Bloomsbury Festival 2020
Bloomsbury Festival 2020 runs from Friday 16 – Sunday 25 October with over 100 events taking place in venues, outdoors, on railings, online and on Bloomsbury Radio.
Highlights of this year’s festival include the Bloomsbury Festival Comissioned Opinion Pole by Artists YARA + DAVINA. Fresh from Arrivals + Departures, currently exhibited at Somerset House, Opinion Pole invites the community to share their personal visions of the future on traditional maypole ribbons. (Various locations throughout the festival, FREE – just turn up).
Also opening on the 16th is an exhibition from NEW WAVE Art Prize Winner Claire-Anne Abi Ola (Throughout, The Building Centre, FREE – just turn up). Inspired by her British and West-African heritage the works play with patterns, shapes and optical illusions and use fabrics and textiles that her family wears.
There are more exhibitions to be discovered around the streets of Bloomsbury including photography from Catherine Packard and Luke Allen with further exhibitions hosted online.
Bren Gosling returns after his sell-out 2018 festival performance of Moment of Grace with Invisible Me. Turning 60 Bren saw himself thinking about lives lived, lives lost, and lives yet to happen. Three characters in modern-day London experience different forms of isolation in this surprising and darkly comic show (Online from Conway Hall, 20 Oct, 7pm, £12, limited live audience).
In the beautiful Holy Cross Church is Virginia Woolf: Killing the Angel, weaving Woolf’s own words with songs from female composers who were her contempories, Lucy Stevens and Elizabeth Marcus continue their dramatic exploration of women in music. (25 Oct, 7pm, £12 – live, socially distanced audience).
Unsightly Drag features blind and visually impaired performers across the LGBTQQIA+ spectrum, there is also comedy from visually impaired comedians at EYE SAY, EYE SAY, EYE, SAY! (both online from Goodenough College, from £5, EYE SAY, EYE SAY, EYE SAY – 6.30pm, Unsightly Drag 8.30pm).
VISIONING THE FUTURE HUB
The Visioning the Future Hub at Conway Hall is a two day gathering of academics, performers, creators and thinkers covering topics including sustainable fashion, AI, quantum physics, urban futures, innovation in emergencies and diversity in climate action. All free, but booking is essential, and available online with some limited live audiences (Online and live from Conway Hall, various times, 17 and 18 Oct).
Ensemble Matters give the world premiere of Owen Ho’s Romantic Remnants – Music for Dance, Videography, and Photography. Combining all four elements in a search for romanticism inspired by an old song by Schumann with dance and projections. (Online from Goodenough College, 25 Oct, 6pm, £12)
At The Colours of Music, pianist Anna Szałucka and cellist Margarita Balanas discover the link between sound and visual art. They perform works by Szymanowski, Ravel and Arvo Part while live painting occurs around them. (Online and live from Conway Hall, 17 Oct, 8pm, £12)
Rosemary Richards, Director of Bloomsbury Festival said: “The Bloomsbury Festival team has worked incredibly hard to make sure as many events as possible were programmed to be deliverable within the current government guidance. We will remain flexible up to the last minute but we know we can offer some fantastic events – including performances, exhibitions and talks through a variety of live and media events. This year it is has been vital to keep the creative energy alive, both for us, for Bloomsbury and for the artists, performers and academics we work with. Our radio station and Festival in a Box deliveries also allow us to keep the local community closely involved. And of course for our audiences we have been keen to offer as wide a programme as possible in a year when so much has been cancelled. We cannot wait to share the wonderful work of the festival later this month.”
Live events are ticketed as online in the first instance, currently many venues will allow a limited live audience – in the run up to the event ticket holders will be offered the chance to attend in person – but always have the option to remain a digital viewer in which case the offer will be made to another booker.
At all times the festival has plans in place to cope with any changes to the guidance and considers public health our top priority.