Thu 18 Mar


by Chris McCabe
music by Bleeding Heart Narrative
film by Jack Wake-Walker
+ Iain Sinclair

Jamboree, Cable Street Studios | £8 adv / £10 door | 8pm

The history of the Docklands is that of a city building upwards, from the monstrous bunkers of the docks themselves to the glass pillars at Canary Wharf. Whenever the means of profit-making have changed, Docklands has always been prescient and protean in its survival instincts. The success, and failure, of the current financial centre echo the creation of the original docks: control of local communities for global trading, the hegemony of private investors and monolithic architectural statements of presence.

Set in a pub that has stood on the site since the sixteenth century, Shad Thames, Broken Wharf eavesdrops on a conversation between three characters – Echo, a middle-aged woman who has lived her life in the area; Blaise, a northerner who finds resonances with the more familiar docks at Liverpool; and the gregarious landlord, a Londoner with ‘the knowledge’. Breaking into the dialogue, The Restructure is a sinister, all-knowing Public Service Announcement with ‘advice’ to share with anyone who’ll listen…

Shad Thames, Broken Wharf is a newly commissioned play of voices by acclaimed poet Chris McCabe that spans centuries of changes across the Docklands, allowing past ghosts to be heard above the white noise of the polemical present. With accompanying tipsy folk melodies from Bleeding Heart Narrative’s Bartokian piano, strings, synths and sample set, and film from Jack Wake-Walker, Shad Thames, Broken Wharf resonates with what the Docklands might mean. Cult London author, poet and filmmaker Iain Sinclair introduces the performance with a special reading.

A London Word Festival Commission

“The lower-case lightness of Tom Raworth and the northern comic realism of Simon Armitage”
– The Guardian on Chris McCabe

“an enviable sense of beauty and dense, inspired musicality.”
– The Quietus on Bleeding Heart Narrative

“Iain Sinclair is our greatest guide to London. He explores the mighty labyrinth on foot, from Canary Wharf to Hasidic Stamford Hill, mixing social surrealism with pavement-pounding satire.”
- Ian Thomson, The Spectator

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