Dear Lido is a playful site–specific dance theatre performance based on and around the splendour of the much loved outdoor public pool. The pop-up piece made a humorous splash at London Fields Lido in 2011 with touching poolside characters, dance, theatre and films.
In 2010 choreographer Rosie Whitney-Fish, fascinated by the charm of the Lido, researched the heritage sites and created a pilot show for Tooting Lido as part of the Wandsworth Arts Festival. The piece was performed by professional dancers and young people from the local community and was a real success. For 2011 the project was funded for a summer tour starting at London Fields Lido, then onto the Southbank fountains as part of Wayne Hemingway’s Vintage Festival and then onto Twickenham Lido. In 2012, Dear Lido completed a national tour and popped up at many Lidos across the UK, securing 42 performances to date.
“Lidos were originally built as an inner city oasis providing entertainment, fitness and escape. There are currently 300 functioning Lidos, and over 700 disused. When I first visited a Lido it presented a natural theatre – the swimmers, the bathers, the life-guards and cafe attendants, it was full of life and bursting with theatricality. Each Lido is different in its architecture, has a unique history and brings about a totally different set of stories. I was inspired by this and knew I could create theatrical spectacles related to each Lido and its community – its exciting as each show will be totally unique.”
In 2011 Rosie worked with students from the Petchey Academy in Hackney who were integrated into the show and performed at the London Fields Lido alongside the professional cast. Rosie also worked with our older dancers Leap of Faith to create a moving installation at the entrance to the lido.
Since then Dear Lido has also been presented by East London Dance at the Stratford Rising Launch at Asper’s Casino, the Open East Festival on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and an extract was performed at our 25th anniversary celebrations.