The Square Mile is putting on a show this summer as Fantastic Feats: the Building of London takes over the area with an impressive lineup of live performances and activities.
All who call the City home are being invited to scale the heights of imagination and celebrate towering triumphs of architecture, invention and engineering during the City Corporation-led Fantastic Feats: The Building of London programme. Here’s a sample of what’s on offer:
During this month-long festival, Leadenhall Market will host Victorian-inspired musical performances, theatrical re-enactments, craft workshops, storytelling sessions, and historical tours. Find circus performers, magicians, poets and storytellers in the City’s famous Victorian marketplace.
20 May until 20 June, free
Leadenhall Market EC3V 1LT
Go Roman for the day. Start with a visit to London’s Roman Amphitheatre, where gladiators and animals fought for the entertainment of the people of Londinium. Then walk to the Billingsgate Roman House and Baths and discover how the ancient Romans liked to relax. Suitable for families with children aged seven and up.
31 May, 11am-2.30pm, free but tickets must be booked in advance
Start at Guildhall Art Gallery, Gresham Street EC2V 5AE
Be inspired by today’s architects and engineers and scale models of London to complete a series of hands-on challenges related to the Capital’s man-made environment. This three-day half-term course is for children who love designing, making and building. Learn about the pioneers who built the city from the Victorian era to the modern day, and discover the people behind groundbreaking engineering feats like Tower Bridge and London’s underground sewers.
31 May until 2 June, daily 10.30am-3pm, admission £15
The City Centre, Basinghall Street EC2V 5AR
Explore the historic boundaries of St Lawrence Jewry and find out about the renewal and refurbishment of the church fabric.
10 June, 6pm, admission: £15 including reception.
St Lawrence Jewry, Gresham Street EC2V 5AA
Sir Thomas Gresham was a fascinating figure; he was a successful Elizabethan financier who built the Royal Exchange, but was he also a gun-runner and spy? Drawing on his new biography of Gresham, John Guy commemorates the 500th anniversary of the birth of the man who left some of his vast fortune to found Gresham College, providing the ‘new learning’ of the Elizabethan era to the public, for free.
13 June, 6pm-7pm, free but booking recommended
Guildhall Old Library, Basinghall Street EC2V 7HH
This spectacular outdoor show by Italian company Teatro dei Venti brings Captain Ahab’s ship and his obsessive search for revenge to the City. With ingenious staging, theatre, dance, circus and music, this timely reinvention of Melville’s classic novel explores themes of migration and the fear of the unknown. Part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.
22 June, 8pm, free
Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AE
This family day will explore London above and below ground, from Roman times to the modern era. Taking inspiration from the Guildhall Art Gallery’s collections, help to create an art installation on the architecture and engineering of London, and take part in activities throughout the day as well as storytelling and a family trail.
22 June, 11am-4pm, free
Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AE
City Beerfest is a celebration of one of the world’s oldest inventions and raises money for three causes championed by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Enjoy a pint (or two) of some of the finest craft ales and beers in London and support the Samaritans, Place2Be and OnSide Youth Zones. The money raised enables them to continue delivering ground-breaking programmes that help change, and save, lives. Celebrating its sixth year, City Beerfest is a joint initiative between the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, City Music Foundation and the Worshipful Company of Brewers.
18 July, 12.30pm-9pm, free to enter, beer packages available from £13 (plus booking fee)
Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AE
Tender Touches will leave you a little bamboozled but altogether satisfied. Co-curators Inês Neto dos Santos and Huma Kabakci have created a cafe inside the AMP Gallery, which itself is an art installation and experience. Yes, give yourselves a moment to wrap your head around that concept. Everything – from the food to the furniture and the tableware – is both a functional object and an artwork. Blurring the lines between the gallery, the studio and the dining room, Tender Touches will host a series of talks, supper clubs and performances, taking place among new commissions by a group of international emerging artists.
Drawing on the food-based practice of Portuguese artist and co-curator of the exhibition, Inês Neto dos Santos, the exhibition aims to bring people together through food, using it as a catalyst for conversation and debate. A further 11 artists will create new commissions that make up every element of the cafe. It’s one of the few times you’re encouraged to play with your food.
17 May – 30 June
One Acorn Parade SE15 2TZ
Lead Image by Jamie Smith