River Stage returns from 29 July to 29 August, to bring you the very best in live music, dance, performances, DJs and workshops from partners across the country. 

The National Theatre have announced the return of its free outdoor festival, with take-over weekends from East London’s The Glory, Latitude Festival, Mayfest, and Rambert, and a weekend of music, dance, performance and outdoor cinema from the National Theatre.

The free outdoor season will take place on the River Stage, in front of the National Theatre, with events hosted every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 29 July until 29 August. An eclectic combination of theatre, guest DJs, live music in the afternoon and late evening, family fun, vibrant dance and the very best live music acts – this is a free summer festival not to be missed.

Rufus Norris, Director National Theatre said: “It’s a thrill to be announcing the 2016 line up for the River Stage festival. We are working with a range of partners from across the country, all of whom are creating and curating fantastic work across all genres. The festival offers something for everyone, bringing together an exciting and eclectic mix of live music, dance, performance and workshops free for all ages to enjoy.

29 – 31 July, East London’s The Glory take over the River Stage for the weekend, led by drag landlords Jonny Woo and John Sizzle. Featuring East London’s hottest acts and most sensational underground stars, this weekend-long showcase boasts a glistening series of self-contained concerts, and each day is capped off with a fabulous drag-fuelled party, reincarnating some of The Glory’s most renowned nights.

An Afternoon at the Musicals

Friday 29 July, The Glory
6.30 – 7.30pm
Lou Reed’s seminal 1972 album is re-imagined and revved up by a roaring live band fronted by East London star, Jonny Woo. Including renowned hits ‘Walk on the Wild Side’, ‘Perfect Day’ and ‘Hangin’ Around’ and lit with anecdotes of what might have happened at 60s NYC hangout Kansas City. Music is arranged by Marc Hayward from The Dash.

8 – 9pm
John Sizzle presents The Glory’s notorious drag queen battle, LIPSYNC1000, as they put on the biggest pop showcase in the world. East London stars Jonbenet Blonde and Jacqui Potato join Sizzle and their guests in this glamorous Top of the Pops-inspired drag show spectacle. Wigs, lips & all the pop hits!

9 – 10.45pm
The sun might be setting but the party is just starting! Drag DJs John Sizzle and Jonny Woo invite you to a free GLORIOUS RAVE here at the River Stage. The sun might be setting but the party is just starting.

Lipsync1000 Sizzle

Saturday 30 July, The Glory
MR TIDDLE TUM TUMS & OTHER STORIES                                                     
1.30 – 2.30pm
Fun for all the family! Nightlife personality Jonny Woo gives a free sneak preview of his children’s show, which he is developing during a residency in the seaside town of Margate. Jump into the surreal world inhabited by the dandy feline Mr Tiddle Tum Tums, with his tongue twisters and stories. Find out how you really solve a problem like ‘Maria’ and meet the world’s first ‘Cardboard Princess’. With an original score and a supporting cast of actors and children. Expect fabulous costumes all round.

GRIZZLE! GET TROPICAL!                                                                                           
2.30 – 4.30pm
London’s ‘Drag DJ du jour’, John Sizzle, and his infamous Greek side-kick, performance artist ‘A Man To Pet’, present a summer edition of their Dalston-born tour-de-force drag night, GRIZZLE! Fresh from hosting a party for Ru Paul and taking Athens Pride by storm, this cheeky pair are transforming the River Stage into a sun-drenched tropical beach party, complete with dazzling performances, dance routines and even a Sexy Dads contest! With special guest DJ Annie Pics. Expect legs, capes and 69 flakes.

BIG GAY SONGBOOK                                                                                           
4.30 – 6pm
Irish pianist and songwriter Rudi Douglas plays ‘the songs that made me gay, and the songs that I’ve made gay’, with Jonny Woo hosting. Pull up a deckchair and mince down memory lane. Rudi Douglas counts Graham Norton and Alison Goldfrapp among admirers who’ve been to see his weekly Sunday night event ‘Big Gay Songbook’ at The Glory. Catch it outdoors on the South Bank this summer.

6 – 7pm
The world’s leading ‘bio queen’ Holestar teams up with John Sizzle for a drag-fuelled karaoke spectacular, attempting to break the world record for London’s biggest outdoor sing-a-long.

IT’S A ROYAL KNOCKOUT!                                                                                           
7 – 8.30pm
Put your history books away because tonight The Glory presents this treasure chest of East London’s most avant-garde drag queens and drag kings in a ‘game of thrones’ performance battle.

GLORIOUS 54                                                                                           
8.30 – 10.45pm
The River Stage is the setting for one hell of a chic disco party, paying homage to the glamour and drama of 70s New York clubbing, with a present-day East London twist. It’s a Who’s Who of the alternative scene with John Sizzle, Jonny Woo, and DJs Chaka Khan’t and Dance Armstrong. While the music plays expect catwalks, posing and flash choreography.

Drag Life Drawing

Sunday 31 July, The Glory
DRAG LIFE DRAWING                                                                                           
12 – 2pm
Morris Munroe brings his cult East London art class, ‘drag life drawing’, to the River Stage, hosted by Jonny Woo. Materials provided: come and sketch a Da Vin-SHE! The models will all be starlets of the East London underground scene. You can take your drawings home to treasure or contribute them to our outdoor drag gallery.

SIZZLE’S LUNCHTIME LOUNGE                                                             
2 – 3pm
John Sizzle plays the best in laidback Sunday grooves. Pull up a deck chair, pop open the Prosecco and soak up the Thames vibe while East London’s leading drag DJ spins a selection mix of chilled-out classics. Because Sundays are sacred.

AFTERNOON AT THE MUSICALS                                                             
3 – 4pm
Two-time Olivier award-nominee Le Gateau Chocolat and East London superstar Jonny Woo bring you this joyous outdoor matinee rendition of their infamously fun show, A Night At The Musicals. Billed as a ‘Les Mis-massacre’ – no musical is safe in this riotous tribute show. Carousel, Chess, Wicked, Grease – you name it, they’ll ambush it.

THE GLORY TEA DANCE                                                                                           
4 – 5pm
It’s your last chance to join Jonny Woo and John Sizzle as they wave goodbye to The Glory’s River Stage weekend with a final hour of feel-good, laidback grooves, pop-up shows and Sunday sing-a-longs.

A Big Gay Songbook

5 – 7 August, River Stage welcomes Latitude Festival as they venture from their established Suffolk base to bring a heady mix of music, theatre, dance and literature to the South Bank for an unforgettable weekend of performances. Featuring (amongst others) the exuberant Tina C; the award-winning Action To The Word’s brand new production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream; cross art form, narrative-led nabokov, an exclusive collaboration from an explosive group of artists and the wonderful Michael Rosen, children’s novelist and poet – a not-to-be-missed experience for all the family.

Friday 5 August, Latitude Festival
Tina C                                                                                                                         
7 – 8pm
Tina C is the creation of multi-award-winning UK performer and theatre-maker, Christopher Green. Country music singer Tina C has become a global icon known for albums such as No Dick’s As Hard As My Life and If You Can’t Live Without Me (Why Weren’t You Dead When I Met You).

All events subject to change. For further information go to: nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/river-stage-weekends