GmbH, was a site specific dance piece which explored the limits and challenges of personal boundaries in performance, it’s always rewarding to be able to host innovative performances at a festival of this stature and 2018 will certainly be remembered as one of the best Night of Festivals to date.
See some of the festival highlights in the film and gallery below.