Top attractions have been unveiled for the City’s spectacular immersive theatre day – one of London’s biggest free events – which takes place on Saturday 15 October.
The must-see adventure, called The Golden Key, will run from midday to sunset, and feature over 30 independent theatre companies and 200 performers bringing London’s stories to life in an extravaganza of fun.
St Paul’s Cathedral Churchyard, the historic Guildhall Yard, and the London Wall High Walks will host street festivals, featuring giant puppets, circus performers, contemporary dancers, jugglers, storytellers, and interactive theatre.
And in a dramatic end to the event at sunset, there will be three ‘fire finales’ at each festival, with breathtaking performances, flaming beacons, and a thrilling fire garden.
From London Wall to the Museum of London, the City’s High Walks will transform into a pop-up storytelling promenade, bringing to life fascinating moments of the Square Mile’s history. Storytellers, poets and puppeteers will share the lesser-known stories of the City, from ancient tales of Roman Londinium to shopkeepers and Suffragettes.
Guildhall Yard will showcase stunning acrobatics displays around a giant key. Stilt walkers, giant puppets and three different contemporary brass bands will parade throughout the day. Meanwhile, the ancient Guildhall’s underground Crypt will explore London’s vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, with drag and cabaret acts and DJs.
Guildhall’s Great Hall will house Future City, where London’s young people are invited to reimagine and build their dream city. And Guildhall’s Roman Amphitheatre will host a dazzling circus show.
St Paul’s Churchyard will host a bustling marketplace, inspired by Cheapside, home to one of London’s oldest markets. There will be interactive performances from poetry to puppetry, an outdoor circus show, and musical acts spanning the rich folk tunes of Eastern Europe, to pulsating rhythms from Africa and Cuba, celebrating the City’s internationalism and diversity.
Doors to The Maze of Adventures will appear across the City, opening up multiple adventures guided via smartphone, each ending with a secret immersive performance in a range of exciting venues, from hidden gardens to listed buildings.
Audiences are invited to join The Hunt to crack the riddles and rhymes of the City of London and find the prize of a golden key.
Square Mile cafes, pubs, bars, and restaurants will also host after parties so people can continue their evenings after the event.
Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation, Chris Hayward, said: “This is set to be one of London’s most special and spectacular events, attracting a huge audience from across the capital and well beyond. We’re promising fantastic fun for everyone– and best of all it’s free.
“For one extraordinary day, the incredible story of the City will be brought to life, and visitors will be able to savour a huge array of exciting venues, hidden spaces, must-see attractions, and captivating interactive performances. A key event in London’s calendar, this is not a day to miss.”
The Golden Key, produced by BAFTA award-winning charity CONEY, is the first major event planned by the City Corporation under its new Destination City programme.
Launched in May, the initiative will transform the Square Mile’s leisure offer, creating a leading destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.