Think London is a no-go zone during the Olympics? Think again. The Mayor of London presents a whole host of free cultural events taking place in the city’s hidden pockets, so you can escape the bustle of the centre without missing out on any of the 2012 buzz.
Like a Fish Out of Water, Uxbridge Lido and Hampton Pool
5 – 14 July
For a day at the lido with a difference, hop on a train to Hampton Pool in Richmond, near Hampton Court Palace, or catch the tube to leafy Uxbridge in North West London. Like a Fish Out of Water is a one-off aquatic spectacle that tells the magical story of an elderly woman who has visited the lido since she was a child and finds herself ‘like a fish out of water’ when on dry land. Her dreams of myths, legends, mermaids and selkies are captured in enchanting underwater scenes created using pre-filmed sequences and live performance. Perch on a deck chair or picnic rug and drink up the dreamy atmosphere filled with English National Ballet dancers, actors, stunning designs and cinematic soundscape.
The Owl and The Pussycat, Regent’s Canal
20 July – 1 August
See the classic Edward Lear poem of The Owl and Pussycat magically retold by a Monty Python star and an Oscar-winning composer. The floating operatic spectacle will be performed at various spots along Regent’s Canal as it travels west to east. The production features a libretto from Terry Jones, a new commissioned score from critically acclaimed musician and composer Anne Dudley and is directed by Martin Constantine.
Nothing Is Set In Stone
21 June - 9 September
Interact with a musical monolith in the tranquil surroundings of Fairlop Waters in Illford, a hidden green spot in East London ideal for a spot of golf, sailing, windsurfing or canoeing. The rocky installation has been created by electronic musician and artist Mira Calix and includes an interactive sound system letting visitors experience the work through both touch and sound. Mira Calix is an award-winning composer, singer and performance artist known for her experimental performances and in the past has added a new spin to the words of William Shakespeare, composed for the London Sinfonietta and supported Radiohead.
Here are a few more of our favourite free events taking place this summer:
30 June – 1 July
Enjoy tea dances, big-name bands, a vintage fairground and mesmerising pyrotechnics in the brand new London Pleasure Gardens perched on the River Thames.
6 – 29 July
Fashionistas should pop by the V&A for a one-off exhibition that showcases a series of ground-breaking works by British designers such as Paul Smith and Hussein Chalayan who’ve collaborated with various leading visual artists.
21 July – 12 August
21 July – 9 September
The whole of the London will become a stage as high streets, parks and open spaces all across London come to life with spectacular outdoor performances. Keep a look out for street artists, outdoor theatre, circus performers, pyrotechnic shows, film and much more. From Barnet to Bromley and Havering to Hillingdon, experience daredevil escapology, magical make-overs, Hamlet in only half an hour, bouncing kangaroos and the return of the biggest beasts ever to walk the earth!
Take a look at the Secrets: Hidden London website for more information. And to find out more about the various events that are taking place throughout the summer visit the London 2012 Festival website.
If you’re planning a last-minute dash to the capital, visitlondon.com has some amazing late summer deals with up to 50% off London accommodation – so don’t miss the magic of London this summer!