Every year, London celebrates its famous river with a packed programme of performance art, installations and exhibitions running across the length of the Thames. Totally Thames Festival first launched in 1997 when a record-breaking high wire walk was conducted across the river by the acrobats Didier Pasquette and Jade Kindar-Martin. Since then, it’s grown into a month-long series of events taking place at riverside spots throughout the city.

The festival is in its 27th year in 2023 and it’s celebrating with a new look which’ll see a festival hub take over a different riverside location every weekend with a range of events and activities. Throughout the whole of September, the city will be filled with unique festivities, from art exhibitions and ‘climate cabaret’ to boat trips and river races. Here’s just a taste of what’ll be going down along the banks of the River Thames at Totally Thames 2023.

Saltley Geyser

See David Cotterrell’s extraordinary Saltley Geyser installation which shoots a plume of water 30 metres into the air and last appeared in Birmingham 25 years ago.

Thu 7th – Sun 10th September 2023
Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1AG

Once Upon a Cube at Syon House

Once Upon a Cube is a piece of playful performance art that celebrates green architecture and the reclamation of public spaces. Brought to the festival by Scirocco Dance Theatre, the show poses the question: “What can we learn from the Thames about planning and designing a flowing, fluid and dynamic city?”.

Sun 3rd September 2023, 11am – 3pm
Syon House, Syon Park, Brentford, TW8 8JF

Tied 3

Along the bank of the River Thames at low tide, this performance sees six women dressed in mud-and-shingle colours weaving a fishing net. The women remain resolute in their task, despite the rising water, and you’re invited to stick around and witness their endeavour.

Sun 17th September 2023
Thames foreshore near Festival Pier, London SE1 8XZ

Tidal Traces: Screening and Q&A

Throughout the festival, there’ll be an exhibition of work by climate-focused artist Irma Irsara exploring issues relating to the Thames. There’ll be free-hanging installations, time-lapse videos and workshops, plus a special screening and Q&A with Irsara to accompany the main show.

Tue 19th September 2023, 6pm – 8:15pm
The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas St, London, SE1 9RY

Liquid Planet

Liquid Planet, an interactive media installation by generative media artist CH2O (Chiara Zaccagnini), examines the beauty and fragility of Earth. Focusing on London and the Thames in particular, the work features video projection of liquefying satellite imagery of our world. Set along to liquid-inspired soundscapes performed by singer-songwriter Daniela Magni, this piece aims to encourage empathy and a sense of responsibility to the planet.

Fri 29th – Sat 30th September 2023
WappART, Unit 7, Gauging Square, London E1W 2AH