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Dateline: 27th June, 2007

Watch This Space publicity graphic

Watch This Space

From the 6th July to 16th September the National Theatre will again be presenting Watch This Space, its summer programme of events in Theatre Square.

From 6th to 8th July, because the Tour de France is passing through London, the focus is on cycling, and the centrepiece is The Bicycle Ballet. Think, says the publicity, Busby Berkeley on wheels! There's also, among other events, the eco-friendly Rinky Dink Bicycle Powered Sound System and a unicycle hockey match!

From 11th to 14th July the theme is Water, Water Everywhere: inspired by The Tempest, Avanti Display’s Storm Bringer conjures up an explosive outdoor spectacle with an epic collision of fire and water. Avanti draw on 20 years of theatrical alchemy to create a dazzling original performance. Also this week, look out for hula-hooping air hostesses, Maori dancers, anarchic escapology and a knitted river.

In Global Rhythms (18th to 21st July) Watch This Space resounds to rhythms from around the world as a truly international week kicks off the wide array of musical events at this year’s festival. Enjoy the sounds of Egyptian experts, groundbreaking Ghanaian guitars and musicians from the Med, as well as the Belgian charms of a miniature circus and thrilling acrobatics in Mimbre’s new NT co-commissioned show, The Bridge.

From 25th to 28th July Drama from Poland is there themes and features the UK premiere of a new production by one of Poland’s finest theatre companies. Teatr Biuro Podrózy’s adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness promises all the chilling drama and breathtaking spectacle for which they are famous. Their previous productions include Carmen Funebre and Swiniopolis. In an entirely different vein, this is the week to visit the quirky Insect Circus Museum.

From 30th July to 4th August, as well as continuing performances of HofD, this week sees the arrival of Fresh Faces – the National’s circus graduate scheme. Also look out for feisty Flamenco; edgy comedy, where everything is not quite as cuddly or fluffy as it seems; and, in a National Theatre first, Friday night is Bingo Night – courtesy of the delightful Miss Ida Barr. On Saturday, bring the children along for A Day to Play and then in the evening it’s club night on the fly tower with Addictive TV.

6th to 11th August sees the return of one of the hit productions from 2006: Arquiem, an outdoor promenade performance by British company Periplum, features haunting music, stilts, pyrotechnics, acrobatics and beautifully crafted mobile structures. Also on this week’s bill are music from Cuba and Ethiopia, more fresh-faced circus performance, and the cautionary tale of an extraordinary compost heap.

Rag Roof Theatre’s Shall We Dance? waltzes its way into the Square from 13th to 18th August with great charm and sophistication and the all-female Mimbre make their second visit to the National this year, with The Bridge – fittingly performed beside Waterloo Bridge – known, because of its post-war female construction team, as ‘The Ladies’ Bridge’.

From 30th July right through to 21st August it's the turn of Fresh Faces, the National’s Circus Graduate Scheme. The National has commissioned five brand new street theatre shows, performed by recent graduates of Circus Space and Circomedia: Jane Brummitt, Gonzalo Fernandez, Revital Gottshalk, Matt Pang and Paddy Waters. Your chance to see the circus stars of the future as they develop their skills before your eyes.

From 24th to 27th August it's the Bank Holiday Dance Weekend. From Bollywood to Ballroom, Foxtrot to Flamenco, and Cha-cha to Capoeira – it’s your chance to dance in Theatre Square. Great bands – as well as shows, classes and DJs – provide music to make you move, turning Theatre Square into a sparkling open air ballroom.

Waterloo Sunset (29th August - 1st September) features The Psychic Detective (and those disappeared) benchtours, Is It Me? by Fullstop Acrobatic Theatre, Cirque Bijou and The I Scream Van Fuse, whilst in the last days (7th - 16 September), every day in BBC Blast up to 150 young people will have the opportunity to work with artists, designers and BBC experts, sharing ideas and creative skills in the fields of fashion, animation, music performance, dance, film-making and VJing. Events are free, and designed for people aged between 13 and 19 years of all ability levels. To register your interest or to book for a class or group, email


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©Peter Lathan 2007