Three very diverse cultural experiences.

09 October 2017

Region: London

Celebrating London – Yesterday (Saturday) was a busy day!

I had three very diverse cultural experiences.

Beginning at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank for their China Changing Festival – “a day of dance, theatre, music, talks, …. and events exploring contemporary Chinese art, culture and identity”, I started with a Square Dancing Performance: How do you guangchang wu? - which was obviously great fun for the participants who had been formed and rehearsed in Soho specifically to do their dances at Southbank. 

This was followed by Little Soldier Zhang Ga - a traditional / modern performance piece about the uplifting tale of one boy’s solidarity and spirit in the face of conflict in a tale for all the family enacted through puppetry and physical theatre by the director of War Horse China.  It was great fun to watch, but difficult to photograph!











Then off to Russell Square to catch up with the World Zombie Day: London - an annual charity walk from Harrington Square Garden (Mornington Crescent) to Freemason’s Hall, Holborn; followed by a party at the Piccadilly Institute!  The event was asking everyone involved (participant or spectator) to donate to St Mungo’s ( ). 

When I arrived in the gardens there was a three-piece band playing who could have been resurrected unchanged from a 70’s punk concert!  And were playing to an audience of about a dozen zombies and about 20 humans.   After a short wait, the zombies arrived in waves due to having to wait for the pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights.

Many participants had taken great efforts to appear to be a zombie with prosthetics on their faces and elaborate costumes– I think some may have been replicas of famous film zombies.  There were a few who looked as if they were practicing for Halloween.  And some who appeared to live the life they represented by walking around controlled by someone holding reigns which were attached to their backs by climbing carabiners hooked through the skin in their backs - like a pair of gigantic nose rings!

Then off to Wimbledon Common to the Wimbledon Bookfest 2017 which somewhat surreally had the “Wimbledon International Short Film Festival” – for Saturday night only!  14 films between 15 and 2 minutes long in just over two hours – all very different and all high quality and entertaining / thought provoking.

Without the inspiration of Celebrating London, I would not have gone to the China Changing Festival or the World Zombie Day; I would have intended to go to the short films, but probably not got organised!

The lesson for me is: - “Celebrating London is great because it gets me to things I wouldn’t normally think of going to, let alone actually go to!”


David Hicks

Celebrating London Project Co-ordinator                                                               All images © David Hicks