The Guildhall School returns to Tower Bridge’s Bascule Chamber to present Blackout

Tuesday 20 March 2018, 6pm & 7:30pm (press performances)

Friday 23 March – Sunday 25 March 2018, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm (no 9pm on Sunday)

The Guildhall School, with support from the City of London Police Museum and London Metropolitan Archives, return to Tower Bridge’s Bascule Chamber for Blackout: a site-specific video projection and sound installation inside London’s greatest hidden space.

The Chamber is the operational area that houses Tower Bridge’s huge counterweights used during lifting the mighty bascules. When the Bridge is at rest, this vast brick-lined space stands empty: a dramatic, subterranean Victorian space normally out of bounds for everyday visitors. The Chamber’s unique setting will be showcased by specifically-commissioned new works created by artists from the Guildhall School’s BA in Video Design for Live Performance. This hour-longexperience takes place across seventeen performances on Friday 23 to Sunday 25 March, within the hidden Bascule Chamber location, telling one of London’s hidden stories.

During the Blitz, when the Square Mile was decimated by high explosive and incendiary bombs, two City of London Police officers rushed out into the aftermath to photograph the damage. Inspired by the photography of Arthur Cross and Fred Tibbs, a new immersive video projection and sound installation transforms Tower Bridge’s Bascule Chamber to the post Blitz era. The show explores the hidden world of the Cross and Tibbs Collection, offering a dramatized narrative that explores the characters, the landscape and the impact of the Blitz across the City, at Tower Bridge and beyond.

The Guildhall School, the City of London Police Museum, London Metropolitan Archives and Tower Bridge have worked together to present a thoughtful and poignant insight into the life of a police officer, during one of London’s most dramatic historic periods.

The Bascule Chamber, located in the belly of the Bridge, is an exciting new cultural space for London. Blackout is the sixth public event to take place there and follows on from the success of last year’s collaboration between the Guildhall School and Tower Bridge: Terra Incognita – Here be Dragons.

The Guildhall School’s Video Design for Live Performance programme is a three year, full-time, BA Honours degree for students interested in the fast-changing exciting world of digital video design and production and has been shaped by and upholds the practical, hands-on ethos of the Guildhall School’s Technical Theatre Department. The programme is led by multi award-winning director, designer and audio/visual specialist Dan Shorten. Most recently the department has presented a light and sound performance, Waddesdon Imaginarium at Waddesdon Manor for their Christmas events.

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Tower Bridge, City of London Police Museum and London Metropolitan Archives are provided by the City of London Corporation.

Tickets: £28.50 (£19.50 concessions) available from the Barbican Box Office: 020 7638 8891

Please note that tickets are limited due to the capacity of the Bascule Chamber.

The Bascule Chamber houses moving mechanisms for raising the Bridge to river traffic. The performance space features step stairs and areas that are considered confined spaces and may not be suitable for those with access requirements. Ticket holders should be aware that the event includes outdoor areas; spaces that are naturally dirty as part of the Bridge operations and damp, cold spaces beneath the river, all exposed to the elements. All ticket holders should wear appropriate footwear and practical warm clothing. Full terms and conditions are available online.

About the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

The Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and theatre technicians in the heart of the City of London. Twice-rated No.1 specialist institution in the UK by the Guardian University Guide, and recently selected as one of the top ten institutions for performing arts in the world (QS World University Rankings 2016), the School is a global leader of creative and professional practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with over 900 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world. It is also the UK’s leading provider of specialist music training at the under-18 level with nearly 2,500 students in Junior Guildhall and Centre for Young Musicians. The School is widely recognised for the quality of its teaching and its graduates, and its new building, Milton Court which opened in September 2013, offers state-of-the-art facilities to match the talent within its walls, ensuring that students enter their chosen profession at the highest level. Milton Court is part of the unique Guildhall School/Barbican partnership delivering world-class arts and learning.

About Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge (

Tower Bridge was built over 120 years ago to ease road traffic while maintaining river access to the busy Pool of London docks. It took eight years to complete and was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra). Built as a bascule bridge to allow ships to pass through the lifted roadways, the iconic Bridge is still considered a marvel of Victorian engineering to this day.

Tower Bridge’s Bascule Chamber is London’s greatest hidden space. Built as an operational area to allow for the movement of the Bridge's huge counterweights during Bridge Lifts, this vast brick-lined, subterranean space is normally out of bounds for everyday visitors, and now provides an unparalleled venue for special events. To find out more about Tower Bridge visit: (#InsideTowerBridge)  

Since 1982, Tower Bridge Exhibition has told the history of the Bridge, enabling visitors to experience the spectacular Glass Floor and panoramic views from the high-level Walkways and visit the Victorian Engine Rooms, which house the vast steam engines that once powered the bridge lifts. Find out more at (#InsideTowerBridge)

Tower Bridge generates over £3m a year for the benefit of City Bridge Trust and is owned, funded and managed by The City of London Corporation.

About City of London Police Museum

  • Over 75 years of policing in the City of London
  • A fascinating collection charting the development of the City of London Police, form its earliest days through the intrigue of the Victorian era to modern policing.
  • Opening hours:

Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5pm

Wednesday 9.30am – 7.30pm

Alternate Saturdays 9.30am – 5pm

About London Metropolitan Archives

  • London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) specialises in the history of London and is regarded as one of the finest city archives in the world. The Clerkenwell-based public research centre stores, and cares for, over 100km of books, maps, photographs, films and documents about London and Londoners. The oldest document dates to 1067.
  • LMA is free to use and open to everyone. Visitors can ‘drop in’ to view its exhibitions, film screenings or talks or alternatively, they can carry out research on anything from medieval London to writing a Victorian crime thriller; from school projects to family history.
  • Opening hours:

Monday 9.30am – 4.45pm

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9.30am – 7.30pm

One Saturday each month.