Skip to main content Skip to footer

Welcome to the urban jungle: Smithfield Market transforms into a Beastly paradise this August

20 June 2019

This August Bank Holiday Sunday (25 Aug), Culture Mile presents Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure, a fantastical free street party where the animals top the bill, curated by the Museum of London. Learn how to dance like a bee, look up and watch extraordinary aerialists fly through the sky, transform your perspectives with freerunning classes and animal amusements and learn how to care for the animals that live alongside us.

In this year’s take on Culture Mile’s annual festival, all London’s animals – past, present or future, large and small, rare and familiar – will be taking over the streets around Smithfield Market for one day only to teach humans the secret ways of their world.

Imagined, visible or overlooked, larger than life or miniscule, all the animals will make an appearance at an unmissable party full of music, performances, workshops, games and play with 10,000 human party animals in one of Smithfield’s wildest events of the year. Inspired by the original Bartholomew’s Fair and the Museum of London and Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Beasts of London experience, Smithfield Street Party invites all of London’s families, including their four legged canine members, to come and take part in a day full of free beastly fun.

Highlights include:

Grand Avenue – welcome to the Soaring Smithfield Canopy where an exciting line up of aerialists swing from the rafters creating a dazzling spectacle in the Victorian iron structures of the Central markets. Expect performances from brilliant companies such as Extraordinary Bodies and Upswing and more to be announced soon.
- Audiences can create their own winged creations with Scribble and Smudge and watch giant bird puppets from Artillery.
- Transform yourself into a magical creature with masks, face painting and headdresses.
- And change your perspectives through a series of interactive wild installations.

Rotunda Garden – this is the magical Beastly Den. Be sure to bring your wild ideas to create mythical creatures and habitats and add them to the House of Wayward Plants and watch it grow as the day passes.
- Get a wiggle on and do as the bees do with a waggle dance workshop.
- Get up close and personal with the mini-beasts including some not-so-mini Giant Snails and hissing cockroaches from SunTrap.
- Learn about the different habitats animals live in and how to care for the world around us.
- Coney’s young change-makers, The Young Coneys, want to talk to you about the animals of our world. They’ll take to the streets at Smithfield Market with their uniquely designed puppets to spark a conversation on animal conservation. Will you make a change to help save them?

Long Lane – visit the Watering Hole for a bevy of refreshments, world foods and local delicacies. Or bring a picnic and grab a seat.

Round the West Smithfield Rotunda – Wild Rotunda Plains offers a whole host of free activities including London’s Biggest Play Street – where you can go wild, build a den or run through the urban world as never seen before:
- Learn to look at the world through the eyes of a cat with beginner’s parkour classes.
- Hear the stories of some of London’s young women created with artist Jenny Moore.
- Have a go on The Rig and make the sounds of the beasts around us.
- Visit the Tall Tails Tent to take some time out from all the fun. This is a space to relax and unwind for the littlest party animals with storytelling and chill-out zones. Sit and devour a book or listen to storytellers tell winding tales.

A host of other activities for all ages will animate the ancient streets throughout the day including bands, choirs, craft market stalls, zine-making workshops, history tours with The City Guides, dog shows, fun fair rides and lots of surprises.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:
“Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure will continue the fun and strong sense of community from last year’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Smithfield Market and is the culmination of Play the Mile, Culture Mile’s first season of extended activity. This annual event brings together people from all walks of life and takes us one step closer to realising our ambition to redefine the Square Mile – already established as a leading global financial centre – as a world-class destination for culture, heritage and creativity.”

Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said:
“This is definitely the year of the Beasts! We cannot wait to take over the historic Smithfield streets once again and put on a wild street party like no other. Just down the road from where the new Museum of London will be in a few years, this is a wonderful example of how Culture Mile partners and the Smithfield Markets Tenants Association can come together to put on a truly spectacular, free show for Londoners and visitors in the heart of the City. Bring your family, friends and your dogs to enjoy free fun, festivities and food for one day only.”

Gregory Lawrence, Chairman of the SMTA that represents the Smithfield Market meat traders, said:
“We are very pleased that Culture Mile is following up last year’s very successful Smithfield 150 with another event this year. It was extremely gratifying that people came out in such numbers last year and showed so much interest in the history of the institutions in the area as well as participating in the many and varied activities on offer. It reinforced what we all believe, that Smithfield Market is a very special place, and we are looking forward to welcoming the Museum of London as our neighbours in the old General Market and Annex buildings, which can only add to the area’s interest. I know that the team behind this year’s event have an exciting and varied programme planned and we look forward to welcoming people again to our Market.”

Toby Peach, the Director of participating organisation The Young Coneys, said:
“The Young Coneys is an opportunity for young people to come together and make things for others, especially grownups, to play. We are very excited to share our work with the party animals of Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure this August. Members of The Young Coneys will join in the wild fun by parading through the festival with their creative and unique self-made puppets, mighty megaphones and roaring great puns to help spark a conversation about how we might each be able to help the animals we share our world with.“

Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure is the culmination of Play the Mile, Culture Mile’s first extended season of activity, which takes place from 18 May – 25 August. There is something for everyone and it is free to all with 2,000 years of history colliding across two new outdoor spaces, ten new site specific music commissions, twenty-five unique venues to explore, and fifty free regular performances all celebrating the value of play and creativity in everyday life.

Plans for Culture Mile were announced in July 2017 as a new home for contemporary culture in the ancient heart of London’s working capital. It’s a partnership of four leading UK arts, culture and learning institutions led by the City of London Corporation together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London. Stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate, Culture Mile inspires visitors to wander winding medieval streets, marvel at architectural wonders and experience incredible music, theatre and art all in one day with imaginative collaborations, outdoor programming and events seven days a week. Culture Mile fosters collaboration and innovation and champions the social and economic value of creativity within the area as it welcomes visitors both local and international with its diverse offer of programming and soon an additional 1.5 million visitors a year will be within a 45-minute journey of the area when the Elizabeth Line becomes fully operational and the North-South Thameslink line is upgraded.

Museum of London is a National Portfolio Organisation supported by Arts Council England.


Notes to editors
Press Information
For further information, images or to arrange interviews contact:

• Museum of London on +44 79 7814 5502 or [email protected]

• Rebecca Driver Media Relations on +44 20 3691 7034 / [email protected] or [email protected]

About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, the Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company. The Los Angeles Philharmonic are the Barbican’s International Orchestral Partner, the Australian Chamber Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble.
Find us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify

About Culture Mile
Culture Mile is a corner of London’s working capital, where creativity is fast becoming the most valuable currency. The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, are leading the animation of the whole neighbourhood with imaginative collaborations and events. Culture Mile brings commerce and culture together in a wealth of creativity. Known meets unknown. Ancient and modern collide as the streets are activated by exhibitions, gigs, pop-ups and events. So, whether you’re with family, friends or flying solo, there’s something for everyone. And thanks to Crossrail’s new Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, the area is more connected than ever. Join us today where two thousand years of history collide with the world’s best culture.

About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

About Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and production artists in the heart of the City of London. Ranked as one of the top ten performing arts institutions in the world (QS World University Rankings 2019), and recently awarded top conservatoire in the Complete University Guide Music League Table 2020, the School is a global leader of creative and professional practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with over 1,000 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world. Guildhall School is also the UK’s leading provider of specialist music training at the under-18 level with nearly 2,500 students in Junior Guildhall and the Centre for Young Musicians, as well as a joint Creative Learning division with the Barbican which seeks to create inspiring arts experiences for all.

About the London Symphony Orchestra
The LSO was established in 1904 and has a unique ethos. As a musical collective, it is built on artistic ownership and partnership. With an inimitable signature sound, the LSO’s mission is to bring the greatest music to the greatest number of people. The LSO has been the only Resident Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in the City of London since it opened in 1982, giving 70 symphonic concerts there every year. The Orchestra works with a family of artists that includes some of the world’s greatest conductors – Sir Simon Rattle as Music Director, Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth as Principal Guest Conductors, and Michael Tilson Thomas as Conductor Laureate. Through LSO Discovery, it is a pioneer of music education, offering musical experiences to 60,000 people every year and over 100 live events at its music education centre LSO St Luke’s on Old Street. With the formation of its own record label LSO Live in 1999 the LSO pioneered a revolution in recording live orchestral music. The LSO strives to embrace new digital technologies – having successfully moved into digital film, Blu-Ray Audio, downloads, streaming and virtual reality – and it continues to innovate with platforms such as LSO Play, a web-based video player that allows people to observe the Orchestra from different angles. The LSO is also a highly successful creative enterprise, with 80% of all funding self-generated.

About the Museum of London
The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place. The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added.

About Arts Council England
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.