On Saturday December 2nd Deptford Lounge is hosting the Frost Fest, a special reimagining of the historic frost fayres that entertained London during the frosty winters of the ‘Little Ice Age’ between the 16th and 19th centuries. The fayres took place on the River Thames, which would be covered in ice up to several feet thick in some places. All kinds of merrymaking would occur at these winter festivals, but one particularly fabulous display was the exhibition of performing animals. The circus was actually born on the ice at these fayres, with Chipperfield’s dating back to the Great Frost of 1684.
As the years went by people became more daring, the spectacles more fantastic and the performing animals more crazy. One frosty day in 1814 a live elephant was brought onto the ice! Now the weight of this particular elephant isn’t recorded, but to give you some idea an average African bush elephant weighs somewhere between 3 and 7 tonnes. And one of these was actually walking on the Thames! No one knew where he’d come from, but that didn’t matter. The elephant was the star of the show. People from all over the city came to dance, laugh and celebrate with the animal.
No one could have known it at the time, but the fayre of 1814 was to be the last festival held on the frozen Thames ever, for the river never froze again. The elephant has gone down in London legend, marking a special moment during the festive period as everyone stopped what they were doing to come together and celebrate the surreal and the magical.
And now the elephant is returning for the Deptford Frost Fest!
Come along to our magical modern imagining of the classic frost fayre for lots of live entertainment, arts and crafts and festive refreshments, as well as the chance to meet the Frost Fest elephant!
In honour of its legendary background, we want you to create the elephant’s story: where did the elephant come from? How did it get to be in central London? What was it doing at a frost fayre and what adventures did it get up to in London? Make up a name for it and tell us what its hobbies are – the wackier the better! We’ll pick a winner which will be brought to life in a special performance on the day and will win the creator 2 free tickets to any spring 2018 show at The Albany theatre in Deptford. See below for how to enter.
How to enter the Frost Fest Elephant Story Competition:
Simply fill out this form – and that’s it! Get creative, we’ll see you on the ice.
P.S. There are also black and white Frost Fest leaflets hanging out at Deptford Lounge – colour one in and post it in the box to be entered into a raffle for 2 free tickets to any spring 2018 show at The Albany theatre in Deptford. All entries will receive a small prize.