Friday, August 5th, 2022

Gareth Pugh’s THIS BRIGHT LAND: a Summer Festival of Community and Culture

All Images © Darrel Hunter


Somerset House is a large Neoclassical complex situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge.  The Georgian era quadrangle was built on the site of a Tudor palace (“Old Somerset House”) originally belonging to the Duke of Somerset. The present Somerset House was designed by Sir William Chambers, begun in 1776, and was further extended with Victorian era outer wings to the east and west in 1831 and 1856 respectively.[

The great Georgian era structure was built to be a grand public building housing various government and public-benefit society offices, but now that has all changed and its present tenants are a mixture of various organizations, generally centered around the arts and education.

One of these tenants are Gareth Pugh and his life partner Carson McColl who run the Gareth Pugh Studio. which centers around Pughs’ fashion business  He is an extraordinarily innovative and provocative designer who has been described as the “latest addition to a long tradition of fashion-as-performance-art that stretches back through Alexander McQueenJohn Galliano, and Vivienne Westwood .



This month however Pugh and McColl have turned the majestic courtyard of Somerset House into THIS BRIGHT LAND FESTIVAL complete with a rainbow-painted mini-stadium, a catwalk stage, and a Ferris wheel

This month-long cultural extravaganza kicked off with a dance performance directed by Wayne McGregor, which was followed by a mini-musical staged by the National Youth Theatre imagining Handel and Hendrix sharing a flat in Brook Street Topping it off with a staggering vocal set by Ruth Brown, a gospel sensation who began to make her name by singing outside people’s homes during lockdown.

It is a very impressive kaleidoscopic grassroots program in the pair’s vision of London that joyfully celebrates openness, inclusion, and fun, and mostly for free.  The whole event will culminate in Somerset House’s very first Vogue Ball.

Pugh told Vogue “We’ve realized there are all these incredible people doing incredible things. So we wanted to bring them together in this physical place. A communal bright land.


Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court
01 - 29 Aug
12.00-22.30 daily
From free – £22.50


Posted by queerguru  at  14:23

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