The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is set to return this summer after organisers have completely reimagined the 2020 event to make it safe for audiences and artists during the Covid-19 pandemic.

GDIF 2020, now starting at the end of August, will include outdoor art installations, including some celebrating the NHS, which audiences can visit at staggered times to ensure socially distancing is followed.

Circus and street-theatre will also take place on people's doorsteps as part of the new strategy, with performances in Greenwich, Woolwich, Thamesmead, North Woolwich and Eltham.

This year's festival, the 25th iteration, will aim to celebrate local places and togetherness after a summer of isolation.

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The yearly free event is one of London's biggest outdoor arts festivals, usually taking place at the end of June across south east London in a colourful, nine-day celebration.

Artistic director Hemmings said today that he believes that outdoor arts can "potentially offer audiences a bridge to a new and socially-distanced world of live performance" as we emerge from difficult times.

"In reimagining our plans, our primary concern has of course been the welfare of artists and audiences.

"Thanks to the resourcefulness of artists, staff and partners we are proceeding optimistically towards the 25th anniversary edition of the Festival, which whilst it will be very different to previous years, will retain at its heart the spirit of togetherness and transformation, for which GDIF has always been renowned.”

GDIF usually organises over 200 performances attended by over 80,000 people, and is described as a "part of life in Greenwich and East London for almost a quarter of a century."

Following the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in March, it was announced that the festival would be rescheduled to take place from Friday, August 28, to Saturday September 12.

At the time, Hemmings said that the welfare of artists, staff and audiences at GDIF was paramount, and with Covid-19 projected to peak in the lead up to the traditional June dates, they had take the difficult decision to postpone the event.

Whilst a full programme has yet to be announced, the organisers have put in place an initial plan for a reimagined, socially distanced GDIF.

The opening weekend will feature creations from a community engagement project titled Weaving Together where vulnerable local residents' creations will be used for installations.

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A new initiative called 'On Your Doorstep' will bring "a carefully curated programme of family-friendly circus and street theatre to the heart of communities in Greenwich, Woolwich, Thamesmead, North Woolwich, and Eltham."

Other highlights include the annual outdoor dance programme at Canary Wharf, which has been reinvented with safe-distancing integrated into the performance and audience experience.

Durational installations, which will highlight togetherness, the NHS and the environment, will ensure audiences can visit at staggered times.

The programme will also include exciting larger-scale outdoor theatre pieces, with reduced capacities and ticketed entry to ensure that the festival experience is a safe and enjoyable one for everyone.