May in London 2017

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains
The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains
Simple Minds


Alberto Giacometti, The Chelsea Flower Show and Regent's Park Open Air Theatre are three of the best events in May 2017, hand picked by LondonTown.


The London Original Print Fair

The world's longest running specialist fair dedicated to prints returns.

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

Tube: Green Park Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th May 2017


The London Original Print Fair, the world's longest running specialist fair dedicated to prints, returns to the Royal Academy of Arts for the 32nd time in 2017, 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. Prices start from 100 and rise to as high as 1,000,000.



Jack Thorne reimagines Georg Buchner's play, with Star Wars' John Boyega in the lead role.

Old Vic Theatre, 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB

Tube: Waterloo Station, Southwark Station, Lambeth North Station


Dates: 6th May to 24th June 2017


Known for Skins, This Is England, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and The Solid Life of Sugar Water, multi-award winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne reimagines Georg Buchner's Woyzeck in 2017. Staged at The Old Vic, the new production sees Star Wars' John Boyega take on the role of a young soldier in 1980s Berlin. As the Cold War rages and the world sits at a crossroad between Capitalism and Communism, the soldier and the love of his life are desperately trying to build a better future for their child. Will the cost of escaping poverty get in the way?


Alberto Giacometti

Tate Modern has been given unparalleled access to the artist's collection and archive for this exhibition.

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

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station


Dates: 10th May to 10th September 2017


Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, "one of the most highly regarded and distinctive artists of the last century" (The Guardian) "wowed visitors" at an acclaimed exhibition of his portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in 2015. Two short years on, Tate Modern has been given unparalleled access to the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti's collection and archive to create an exhibition which includes some plasters and drawings never seen by members of the public before. Alongside these are more familiar bronze sculptures and oil paintings showing his distinctive elongated figures. The Tate gallery believes, "Giacometti has rarely been explored this fully."



An anonymous female playwright delves into the world of heterosexual female desires.

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: 10th to 20th May 2017


Written by a female playwright who has chosen to remain anonymous, Manwatching gives a funny, frank and explicit insight into heterosexual female sexual desires. Transferring from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 to the Royal Court Theatre, it details the thoughts of one woman during her sexual experiences. The monologue spans masturbation, thoughts on the idyllic male proportions and even erotic Jane Austen fantasies. However, in an intriguing twist, the script is read by a different male comedian each night, who is seeing it for the first time, live in front of the audience. This unique idea allows the performer to laugh along with the audience and puts the topic of sex in the familiar hands of a man. Comedians to perform it at Edinburgh Fringe included Nish Kumar, James Acaster and Nick Helm.


The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains

This blockbuster exhibition brings together memorable Pink Floyd moments.

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

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 13th May to 1st October 2017


They've given us The Dark Side of the Moon, pigs flying over Battersea Power Station and giant inflatable teachers. Now, this spring, these memorable Pink Floyd moments are brought together in one blockbuster exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Album covers and stage sets, performances, instruments, handwritten lyrics and psychedelic prints are among more than 350 objects and artefacts on display. We'll also get to experience never-before-seen classic Pink Floyd concert footage and a custom-designed laser light show. What a fitting tribute to mark 50 years since the band released their first single, Arnold Layne.


Open Air Theatre

The beautiful outdoor theatre opens its doors for another year.

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

Tube: Regent's Park Station


Dates: 19th May to 16th September 2017


A mainstay of summer in London, the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre opens its doors for another season in 2017, opening with On the Town, directed by Olivier Award-winner Drew McOnie. We are then treated to two of Charles Dickens's most popular stories out in the open. Firstly, Matthew Dunster adapts Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities into a new play directed by Timothy Sheader. Secondly, Oliver Twist is created for everyone aged six and over, adapted by Anya Reiss and directed by Caroline Byrne. Jesus Christ Superstar, winner of the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical in the Evening Standard Awards, and a sell-out success in 2016, returns and runs until 16th September, giving audiences one final chance to see the production in its original home.


Prize for Illustration 2017: Sounds of the City

The 100 shortlisted entries for the Prize of Illustration go on display.

London Transport Museum, 39 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7BB

Tube: Covent Garden Station


Dates: 19th May to 3rd September 2017


Selected by a panel of judges from over 1,000 submissions, these 100 entries shortlisted for the 2017 Prize for Illustration reflect the Sounds of the City. Taking inspiration from the familiar, the curious, the persistent and the distinctive chorus of sounds we hear about us day and night, this is a celebration of the hubbub and the quiet spaces, the songs and the sounds, of our vibrant, diverse, multi-layered cities. On display at the London Transport Museum, in the Exterion Media Gallery, entry is included in the admission ticket, which allows unlimited daytime entry for the whole year.



The largest festival of Indian and South Asian culture outside of India.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 19th to 29th May 2017


Returning to the Southbank Centre for 2017, Alchemy is a festival of South Asian culture that has grown to become the largest festival of Indian and South Asian culture outside India. Incorporating comedy, theatre, dance and music, it's an eclectic programme that this year commences with Sukanya, Ravi Shankar's first-ever opera that he worked on just before he died. The special performance will be directed by Curve Associate Director Suba Das with dance choreographed by the Aakash Odedra Company and music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra.


RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Stunning show gardens and a marquee big enough for 500 London buses, full of blooms.

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

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: 23rd to 27th May 2017


The Poetry Lover's Garden, a garden inspired by the famous British botanist, Ernest Henry Wilson, and a green space to celebrate 500 years of Covent Garden are just three of the show gardens at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. Regarded as a highpoint of the London summer season, the fragrant flower show is a wonderful showcase of blooms and celebrities - even the Queen attends. 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.



The first exhibition to explore a state's current global reach.

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

Tube: High Street Kensington Station


Dates: 24th May to 15th October 2017


A landmark exhibition, California at the Design Museum is the first to examine a state's current global reach. From LSD to iPhones, the ambitious project presents the idea that California has pioneered many tools of personal liberation. Starting in the 1960s, it charts the journey from the counterculture to Silicon Valley's tech culture through political posters, personal computers and self-driving cars. Additionally, it will go beyond hardware to examine how user interface designers in the Bay Area are influencing common day-to-day activities, revealing how this culture of design and technology has, in a way, made us all Californians.


Beyond the Great Wave

The museum explores Japanese influences on European art.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station, Russell Square Station, Holborn Station


Dates: 25th May to 13th August 2017


Without Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, "Impressionism might never have happened", so says Jason Farago, writing for the BBC. It's a claim backed up by none other than the British Museum whose exhibition examines "the moment when European art started turning Japanese". Looking at the last thirty years of Hokusai's career, from around 1820 to 1849, it features a broad selection of works - from the iconic blue and white wave print to major paintings, drawings, woodblock prints and illustrated books.



Gary Owen addresses the topic of violent computer games.

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: 25th May to 24th June 2017


Welsh playwright Gary Owen addresses the topic of violent computer games with his new play, Killology. The play imagines a controversial new gaming experience in which players are rewarded for torturing victims, scoring points based on the creativity of their torture. The creator, however, insists that the game isn't sick and it is marketed as a deeply moral experience, allowing players to live out their deepest fantasies in a digital world. On the streets it's a different story, with growing violence and viciousness. Staged at the Royal Court, the provocative drama is directed by Rachel O'Riordan.


Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

The king of haute couture in the 1950s and '60s is the subject of this new exhibition.

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

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 27th May 2017 to 18th February 2018


He shunned publicity, was rarely seen and gave only one full interview in his life yet Christian Dior called him "the master of us all". Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga, the king of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s, is the subject of a V & A exhibition, marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of his first fashion house in San Sebastian. 80 years after the opening of his famous Paris salon in 1937, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion takes an "almost forensic" look at the craftsmanship and skill that made his creations so special. Around 100 beautiful garments and 20 hats go on display, representing the work of Balenciaga and his followers. Sketches, photographs and fabric samples are shown alongside the garments and patterns, x-rays, toiles and film to reveal how they were made.


Simple Minds

The band perform a collection of songs acoustically for the first time.

London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF

Tube: Oxford Circus Station


Dates: Saturday 27th May 2017


When Simple Minds announced they were taking their new album, Simple Minds Acoustic, on the road the first London gig, at the London Palladium on Saturday 27th May, sold out and a second date had to be added, at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Sunday 4th June. The tour will see them perform a career spanning collection of songs acoustically for the first time and they will be joined by special guest The Anchoress. "Don't be fooled by the acoustic tag!" Jim Kerr has reassured us, and with MOJO magazine declaring it "their best album in 30 years" these shows will be just as energetic as their rock n roll performances.

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