City of London Corporation announces 2019 outdoor arts programme, Fantastic Feats

London’s historic achievements across architecture, engineering and invention provide the focus of an exciting series of public events commissioned by the City of London Corporation next year.

Fantastic Feats: the building of London (31 May – 1 December) will celebrate London’s long-standing history of architectural and engineering firsts, and looks at how these innovations have contributed to improving the lives of Londoners over past centuries.

The programme is inspired by a number of key historical dates in these fields, including the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir Joseph William Bazalgette (1819–91), the civil engineer responsible for creating London’s sewer system, which was key to relieving the city of cholera epidemics; the 125th anniversary of the completion of Tower Bridge; and the joint 150th anniversary of the openings of Blackfriars Bridge and Holborn Viaduct.

There will be a wide range of events, exhibitions, guided walking tours, street theatre, and art installations including a special commission by French artist Olivier Grossetête, best known for his giant outdoor architectural recreations of landmark buildings in cardboard. Street performances, featuring aerial and pyrotechnic displays, will also feature in the programme, as well as a 360-degree film experience of The City’s history inside Dome 360 and a moving trail of choregraphed dancers across the City with Willi Dorner’s ‘Bodies in Urban Spaces’.

The events will take place around the Square Mile over six months, alongside London-wide initiatives through collaborations with multiple partners, including Culture Mile, the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), and Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. Partner initiatives include the River View design competition run by the City Corporation in collaboration with LFA and Illuminated River Foundation to encourage greater public interaction with the River Thames, as well as the Illuminated River Project, which will create the world’s longest public art commission by illuminating up to 15 central London Thames bridges; led by American artist Leo Villareal and London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. The first four bridges (London Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Cannon Street Bridge and Millennium Bridge) will be lit in the City in summer 2019.

‘Architecture of London’, a new exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery, will run from 31 May to 1 December to explore how the capital’s buildings have been depicted by, and provided inspiration for, artists over the centuries.

Graham Packham, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

“Over the course of its six-month run, ‘Fantastic Feats’ will celebrate some fascinating achievements, using a wide range of events including street theatre, music, art, and walks aimed at highlighting their significant impact upon London and Londoners.

“My colleagues and I at Guildhall are looking forward to the programme, and to being reminded of how remarkable – and fantastic - these feats were.”

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Guildhall Art Gallery, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year.

The City Corporation is leading the development of Culture Mile along with its core partners the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London. Stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate Culture Mile is a multi-million-pound investment which will create a new cultural and creative destination for London over the next 10 to 15 years. This includes £110m funding from the City Corporation to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £2.5m to support the detailed business case for the proposed Centre for Music.

The full programme of events will be released in early 2019. For further information on Fantastic Featsthe building of London visit or follow @visitthecity or #FantasticFeats


For more press information or images regarding Fantastic Feats please contact:

Charlotte Treadwell or Alicia Yau at Caro Communications: +44 (0)20 7713 9388 / 

Notes to editors

City of London Corporation

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

Guildhall Art Gallery

Established in 1886 as a ‘Collection of Art Treasures worthy of the capital city,' the gallery exhibits work dating from 1670 to the present, including 17th-century portraits, Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces and a range of paintings documenting London's dramatic history.

London Festival of Architecture

The London Festival of Architecture celebrates London as the global hub for architecture. The festival returns to the capital from 1–30 June 2019 with a lively and diverse programme of public events across London exploring the theme of ‘boundaries’.

Illuminated River

The Illuminated River is a long-term art commission to light up to 15 central London Thames bridges with a unified kinetic light artwork capturing the spirit of the River and its diverse communities. Led by American artist Leo Villareal and London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, it will be the longest public art commission in the world at 2.5 miles in length, along 4.5 nautical miles of the River Thames.

Instagram - @illuminatedriver

Twitter - @IlluminatedRiv 

Facebook - @illuminatedriver

Culture Mile

Culture Mile is a corner of London’s working capital, where creativity is fast becoming the most valuable currency. Led by the City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, the five partners 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.

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) is London's leading festival of free outdoor theatre and performing arts and, in the words of The Guardian, makes an “unrivalled contribution to the happiness of the people of London”. Founded in 1996, GDIF 2018 featured over 100 performances by dozens of national and international companies with more than 50,000 people attending shows in a range of public spaces in Royal Greenwich and East London. GDIF forms part of the Royal Greenwich Festivals, an annual series of high-quality events organised by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to celebrate cultural vibrancy.