Bombed during World War II, St George’s Garrison Church survives as an evocative ruin with recently conserved mosaics, and a modern canopy roof, now available for all to enjoy.


Black Victorians GDIF Free Dance Performances 29/30 August

We are delighted to have welcomed The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival to stage six performances of "Black Victorians" on the afternoons of Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August all here at St George's. Admission was free, the performances were pre-booked and all seats had been snapped up...Rightly so as the costumes thrilled and the exciting dancing was brilliantly performed. Masks gel and social distancing were managed responsibly by the organisers and observed by the audience and by the many volunteers who made the event possible - our thanks to everyone involved and to the audience!  The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival has led the way in terms of organising a major festival in the aftermath of lockdown.

The performance was introduced by Artistic Director and Choreographer Jeanefer Jean-Charles who was inspired by nineteenth century London studio photographs of black men, women and children - large prints of the photos were displayed on the North wall and the stage. Exploring a complex but often forgotten black presence in pre-Windrush Britain, this piece - still in development to become a fuller work in future - calls attention to previously “hidden figures” and challenges historical and contemporary perceptions, featuring four dancers. Thoughtfully presented in our Victorian setting here at St George’s Garrison Church, this was an opportunity to experience history as told through choreography. The hope, shared by WGCT, is for the complete work to be performed here at the Garrison Church in next year's festival.

The theme of the piece was how the bonds of slavery were removed from black people only to be replaced by the constraints of Victorian Society, while two athletic dancers demonstrated the vitality of their own traditions and culture. The dancers used our chancel space to very good effect, and everyone agrees that the Garrison Church made a great setting for this event. 

For the old Victorian photographs on line see our seperate NEWS item "Wonderful Photos". The people in these old images came to England in the context of those days as visitors or to stay and develop or establish communities including many from countries now in the Commonwealth for example India, South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, and provide a link to our Commonwealth Garden Project - see our ABOUT section..

For further details about the Festival go to:

Jeanefer Jean-Charles introduces the work
Some of the original Victorian photos which inspired the piece
The dancers - warm up exercises
First sequence
Second sequence
Third sequence
Fourth sequence
Fifth sequence
Sixth sequence
Last sequence
About the Photos

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St George's Garrison Church in Woolwich, with its modern canopy roof and stunning mosaics, is both an evocative ruin and a contemporary space. Designed by Thomas H Wyatt in an Italian-Romanesque style, the Church was built between 1862-63 to serve the Royal Artillery in Woolwich. Today it is run by a local group, the Woolwich Garrison Church Trust who are committed to making it available for all to visit and enjoy. Directly opposite the Barracks in Woolwich, South East London, come and enjoy its beauty and peaceful garden.

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