music, dance, theatre and art

Content by Chloe Nelkin Consulting

Totally Thames’ fantastic annual season of over 100 events celebrating the River Thames is back for the month of September

Saturday 1 – Sunday 30 September

This year’s programme will look at the river as an inspiration and source of creativity connecting London to other cities around the world.  It will also celebrate the heritage of our river and illuminate the long-standing traditions and unique stories the river holds. Totally Thames will give Londoners and visitors the opportunity to take part in a programme of arts, culture, heritage and active events including foreshore archaeological walks, a poetry boat party and live music under the river in Tower Bridge’s Bascule Chambers!

Rivers of the World  gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, London SE1 9PH  Wed 29 Aug – Sun 9 Sep

Boathouse Creative Studios, Malthouse, 62-76 Abbey Road, Barking IG11 7BT  Wed 19 – Sat 29 Sep

Rivers of the World is a Thames Festival Trust project in partnership with the British Council which has worked with 30,000 12-14 year olds in 30 countries around the world to inspire young people to learn about rivers through art and creativity. 

This exhibition of river-inspired artwork has been created by young people from around the world working in collaboration with professional artists to explore and express what rivers mean to communities today.  This year’s exhibition will feature work from Barking & Dagenham, Exeter, Worcester in the UK as well as Kenya, Malawi and Palestine.  

The World’s Oldest Boat Race Guildhall Yard, Aldermanbury EC2V 7HH Thu 6 – Sun 23 September  

The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge is the world’s oldest continually competed sporting event started in 1715. This incredible rowing race is competed in every year by apprentice river workers on the Thames. This year, Totally Thames will delve into this tradition passed down through generations of Thames watermen, hosting the race itself on Tuesday 4 September, and exploring its rich heritage in a series of outdoor exhibitions.

Using recorded oral histories, photographic portraits by Hydar Dewachi, and 100 years of archive material made publicly accessible for the first time, The World’s Oldest Boat Race brings to life this hidden history at the heart of London. It encompasses stories of family pride and family rivalry, and the passion that kept Doggett’s race alive through two World Wars, a schism between ‘gentlemen amateur’ and ‘professional’ rowers, the decline of the docks and a fast-changing capital.

Mother Danube: Mon 24 – Sat 29 Sep The R.A.P. Party: Wed 12 Sep, 7.30pm

In Conversation with Ben Aaronovitch: Mon 3 Sep, 6pm Various Locations

Throughout September, literary events inspired by the river will explore its social, cultural and historic role as a source of inspiration for writers.

Mother Danube will see a week of free performance at various unique and riverside locations, with storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton and musician Emma Clare, will take a magical journey across Europe evoking the River Danube. 

Inua Ellams brings an exhilarating, vibrant, live literature event in The R.A.P Party aboard the beautiful Dixie Queen to sail down the Thames. Featuring a stellar line-up of spoken word artists performing poems inspired by hip hop culture whilst a DJ plays a kaleidoscope of tracks for a laid back, poetry-infused nostalgic boat party.

There will also be a unique opportunity to hear from London born and bred writer Ben Aaronovitch who wrote the hugely successful, Sunday Times best-selling urban fantasy crime fiction series Rivers of London.

Bascule Chamber Concerts South Bascule Chamber, Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP Thurs 20 – Sun 23 Sep, various times

Composer and curator Iain Chambers returns to fill the atmospheric subterranean Victorian space in Tower Bridge with a brand-new programme of works, including commissioned spoken word performances and an immersive sound walk exploring London’s greatest hidden space.  The concerts will feature music, vocal and poetry works from the Marian Consort, Tabla player Kuljit Bhamra and storyteller Rae Levine.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, comments Totally Thames is a fantastic celebration of London’s historic 42-mile River Thames. It brings together Londoners young and old, with a range of over 100 artistic, participatory and community activities and events across the city – whether you’re in Richmond, Southwark, Greenwich or Barking and Dagenham. From the World’s Oldest Boat Race to the Rivers of the World programme, there is something for everyone and I encourage everyone – whether you’re a Londoner or one of our many visitors – to come along and enjoy one of London’s most spectacular cultural celebrations.

Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England, says I am pleased we are able to support Totally Thames again this year. This is a festival that brings together local communities, boroughs, businesses and tourists, and in doing so it gives a multitude of audiences the chance to not only see, but experience, the river through the eyes and imagination of leading artists. The 2018 programme looks stronger than ever, and I am thrilled it will be connecting young people from across the London boroughs, with those across the world.

Director of Corporate Affairs at PLA, Alistair Gale, comments We’re really excited to see such a diverse programme of activities in the first year of our increased support for Totally Thames.  Our goal, as part of the Thames Vision, is to see as many people connect with the river as possible.  This year’s programme is set to inspire interest in the Thames for the first time – or re-spark a glowing ember of historic interest – whether celebrating the rivers of the world, enjoying the spectacle of the Doggetts race or taking in the pop up literary events inspired by the river.

Thames Festival Trust

The Thames Festival Trust is an arts organisation which delivers festivals, stand-alone commissions, river-based events, heritage projects and education programmes. They have a twenty-one year track record of using learning, culture and creativity to amaze, excite and inform. Their work helps bring communities together, originally around the River Thames, and now in cities across the UK and the world. 

Totally Thames is an annual season of surprising, diverse and accessible arts and culture throughout the month of September on, beneath and along the River Thames curated and managed by the Thames Festival Trust.  

Supported by Arts Council England, Port of London Authority and the Mayor of London. Totally Thames also gratefully acknowledges the support of the British Council, City of London, European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom, Foyle Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Kingston First, MBNA Thames Clippers, M&G Investments, Romanian Cultural Institute, Southwark Council, Team London Bridge, Thames Water, The Elmley Foundation, The Livett’s Group, The Rothschild Foundation, and WaterAid.

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