2 August

The biggest ever outdoor fair is coming to The City this August!

Taking place from 31 August to 16 September, the City of London will host an epic recreation of Bartholomew Fair this summer with over 30 free events, live performances, and unique spectacles in a contemporary reimagining of the capital’s greatest historic event.
The exciting full programme includes the world-premieres of RESURGAM, a stunning vertical dance performance on St Paul’s Cathedral; Dinner for All, a major immersive theatrical circus experience; Carnesky’s Showwomxn Spectacular, a new promenade theatrical show directed by Olivier award winner Marisa Carnesky; and 1133 the latest joyful immersive experience by the multi-award-winning non-binary artist Kit Green. 

The fair is part of the City of London Corporation’s Destination City programme, which sets out a vision for the Square Mile to become a world-leading leisure destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

Bartholomew Fair, which dates back to the 12th century and was last held in 1855, began as a cloth fair and quickly became London’s pre-eminent event, entertaining visitors for over 700 years. It drew acts and crowds from all over the country and further afield. The City’s revival, sees a programme of UK and internationally-renowned artists bringing a modern twist in a spectacular celebration of contemporary culture and the City of London’s unique heritage.

Other events include a striking night-time projection installation by imitating the dog, creating an illuminated journey through the City’s streets - and Charity SuperMkt, the award-winning multi-charity fashion pop-up market curated by Maria Chenoweth, CEO of the sustainable clothing charity, TRAID and Wayne Hemingway, co-founder of HemingwayDesign and co- founder of British fashion brand, Red or Dead.

Bartholomew Fair will take place across iconic City locations including Paternoster Square, Aldgate Square, Leadenhall Market, Broadgate and Smithfield Market every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 

The must-see highlights include:

Week One: 31 August – 2 September

Paternoster Square, St Paul’s Churchyard, Carter Lane Gardens, Carter Lane and New Street Square.

RESURGAM by BANDALOOP is a performance which sees vertical dancers suspended from the iconic façade of St Paul’s Cathedral, taking place at 6:15pm each night. Also featured as part of Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2023 Programme. 

1133 by KIT GREEN, the Olivier-award-winning artist, brings a punchy and provocative reworking of Bartholomew Fair by Ben Jonson (1614) to Festival Gardens. 

Primus 15ft6 is an explosive multi-disciplinary circus show from a leading Belgium-based circus company taking place at St Paul’s Churchyard.

Funny Business by Fraser Hooper guarantees giggles galore. This hilarious show, from a festival favourite and internationally award-winning clown, features a stunt duck, a human fish and the silliest boxing match you have ever seen. 

Week Two: 7 – 9 September

Aldgate Square, Middlesex Street, Broadgate, Finsbury Avenue Square and 100 Liverpool Street

Dinner for All, by Gorilla Circus, is a major immersive theatrical circus experience celebrating the rich history of Bartholomew Fair told through a dinner service like no other. Turning Broadgate Circle into a stage for daring and impressive circus stunts and tricks at 6:15pm daily. Delivered in collaboration with British Land. 

Eau de Memoire by Miss High Leg Kicks is an interactive, fun show in Aldgate Square celebrating the rich experiences and memories evoked by our sense of smell. Featuring a unique Bartholomew Fair fragrance that will transport audiences back to 1855.

The Lips by Puppets with Guts is a big puppet singalong show. The Lips reanimate our favourite songs, celebrate our shared love of popular music and uphold our freedom to speak out through a luminous pop-puppetry lip-sync performance, taking place at Broadgate.  

Follow Me Into by imitating the dog, is a series of projection installations that weaves a magical story through the City of London at night, as a child embarks on a quest across its landscape, encountering figures from the city’s past – each with a story to tell, each with a talent to pass on. Creating an extraordinary journey through its intriguing streets and hidden squares. Taking place at New Street Square, Aldgate School, St Botolph’s Without Bishopsgate, St Stephen Walbrook, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Broadgate.

Volo: dreams of flight by Studio Go Go is an exciting Leonardo da Vinci-inspired virtual reality playground swing experience.

Week Three: 14 – 16 September

Cloth Fair, Smithfield Rotunda Gardens, Grand Avenue, Smithfield Market, Lloyd's of London, The Cheesegrater and Leadenhall Market. 

Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular, is a promenade performance experience with an amazing cast of circus, variety and rare skilled womxn performers in a special street show. With specially designed unique sideshow stages, original story telling and jaw-dropping acts - Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular unearths extraordinary herstories of London's womxn performers past and present. Directed by Olivier-award-winner Marisa Carnesky taking places on Grand Avenue in Smithfield Market and Cloth Fair.
White Wings, by Close-Act Theatre is a larger-than-life stilt performance which floats above audiences. As elegant dancers use their large wings to enchant and impress 1.5m above the crowds, accompanies by a platoon of drummers. Starting outside the Lloyd’s of London building at 6.15pm on Saturday 16th September. 
Spark!, by Worldbeaters is a unique and captivating performance where mysterious characters made of light and sound take audiences on a mesmerising journey. With high-impact drumming and vibrant musical arrangements, lighting design, choreography, dazzling costumes, and lovable characters: this is a must-see. Taking place around The Scalpel, Lloyd’s of London and Leadenhall Market.
Mat Ricardo - a unique, hilarious one-man show from the world’s most critically acclaimed variety artist. Scalpel sharp wit and astonishing skills honed over three decades travelling the world’s stages, streets and spiegel tents come together to create big tricks and big laughs for all ages, taking place on Lime Street. 
Cuckoo by Jaha Koo is a bittersweet, funny show from South Korea at the Bridewell Theatre. It launches LIFT the City - a new programme designed by London’s biennial festival LIFT in partnership with the City of London Corporation to bring performances, interventions, talks and outdoor events to the Square Mile.

In addition alfresco dining will form the Bartholomew Fair Market Place, recreating the original hustle and bustle of the Fair each week in locations across the City including Paternoster Square, Carter Lane, The Cheesegrater, Middlesex Street and Cloth Fair. Plus every Saturday will include a programme of creative workshops by Tootles + Nibs. Bringing a host of creative workshops to the fair, expect, print making, clowning, music and circus. 

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