The National Theatre has once again taken its oversized living room furniture out of storage in anticipation of its annual Watch This Space festival, which takes up residence in Theatre Square from 1 July to 27 September.
Watch This Space presents 12 weeks of international theatre, circus, dance, music and family events taking place in the spaces outside the National Theatre. This year’s programme includes a week of circus, residencies from aerial performers Upswing and jugglers The Gandinis, a week of family storytelling, Catalan circus theatre, tightrope walkers, a dance weekend over the summer bank holiday and a village fete with an urban twist.
Many of the events in Theatre Square are free, and visitors have ample chance to join in the fun with workshops, masterclasses and open rehearsals inviting people of all ages to have go at everything from breakdancing and flying skills to spooky séances and controversial artform Parkour.
A new inflatable auditorium will host ticketed storytelling sessions during Family Fun Week (12 to 16 August), where Jan Blake, Xanthe Gresham and Daniel Morden will entertain children with stories of fantasy and enchantment during the day time, while adults are catered for in evening storytelling sessions entitled Stories With An Edge.
The Bank Holiday Dance Weekend returns this year with a packed programme of dance performances, demonstrations and classes from 29 to 31 August covering dance forms including tango, quickstep, jive, salsa, belly dancing, Bollywood moves and physical dance. There is even the chance to help revive the dying art of the knees-up with three professors from the Bow Centre for Cockney Excellence.
Following a successful launch last year, the National’s second outdoor space, Square2, will be resurrected this summer for a programme of ticketed performances from international theatre companies, running from 30 July to 28 August. Poland’s Teatr Biuro Podrozy returns with its shows Macbeth and Swiniopolis, Spanish companies Markeline and Gaizerdi Teatro make their UK debuts and Catalan artists Cia La Industrial Theatera combine theatre and circus in Rojo.
Watch This Space comes to a close with an urban-style village fete on 25 to 27 September, which includes a contemporary Ceilidh, a mass Ukelele jam and a Sunday picnic to the sounds of urban folk fusion.
For more information about Watch This Space and to purchase tickets to the ticketed performances, call 020 7452 3000 or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/wts