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Permanent LinkMar 3, 2009 
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:busker: Street entertainers are to be allowed to perform on a privately-owned stretch of London Docklands for the first time, after its owners announced plans to award busking permits in a bid to revitalise the area.

St Katharine Docks in Wapping - next to the Tower of London and owned by property company F&C Reit - is now looking for performers such as magicians, jugglers and musicians to entertain in one of four designated zones within the site.

One of the proposed busking areas sits on the riverfront next to Tower Bridge, while another would see performers make use of a courtyard space known as Centre Basin.

The street performers idea is part of a wider initiative aimed at raising awareness of St Katharine Docks and increasing visitors to it, which is being overseen by Gossip Consultancy on behalf of F&C Reit. It is hoped that the initiative will help enliven the area, in much the same way as performers have done for Covent Garden for many years.

Zoe Russell-Stretten from Gossip Consultancy, who devised the street performer initiative, explained that the docks had been a “very quiet, secret part of London” for a long time and said she hoped licensed buskers would help put the area back on the map.

“Unless you make the effort to go through St Katharine Docks you would never know about it, so we are working on improving that. It’s a fantastic place where families and people on a walk would enjoy being able to see street entertainers,” she said. “We felt that bringing a little bit of culture, a little bit of art and entertainment, was definitely what the docks needed.”

Performers are initially being invited to apply for permits to entertain in slots over the Easter holidays, running from Saturday, April 4 to Sunday 19, but the scheme could be rolled out across the year if it is successful.

Performers interested in applying for a permit can contact Gossip Consultancy on 020 7264 5311 or email gossip@skdocks.co.uk.


by Matthew Hemley
STAGE NEWS

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