Festival.org, organiser and producer of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) has revealed details of how it intends to keep visitors and artists safe when the outdoor theatre and performing arts festival takes place (August 28- September 12).

GDIF comprises events with capacities from 50 up to 250, including durational installations, site-responsive theatre and dance and a touring programme of street arts, delivered on people’s doorsteps.

The organising team has worked with Blue Yonder Events to devise a series of special measures, including controlled entry to sites to allow for socially distanced audiences of 50-250 (depending on the event), seating for most performances and ticketing to manage capacities, plus localised pop up performances. Staff and volunteers will be wearing face coverings and adhering to 1m+ social distancing. All audience seating and distancing will be at two metres.

Sites will offer hand sanitation stations at ingress, egress, and at all touch points, which will be disinfected regularly, including between performances where applicable. There will also be increased signage and announcements to guide audiences.

Additional access arrangements will be put in place for Deaf and disabled audiences and those with access requirements, and many festival events will also be available to enjoy online through a new live streaming service. All artists appearing at GFID will also have reviewed their rehearsal and performance arrangements in the light of current guidance on social distancing and travel.

Bradley Hemmings, artistic director of GDIF, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, said: “This year’s festival takes place in unprecedented times. The recent hard months have shown in sharp relief our need for equality and community, whilst reminding us of the resilience that comes from looking after each other.

“As a free outdoor festival, GDIF has always tried to play an active role in local civic life, and as we start to reimagine the future, this 25th anniversary festival has been designed with artists, local partners and participants to offer an inclusive moment for reflection, whilst hopefully providing something we all desperately need – a time to celebrate and smile together again.

“The safety and wellbeing of our artists and audiences is our number one priority and we have worked hard to put in place extensive measures to ensure a safe festival for everyone.”

This year, GDIF forms part of the wider Royal Greenwich – It’s Time celebration, a summer series of leisure, learning, culture and events in Royal Greenwich which aims to bring communities together again and kick-start the local economy after a prolonged period in lockdown.

Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Danny Thorpe said: “We couldn’t be more excited for the return of GDIF in Royal Greenwich. After months in lockdown, events and festivals like GDIF have a hugely important role in bringing our communities together again and helping to rebuild our local economy. GDIF has curated a superb line-up in response to recent events, promoting equality and inclusion, and uniting residents from across the borough in what is set to be a cultural extravaganza.

Opening up amazing experiences to all our residents and bringing communities together was what motivated the Council to help establish the festival 25 years ago, and, this year, it will be particularly welcomed by many of our residents.”

Festival.org has received the Good to Go Industry Standard introduced by Visit England in recognition that we have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/physical distancing for GDIF 2020.

Image: GDIF/Angus McMahon