St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern and the National Theatre join line-up of landmark locations and events for London’s Burning
Three more London landmarks, a live digital broadcast presented by Lauren Laverne and a talks programme inspired by major themes across the festival have been announced as part of LONDON’S BURNING, Artichoke’s contemporary art and ideas festival marking the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.
The series of spectacular art events, which are all free to the public, will take place in key sites across the City, Southbank and Bankside from 30th August – 4th September 2016, marking this momentous event in London’s history and addressing its contemporary resonance with themes including displacement, disaster and the resilience of the urban metropolis.
Artist Martin Firrell presents Fires of London, two new commissions either side of the River Thames. Fires Ancient will light up the south and east sides of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral with a fiery projection echoing both the catastrophic impact of the Great Fire of London on the Cathedral itself and the birth of the building designed by Christopher Wren that emerged, phoenix-like from the ashes. The projection will be visible from across the river and with a unique up-close view from the public Roof Terrace at One New Change.
(Supported by Cheapside Business Alliance, RSA Insurance and Land Securities)
On the other side of the river, Firrell’s Fires Modern will be projected onto the flytower of the National Theatre’s (NT’s) iconic Grade II listed building. The projection of Firrell’s text and flames will reveal stories of resurgence and change that have shaped the UK’s capital city and created the open and diverse metropolis that we enjoy today. Projecting Fires Modern resonates with the National Theatre’s mission of making the very best theatre and sharing it with as many people as possible. Fires Modern will join a historically impactful series of artistic projects that have used the NT’s flytower to reach as wide an audience as possible.
With views across to the City and St Paul’s Cathedral, French fire alchemists Compagnie Carabosse will create a Fire Garden, transforming the riverside area in front of Tate Modern into a crackling, spitting, after-dark adventure.
(Supported by Aon)
Helen Marriage Director of Artichoke said: “LONDON’S BURNING brings a unique contemporary perspective to the Great Fire, exploring the challenges and issues faced by major world cities today, our relationship to catastrophe and crisis and our ability to adapt, adjust and rebuild. It is an artistic response that addresses the impact of the Great Fire of London on the City, its inhabitants and buildings, and how it emerged from the ashes and evolved to the resilient world city it is today”.
In addition to the live festival programme, Artichoke has been commissioned by The Space to produce a live digital broadcast of the spectacular finale event, London 1666. An extraordinary 120-metre long sculpture of the 17th-century London skyline will appear on the River Thames and burn, in a dramatic retelling of the story of the Great Fire of London of September 1666. A collaboration between American ‘burn’ artist David Best and Artichoke, the project has involved months of work and participation with local schools and young Londoners.
The broadcast will be hosted by Lauren Laverne from 8.25pm on Sunday September 4th, and will include key guests and a series of short films revealing the stories behind the project. The event will be filmed using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to capture a multi-camera live experience, directed by Tim van Someren, who created the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. The programme will give online audiences front row, immersive access and a memory that will burn bright long after the fire has died.
A talks programme will accompany the London’s Burning artistic programme exploring how cities past and present have responded to crisis. It will include an exclusive poetry reading by actor Simon Callow at the top of The Monument, and The Great Fire in Three and a Half Pints, a series of three guided walking tours, including a spine-tingling tour of the City’s streets led by psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff, each tour stopping off at historic Fuller’s pubs along the way.
Elsewhere in the programme speakers include London’s highest-ranking female Fire Fighter, Becci Bryant, and authors Suzanne O’Sullivan and Andrew Mitchell Hurley, whose talks will explore historical and contemporary themes including our fascination with fire, the language of crisis, the part art can play in solutions to crisis, responses to world trauma and the psychology of fear.
Thursday 1st September 2016 – 7pm, the Monument, £20/£18
○ The City From Above: Looking Down at the Great Fire
An intimate history of the Monument and the Great Fire, led by author Matt Brown and culminating in a poetry reading by actor Simon Callow 62 metres above ground.
Friday 2nd September 2016 – 1pm, Broadgate, London, £5, including a light lunch
○ Art and Crisis – Helen Marriage and Lars Jan
From public memorials to art installations, join Early Morning Opera’s Artistic Director Lars Jan and the Director of Artichoke, Helen Marriage, for a discussion about how art can respond to the issues impacting our world today.
Friday 2nd September 2016 – 7pm, Natwest, 280 Bishopsgate, £15/£13
○ Fire: Threat and Saviour
5×15: Becci Bryant, Ed Galea, Rebecca Rideal, Joshua Levine and Miranda Aldhouse-Green. Five speakers, fifteen minutes each. One Great Fire of London, hundreds of years of history.
Saturday 3rd September 2016 – 2pm, Barbican Cinema 3, £15/£13
○ When things go wrong: 21st Century responses to world trauma
Speakers include Philip Collins and John Drury
This talk examines how disasters are reported across the globe, the rhetoric used to discuss catastrophe, and the psychology of crisis.
Saturday 3rd September 2016 – 4pm, Barbican Cinema 3, £15/£13
○ Fear: From Neuroscience to Novels
Award-winning neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan and author of The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley, will discuss the construction of fear and its manifestation in our daily routines.
Saturday 3rd September 2016 – 1.30-4pm , £20/£18
○ The Great Fire in Three and a Half pints – three walking and drinking tours:
~ A Fire Walk Into A Pub with Pete Brown.
~ Crime and Punishment with Joanna Moncrieff. A spine-tingling journey into the City’s murderous backstreets
~ A London Obsession with Peter Berthoud. A historically-fascinating jaunt through the City’s past
In addition, BBC Radio 4 will be marking the Great Fire anniversary with a series of programmes including Cities from the Ashes, presented by Nicholas Kenyon, 30th August, Great Fire 350, which charts the making of Artichoke’s London’s Burning festival, 3rd September; and Pepys After the Fire, 5th-9th September.
Mark Boleat, the City of London Corporation’s Policy Chairman, said: “The Artichoke team has worked tirelessly with a wide range of organisations and leading artists to put together a spectacular and ambitious programme of events to commemorate the 1666 Great Fire of London. As the founding sponsors of LONDON’S BURNING, the City of London Corporation has been very proud to be involved in this major project that will remember how the Fire claimed lives and devastated the City of London, but also celebrate how it rose triumphantly from the ashes”.
Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted to be able to acknowledge Artichoke’s ambitions for excellence by funding this project. It will bring the city together around a piece of incredible art, and in commemoration of a significant moment in its history. LONDON 1666 is a great opportunity to put the creativity of young people at the heart of a high-profile historic event with national appeal.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Great Fire of London was one of the most important moments in the history of the capital. The range of fantastic events taking place around its 350th anniversary shows once again that London is open to visitors from around the world.”
Other aspects of the artistic programme include:
OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN ALL THE WORLD, Stan’s Cafe, Inner Temple
From the handful of recorded deaths to the tens of thousands made homeless in 1666, OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN ALL THE WORLD by Stan’s Cafe will count the cost of the Fire in grains of rice comparing historical facts with contemporary moments. Located in the Inner Temple and watched over by the stern portraits of four of the Fire Judges appointed by the King to adjudicate on compensation claims after the Fire, this installation offers a remarkably compelling way to experience the impact of these dramatic events.
HOLOSCENES, Early Morning Opera, Exchange Square, Broadgate
Exchange Square, Broadgate will see the UK Premiere of HOLOSCENES, a mesmerising 6-hour underwater performance-installation by US-based Early Morning Opera. The piece reminds us that today, it is flooding rather than fire is the contemporary threat in this and many contemporary cities, and one we are ignoring at our peril. Created by Artistic Director Lars Jan, the piece features individual performers going about mundane daily tasks as water levels rise around them.
A MAPP International Project (Supported by British Land)
DOMINOES, Station House Opera, City of London
DOMINOES by Station House Opera is an extraordinary kinetic sculpture. First commissioned by CreateLondon in 2009, DOMINOES has since travelled worldwide. This new version, specially-created for LONDON’S BURNING by artistic director Julian Maynard-Smith, will be its most ambitious yet, involving 600 volunteers, 23,000 breeze blocks and a 5.5km run through the city, tracing the path of the Fire through its streets, buildings and public spaces, linking the past with the present in a symbolic and physical chain of cause and effect.
An Artsadmin Project
LONDON 1666, David Best & Artichoke, River Thames
This spectacular finale will see an extraordinary 120-metre long sculpture of 17th-century London floated onto the River Thames and set alight in a dramatic retelling of the story of the Great Fire. Designed by American artist David Best, working in collaboration with Artichoke.