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Celebrating Totally Thames

Updated: Mar 23

The annual celebration Totally Thames returned on 1st September and runs until the end of the month. This year with another creative and diverse program is set to inspire. Here are some of the events you don't want to miss!

Thames Barge Parade 2016 ©Nigel Pepper

Celebrating Totally Thames Festival, London

The River Thames travels over 210 miles, starting as a small trickle in the Cotswolds, right into the centre of London, and out into the North Sea. Yet, many Londoners have never engaged with the river.

This year Totally Thames will include 150 events on, beneath, and beside the River Thames, Londoners and visitors alike can take part in an exciting programme of arts, cultural, archaeological, and active river events including concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, installations, performances, walks, a boat party, and even a wild swim!

This year’s programme is curated around the timely issue of plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans, Handel’s 300th Anniversary of Water Music, and stories of the river.

The Handlebards

Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution and river litter are timely global environmental issues which not only affects the Thames, and waterways but also our oceans. The World Economic Forum has predicted there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight by 2050.

This is highlighted in Future Dust, an installation by artist Maria Arceo (throughout September); for the last year, Arceo has been collecting plastic from over 40 beaches along the tidal Thames down to the Estuary. By beachcombing, handpicking, identifying, and colour-coding found plastic debris, she will create a large-scale artwork that responds to the sheer scale of plastic litter that is being deposited into the Thames.

The installation will tour different riverside locations across London and will be illuminated at dusk by Dutch interactive light artist Tim Scheffer. The Plastic Ocean Festival runs over the month with screenings of the film A Plastic Ocean, which David Attenborough has described as one of the most important films of our time, environmental talks, paddle boarding, and river clean-ups to encourage direct action.

A Plastic Ocean, We Need a Wave of Change

300th Anniversary of Handel's Water Music

300th Anniversary of Handel's Water Music Composer Iain Chambers returns with his third edition of the Bascule Chamber Concerts (22nd – 24th September) inside the cavernous bascule chamber of Tower Bridge.

The programme of new works includes a response to the 300th anniversary of Water Music from Langham Research Centre that uses live recordings of the bridge’s river and road sounds. The intimate concerts will also feature performances from clarinetist Kate Romano, and spoken word artist Kayo Chingonyi plus award-winning Franco-Cameroonian singer Coco Mbassi will perform a new work imagining the conversations happening onboard boats carrying immigrants. On the shore, Kid’s Choir (17th September) sees 400 Primary School children from across London come together at The Scoop to perform an array of songs including a contemporary response to Handel’s Water Music by Hunter Cobblentz.