What’s On this weekend

London’s largest free outdoor arts festival returns for a fourth year this July and August.

River Stage is a free festival where the National Theatre and four other arts organisations each take over the theatre’s stage on weekends starting mid July through to mid August with their acts and artists.

There’s a real mix of live music, DJs, dance, theatre and family workshops, and there’s also various food and drink pop-ups serving pizza, cheese sandwiches, ice cream and cocktails.

Opening the festival for the third year tomorrow is London’s leading queer performance venue and popular night spot The Glory.

A dazzling army of drag queens, underground stars, club kids and cult comedians will create another family-friendly showcase for what has become an annual highlight for the capital’s LGBT+ community.

HOME Manchester return to River Stage from Friday, July 20 following last year’s spectacular debut, bringing an eclectic, diverse line-up of northern performers and musicians to the capital, showing London the best of what Manchester has to offer.

Making its River Stage debut, Sadler’s Wells presents a range of dance styles from July 27, with hip hop, ballroom, traditional Indian kathak dance, contemporary and flamenco.

The Glory, (pictured above) and Sadler’s Wells, will appear at this year’s River Stage

Alongside performances, there are participatory workshops to get visitors moving including yoga, a family friendly workshop and a ceilidh.

Also making its first appearance at River Stage is Nonclassical, who take to the stage from Friday, August 3 bringing together the best in new classical, electronic and experimental music.

On Friday night, Klavikon (Leon Michener) plays live techno prepared piano, including hamster wheel, before Tom Richards presents an idiosyncratic and infectious demonstration of his modular synthesizer setup.

Elsewhere, there’s renaissance music and live improvisations from cello trio Tre Voci, an exploration of the work of 20th century female composers from Sarah Dacey, music for cello and tape, plus jazz vibraphone, from Cecilia Bignall; a unique performance of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Cello Multitracks, led by Peter Gregson; the joyfully anarchic jazz/classical/rock collective DOLLYman; while DJs across the weekend include Late Junction’s Nick Luscombe and the genre-bending turntablist Mr Switch.

The National Theatre is programming the final festival weekend from Friday, August 10 with a mix of family focused workshops, singalong bands, a groundbreaking new circus show, a tea dance and live music and DJs.

The weekend will end with a screening of the National Theatre Live recording of the NT’s recent production of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical Follies, winner of Best Musical Revival at this year’s Olivier awards starring Olivier award-winning actress Imelda Staunton.

Rufus Norris, artistic director of the National Theatre, said: “I am delighted that Riverstage is back for the fourth year running – it’s been such a resounding success for the past three years, and has become a vital part of our summer programming.

“This year’s festival is set to be as thrilling as ever and I am really pleased that we are partnering, once again, with a wide range of organisations from around the UK.

The eclectic mix of artists – some familiar faces from previous years and some brand new – will be bringing their music, dance, theatre and more, so there will be something for everyone.

And the key thrill for me is seeing the crowds of new faces that Riverstage brings to the South Bank. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone in July.’’

River Stage runs from Friday, Jul 13 until Sunday, August 12 and all events are free.

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