This August Bank Holiday Sunday (25 Aug), Culture Mile presents Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure, a fantastical free street party where the animals top the bill, curated by the Museum of London. Learn how to dance like a bee, look up and watch extraordinary aerialists fly through the sky, transform your perspectives with freerunning classes and animal amusements and learn how to care for the animals that live alongside us.
In this year’s take on Culture Mile’s annual festival, all London’s animals – past, present or future, large and small, rare and familiar – will be taking over the streets around Smithfield Market for one day only to teach humans the secret ways of their world.
Imagined, visible or overlooked, larger than life or miniscule, all the animals will make an appearance at an unmissable party full of music, performances, workshops, games and play with 10,000 human party animals in one of Smithfield’s wildest events of the year. Inspired by the original Bartholomew’s Fair and the Museum of London and Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Beasts of London experience, Smithfield Street Party invites all of London’s families, including their four legged canine members, to come and take part in a day full of free beastly fun.
Grand Avenue – welcome to the Soaring Smithfield Canopy where an exciting line up of aerialists swing from the rafters creating a dazzling spectacle in the Victorian iron structures of the Central markets. Expect performances from brilliant companies such as Extraordinary Bodies and Upswing and more to be announced soon. Audiences can create their own winged creations with Scribble and Smudge and watch giant bird puppets from Artillery. Transform yourself into a magical creature with masks, face painting and headdresses. And change your perspectives through a series of interactive wild installations.
Rotunda Garden – this is the magical Beastly Den. Be sure to bring your wild ideas to create mythical creatures and habitats and add them to the House of Wayward Plants and watch it grow as the day passes. Get a wiggle on and do as the bees do with a waggle dance workshop. Get up close and personal with the mini-beasts including some not-so-mini Giant Snails and hissing cockroaches from SunTrap. Learn about the different habitats animals live in and how to care for the world around us. Coney’s young change-makers, The Young Coneys, want to talk to you about the animals of our world. They’ll take to the streets at Smithfield’s Market with their uniquely designed puppets to spark a conversation on animal conservation. Will you make a change to help save them?
Long Lane – visit the Watering Hole for a bevy of refreshments, world foods and local delicacies. Or bring a picnic and grab a seat.
Round the West Smithfield Rotunda – Wild Rotunda Plains offers a whole host of free activities including London’s Biggest Play Street – where you can go wild, build a den or run through the urban world as never seen before: Learn to look at the world through the eyes of a cat with beginner’s parkour classes. Hear the stories of some of London’s young women created with artist Jenny Moore. Have a go on The Rig and make the sounds of the beasts around us. Visit the Tall Tails Tent to take some time out from all the fun. This is a space to relax and unwind for the littlest party animals with storytelling and chill-out zones. Sit and devour a book or listen to storytellers tell winding tales.
A host of other activities for all ages will animate the ancient streets throughout the day including bands, choirs, craft market stalls, zine-making workshops, history tours with The City Guides, dog shows, fun fair rides and lots of surprises.
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure will continue the fun and strong sense of community from last year’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Smithfield Market and is the culmination of Play the Mile, Culture Mile’s first season of extended activity. This annual event brings together people from all walks of life and takes us one step closer to realising our ambition to redefine the Square Mile – already established as a leading global financial centre – as a world-class destination for culture, heritage and creativity.”
Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said: “This is definitely the year of the Beasts! We cannot wait to take over the historic Smithfield streets once again and put on a wild street party like no other. Just down the road from where the new Museum of London will be in a few years, this is a wonderful example of how Culture Mile partners and the Smithfield Markets Tenants Association can come together to put on a truly spectacular, free show for Londoners and visitors in the heart of the City. Bring your family, friends and your dogs to enjoy free fun, festivities and food for one day only.”
Toby Peach, the Director of participating organisation The Young Coneys, said: “The Young Coneys is an opportunity for young people to come together and make things for others, especially grownups, to play. We are very excited to share our work with the party animals of Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure this August. Members of The Young Coneys will join in the wild fun by parading through the festival with their creative and unique self-made puppets, mighty megaphones and roaring great puns to help spark a conversation about how we might each be able to help the animals we share our world with.“
Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure is the culmination of Play the Mile, Culture Mile’s first extended season of activity, which takes place from 18 May – 25 August. There is something for everyone and it is free to all with 2,000 years of history colliding across two new outdoor spaces, ten new site specific music commissions, twenty-five unique venues to explore, and fifty free regular performances all celebrating the value of play and creativity in everyday life.
Plans for Culture Mile were announced in July 2017 as a new home for contemporary culture in the ancient heart of London’s working capital. It’s a partnership of four leading UK arts, culture and learning institutions led by the City of London Corporation together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London. Stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate, Culture Mile inspires visitors to wander winding medieval streets, marvel at architectural wonders and experience incredible music, theatre and art all in one day with imaginative collaborations, outdoor programming and events seven days a week. Culture Mile fosters collaboration and innovation and champions the social and economic value of creativity within the area as it welcomes visitors both local and international with its diverse offer of programming and soon an additional 1.5 million visitors a year will be within a 45-minute journey of the area when the Elizabeth Line becomes fully operational and the North-South Thameslink line is upgraded.
Museum of London is a National Portfolio Organisation supported by Arts Council England