May in London 2018

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The Royal Ballet - Elizabeth

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The Royal Ballet - Elizabeth
Affordable Art Fair Hampstead
Urban Village Fete
Opera Holland Park
Breakin' Convention
Rita Ora
J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan: Formosa
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The Future Starts Here
Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier
Akram Khan Company: XENOS
Jean Louis Fernandez
Nigel Kennedy
Open Air Theatre


The Royal Ballet presents Queen Elizabeth, the Chelsea Flower Show blossoms, Rita Ora plays Brixton Academy and Regent's Park Open Air Theatre opens with Peter Pan in May 2018.

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Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art

The first major exhibition to explore the relationship between abstract art and the invention of photography.

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station


Dates: 2nd May to 14th October 2018


Shape of Light at Tate Modern is the first major exhibition to explore the relationship between abstract art and the invention of photography. The launch of these were defining moments in modern visual culture but the two stories are often told individually. Spanning from the 1910s to the present day, this exhibition will bring to life the innovation and originality of photographers in this period and demonstrate how they responded and contributed to the development of abstraction. Vintage prints by the likes of Paul Strand and Man Ray will go on display alongside lesser-known experimental works and pieces by contemporary artists such as Barbara Kasten and Thomas Ruff.


London Original Print Fair

Exquisite etchings, engravings, linocuts and lithographs.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Mayfair, London, W1J 0BD

Tube: Green Park Station , Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th May 2018


The London Original Print Fair, the world's longest running specialist fair dedicated to prints, returns to the Royal Academy of Arts for the 33rd time in 2018, gathering 50 of the world's leading print dealers together at the prestigious London art gallery. It's a chance to see exquisite etchings, engravings, linocuts and lithographs from all periods of printmaking, from the earliest woodcuts of Durer to the latest additions by contemporary masters. Galleries including Alan Cristea Gallery and Marlborough Gallery typically take part, showcasing works by Royal Academicians and high profile artists - last year these included Gillian Ayres, Cornelia Parker and Paula Rego. If you're planning to visit the fair from outside London, have a look at our hotel deals near the Royal Academy of Arts for all your accommodation needs.


Breakin' Convention

The hip hop and dance theatre festival returns for its 15th year.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 5th, 6th and 7th May 2018


This annual three-day international festival of hip hop and dance theatre, curated by Sadler's Wells associate artist Jonzi D, is back for a 15th year in 2018. Breakin' Convention features performances from some of the world's greatest poppers, lockers, B-boys and B-girls. Taking place every May bank holiday weekend, this world-renowned celebration of hip hop dance culture takes over the whole Sadler's Wells space with dance workshops, graffiti, DJs and freestyle sessions all over the building.


Bill Bailey: Larks In Transit

The long haired comedian tackles politics, philosophy and the pursuit of happiness.

Hammersmith Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9QH

Tube: Hammersmith Station


Dates: 05th May 2018


Comedian Bill Bailey presents a compendium of travellers' tales and the general shenanigans of twenty years as a travelling funny man. The long haired comedian tackles politics, philosophy and the pursuit of happiness with his trademark intelligence, surreal tangents and keyboard tinkling. Plus, he fashions a symphony from a ringtone, tells the real story of Old McDonald and re-imagines the Stars and Stripes. If you saw his most recent live show, Limboland, you'll be delighted to discover there's more where that came from.


Canalway Cavalcade

The distinctive waterway festival returns for 2018.

Little Venice, Maida Vale, Little Venice, London, W2 1TH

Tube: Warwick Avenue Station


Dates: 5th, 6th and 7th May 2018


Canalway Cavalcade is a distinctive waterway festival that has been taking place at Little Venice since 1983. Organised by Inland Waterways Association volunteers, there will be an array of boats, trade show stalls and boater gatherings at this festival for water lovers. As well as the boating activities, there will also be Morris dancing, competitions, food, family-friendly activities and a real ale bar, making it an enjoyable day out for families. Plus, with the location being quaint Little Venice, this creates the perfect opportunity for a gentle stroll and an enjoyable view alongside your lunch and ale.


Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan: Formosa

Lin Hwai-min's new work takes inspiration from the words of the Portuguese sailors in the 16th century.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th May 2018


Choreographer and writer Lin Hwai-min's new work takes inspiration from the legendary words of the Portuguese sailors in the 16th century, as they spotted the land that would one day be known as Taiwan. A new show by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, whose "open-air summer shows attract audiences of up to 40,000 people" (The Guardian), Formosa gets its UK premiere at Sadler's Wells this spring. With music by award-winning Taiwanese singer Sangpuy and projection designs made up of Chinese characters.


Affordable Art Fair Hampstead

Over 100 galleries under one roof, exhibiting paintings, original prints, sculpture, etchings and photography.

Lower Fairground Site, East Heath Road, London, NW3 1TH

Tube: Hampstead Station


Dates: 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th May 2018


The second Affordable Art Fair of the year in Hampstead is the little sister of the Battersea Park original which occurs in spring and autumn. Held in a marquee on the Lower Fairground Site on Hampstead Heath over a May weekend, there are over 100 galleries under one roof, exhibiting paintings, original prints, sculpture, etchings and photography from both established names and emerging talents - all priced from 100 to 6,000. It's the eighth consecutive year the Affordable Art Fair has come to Hampstead in its 13-year history with artists and gallerists presenting workshops and talks. Thursday is the Late View, an evening of art and activities with music and wine as well as art and sculpture demonstrations.


Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier

An in-depth look at the career of the late couturier and shoe designer.

Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6AG

Tube: High Street Kensington Station


Dates: 10th May to 7th October 2018


A major new exhibition at the Design Museum, Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier explores the career and creative process of the famed couturier and shoe designer. Before his untimely death in November 2017, the museum had worked closely with Alaia to plan this major exhibition. Following his passing, the unique exhibition will go ahead as the designer had planned, exploring his passion and energy for fashion as he himself intended it to be seen. Renowned for his skill at tailoring and innovative use of materials, Alaia would design his garments by draping and sculpting directly onto the human frame and meticulously cutting his own pattern. This exhibition will showcase more than 60 outstanding examples of his work from the past 35 years as well as specially commissioned architectural elements by leading artists and designers with whom Alaia worked closely.


Julie Cunningham & Company: Crave

An enigmatic new dance piece choreographed by Julie Cunningham.

Barbican The Pit, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Tube: Barbican Station , Moorgate Station


Dates: 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th May 2018


An enigmatic new dance piece choreographed by Julie Cunningham who made her move into choreography with the double bill, To Be Me, seen here at the Barbican last year. WithCrave she combines dance and spoken word based on Sarah Kane's harrowing play. In her penultimate work, the playwright investigates dark and potent themes including rape, incest, addiction and instability. Cunningham's version, performed by four actors and four dancers,connects stark movement to the poetic style of Kane's writing.


Balance Festival

Sample fitness classes, healthy food and new wellbeing trends.

The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL

Tube: Aldgate East Station


Dates: 11th, 12th and 13th May 2018


A wellbeing festival designed to help you on your way to a healthy lifestyle, Balance Festival brings a whole host of London's fitness offerings to one place, The Old Truman Brewery, from 11th to 13th May 2018. An ideal place to dip your toe into the water of wellbeing, you'll get to try new fitness classes, sample healthy food and learn all about health-conscious travelling. Fitness studios attending include Another Space, Boom Cycle, Third Space, Barry's Bootcamp and triyoga, with classes such as box HIIT, cardio and strength, barre, yoga and T10, which combines resistance and cardio.


The Future Starts Here

A display of groundbreaking technologies looks at what the future holds.

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 12th May to 4th November 2018


A blockbuster spring exhibition, The Future Starts Here sees the V&A look at the power of design in the making of the world tomorrow. Bringing together groundbreaking technologies and drawing upon international research, it will showcase a picture of a rapidly advancing future. A display of more than 100 items will explore how such objects can impact the body, the home, politics, cities and the planet. Objects on display include portraits generated by DNA, a chargeable shirt that can power a smartphone, items printed by the world's first zero gravity printer, and a global seed bank that could be used to prevent loss of plant species in the event of a crisis. From smart appliances to artificial intelligence and new projects from the likes of Google and Apple, this is a glimpse into the future.


Planet Earth II Live in Concert

Scenes from the popular TV show are shown on the big screen alongside live classical music.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: Sunday 13th May 2018


Classical music and nature on the big screen, a combination that will get you racing to the Royal Albert Hall faster than a baby iguana escaping the clutches of a deadly racer snake. Planet Earth II Live in Concert is staged by the BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Singers, conducted by Jessica Cottis, playing live while specially-selected footage from the award-winning BBC series is shown in high-definition on the big screen. The stunning score is by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer and his composers, Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe. Zimmer is renowned for his work on the likes of Gladiator, Interstellar and Blade Runner 2049, but the landmark BBC series has a special place in his heart: "Filmmaking at its absolute peak."


The Royal Ballet: Elizabeth

A dynamic exploration of the life and loves of Elizabeth I.

Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, Covent Garden, London, EC2Y 8DS

Tube: Barbican Station , Moorgate Station


Dates: 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th May 2018


Former Principal of The Royal Ballet Zenaida Yanowsky is Elizabeth I in this dynamic exploration of her life and loves. Covering key moments in the queen's reign, choreographer Will Tuckett and playwright Alasdair Middleton have created a chamber work that weaves together dance, music, text and song. Taking inspiration from letters, diaries, poetry and plays, including material written by her famed suitors, the script for this dance-drama is spoken and sung by female actors and a baritone.


J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan

The Olivier Award nominated production opens the Open Air Theatre's 2018 season.

Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NR

Tube: Regent's Park Station


Dates: 17th May to 15th June 2018


The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre 2018 season launches in May with a return of their Olivier Award nominated production of Peter Pan. Based on the re-discovered original play written by J M Barrie, Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel's production tells the story of George Llewelyn Davies, one of the children who inspired the author to create the character of Peter Pan. Using puppetry in places, the drama reveals how the wounded soldiers of World War One used the fantastical lagoons and pirate ships of Never Land as an escape. Recommended for ages 9 and above, not suitable for children below 4.


Open Air Theatre

This year's season includes Peter Pan, As You Like It and Little Shop of Horros.

Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NR

Tube: Regent's Park Station


Dates: 17th May to 9th September 2018


A mainstay of summer in London, the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre opens its doors for another season in 2018, opening with their Olivier Award-nominated production of Peter Pan. Then comes The Turn of the Screw, a co-production with English National Opera, which reunites director Timothy Sheader with designer Soutra Gilmour who previously designed the impressive multi-tiered set for the Olivier Award-winning production of Into the Woods. Max Webster, the director behind The Lorax at the Old Vic, stages Shakespeare's romantic comedy, As You Like It, and Little Shop of Horrors is the monster musical of the season. During the day, Dinosaur World Live brings Tyrannosaurus rex and friends to the park in a brand new 50-minutes show for ages 3 and above.


Rita Ora

The pop star performs her hit songs live as part of a seven-date tour.

O2 Academy Brixton, 211 Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9SL

Tube: Brixton Station


Dates: Friday 18th May 2018


Pop star Rita Ora undertakes a seven-date UK tour in May 2018 stopping off at London's O2 Academy Brixton on 18th May. Popular as a judge on the The Voice, Rita made her return to music with the release of Your Song in May 2017 and now she's back playing live and performing the follow up Anywhere. Her collaboration with Avicii, a melancholy dance hit, Lonely Together climbed to the top three, giving Rita another turn in the limelight. Hosting and performing at the MTV EMAs at Wembley Arena in November2017, these shows give fans a chance to see her perform her live.


Nigel Kennedy

Kennedy plays three UK concerts in May 2018, finishing at London's Royal Festival Hall.

Southbank Centre: Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: Saturday 19th May 2018


Never one to shy away from breaking boundaries, violinist Nigel Kennedy has previously released an album of Jimi Hendrix-inspired compositions, he's tried his hand in Polish Klezmer music and now he performs new interpretations of George Gershwin. For someone whose violin is worth 2 million it's rather apt that the Gordon Ramsay of classical music often looks as if he's been dressed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Now a respected, consummate performer, Kennedy plays three UK concerts in May 2018, finishing with this show at London's Royal Festival Hall.


Urban Village Fete

A contemporary twist on the traditional summer fete.

Greenwich Peninsula, 1 Green Place, London, SE10 0PE

Tube: North Greenwich Station


Dates: Sunday 20th May 2018


Back for a fourth year Urban Village Fete offers a contemporary twist on the traditional summer fete. Roaming acts - think brass band house music and life-sized slinkies - perform alongside Gilles Peterson who DJs all day. Curated designer marketplaces, street food vendors, art and design workshops, pop-ups and talks hosted by BBC Radio London's Robert Elms are all part of the fun. Further activities in the flourishing Peninsula Garden include workshops (we had group hoola hooping and paper hat workshops last year) and the chance to become a DJ for the day with The Charity Shop DJ, all pulled together by HemingwayDesign who are also behind the Classic Car Boot Sale.


RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Beautiful and inspiring blooms signal the start of the season.

Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4SR

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: 22nd to 26th May 2018


Regarded as a highpoint of the London summer season, the fragrant Chelsea Flower Show is a wonderful showcase of blooms and celebrities - even the Queen attends. In 2018 they're introducing a new Space to Grow garden category, offering ideas and inspiration which can be taken home to your own garden, and for the first time on Friday 25th May, Ranelagh Gardens will remain open to the public until late for an evening of live music, entertainment and more. Particularly spectacular are the gardens created by eight hundred imaginative garden designers who spend nearly a month creating a horticultural wonderland over the 11-acre site. This beautiful and inspiring show is a real treat, even for non-gardeners.



Moliere's classic comedy is transported to modern day America.

Haymarket Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4HT

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station


Dates: 25th May to 28th July 2018


Given current world events, this is a well timed adaptation of Moliere's classic comedy. Adapted by Christopher Hampton, this take on Tartuffe transfers the seventeenth century comedy to modern day America, where a French film tycoon finds his life uprooted by a radical American evangelist. The brand new production, directed by Gerald Garutti (Notes from Underground and Haim - In The Light Of A Violin), premieres in the West End as the first dual language theatre production, alternating between English and French with surtitles throughout. The drama unfolds as media tycoon Orgon falls under the seductive spell of evangelist Tartuffe who looks set to steal his fortune and divide his family.


The Rink

The award-winning musical is given its first London revival in nearly 30 years.

Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD

Tube: Elephant & Castle Station , Borough Station


Dates: 25th May to 23rd June 2018


Award-winning musical The Rink - originally premiered on Broadway in 1984 with Chita Rivera and Liza Minelli - is given its first London revival in nearly 30 years in 2018, being staged at the Southwark Playhouse for a strictly limited season. It tells the story of Anna, an Italian housewife who runs a roller-skating rink on the Eastern coast of American. As she's about to sell the rink to developers, her estranged daughter, Angel, returns after a long period away in the hope to save the rink and make amends with her mother. The show features a score by Tony and Olivier and Award-winning John Kander and Fred Ebb.


The Major General's Review

A free-to-view rehearsal for The Queen's official birthday parade, Trooping the Colour.

Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, Westminster, London, SW1A 2AX

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Embankment Underground Station, Westminster Station


Dates: Saturday 26th May 2018


The Major General's Review takes place at Horse Guards Parade two weeks before the Trooping the Colour, held to mark The Queen's official birthday. It's the first of two rehearsal reviews carried out in the weeks before the birthday parade and it's free to view but you do need a ticket - apply in advance by sending your ticket requirements to: The Brigade Major, Headquarters Household Division, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX. Even if you haven't booked tickets you can still see some of the parade as it passes by St James's Park and The Mall from Buckingham Palace on the way to Horse Guards Parade. And if you miss this rehearsal you can always see The Colonel's Review on Saturday 8th June when tickets are 10 per seat, applications should be sent to the address above.


Opera Holland Park

Operatic arias soar over the tree tops as four brand new productions begin with Verdi's La traviata.

Holland Park Theatre, Holland Park, Holland Park, London, W8 6LU

Tube: Kensington (Olympia) Station


Dates: 29th May to 28th July 2018


The annual Opera Holland Park is a highlight of summer in London, when the temporary structure of Holland Park Theatre is erected in West London's Holland Park and the operatic arias soar over the tree tops. The magical atmosphere of these productions owe a lot to their surroundings but it's also a tribute to a remarkable opera company that has defied expectations and budgets to produce productions of the very highest standard. The 2018 season brings four brand new productions, kicking off with Verdi's La traviata, followed by Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, and the season's rarity Mascagni's Isabeau. The Royal Ballet School returns for its end-of-year summer performances giving a rare opportunity to glimpse the next generation of aspiring young ballet dancers.


Akram Khan Company: XENOS

Dance inspired by Greek mythology, Prometheus and events from the First World War.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 29th May to 9th June 2018


Sixteen years after his first production, Kaash, talented choreographer and dancer Akram Khanis set for his final full length solo show. His new piece, XENOS, commissioned by 14-18 NOW for the First World War centenary, premieres at Sadler's Wells this spring. Working from a text by acclaimed playwright Jordan Tannahill, the dance draws on the story of a shell-shocked Indian soldier trapped in a trench. Inspired by Greek mythology, the myth of Prometheus and by events from the First World War, XENOS, meaning 'stranger' or 'foreigner', expresses tales of loss, hope and redemption, through a mix of classical kathak and contemporary dance.


Lee Bul: Wayward Wander

A mid-career survey of the acclaimed South Korean artist.

The Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XZ

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 30th May to 19th August 2018


The Southbank Centre's Hayward Gallery hosts a mid-career survey of the work of acclaimed South Korean artist Lee Bul. The first retrospective of the artist in London, Wayward Wander explores the artist's extensive investigation into the body and its relationship to architectural space. Lee Bul has explored questions of intimacy, gender, technology and class during South Korea's transition from military dictatorship to democracy, drawing on science fiction, bioengineering and visionary architecture to look at these topics through a focus on the body. The exhibition will showcase her performance, drawing, painting and large-scale immersive installations.

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