TheRiverThames is the inspiration behind a 10-day festival of art,music,andeducation. From today until Sunday 15 September, events will be held on the water and along it's banks and bridges, focusing on what the iconic stretch of water has brought to the city.
Portrait of a River by internationally renowned Danish video artist, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, is made of up multiple self-contained vignettes that weave together fragments and traces of the people and places that define the character of the river. Made in three parts over the past five months, this is the first time the film has been shown in its entirety.
A highlight of the festival is the Great River Race, which starts at 11.45am tomorrow morning:
Viewable on a Samsung screen on a walkway beside the river it celebrates, the film will be shown near Oxo Tower Wharf from noon to 9.30pm each day of the Mayor’s Thames Festival, which this year takes place over 10 days instead of a single weekend. (6-15 Sept 2013)
The work will offer thousands of people walking along the Thames the opportunity to engage with the people that use and inhabit the river, particularly the watermen and lightermen families of the river who know it intimately and who have plied their trade along it for generations.
Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and Museum of London Docklands and co-produced by Film and Video Umbrella and The Cultureship, with support from Arts Council England and Samsung, Portrait of a River takes in a stretch of the Thames between the Pool of London at Tower Bridge and Sea Reach at the mouth of the Thames Estuary.
Encouraging viewers to look again at the people and places that give the river its deceptively distinctive, deep-seated character, the latest (and final) additions to Larsen’s evolving project take him further out into the estuary, and around the Thames Gateway, including scenes with boat-builders, lifeboat crews and tall ships.
A Water-borne Ships’ Opera: The lost voices of the Thames will call out across the
river once again when an extraordinary water-borne ships’ opera is staged by twice
Turner Prize-nominated Richard Wilson (UK) and Cultureship Directors and
artists, Zatorski + Zatorski (UK). The centrepiece of this year’s Thames
Festival, 1513: A Ships' Opera begins at sea on the morning of the 14 September
2013 at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, launching a day-long, three-act
performance that will reach its climax in a spectacular sound, steam and light display
in the Pool of London later that night. Against the backdrop of the majestic Tower
Bridge, an armada of historic vessels from the age of sail, steam and diesel will
resurrect the lost sounds of the river in a live, moving, operatic concerto of ships’
steam whistles, bells, horns, hooters, sirens and cannon. Some of the musicians
taking part in the performance have worked with Bjork, Oasis and The Pogues. A
Thames Festival Trust Commission
The World’s Slowest, and Most Colourful, River Race: Massive steel barges areinched along the Thames in central London by newcomers, watermen and lightermen- many in fancy dress - for the Steve Faldo Memorial Barge-driving Race. (Sunday,15 September)
What’s So Funny About the Thames? Doug Fishbone (USA) takes a comical, butdarkly surreal, look at the Thames in a series of guided cruises guaranteeing thoseon board will never see the river in quite the same light again. (Deluxe River Cruise).A Thames Festival Trust Commission (Various Dates)
*The Face that Launched Another Thousand Ships: *One year on from The
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, works by artists recording the River Pageant go on publicdisplay.The Thames Festival Trust Registered Office 108 Stamford Street London SE1 9NH. Registered in England No 3577462. Charity No 1074794. VAT No 782 5019 24
How the Thames Shaped the Movies: BBC Radio 4 Front Row’s Francine Stock,discusses how contemporary cinema has used the Thames. From the legendary titlesequence of The World is Not Enough to the ending of Lock, Stock and Two SmokingBarrels, it’s part of a series of talks about the river running throughout the festival.Curated by Peter Florence, director and co-founder of the Hay Festival. A ThamesFestival Trust Commission (Talks over various dates)
*Rivers Run Under It: *A river runs through it, but no less than five buried rivers rippleand splash beneath London’s streets. A series of walks will include an exploration ofthe pathways of the capital city’s lost rivers: from the Walbrook, the river that shapedLondon, to the Fleet, once the centre of London life. The series also includes a walkunder the Thames. A Thames Festival Trust Commission (Various dates)
London’s Other Marathon: More than 300 crews from all around the world take partin the epic Great River Race up the Thames in vessels of all shapes and sizes.(Saturday, 7 September)
*Songs by the River: *600 children stage a riverside performance of songs inspired byHenry VIII’s connections with the Thames in Voyages of Discovery, while a massedadult choir drawn from all over the UK Sing For Water to raise funds for UK charity,WaterAid. A Thames Festival Trust Commission (Sunday, 15 September)
Other events include:
- a rally of the Dunkirk Little Ships and other historic vessels
- a boat relay from the source of the Thames to central London
- riverside screenings of 125 short films by Danish artist, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, celebrating the people who live and work on the river (throughout festival)
- a large-scale, shimmering sculpture, spelling out the word YES, moved daily to a new site along the river to support green space provision beside the Thames (throughout festival)