Whether it's gripping theatre productions, major art exhibitions, lively festivals or highly anticipated sporting events, London's cultural offering is as plentiful as ever this spring.
When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other
A new play from Martin Crimp that takes inspiration from Samuel Richardson’s controversial 18th-century novel Pamela, this gripping production stars Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett alongside British actor Stephen Dillane. The production marks Blanchett’s debut at the National Theatre, making it this season’s must-see.
16th January-2nd March 2019
Grace Wales Bonner: A Time for New Dreams
A multi-disciplinary project spanning the spheres of fashion, art and music, Grace Wales Bonner’s latest creation is a meditation on ritual and mysticism, and includes engaging collaborations with musician Chino Amobi and the Black Audio Film Collective.
19th January – 16th February
Serpentine Sackler Gallery
The C C Land Exhibition: Pierre Bonnard – The Colour of Memory
Known for his courageous use of colour, painter Pierre Bonnard is the subject of this stunning spring retrospective at Tate Modern. Focusing on his work from 1912 onwards, it sets vibrant landscapes alongside poetic domestic portraits for a glimpse of the artist’s everyday life.
23rd January-6th May 2019
John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing
To celebrate the bicentenary of John Ruskin’s birth, this exhibition explores the immense legacy of the influential art critic, artist and thinker. Drawing on objects sourced from collections across the UK, the display includes new works by contemporary artists to explore Ruskin’s lasting influence.
26th January – 22nd April 2019
Two Temple Place
Caroline, or Change
A vivid and absorbing portrayal of life in 1960s Louisiana, Caroline, or Change is an emotive musical about housemaid Caroline, played by Sharon D. Clarke. The Tony Award-winning musical includes lyrics by Tony Kushner, the playwright behind Angels in America.
Until 9th February 2019
A Slight Ache/ The Dumb Waiter
Marking the 10th anniversary of the death of acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter, the Pinter at the Pinter season showcases his witty one-act plays in back-to-back sequence. This seventh instalment trains the spotlight on 1950s comedies A Slight Ache and The Dumb Waiter, with a star-studded cast including Martin Freeman.
Until 23rd February 2019
Harold Pinter Theatre
Good Grief, Charlie Brown!
An enjoyable exhibition for all ages, Good Grief, Charlie Brown! pays tribute to the iconic Peanuts cartoons created in the 1950s by Charles M. Schulz. Along with original illustrations, the show includes works by contemporary designers and artists who have sought inspiration from Schulz’s distinctive style and characters.
Until 3rd March
Russia & The Royal Mews
Don’t miss this special opportunity to combine spring’s leading exhibitions at The Queen’s Gallery with a visit to the Royal Mews. Russia, Royalty & The Romanovs is a study of the relationship between the British and Russian royal families, illustrated by priceless works of art including ornate creations by Peter Carl Fabergé. Alongside this is Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, the first exhibition to focus solely on the work of the man credited with creating war photography. Round off your visit with a visit to the Royal Mews, located directly opposite Hotel 41.
Until 28th April 2019
The Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace
The multi award-winning, sell-out Broadway musical continues its run at Victoria’s Palace Theatre. Narrating the story of lesser-known American founding father, Alexander Hamilton to a hip-hop soundtrack, it has picked up a cult following as the decade’s most unmissable musical theatre production.
Until 25th May 2019,
Victoria Palace Theatre
A floral extravaganza for Valentine’s Day
A unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, learn how to create fabulous floral art under expert guidance from award-winning florists. Lead by Julie Collins and Tina Parkes, this daylong event offers the chance for participants to craft show-stopping arrangements.
11th February 2019,
Chelsea Physic Garden
Diane Arbus: In the Beginning
Focusing on the start of Diane Arbus’ prolific career, this revealing showcase sheds light on one of the 20th century’s most iconic photographers. Organised in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the exhibition includes more than 100 images, snapped by Arbus with her typical candour between 1956 and 1962.
13th February – 6th May 2019
Luna Cinema at the Natural History Museum
Celebrate Valentine’s Day in style with special romantic comedy screenings at one of London’s most famous buildings. The Luna Cinema is taking over The Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall, and will be showing classics including The Notebook, Pretty Woman and A Star is Born.
14th-16th February 2019
Natural History Museum
The London Classic Car Show
Whether a collector or an enthusiast, The London Classic Car Show is a must for appreciators of vintage cars. Alongside the usual historic motorsports arena and Grand Avenue ‘catwalk’, this year’s edition celebrates The Italian Job’s 50th anniversary with an appearance from its iconic red, white and blue Mini Coopers, of course.
14th – 17th February 2019
The English National Opera stages Puccini’s classic La Bohème in celebration of director Jonathan Miller’s 40th anniversary with the company. This mesmerising production includes anticipated performances from award-winning soprano Natalya Romaniw as Mimi and tenor Jonathan Tetelman as Rodolfo.
Until 22nd February 2019,
This intriguing and ambitious show at the RAA brings together the work of two artists separated by 500 years of history; Italian Michelangelo and American Bill Viola. The show explores both artists’ treatment of the themes of birth, life and death, from Michelangelo’s Crucifixion drawings to Viola’s film projection of a soul’s ascension.
26th January-31st March 2019
Royal Academy of Arts
The Favourite costume display
A hotly-tipped Oscar favourite this year, The Favourite tells the story of Queen Anne and her closest confidantes, and is inspired by events that took place at Kensington Palace. Now on display at the palace, visitors can view the costumes from the film, created by award-winning costumer Sandy Powell.
Until 8th March 2019,
The Renaissance Nude
From Michelangelo’s elaborate sketches to Lucian Freud’s fleshy giants, the nude is one of Western art’s most compelling subjects. This major exhibition at the RA explores the genre’s development at a crucial stage in the 15th and 16th centuries, when artists across Europe started exploring a diverse range of approaches. Including works by masters such as Leonardo, Titian, Raphael and Cranach, the impressive collection ranges from large-scale oil paintings to miniature bronze statues that explore themes of sensual beauty, masculine and feminine ideals and the aging body.
3rd March – 2nd June 2019
Royal Academy of Arts
Valery Gergiev & the Mariinsky Orchestra
St Petersburg’s esteemed Mariinsky Orchestra performs a selection of Tchaikovsky symphonies conducted by the Mariinksky Theatre’s Artistic Director Valery Gergiev as part of the Zurich International Orchestra Series. The performance includes scores from Tchaikovsky’s most celebrated ballets, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.
4th & 5th March,
Powerful and frank, Betrayal is the final play in the Harold Pinter Theatre’s Pinter at the Pinter season. Marking the 10th anniversary of Harold Pinter’s death, this highly anticipated production is based on Pinter’s extramarital affair with a television presenter and stars acclaimed actor Tom Hiddleston.
5th March – 1st June 2019,
Harold Pinter Theatre
Only Human: Photographs by Martin Parr
Martin Parr is one of Britain’s most celebrated contemporary photographers, known for exploring through the lens what it means to be British. This exhibition places portraits of England’s creative icons alongside witty images of everyday life in England, constructing a humorous and thought-provoking dialogue.
7th March – 27th May 2019
National Portrait Gallery
London Beer Week
An opportunity to sample the cream of London’s ever-growing craft beer scene, London Beer Week is a city-wide event that offers tastings and workshops on all things ale. Take a crash course in home-brewed craft beer, sample skilled food and beer pairings or stretch out with beer yoga – that’s sure to make an interesting anecdote.
12th – 18th March 2019
Various locations across London
Let’s Face The Music: A Tribute to the Great Musicals
A dream evening for musical theatre fans, the Roya Philharmonic Orchestra is joining forces with West End stars for an evening of much-loved musical hits. Sing along to favourites from Singin In The Rain, High Society and The Sound Of Music.
17th March 2019
Royal Albert Hall
WOW – Women of the World Festival
Timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, WOW – Women of the World Festival is a two-day celebration of female empowerment. This year’s line-up includes talks and debates with American political activist Angela Davis and prominent Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein.
8th – 9th March 2019
Teenage Cancer Trust Concerts
Each year, the Royal Albert Hall hosts a series of concerts featuring world-renowned performers, with all proceeds going towards helping teenagers living with cancer. This year’s line-up includes folk-rock legends The Levellers and megastars Take That as well as Mercury Prize-winning band Doves. Organised in collaboration with the Teenage Cancer Trust, the event has been on the annual calendar since 2000 to raise money and awareness for a crucial cause through world-class entertainment.
25th – 31st March 2019
Royal Albert Hall
Embrace the spirit of spring on Mothering Sunday weekend with a riot of colour at Hampton Court Palace. This vivid exhibition brings together the palace’s exquisite collection of embroidery, all inspired by foliage and blooms. Each exhibit is accompanied by a display of the florals that inspired it.
29th – 31st March 2019
Hampton Court Palace
David Adjaye: Making Memory
A rare glimpse into the workings of one of the world’s most acclaimed modern architects, The Design Museum dedicates this exhibition to the work of David Adjaye. Explore the inner workings of the man behind buildings including the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, and take a peek at his latest projects.
Until 5th May 2019
All About Eve
Based on Joseph Mankiewicz’s classic 1950s film, this riveting production’s star-studded cast includes Gillian Anderson as Broadway heroine Margo Channing and Lily James as ambitious Eve. Accompanied by PJ Harvey’s music, it’s one of London’s most anticipated performances this season.
Until 11th May
Noël Coward Theatre
Mary Quant, the influential British designer who pushed boundaries for the radical style and high-street trends of the 1960s, stars in this exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Often credited with inventing the miniskirt, this vivid show demonstrates that Quant’s creative output and legacy is far greater than that. Incorporating pieces from Quant’s own archive along with sketches and more than 200 vintage garments, this retrospective explores how the designer won over a generation of women and paved the way for contemporary fashion.
6th April 2019
The Boat Race
One of the UK’s most anticipated springtime sporting events, The Boat Race is a historic battle between the elite rowers of Oxford and Cambridge universities. Take a picnic and pick a grassy spot along the route between Putney and Mortlake to witness history in the making.
7th April 2019,
Edvard Munch: Love and Angst
Discover the artist behind modern art’s most haunting face at Edvard Munch: Love and Angst. While The Scream is an icon of Expressionist art, Munch himself is relatively unknown. This exhibition looks into the Norwegian painter’s unconventional life, exploring the sources of his creative inspiration, from Europe’s bohemian circles to his passionate love affairs. Discover a radical creative force and gifted printmaker who blazed a trail of inspiration for many artists to come.
11th April-21st July 2019,
The British Museum
Grief is the Thing with Feathers
A stage adaptation of Max Porter’s acclaimed novel, Grief is the Thing with Feathers is a moving story of a family that’s grieving the sudden death of their mother. It’s a profound and dramatic exploration of love and loss, with Cillian Murphy of Peaky Blinders fame taking the lead with a spectacularly edgy performance.
25th March – 13th April
Rising Stars of Classical
An opportunity to appreciate some of the brightest stars in British classical music, this evening event focuses on up-and-coming talent, and includes a performance from 2018’s Last Night of the Proms star, saxophonist Jess Gillam. Expect accomplished recitals from the next generation of classical musicians.
30th April 2019
Royal Albert Hall
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
The Victoria and Albert Museum pays homage to one of 20th-century fashion’s most influential figures, couturier Christian Dior. Tracing Dior’s trajectory from the fashion house’s first collections in 1947 up to the present day, this enchanting exhibition includes original sketches by Dior himself, as well as exquisite haute-couture gowns.
Until 14th July 2019
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain
The largest showcase of Vincent Van Gogh paintings in the UK for almost a decade, this major exhibition explores Van Gogh’s enduring relationship with England. Featuring more than 45 works, including Sunflowers and Starry Night on the Rhône, discover the artist’s love affair with British culture and how he inspired local artists.
Until 11th August 2019
Image Credits: Lead image © Ronald Dumont Stringer/Getty Images.When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other © Gillian Hyland. A Time for New Dreams © Grace Wales Bonner. Pierre Bonnard © Musee d’Art oderne/Roger Viollet. Landscape © iStock/KseniaMay. Caroline, or Change © Helen Maybanks. A Slight Ache/ The Dumb Waiter © E-Howarth. Good Grief, Charlie Brown! © Somerset House. Russia & The Royal Mews © Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018. Theatre door © iStock/LanceB. Floral extravaganza © iStock/M_a_y_a. In the Beginning © Estate of Diane Arbus. Hintze Hall © Natural History Museum 2018. London Classic Car Show © London Classic Car Show. Theatre © iStock/naphtalina. Bill Viola Fire Woman © Bill Viola Studio. The Favourite costume display © Historic Royal Palaces. The Renaissance Nude © Museo Nacional Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid. Mariinsky Orchestra/Cadogan Hall © Cadogan Hall. Betrayal © Charlie Gray. Flags © iStock/PeskyMonkey. Beer © iStock/Instants. Royal Albert Hall © Royal Albert Hall. Women of the World © WOW. Concert © iStock/gilaxia. Florimania © Surrey NAFAS. Design Museum © Design Museum. Audience in theatre © iStock/Izabela Habur. Mary Quant © Getty Images/Ronald Dumont Stringer. Boat race © iStock/milanvirjevic. Edvard Munch © Norway Photo/Thomas Widerberg. Raven © iStock/TheImaginaryDuck. Classical Music © iStock/kal9. Christian Dior © Cecil Beaton/V&A. Van Gogh © National Gallery of Art/Collection of Mr and Mrs Whitney.