The Summer of 2023 saw Greenwich Dance and Arts Trust Productions build on the success of last year’s Summer in the Park with an extended programme.
Thanks to an injection of funding from National Lottery Community Fund and support from Royal Greenwich Festivals and Peabody, this year we were able to bring three day-long picnics and six Summer Sessions to parks and outdoor spaces in Greenwich & Bexley.
Summer Sessions in Cygnet Square. Photo: Roswitha Chesher
Since Greenwich Dance moved its office to The Nest in 2022, the team have worked actively with Peabody to find exciting ways to animate Cygnet Square. We had noticed it was becoming popular with roller skaters and so one of our producers, Alliey, introduced herself to some of the people rolling across the square and discovered that some of them were part of Thamesmead based social enterprise Vibes on Vibes.
Vibes on Vibes talk about their partnership with Greenwich Dance
After some successful trials in March, we decided to turn our Summer Sessions in Cygnet Square and Greenwich Park in to Skate Jams with skating skills workshops, some dance performances and the chance to jam with friends.
Despite the terrible summer weather of 2023 we managed to hold 5 out of 6 skate jams and were excited to see that people would come from as far as Reading and Rochester to enjoy some free roller skating fun.
Our skating instructors were Frankie J, Kengo San, Amzy / Skate Tingz and Nadia “Sourgrapism” O’Garro, assisted by Vibes on Vibes and we enjoyed performances by The Urban Playground Team, Magpie Dance, Elementz Ent, Osian Meilir‘s Qwerin, Firefly Fitness UK and Joss Arnott Dance.
Kengo San (left) jam skating with participants in Greenwich Park. Photo: Roswitha Chesher
The Urban Playground performing On the Strandline in Greenwich Park. Photo: Roswitha Chesher
Osian Meilir's Qwerin in Greenwich Park. Photo: Lucy White
Skating skills workshop in Cygnet Square. Photo: Roswitha Chesher
Skate Tingz teaching skating skills. Photo: Lucy White
Picnics in the Park
Alongside our Summer Sessions we also held three park picnics in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Audiences were encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy an afternoon of professional and community performances, meet businesses from their area and take part in fun activities at the events which were compered by André Bright.
Maryon Park Picnic
Headlining the event was BBC Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton with a jive workshop, The Mary Lou Revue with a celebration of swing, jazz, big band, vintage Hollywood musicals and vaudeville and Feet Off the Ground with Creature Comforts, a family friendly outdoor dance performance featuring a mysterious four-legged creature.
BBC Strictly Come Dancing's Joanne Clifton teaching one of her favourite routines. Photo: Lucy White
BBC Strictly Come Dancing's Joanne Clifton teaching one of her favourite routines. Photo: Kinga Dawid
The Mary Lou Revue. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Feet Off the Ground's Creature Comforts. Photo: Kinga Dawid
The line-up also included:
TARU Arts, Costa Rica in the UK, Utopia Cheer, Beeja Dance, GD Collective (Greenwich Dance’s performance company), School of SOS, Firefly Fitness UK
Plus games, ice cream, face painting, a second-hand uniform shop from Windrush Primary School, a book swap with St Thomas Tuesday Group, a treasure hunt led by Friends of Maryon Park, stalls by Charlton Society, South East London Slingers, Barre and Baby, Firefly Fitness and Greenwich Pantry, a bar run by The Green Goddess pub, info sessions with the Metropolitan Police Youth Engagement Team, football fun from Charlton Athletic and a raffle.
Costa Rica in the UK. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Utopia Cheer. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Greenwich Pantry. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Fun and games in Maryon Park. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Gallions Park Picnic
Headlining the event was Norvil and Josephine’s Top Hat – a comedy/circus/theatre piece performed on a gigantic hat.
Norville & Josephine performing Top Hat in Gallions Park. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Also featuring FlavRcise Dance Fitness, GD Collective (Greenwich Dance’s performance company), Costa Rica in the UK, Baaj Institute for Music and Fine Arts, Utopia Cheer, Beeja Dance, Kiduku Rhythms workshop, Dynamix Dance, Royal Greenwich Music Service* and TARU Arts.
*unable to perform due to wet weather
Members of dance company Beeja talk about their Gallions Park Picnic experience
Baaj Institute for Music and Fine Arts. Photo: Kinga Dawid
GD Collective. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Beeja Dance (performing in the rain!). Photo: Kinga Dawid
Kiduku Rhythmns. Photo: Kinga Dawid
TARU Arts. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Plus games, ice cream, face painting, stalls from, Bethany’s Beautiful Beads, Amabel Illustrations, West Thamesmead Church, children’s craft activities from West Thamesmead Residents Association, a nature trail with TLC Offerings, The Camouflage Cafe, Brighter Futures, calligraphy and printing from MEET Hong Kong, FREE bike tagging by the Metropolitan Police (normally charged at £25), a bar run by The Green Goddess pub and a raffle.
Amabel Illustrations. Photo: Kinga Dawid
MEET Hong Kong. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Queenscroft Park Picnic
Designed to animate Queenscroft Park, the event was relocated at short notice to Middle Park community centre due to wet weather. This resulted in the stalls having to be cancelled along with the food and drink providers, but all professional and community groups other than the RAF marching band were retained and once again expertly compered by André Bright.
Headlining the event was Hikapee Theatre with their circus show performed on a giant parasol entitled Everywhere’s a Beach.
Hikapee Theatre performing Everywhere's a Beach in Middle Park Community Centre. Photo: Kinga Dawid
The day also featured Costa Rica in the UK, The RCCG Church Choir with gospel music, Traceworks Juniors, Dynamix Dance, UK Latin Community, Dancing to the Music of Time (one of Greenwich Dance’s Dance for wellbeing sessions) and Voices of Mauritius.
Dynamix Dance. Photo: Kinga Dawid
UK Latin Community. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Dancing to the Music of Time. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Voices of Mauritius. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Also in attendance were TARU Arts with drumming and face painting, and local resident Leslie teaching young people how to crochet ‘worry worms’. Greenwich Dance distributed free tea, coffee and biscuits to all who came.
TARU Arts. Photo: Kinga Dawid
Leslie's Crochet. Photo: Kinga Dawid
We hope you enjoyed this year’s Summer in the Park events!