April in London 2019

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Mary Quant

Mary Quant and models at the Quant Afoot footwear collection launch, 1967

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Mary Quant
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition
The London Marathon
Boat Races
Damien Jalet & Kohei Nawa: Vessel
Writing: Making Your Mark
Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic
Beasts of London
Becoming: An Evening With Michelle Obama
Imaginary Cities
Horse Meat Disco headline Brixton Disco Festival
Underbelly Festival
English National Ballet: She Persisted

© PA Prints 2008

The V&A relives the sixties with Mary Quant, Stanley Kubrick is celebrated at the Design Museum and the London Marathon takes over the city streets; just three of the best events in London in April 2019.

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Abhishek Majumdar's controversial play is finally staged at the Royal Court.

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

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: 3rd to 27th April 2019


Having been withdrawn from the schedule in 2017, Abhishek Majumdar's Pah-La will finally be staged at the Royal Court Theatre in 2019. Set in a remote Tibetan village, the play is based on real stories during the 2008 Lhasa riots. Deshar, a young runaway who has disowned her father Tsering, becomes a Buddhist nun and carries out an act of defiance, which reverberates across the whole country.


English National Ballet: She Persisted

The follow up to the company's headline grabbing She Said.

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

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 4th to 13th April 2019


Three years after English National Ballet made headlines with She Said, promoting women's voices in dance, the company returns with the follow up, She Persisted. The programme includes the premiere of Nora, a new work by company member Stina Quagebeur, based on Ibsen's A Doll's House. Audiences at Sadler's Wells are also treated to Pina Bausch's Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). Widely regarded as one of Bausch's masterworks, English National Ballet is only the second ballet company in the world to be allowed to perform it. First premiered in April 2016, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings, based on the life of Frida Kahlo, is also revived as legendary ballet star, Irek Mukhamedov, reprise his role as Diego Rivera.



The tastes and smells of Nigel Slater's best-selling autobiography are brought to the stage.

The Other Palace Theatre, 12 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5JA

Tube: Victoria Station


Dates: 4th April to 3rd August 2019


Based on Nigel Slater's award-winning autobiography, Toast recreates suburban England in the 1960s as Nigel's childhood is told through the tastes and smells he grew up with. Not only can you see the drama on stage, you can also taste the nostalgia as samples of the dishes and tastes central to his story are offered to the audience during the show. The "bitter-sweet" (Independent) show was well received, earning four stars all round for its world premiere at The Lowry, Salford, in May last year and enjoyed a sold-out run at as part of Traverse Festival 2018 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This is the first time London audiences have been treated to this "tender adaptation" (The Guardian).


Beasts of London

Exotic beasts, urban creatures and an elephant tell the story of the city they once called home.

Museum of London, 150 Wall, City, London, EC2Y 5HN

Tube: Barbican Station , St. Paul's Station


Dates: 5th April 2019 to 5th January 2020


London may seem like a civilised place (unless you're on a crowded tube in rush hour) but, as Beasts of London shows, animals used to roam freely in the city. The Museum of London, together with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, brings this menagerie of animals back to life through an interactive digital installation. From exotic beasts imported from all over the world to the native pigeon, you'll come face to face with the animals that once called this city home. Even the enormous elephant is part of the story. Your journey begins before London was created and takes you through the history of the city and significant moments like the arrival of the Romans and The Plague, all seen from an animal's perspective.


Imaginary Cities

This free display fills the British Library's entrance hall with a 3D virtual city.

British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

Tube: King's Cross Station , Euston Station


Dates: 5th April to 14th July 2019


Welcoming you to the British Library from 5th April 2019, Imaginary Cities is a free display which fills the Entrance Hall Gallery with a 3D virtual city. The specially commissioned exhibition by British-American artist Michael Takeo Magruder explores the changing nature of archives and collections in the Digital Age. Using images and metadata of pre-20th century urban maps from the library's collection of over a million images, made public on Flickr Commons, the display shows the creative possibilities of digital collections. The exhibition is accompanied by the library's first Algorave where real-time computer coding is mixed with live music and visuals.


Underbelly Festival

Over 70 shows and five months of comedy, cabaret and children's entertainment.

Underbelly Festival, Jubilee Gardens, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 5th April to 29th September 2019


The unrivalled Underbelly Festival returns to South Bank, between the Southbank Centre and London Eye, from April 2019, presenting over 70 shows for five months of comedy, cabaret and children's entertainment. In a temporary theatre - surrounded by street food and one of London's biggest outdoor bars - you'll find London's largest programme of affordable circus, cabaret and fringe theatre. Festival highlights this year include a month long residency by Gravity & Other Myths who bring their stripped back circus show to the South Bank. Join Bernie Dieter at the Little Death Club for some debauched kabarett, see drag extravaganza Yummy and listen to a new Podcast Live season with A Gay and A Non Gay and Hoovering Podcast on the lineup. Take the children to see stage adaptations of MONSTERSAURUS!, Shark In The Park and Elmer The Patchwork Elephant, as well as The Gruffalo, The Witch, and the Warthog with Julia Donaldson at the biggest ever Family Fest running throughout the Easter holidays.


Sweet Charity

Anne-Marie Duff joins Josie Rourke for her farewell production as she departs from the Donmar.

The Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9LD

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station, Tottenham Court Road Station


Dates: 6th April to 8th June 2019


Anne-Marie Duff makes her musical theatre debut as Charity, reuniting with Josie Rourke for her farewell production as she departs from the Donmar Warehouse. Cy Coleman's musical is choreographed by the world-renowned Wayne McGregor, who reunites with Josie after working on her debut film Mary Queen of Scots. Set in New York in 1967, Sweet Charity tells the story of a dance hall hostess who "runs her a heart like a hotel". After meeting a string of users and losers she encounters Oscar (Arthur Darvill), a mild-mannered tax accountant, and Charity Hope Valentine once again puts her faith in love. Speaking before the production started, Josie said this is, "a joyous way to end a dozen years as an Artistic Director from the Bush to the Donmar."


Mary Quant

A household name in the 1960s, Mary Quant was a byword for high hemlines.

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

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 6th April 2019 to 16th February 2020


Following on from Christian Dior and Balenciaga, both the subject of fashion forward V&A exhibitions in the past few years, in 2019 the spotlight falls on a designer who is closer to home, Mary Quant. A household name in the 1960s, Mary Quant was a byword for high hemlines and pelmet sized miniskirts. With over 200 garments and accessories, including unseen pieces from the designer's personal archive, the exhibition revels in Quant miniskirts and makeup, her famous Bazaar boutiques as well as patterns you could make at home.


A German Life

Maggie Smith stars a solo show based on the testimony of Goebbels's secretary.

The Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park, London, SE1 2SG

Tube: London Bridge Station


Dates: 6th April to 11th May 2019


Dame Maggie Smith returns to the stage for the first time in twelve years to star in a solo show based on the testimony of Goebbels's secretary, Brunhilde Pomsel. A German Life, brought to the Bridge Theatre under the direction of Jonathan Kent, is a new play by Christopher Hampton drawn from the life and testimony of Brunhilde Pomsel. She struggled to make ends meet as a secretary in Berlin during the 1930s, her many employers including a Jewish insurance broker, the German Broadcasting Corporation and, eventually, Joseph Goebbels. She finally broke her silence shortly before she died in 2017 to a group of Austrian filmmakers, resulting in their documentary of the same name.


Oxford v Cambridge Boat Races

England's two elite universities take to the water in a nail-biting 4.2 mile rowing race.

Putney Bridge, Between Fulham and Putney, London, SW6 3JD

Tube: Putney Bridge Station


Dates: Sunday 7th April 2019


One of London's oldest sporting events, first raced in 1829, The Boat Race sees England's two elite universities take to the water in a nail-biting 4.2 mile rowing race between Putney Bridge and Mortlake Bridge in southwest London. Thousands of fans line the Thames each year to see Oxford battle against Cambridge. For spectators, there's a great view - and some great pubs - around Furnivall Gardens on the north side of the Thames near Hammersmith Bridge. Head to Putney Bridge, where big screens are put up on both banks, to watch the start of the race. At Bishop's Park behind the South Stand of Fulham football ground Craven Cottage, you'll find food stalls, family attractions and a large beer tent, while the banks of the river around Barnes are another popular spot. The warm-up starts with the reserve crew race between Isis and Goldie held before the main event but the build-up at the river bank starts well before, from 12noon at Bishop's Park and Furnivall Gardens.


Edvard Munch: love and angst

The British Museum exhibition focuses on Munch's prints - and there are around 17,800 to choose from.

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

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


Dates: 11th April to 21st July 2019


Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, famous for his haunting depictions of raw human emotion - think of Munch and you'll soon think of The Scream - is the subject of a major British Museum display, at the Sir Joseph Hotung Exhibition Gallery. Edvard Munch: love and angst focuses on Munch's prints - and there are around 17,800 to choose from - including a self portrait showing the artist with a skeleton arm framing the foreground. The display highlights how his artistic vision was shaped by personal experience of tragedy. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were also a time when radical ideas were being expressed in art, literature, science and theatre in Europe. With a large number of loans coming from the Munch Museum in Oslo, the exhibition presents a rare opportunity to see the colour lithographs and woodcut prints here in the UK.


Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic

The secret world of magicians is revealed from Derren Brown to Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee.

Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE

Tube: Euston Square Station , Euston Station, Warren Street Station


Dates: 11th April to 15th September 2019


Mind games and masters of deception, the secret world of magicians is revealed at Smoke and Mirrors, a free exhibition at the Wellcome Collection which focuses on the relationship between magic and psychology. Artefacts from Derren Brown, Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee and Harry Houdini illustrate the world of magic as the exhibition seeks out the truth about deception. Discover how bias and suggestion affect our senses and decisions, explore spirit photography and psychology experiments to understand how magic works on - and in - your mind.


Becoming: An Evening With Michelle Obama

Inspiring words from the former First Lady.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station


Dates: 14th April 2019


After Michelle Obama's book tour talk at the Southbank Centre in December 2018 sold out within minutes it quickly became clear she would need a bigger room. The O2 should do the trick. On Sunday 14th April 2019, the former First Lady talks about her memoir, Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with her honest reflections on the experiences and events, both public and private, that have shaped her. If the Royal Festival Hall talk is anything to go by, she'll discuss her family, upbringing, black womanhood and path to the White House, as well as offering advice for young women.


All My Sons

Sally Field, Bill Pullman and Jenna Coleman star in this production of Arthur Miller's play.

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

Tube: Waterloo Station , Southwark Station, Lambeth North Station


Dates: 15th April to 8th June 2019


The second in an Arthur Miller double-bill, The Old Vic presents an all-star production of All My Sons. Co-produced with Headlong and directed by Jeremy Herrin, the production sees Sally Field, Bill Pullman, Jenna Coleman and Colin Morgan star in the piece that cemented Miller's reputation as one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th Century. Set in 1947 America, the play follows Joe and Kate Keller, who have beaten the odds to raise two sons and establish a thriving business. However, nothing lasts forever and long buried truths are forced to the surface, threatening the end of the family's American dream.


Damien Jalet & Kohei Nawa: Vessel

Near-naked dancers inhabit a flooded stage filled with 7,500 litres of water.

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

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th April 2019


Filling the Sadler's Wells stage with 7,500 litres of water, Vessel is a striking collaboration between Olivier Award-winning Damien Jalet, who choreographed Hussein Chalayan's Gravity Fatigue at Sadler's Wells in 2015, and Japanese experimental sculptor Kohei Nawa. Inspired by the body's composition predominately being made up of water, the piece blurs the lines between the human form and its environment. Near-naked dancers inhabit a flooded stage, reflected and hidden by its mirror-like surface. Seven beings perform strange rituals to an electronic score by Marihiko Hara and Ryuichi Sakamoto.


Merce Cunningham: Night of 100 Solos

The Barbican stages the world premiere of Night of 100 Solos.

Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Tube: Barbican Station , Moorgate Station


Dates: Tuesday 16th April 2019


On the day that the giant of US choreography, Merce Cunningham, would have turned 100, the Barbican stages the world premiere of Night of 100 Solos. 75 dancers across three venues - the Barbican Theatre, BAM in New York City and UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance in Los Angeles - perform 100 solos choreographed by Cunningham, with live music and bespoke set design. Nearly half of the performers are former company members, led at the Barbican by Londoner Daniel Squire. To complement the performance, If the Dancer Dances (a 2018 documentary directed by Maia Wechsler) is screened in Cinema 2. It's all part of the official celebration of the Merce Cunningham Centennial which also brings Not a moment too soon to Silk Street Theatre.


Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

Props, costumes, films and scripts by the director of A Clockwork Orange.

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

Tube: High Street Kensington Station


Dates: 26th April to 17th September 2019


In 2019 the Design Museum stages its version of the Deutsches Filmmuseum's hugely successful exhibition - which began in Frankfurt in 2004 and has since travelled to 16 cities across the world - with an exploration of Stanley Kubrick's life and work. The exacting film maker spent most of his time living and working in Britain. It was here that he created the battlefields of Vietnam for Full Metal Jacket, an orbiting space station for 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Dr Strangelove's war room. So it's only appropriate that the exhibition is staged in the UK capital, showing props, costumes, films and scripts by the director and exploring his work with designers including Hardy Amies, Eliot Noyes, Ken Adam and Saul Bass. At the same time, the BFI is hosting a Kubrick Season throughout April and May 2019 showing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut on the big screen.


Writing: Making Your Mark

Tracing the evolution of the written word, from hieroglyphics to emojis.

British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

Tube: King's Cross Station , Euston Station


Dates: 26th April to 27th August 2019


"Writing is so much more than words on the page - it is how we communicate across time and space" says Adrian Edwards, lead curator of Writing: Making Your Mark at the British Library. Tracing the evolution of the written word, from hieroglyphics to emojis, this landmark exhibition examines the act of writing across five millennia and five continents. Over 30 different writing systems are on display including an ancient wax tablet containing a child's homework and a Chinese typewriter from the 1970s. Rare items like Caxton's 1476-7 printing of the Canterbury Tales - the first book printed in England - show how writing is one of humankind's greatest achievements.


Man of La Mancha

Kelsey Grammer and Nicholas Lyndhurst star in the musical inspired by Don Quixote.

London Coliseum - English National Opera (ENO), St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Covent Garden Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 26th April to 8th June 2019


Dreaming 'The Impossible Dream', Kelsey Grammer comes to the London Coliseum, making his West End debut in this Tony award winning musical inspired by Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote. In a collaboration with English National Opera, Man of La Mancha also stars Nicholas Lyndhurst, who plays the Innkeeper and the Captain, and the international opera star and soprano Danielle de Niese who shares the role of Aldonza and Dulcinea with Cassidy Jonson. Lonny Price, who directed the acclaimed London production of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, directs this classic tale of knighthood, love, loyalty and adventure set in 16th century Spain.


Brixton Disco Festival

Horse Meat Disco is joined by London's coolest choir, Some Voices.

Electric Brixton, 1 Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RJ

Tube: Brixton Station


Dates: Saturday 27th April 2019


Horse Meat Disco and Some Voices Choir get the party started at Brixton's multi-venue disco extravaganza. Playing disco classics, Italo disco, house, oddities, and punk funk for 16 years, Horse Meat Disco is joined by London's coolest choir, Some Voices who present an immersive experience of Studio 54. They bringing disco vibes to Electric Brixton on Saturday 27th April as part of Brixton Disco Festival, joining a stellar lineup that includes Evelyn 'Champagne' King, Greg Wilson, Francois K & Cosmo, Low Life with Bill Brewster, Frank Broughton, and the Brixton Disco Festival Orchestra. The disco fever spills out into the venues surrounding Brixton's Windrush Square, including Electric Brixton, the Prince of Wales and the Ritzy with food and drink at Windrush Square Street Food Market.


The London Marathon

Attracting 40,000 runners and even more spectators, the marathon is the largest fund raising event in the world.

The Mall, Westminster, London, SW1Y 5AH

Tube: St James's Park Station


Dates: Sunday 28th April 2019


The largest fund raising event in the world, the London Marathon, returns to the capital in April. One of the top five international marathons, it sees around 40,000 runners - serious competitors, celebrities and charity fun runners - flood the streets of London to tackle the gruelling 26.2 mile route. Attracting thousands of spectators, the course comes alive to the sounds of bands, cheering crowds and pounding feet. The race kicks off at Greenwich Park and Blackheath with a loop around Charlton and Woolwich, continues through Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, crosses the Thames on Tower Bridge before circling Canary Wharf and the City ahead of the showpiece finish along the Embankment, past Parliament Square and onto The Mall in the shadow of Buckingham Palace.

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