Pop-up dance event celebrates the history of local Belgian refugees

Release Date: 07 July 2017

A special dance performance will take place later this month celebrating the history of the Belgian refugees who lived and worked in Richmond upon Thames during the First World War.

The performance 'Memories flow through me like a boat flows down the river' has been inspired by the unique stories of the Belgian refugees who, having been displaced from their country by invading German forces at the beginning of the First World War, eventually settled across East Twickenham and St Margarets.

The piece has been choreographed by Jennifer Irons, who works internationally in film, theatre and outdoor performance. Together with an award winning creative dance team, she has created a new piece of site-specific dance which invites the audience to reconnect with this remarkable chapter of local history.

They will be joined by students from Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and the University Of Roehampton.

Cllr Meena Bond, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Arts, said:

“Since 2014 we have had a number of events and activities to commemorate the tragic events of World War 1.

“This specially commissioned piece aims to present a creative, but emotional and poignant performance capturing the journey that these families went through and the challenges of settling in a new place.

“It is important that we remember all aspects of WW1. And I hope that as many people as possible attend the event to understand the important role that the Belgian community played in our past.”

The performances will take place in Cambridge Gardens, Clevedon Road, Twickenham, close to the location of the former Pelabon Munitions Works where many of the refugees worked.

The event is on Saturday 22 July with performances at 1.30 and 3pm.

For more information, visit the Dance page.

Notes for editors

With special thanks to:
Arts Council England, All In One Events Ltd (Steve O’Neill & Natalie Subeathar), Dr Helen Baker, East Twickenham Centennial Group, Isabel Holton, Jamie McCarthy, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Nicholas Lawson, Richmond Boat Hire, Richmond Local Studies Library & Archive, TheTwickenham Museum.

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P321/17

Updated: 31 July 2017