A hybrid programme of in-person and digital experiences
Lost in Translation Circus will be performing in the Big Top in St George’s Park
Wandsworth Arts Fringe (WAF) is set to be the London’s first arts festival of the year, showcasing street performances, circus, dance, music, theatre, comedy, free family days and more... live and online.
It will be the only festival so far this year to have live events. There will be over 130 events, presented by 75 companies, happening across 43 Wandsworth venues and online from 25 June - 11 July
This hybrid programme includes 98 live events (including 36 live/digital hybrid projects) and 34 digital events.
In 2020 WAF was a purely digital festival ‘In Your Living Room’ but this year, supported by Arts Council England and Wandsworth Borough Council, WAF is partnering with contemporary circus company Lost In Translation to present the WAF Big Top, a Covid-safe main stage in King George’s Park.
Launching the WAF Big Top programme will be a glittering opening cabaret night on 25 June, with a teaser from Lost In Translation, pop and prosthetics from Marcus Megastar, contemporary aerial with Maisie Luk, plus acrobatics and even some family friendly pole-dance from Serena Ng. Featuring high flying aerial stunts, acrobatics, knockabout slapstick and juggling, WAF2021 residents Lost In Translation’s latest show, Above (26-27 July), is a circus fable inspired by Italo Calvino’s novel, The Baron in the Trees. On the same dates, Trajectory Theatre combine the modern-day magic of augmented reality with live performance in The Suitcase Circus, and on 29 June, LiT take over the WAF Big Top once more with Cabaret Unlocked.
From 30 June – 3 July WAF celebrates Wandsworth’s local creatives with a 4-day showcase featuring an evening of ballet, breakdance and beatboxing from Tavaziva Dance; CONGREGO! a fiesta of Latin American music and dance from the World Heart Beat Music Academy; the Black Heroes Soul Food Cafe, celebrating the life of Battersea’s first Black Mayor John Archer, with performances from David Neita and The British Collective; Blackshaw Theatre broadcast their new rollicking radio comedy live on stage, and Providence House present a showcase of music, dance and virtual works created in lockdown by young people.
Elsewhere, WAF takes to the streets - discover mobile silent discos with party tour guide Guru Dudu, or interface with S.U.S.A.N.N. the socially-distanced robot. Go for A Wandle Wonder Wander, a mixed-reality river walk with a difference from XAP, or swap pavements for parks and join The Great Pebble Dash, a hunt for artworks hidden across Wandsworth Park with digital clues sent to your phone, or discover Zac Palitsades’ Garden Guests, a trio of painted glass celebrities installed in parks across the borough.
For theatre fans, WAF offers a range of new work including Leoni Amandin's Happy Mortalday, a joyous performance lecture on celebrating death (featuring arts and crafts), political satire Game of Governments by Geoffrey Williams, and Furrow by Vocal Point, a new outdoor play about forgiveness, reconciliation and the mistakes made by fathers and sons, created in lockdown by actual father and son, Abraham and Simon Parker. Debate the issues of the day with ‘live’ journalists in The News Cabaret, go on a virtual adventure to The Most Northernly House in Britain with Lozlo Theatre, or time travel to the birth of The FABULOUS King James Bible, and ask: ‘why can't religion be a bit more fabulous?’ in a hilariously historically inaccurate play from New Generation Theatrical.
Gigs resume at The Magic Garden, with shows from The Beatbox Collective and Festival Friday, featuring digi-dub and reggae producer Mad Professor, surf rock trio Los Dedos, and vintage remix review show, Freakeasy.
Elsewhere, the London Mozart Players perform a child-friendly programme featuring Little Red Riding Hood and Ferdinand the Bull, plus a tango concert for grown-ups. Blues pianist Marc Harris used lockdown to write his first symphony, and will perform it live for the very first time, supported by an orchestra and choir assembled mainly from the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall.
With the return of WAF In Your Living Room, WAF also presents new projects from many of Wandsworth’s disabled and disability-led artists and organisations, beamed straight into homes across Wandsworth. Oily Cart’s Space to Be, a sensory show sent to homes through a series of packages, is created for and with disabled young people and their families, while The Baked Bean Company returns to WAF with a documentary exploring how people with learning disabilities have been impacted by Covid-19. CoDa Dance invite the curious to explore new worlds without leaving the spot, with a programme of on-demand dance performances, live discussion events, workshops and interactive virtual reality experiences, with a special invitation to everyone that has experience of neurological conditions like MS, acquired brain injury and Parkinson's.
Representing youth talent, this year’s festival features performances from London Children’s Ballet, the world’s most talented emerging artists and designers at the Royal College of Art’s graduate show, and over 2,500 postcards created by Wandsworth’s children which capture their memories of 2020, displayed across Wandsworth libraries.
For the hands-on, there are loads of opportunities to get involved and learn new skills, with workshops from ballet to street dance, calligraphy to martial arts, circus to photography and much more.
As part of WAF’s commitment to open up arts and culture to all Wandsworth residents, WAF will host free family days in parks and public spaces across the borough. These include the WAF Family Day at Furzedown Recreation Ground (26 June), Hazelfest on the Hazelhurst Estate (3 July), Trees at the Woodfield Pavilion (3-4 July), Roehampton Community Week across Roehampton and West Putney (5 – 11 July), Hidden Heathbrook at Heathbrook Park and Happy Streets on Thessaly Road in Nine Elms (10 July), plus Free-Up Festival at Battersea Arts Centre (11 July).
Launched in 2010, WAF was attracting close to 25,000 people every year prior to the pandemic to Wandsworth’s streets, parks, and venues. In 2020, WAF was one of the first festivals to go digital, running from 8-24 May. With just 6 weeks to prepare, WAF In Your Living Room showcased 250 artists across 130 digital events that reached over 30,000 homes, and 2,100 local families received a physical activity pack through schools and food banks.
WAF In Your Living Room was one of five online festivals, including the BBC’s Lockdown Theatre, to receive a OneOff award from OffWestEnd.com, granted to festivals that either emerged during lockdown or were adapted to entertain audiences online, recognising the achievements of independent and fringe theatre organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wandsworth Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Open Spaces, Councillor Steffi Sutters says, "I am delighted that WAF will be returning in 2021 with Wandsworth's first ever hybrid digital and live festival, following a year of uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic. After transforming the festival into WAF In Your Living Room in 2020, we are thrilled to be returning with both live events and activities and online projects to continue to celebrate the rich mix of places, artists and communities in our borough with an inclusive, open access programme that anyone can be part of."
WAF exists to support artists and communities - 100% of ticket sales go to the presenting companies and WAF offers a package of development support including grants and skill development to artists, cultural organisations and community groups.
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June 23, 2021