WAF is Going Places

8th February 2023

New Going Places commissions will see a giant puppet, top secret machines, and the beloved characters of The Jungle Book take over Wandsworth’s public spaces this June, while one of Wandsworth’s historic Black Heroes is celebrated in local libraries and on stage in Battersea’s old Town Hall building, where he became Mayor in 1913. 

A new initiative for the 2023 festival, the WAF Going Places commissions are focused on engaging local communities in Wandsworth’s libraries, high streets, and housing estates this summer.

Autin Dance Theatre - Out of the Deep Blue (Image: Dani Bower)

Look out for Autin Dance Theatre and Eko, the 13-foot Sea Giant puppet! Eko will be visiting local primary schools and community groups ahead of the festival, then will star in Autin Dance Theatre's large-scale outdoor performance, Out of the Deep Blue for three spectacular days. Inspired by the themes of the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis, Out of the Deep Blue is a story about the power of friendships and empathy, and is ideal for children and family audiences. 

“We are thrilled to be bringing our sensational outdoor performance Out of the Deep Blue to Wandsworth in June as part of WAF 2023. We can’t wait for Eko to meet hundreds of local residents in Wandsworth, and for him and little Violet to share their stories with the children and their families in the audience. Thank you to the Wandsworth Arts Fringe team at Wandsworth Council for making this happen and supporting us to deliver what promises to be an exciting and engaging cultural event for all!” - Johnny Autin, Artistic Director of Autin Dance Theatre

Jellyfish Theatre - The Jungle Book

WAF favourites Jellyfish Theatre will be offering a week-long, free, pop-up creative camp for Wandsworth children during the Spring half term school holidays (Monday 29 May to Friday 2 June 2023). These free drop-in sessions in drama, singing, movement and art will be tailored for children aged 4-7 and 8-11. Jellyfish Theatre will also bring nine free performances of their indoor / outdoor family theatre show The Jungle Book to public places and Wandsworth housing estates for five days during the festival.

Black Heroes Foundation: The Story of John Archer schools workshop

Wandsworth’s Black Heroes Foundation will host a series of events at Wandsworth libraries and at Battersea Arts Centre, focused on telling the story of London’s first Black Mayor, John Archer, who became Mayor of Battersea in 1913. Four Wandsworth libraries will host an exhibition, a performance, and a workshop for local schools, where children will try writing and presenting an inaugural speech for a mayor, creating drawings and paintings, and writing newspaper articles in response to John Archer’s life. The children’s work will later be displayed across local libraries as part of Wandsworth’s Black History Month celebrations in October 2023. On 17 June, the award-winning Black Heroes Soul Food Café will welcome an intergenerational audience - including Windrush elders and their families - to enjoy The Story of John Archer exhibition and performances, plus a Q&A and an open-mic session at Battersea Arts Centre.

Bureau of Silly Ideas (Custard Pies)

Bureau of Silly Ideas will work with local participants to build and operate top-secret devices, designed to harness Wandsworth’s raw inspiration. A local team of special researchers, recruited throughout WAF, will help experts conduct their cutting-edge research in Wandsworth’s public spaces, parks, and high streets from 10 – 25 June, and perhaps break a world record or two.

“It's fantastic to be coming back to WAF we love working in Wandsworth and looking forward to many thousands of smiles” - Artistic Director, Roger Hartley

Bureau of Silly Ideas has been conducting research around the UK since 2002. Previously, they have harvested the sweet smell of success, campaigned for custard pies, and driven wheelie bins, a pedal powered pineapple, plant pots and a giant foot around Wandsworth.

Full details for public performances, workshops and events will be announced when the WAF2023 programme is launched on Wed 26 April.