Home » Art Life

Category Archives: Art Life

Macbeth at the Space on the Isle of Dogs – 24th to 27th May 2017

Historically, the Isle of Dogs has not had many places of entertainment in the 19th and 20th century, people tended to travel to Poplar or Greenwich for theatres and shows.

One notable recent exception has been the Space which is a performing arts and community centre based in a converted church. The Space is run by St Paul’s Arts Trust and puts on a large number of events per year.

Recently, I was sent the details of a new modern version of Macbeth to be produced by Early Doors Productions which is an Essex based Production Company.

The production reimagines the ‘Scottish play’ for a modern audience and features a gangster named Macbeth who receives a prophecy from a trio of whores that one day he will become the ‘King’. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders the current King and takes the throne for himself.

Needless to say it does not end well for our hero/villain.

The Cast List

Macbeth – Justin Cartledge

Lady Macbeth – Rachel Lane

Banquo – Darren Matthews

Duncan – Matt Jones

Donalblain – Ben Martins

Macduff – Matt Jewson

Lady Macduff – Amy Clayton

The Porter/Heccat – Julie Salter

Street Girl 1/Fleance – Hayley Webber

Street Girl 2/Lady Macbeth’s Attendant – Nicole Campbell

Street Girl 3/Lady Macduff’s Attendant – Jen Bell

The performance dates are 24th-27th May and tickets will be £15/ £12.

Tickets can be bought through the box office number is 0207 515 7799 or can be purchased online here.

As well as the attraction of the play, it is well worth visiting the venue which is one of the Island’s historically most important buildings.

The former church was constructed to the design of T.E. Knightley in 1859, the foundation stone was laid by John Scott Russell, the builder of the ship “Great Eastern”. The church, St Paul’s closed in 1972 and the site was used for other purposes until the 1980’s when a locally based group of individuals created the St Paul’s Arts Trust. After a considerable amount of work on the building, a new Arts centre was created. The building has a Grade II listing and the Trust includes Limehouse resident, Sir Ian McKellen as its principal patron and is a non-profit making registered charity.

Opening of the Winter Lights Festival in Canary Wharf – 16th to 27th January 2017

dscn2432

Canary Wharf may be full of bright lights but the launch of the Winter Lights Festival offers some 30 spectacular light installations throughout Canary Wharf. To sample what is available, I had a wander around some of the installations on the first evening.

dscn2444

The sculptures, structures and installations are the creations of some of the most innovative artists and designers from around the world who present work in the many different forms of light technology.

dscn2455

Ovo – Montgomery Square.

dscn2462

Angels of Freedom – Throughout Canary Wharf

dscn2418

Horizontal Interference – Westferry Circus

dscn2451

Lightbench – Canada Square Park

dscn2440

Water Wall – Adams Plaza

dscn2450

Liter of Light draws attention to world issues highlighting the need to give light to undeveloped countries in a work co-created by children from George Green’s School on the Isle of Dogs.

The illuminations will be in different locations throughout Canary Wharf  and you can download the brochure here to find out more about the festival and the whole list of illuminations and locations.

Winter Lights Festival in Canary Wharf – 16th to 27th January 2017

winfestc-1

After the excitement of the festive period, January can often seem gloomy but the return of the Winter Lights Festival offers some light related excitement with 30 spectacular light installations throughout Canary Wharf.

DSCN2023

The sculptures, structures and installations are the creations of some of the most innovative artists and designers from around the world who present work in the many different forms of light technology. Many of the pieces have never been exhibited in the UK before such as Angels of Freedom that contains a deep underlying message, discouraging discrimination through interaction.

winfestc-2

OVO which immerses visitors in unique and beautiful light structures, whilst On Your Wavelength is a mind-powered laser and sound installation using participants’ brain activity to choreograph beautiful light patterns.

winfest17a-2

Live graffiti crafted from light is on show over the weekend of 21st and 22nd January with Luma Paint Light Graffiti and Nonotak perform live on 20th and 21st January. Other highlights include Water Wall which uses a mist screen to interact with visitors as they create beautiful patterns on a wall of water. For contemplation, The Garden of Floating Words conjures a peaceful note giving the impression that a cluster of glowing neon words are floating in the foliage creating a poem of transience. Liter of Light draws attention to world issues highlighting the need to give light to undeveloped countries in a work co-created by local schoolchildren.

winfest17a-1

The illuminations will be in different locations throughout Canary Wharf  and you can download the brochure here to find out more about the festival and the whole list of illuminations and  locations.

Views of a View : Greenwich and the Thames over time

queenshouse22

One of the curiosities of the Isle of Dogs is that it is surrounded by iconic views of London from Canary Wharf to the north, the City of London to the west and the O2 arena formerly the Millennium Dome to the east. However it is the view from the south over to Greenwich which is considered one of the most famous views in London.

Standing in a spot not far the present Island Gardens, the view was judged to be the greatest view in Europe by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th Century and it is especially associated with the painting of Greenwich from this spot by Giovanni Antonio Canaletto in the 18th Century.

Recently I have come across a number of other paintings that feature the view from the river or the Isle of Dogs which illustrate the importance of this small stretch of water and how the river traffic has changed over time.

Canaletto, 1697-1768; Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames

Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames by Canaletto – Date: 1752 (National Maritime Museum)

Canaletto’s painting was painted around 1752 and resembles the artist’s pictures of the Venice Grand Canal especially with use of craft and people in the foreground. Especially interesting is the large ship being repaired on the foreshore. 

Greenwich Hospital by Thomas Lawranson Date: c. 1750 (Government Art Collection)

From roughly the same period is Greenwich Hospital by Thomas Lawranson but provides an interesting close up the buildings.

Dodd, Robert, 1748-1815; Greenwich from the Isle of Dogs

Greenwich from the Isle of Dogs  by Robert Dodd – Date: 1792 (National Maritime Museum)

Some forty years later, Robert Dodd painted a very different scene, the river is bustling with all different vessels. Perhaps most interesting of all is we see the foreshore at the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs, The riverbank is built up and full of people possibly waiting to use the ferries across the river. The ferrymen in the river are transporting passengers. It is worth remembering at this time, much of the Island was used to fatten up livestock.

Cooke, Edward William, 1811-1880; Hay Barge off Greenwich

Hay Barge off Greenwich by Edward William Cooke Date: 1835 (National Maritime Museum)

Into the 19th century, Hay Barge off Greenwich by Edward William Cooke provides an attractive picture of a Thames barge carrying a cargo of hay and other goods. These barges were remarkably stable with a shallow draught and carried hay from as far as Suffolk and Margate to feed the thousands of horses in London. Under the hay they often carried a heavier cargo such as bricks.

Pether, Henry, c.1801-1880; The Thames and Greenwich Hospital by Moonlight

The Thames and Greenwich Hospital by Moonlight by Henry Pether  Date c.1854–1865 (National Maritime Museum)

A rather different view of the River Thames and Greenwich Hospital is made by artist Henry Pether who like his father, Abraham ‘Moonlight’ Pether of Chichester specialised in moonlight scenes. Henry Pether views of the Thames were very popular and it is easy to see with this attractive serene scene.

Wilkinson, Norman, 1878-1971; HMY 'Britannia' Arriving at Greenwich, 15 May 1954

HMY ‘Britannia’ Arriving at Greenwich, 15 May 1954 by Norman Wilkinson – Date: after 1954 (National Maritime Museum)

Into the 20th century, the arrival of the Royal Yacht Britannia was the cause for celebration after the Coronation the previous year. This was the first time, the royal yacht had made its way up the Thames and was watched by hundreds of thousands of people all along the riverside. People living on the Island joined the crowds when the yacht made its way around the Isle of Dogs and into London.

In the rapid development of London in the past 250 years, very few areas have been left untouched. However the view from the Isle of Dogs over to the Naval College has changed little over that period. The greatest change has probably been the vessels that have passed one of London’s great landmarks, gone are the great old warships, clippers, steamships, working barges, lighters  and ferries that once dominated the river scene to be replaced by the rather limited river traffic of the present day. 

 

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival : Dancing City in Canary Wharf – 1st and 2nd July 2016

Telder - In mijn hoofd

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF)  is London’s leading festival of free outdoor performing arts (theatre, dance, and street arts). In 2015, the Festival featured over a hundred performances by dozens of national and international companies with more than 100,000 people attending the outdoor shows in East and South London.

Although there are plenty of performances based in Greenwich and other locations, the focus in Canary Wharf is Dancing City which takes place on the 1st and 2nd July. Dancing City is the UK’s largest annual outdoor programme of free outdoor dance with performances from UK and international dance companies. The locations for the performances are the parks, piazzas and waterfronts of Canary Wharf. To give some idea of what performances are planned, here us a quick checklist.

In Mijn Hoofd   1 – 2 July 2016

Time: Friday 13:00 & 17:30; Saturday 13:50 & 15:35

Presented by Beeldend Danstheater Telder

Neuroscience combines with art as dancers perform in, within and around a giant sculptural head created by artist Pieter van de Pol at Dancing City.

Westferry Circus Canary Wharf, London E14 4BE

Nomadis   1 – 2 July 2016

Time: Friday 14:00 & 18:30; Saturday 13:25 & 16:15

Presented by HumanHood

Two nomads meet and form an immediate bond. Their bodies sync as they react and respond to their new found situation in this Dancing City sensation.

Friday: Jubilee Plaza, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NY; Saturday: Canary Riverside, E Ferry Rd, London E14 8RR

phone-box-corey-baker-dance-credit-dani-bower

Phone Box  1 – 2 July 2016

Time: Friday 13:00 & 17:30; Saturday 14:25 & 16:40

Presented by Corey Baker Dance

The red telephone box is a British icon but with this performance from Corey Baker Dance you’ll see it in a whole new light at Dancing City.

Friday: Jubilee Plaza, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NY; Saturday: Wren Landing, Canary Wharf, London

You and I Know  1 – 2 July 2016

Time: Friday 13.30 & 18:00; Saturday 14.35 & 16:40

Presented by Candoco Dance Company

Choreographed by the trailblazing Arlene Phillips, this London premiere at Dancing City plays with and disrupts the traditional love duet.

Jubilee Plaza, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NY

Act of Strangers 2 July 2016

Time: 15:00 & 16:15

Presented by Chloe Loftus Dance

In a world where communication is so often via a screen this show reminds us of the simplicity and warmth of human contact.

Cubitt Steps, Poplar, London E14 4QA

suelto-inaki-pardo_9843b-hurycan

ASUELTO 2 July 2016

Time: 13:00 & 15:45

Presented by HURyCAN

HURyCAN returns to GDIF at Dancing City with a new production explores life as an organism.

Jubilee Plaza, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NY

H.O.H  2 July 2016

Time: 14:05 & 16:10

Presented by Far From The Norm

Hip Hop theatre meets the beautiful game in this high energy dance piece, including fast-paced footwork and physical floor work.

Jubilee Plaza, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NY

SLICE  2 July 2016

Time: 13:00, 14:10, 15:25 & 16:45

Presented by Wired Aerial Theatre

An atmospheric, adrenaline-fueled performance exploring ideas of identity and territorial impulses as dancers soar and swoop through the air.

Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf, London E14

leap_jonny_reed-stuck-up-and-over-it

STÜCK  2 July 2016

Time: 13:30 & 15:05

Presented by Up & Over It

Stuck with each other and stuck in a rut, folk dance misfits, Up & Over It take a whimsical look at the ups and downs of sticking together at Dancing City.

Jubilee Plaza, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NY

Without End  2 July 2016

Time: 13:00, 15:10 & 16:45

Presented by the Middleton Corpus

Against the background of the River Thames, three Dancing City dancers explore the concept of time, asking the question, ‘can anything last forever?’

Canary Riverside, E Ferry Rd, London E14 8RR

For more information, visit the festival website here

The Launch of the Island Board Walk

island board walk

Anyone who has walked around the Island will have noticed the heritage-boards which at various points  give some information of the island’s industrial past. The boards were installed 20 years ago and have provided some insights of many of the key sites, unfortunately in recent times some of the boards are showing their age and in need of a revamp.

An exciting new East End arts project not only has revamped the boards but will feature unseen images and personal accounts of island life from the locals. The Island Board Walk offers a unique platform for visitors and locals living on the Isle of Dogs to explore the heritage of the Island.

Arif_Wahid8

Of the 18 existing boards, 9 have been fully repurposed to feature a diversity of local voices, alongside unseen archival images and new accounts of island life from schools, individuals and local community organisations based on the island.

The Island Board Walk takes the form of an interactive walking trail which allows visitors to gain some historical insights about life in this famous but little known East London area.

Arif_Wahid99

The Island Board Walk was devised by National Maritime Museum designer Anna Lincoln and audio trail component was devised and scripted by journalist Anna Savva, who also conducted the interviews for the project. Local groups who have made significant contributions to the project include the Friends of Island History Trust and George Green’s School pupils, who have spent half-terms and volunteering hours exploring the island using photography then enhancing their images using Photoshop skills acquired in workshops led by Island Board Walk volunteers.

Other notable accounts came from Volunteers on the Massey Shaw, Friends of the Portwey Steam Tug, Mudchute Farm manager Nick Golson and a number of George Green’s School pupils, who contributed predictions about future life on the island.

The Boards are a great introduction to the Island and this project provides plenty of interest, the new audio tour has been devised to coincide with the launch of the walk and will be available to download as a podcast from the website: www.islandboardwalk.com/audio-trail It is derived from exclusive interviews with those who live and work on the island and provides real insights into the past, present and future of the Island.

Canary Wharf Group PLC and Print Future Awards supported the printing of the ‘Free’ Leaflet/Trail Maps which are now available to download online and to collect from The Ship pub, The George pub, HubBub cafe bar and restaurant, Cubitt Town Library and the Great Eastern pub by the School Day’s board at start of the trail.

For downloads and more information visit:

www.islandboardwalk.com

Over the next two weeks, I will be walking the trail and will show some of the new boards and their unique locations in this little piece of the East End.

Annie Leibovitz’s WOMEN Exhibition and the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station

DSCN2219

The Wapping Hydraulic Power Station may seem an odd location for an exhibition by one of America’s leading photographers, but last week saw the opening of Annie Leibovitz’s WOMEN: New Portraits exhibition.

Women: New Portraits includes photographs of the famous and not so famous including  Amy Winehouse, Michelle Obama, Adele, Taylor Swift, Jan Goodall, Sheryl Sandberg, Cindy Sherman, Caitlyn Jenner, Amy Schumer and Aung San Suu Kyi.

wap3

‘WOMEN: New Portraits’ a global tour of new photographs by Annie Leibovitz launches in London. Commissioned by UBS, the exhibition opens to the public on 16 January at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, kicking off a 10-city world-wide tour. Access to the exhibition will be free. Photo by Stephen White, courtesy of UBS.

The collection focuses on “women of outstanding achievement” and is a continuation of Women, a project that began over 15 years ago in collaboration with writer Susan Sontag.

wap1

‘WOMEN: New Portraits’ a global tour of new photographs by Annie Leibovitz launches in London. Commissioned by UBS, the exhibition opens to the public on 16 January at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, kicking off a 10-city world-wide tour. Access to the exhibition will be free. Photo by Stephen White, courtesy of UBS.

The exhibition features new photographs and work from the original series, as well as other unpublished photographs and there will be  a series of free learning programmes that accompany the exhibition which will explore ways of  working with young people in local schools and communities.

Annie Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970 and is famous  for her numerous portraits for Vanity Fair, Vogue and numerous other publications.  Her most famous photographs include John Lennon, The Rolling Stones and Demi Moore.

wap8

‘WOMEN: New Portraits’ a global tour of new photographs by Annie Leibovitz launches in London. Commissioned by UBS, the exhibition opens to the public on 16 January at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, kicking off a 10-city world-wide tour. Access to the exhibition will be free. Photo by Stephen White, courtesy of UBS.

A walk around the exhibition is a rather surreal experience with the wide range of photographs attached  to boards, large screens showing the works and a circle of chairs all within an old part of the power station.  The exhibition is free and will run from January 16 to February 7th 2016.

Annie Leibovitz’s new photographs,will be shown in 10 cities over the next 12 months. The tour starts in London and then moves to Tokyo, San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York and Zurich.

DSCN2226

If you attend the exhibition, it is well worth looking around the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station which for decades provided hydraulic power to London. The hydraulic network was part of a city-wide network run by the London Hydraulic Power Company. At its height in the 1920s, the company was powering around 8,000 machines through 186 miles of pipes spread over the capital. One of the fortunate by products of the pipes in winter was they were heated, so if it snowed it would melt the snow on the pavement above.

DSCN2221

While the network mainly supplied lifts, cranes and dock gates, it also operated theatre machinery (including revolving stages at the London Palladium and the London Coliseum, the lifting mechanism for the cinema organ at the Leicester Square theatre and even provided the backup mechanism at Tower Bridge.

DSCN2220

Wapping was one of five pumping stations that kept the mains pressurised, assisted by accumulators. Other stations were based at Rotherhithe, Grosvenor Road in Pimlico, City Road in Clerkenwell and the East India Docks which was originally operated by the Port of London Authority, but was taken over and connected to the system.

The Wapping Hydraulic Power Station was built-in 1890 and was first run using steam until it was later converted to use electricity. Remarkably it remained a pumping station until 1977 when it was designated a Grade II listed building . The Leibovitz exhibition is not the first art event in the building, in the 1990s the site was converted into an arts centre called the Wapping Project and included a restaurant.

A trip to Wapping to the power station offers an unusual opportunity to see some photographs from one of America’s most famous photographers and a forgotten relic of London’s industrial past, if that is not enough over the road from the power station is the historic Prospect of Whitby pub where you can enjoy a meal and a drink.