River Stage Festival 2018


Wednesday 13 June 2018


Festivals - Free events - National Theatre

London's largest free outdoor arts festival returns for a fourth year this July and August with five weekends of live music, DJ's, family workshops, club nights and theatre from the National Theatre and friends ...
River Stage Festival - Mrs H and the Singalong Band (c) James Bellorini

River Stage - Mrs H and the Singalong Band (c) James Bellorini


Returning for a fourth year, the National Theatre's River Stage Festival is a FREE festival running over five weekends from Friday 13 July to Sunday 12 August.


Last year saw more than 40,000 people attend, making it London's biggest free outdoor arts festival.


A selection of London's finest street food and drink stalls will be on hand for refreshments and it all takes place around the River Stage outside the National Theatre on London's South Bank.


Each weekend, a different company takes over the programming with their acts and artists.


This year there are takeovers from ...


The Glory - 13 to 15 July


Kicking-off the festival for the third year on Friday 13 July is London's leading queer performance venue and popular night spot The Glory.


A dazzling army of drag queens, underground stars, club kids and cult comedians will create another totally unique family-friendly showcase for what has become an annual highlight for the capital's LGBT+ community.


Highlights include a re-working of Liza With A Z, a Madonna-themed cabaret special and Jonny Woo's new show with double Olivier award winner Le Gateau Chocolat.


HOME Manchester - 20 to 22 July


HOME Manchester return to the River Stage from Friday 20 July, following last year's spectacular debut, bringing an eclectic, diverse line-up of northern performers and musicians to the capital, showing London the best of what Manchester has to offer.


Starting with an 'If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It' opening night featuring sequin-clad satirical weirdos Bourgeois & Maurice and Manchester legend Dave Haslam, the weekend will feature pop-up theatre from The Manchester Project, suffragette sash workshops with Mighty Heart Theatre, live music from MIRO and spoken word from Young Identity to name a few.


Saturday evening will culminate with 'champion of good music' and Hacienda legend DJ Paulette on the decks.


Sadler's Wells - 27 to 29 July


Making its River Stage debut, Sadler's Wells presents a range of dance styles from 27 July, with hip hop, ballroom, traditional Indian kathak dance, contemporary and flamenco.


Alongside performances, there will be participatory workshops to get visitors moving including yoga, a family friendly workshop and a ceilidh.


nonclassical - 3 to 5 August


Also debuting at River Stage is nonclassical, who take to the stage from Friday 3 August, bringing together the best in new classical, electronic and experimental music.


On Friday night, Klavikon (Leon Michener) plays live techno prepared piano, including hamster wheel, before Tom Richards presents an idiosyncratic and infectious demonstration of his modular synthesizer setup.


Elsewhere, there's renaissance music and live improvisations from cello trio Tre Voci; an exploration of the work of 20th century female composers from Sarah Dacey; music for cello and tape, plus jazz vibraphone, from Cecilia Bignall; a unique performance of Gabriel Prokofiev's 'Cello Multitracks', led by Peter Gregson; the joyfully anarchic jazz/classical/rock collective DOLLYman; while DJs across the weekend include Late Junction's Nick Luscombe and the genre-bending turntablist Mr Switch.


National Theatre - 10 to 12 August


The final festival weekend sees the National Theatre taking over the programme with a mix of family focused workshops, sing along bands, a groundbreaking new circus show, a tea dance and live music and DJ's.


The weekend will end with a screening of the National Theatre Live recording of the NT's recent production of Stephen Sondheim's classic musical Follies, winner of Best Musical Revival at this year's Olivier awards starring Olivier award winning actress Imelda Staunton.


Hertz is the Official Transport Provider to the National Theatre, and will be supporting the weekend with a series of fun activities and prize giveaways.


The full line-up for each weekend of the festival has been announced and you'll find full details here, and to give you a flavour of what to expect, here's the trailer form last year ...



The National's artistic director, Rufus Norris said ...


"I am delighted that River Stage is back for the 4th year running - it's been such a resounding success for the past 3 years, and has become a vital part of our summer programming.


This year's festival is set to be as thrilling as ever and I am really pleased that we are partnering, once again, with a wide range of organisations from around the UK.


The eclectic mix of artists - some familiar faces from previous years and some brand new - will be bringing their music, dance, theatre and more so there will be something for everyone.


And the key thrill for me is seeing the crowds of new faces that River Stage brings to the South Bank.


We're looking forward to welcoming everyone in July.''


Check our listings for ...


Check-out our listings for pantos and Christmas shows