PLAY THE MILE takes place across Culture Mile from 18 May – 25 August and explores the value of play and creativity in everyday life.
Culture Mile, which stretches from Farringdon to Moorgate, is committed to transforming the north-west of the Square Mile and aims to redefine the City of London as a global leader in both culture and commerce. There is something for everyone and it is free to all, so come and explore 2,000 years of history colliding and the places and people in Culture Mile!
PLAY THE MILE Season Overview
- MAJOR FESTIVALS bringing free performances into new and unusual venues for everyone to enjoy
- POP UP PLAY with outdoor activities responding to the streets, building and architecture of the area
- PLAY SESSIONS inviting local workers and residents to meet, make, and celebrate the benefits of creativity
- PLAY DAYS for families and kids of all ages every Saturday
- PLAY AS YOU GO with games and trails encouraging visitors to explore existing places and offers in new ways
PLAY THE MILE in Numbers
- 2 new outdoor installations accessible to everyone, everyday throughout the summer
- 10 new site-specific music commissions bringing the unique architecture and history of the area to life
- 25 unique indoor venues and outdoor spaces to discover and explore
- 50 free regular performances and activities to enjoy at lunchtimes, after work and at the weekend
- Over 100 free short concerts in one weekend, spanning hundreds of years of music at the Sound Unbound festival
- Up to 10,000 visitors at free outdoor event, A Beastly Street Party
- 100 days to come and PLAY THE MILE
PLAY THE MILE Programme Highlights
- Sound Unbound celebrates classical music from the medieval era to the present day and, for the first time, will be completely free. Programmed by the Barbican, the festival explores unexpected spaces across the area with over 100 short concerts in more than 20 unique venues. The weekender gives everyone the chance to explore new sounds and rediscover familiar ones in a relaxed festival environment. Sound Unbound features artists for whom the boundaries between classical music and contemporary, experimental music and jazz have been blurred – or never even existed in the first place (18 & 19 May).
- A Beastly Street Party is a family friendly, free outdoor event that celebrates the history, people and beasts that make Smithfield. Curated by the Museum of London (25 August).
- House of Wayward Plants: The Smithfield Greenhouse will bring Smithfield Rotunda Garden (West Smithfield) to life with a temporary pavilion that is part glass house, part bandstand filled with plants and an inspiring programme of gardening workshops, plant adoptions and green fingered family fun (18 May – 29 September).
- Pleasure Garden at The Salters’ Garden will feature a sound installation by Genevieve Lacey which combines music and environmental sounds to create an interactive listening garden that responds to movement (24 May – 14 June).
- Musicity x Culture Mile encourages a musical and architectural exploration of the area. Ten artists will create ten individual new tracks in response to a building, area or aspect of the city that inspires them. Using data gathered by acoustic experts ARUP, the artists explore the intrinsic connection between architecture and sound (May – Aug).
- Bodies in Urban Spaces is a choreographed trail by a group of dancers which will take place throughout the streets of Culture Mile. The performers lead the audience through public and hidden spaces, squeezing themselves in to small spaces and imitating everyday objects such as stairs and bollards (13 & 14 June).
- Culture Mile Explorers: A Beastly Family Challenge is an exciting digital treasure hunt connecting some of Culture Mile’s best family friendly spaces, with challenges, games and clues to help families explore a new route through the city. Designed by award-winning digital production studio Fish in a Bottle and inspired by the Museum of London’s Beasts of London (25 May – 25 August).
The PLAY THE MILE season will begin and end with two one-off festival events: Sound Unbound on 18 &19 May and A Beastly Street Party on 25 August. These major events will be connected by a series of activities and performances taking place in more than 20 different indoor venues and outdoor spaces, underpinned by two long running installations in Smithfield Rotunda Gardens and Salters’ Garden at London Wall Place. Pop-up Play will encourage audiences to explore new places and experience events which interact with the streets, buildings and architecture of the area, whilst Friday Play Sessions will invite local workers to meet, make, and celebrate the benefits of creativity during their lunch breaks. When workers head home for the weekend, free family fun will take over with Play Days every Saturday.
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair, City of London Corporation said, ‘Our ambition is to redefine the Square Mile – already established as a leading global financial centre – as a world-class destination for culture, creativity and learning. PLAY THE MILE takes us a step closer to realising this with the first major season of activity presented by Culture Mile across the area. I really look forward to experiencing it.’
Tim Jones, Culture Mile Manager, said, ‘PLAY THE MILE celebrates how investing in time and space for play and creativity can pay huge dividends at every stage of life and help us to acquire the creative skills needed to thrive every day. By working together with partners from across Culture Mile, we hope to offer an insight in to the people, organisations and places that make up the area and to make play and creativity more accessible to everyone.’