On The Shore

Tate to Thames 17 - 25 June 2021

Ackroyd & Harvey and Ben Okri

Ackroyd & Harvey have collaborated with the poet, novelist and activist Ben Okri to address the climate and ecological emergency in a large-scale performative work in two acts.

On The Shore Act 1

Over nine days, a 16 x 4m banner grew in the Turbine Hall with a text written by Okri stencilled into the seedling grass.  Equivalent to a photogram, his words were revealed in bright yellow as the letters were removed.

On Friday June 25, a cellist played and eighteen performers congregated to roll and remove the  grass banner from the Tate to the Thames.

The installation follows Tate’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019.

On The Shore Act 2 

To the call of the trumpet, and led by a dancer, the performers processed to the embankment.  Lowering the banner over the railings, a crew awaited to secure the grass to a cork floatation raft.

At 11am, to the sound of St Paul’s bells, the banner was lifted by the waves and floated on the river.  Speeches and music followed.

From Turbine Hall to Thames: Ackroyd & Harvey’s enormous grass banner pleads for our planet’s future by Louisa Buck, The Arts Newspaper 1st July 2021 – link to feature

The Cultural Frontline, BBC Sounds : Chi Chi Izundu finds out how issues of water scarcity, water sanitation and climate change are inspiring artists and musicians. Ben Okri talks about how a living work of art will make us think about climate change – link to feature


Commissioned by XR Writers Rebel

Musician and singer – Damon Albarn with The Capital Children’s Choir
Soloist – Mirabella Okri
Cellist – Georgina Lloyd-Owen
Trumpeter – Sam Keen
Dancer – Charlotte Jarvis
Movement direction – Ben Anderson
Speeches – Ben Okri, Heather Ackroyd, Dan Harvey, Kelly Hill, Simon Bramwell
Creative team – Ackroyd & Harvey and Ben Okri with Liz Jensen, Kelly Hill, Paul Ewen, Laura Toms, Gus Mitchell, Ben Anderson
Production – Kelly Hill
Performers – Angel Pollard, Ashley Goh, Cara Mahoney, Claire Parry, Ella Faye Donley, Gaby Soly, Hanna Kelly, Henry Hayward, Holli Dillon, Jan Pearson, Josh Mortor, Katherine Bristow, Lauren Eliza Philips, Linn Johansson, Melina Khalifi Rad, Olivia Gosling, Oliver Lyndon, Paul Barnes, Rhea Chandratreya, Toby Litt, Tom Jensen, Venice van Someren
Stage Management – Ally Southern, Anoushka Bonwick, Tyler Southern
Video – Gus Mitchell
Photography – Andy Sewell, Elaine Duigenan, Harry Hawkins, Kelly Hill, Dan Harvey and others
Film-maker – Andy Delaney
Sound – Graham Tobias
Acknowledgements  – Misia Gobdeski, Harry Hawkins, BOST, Southwark XR, Helena Smith, XR Creative Circle, Alice English, Andrew Darnton and XR Rebels