Visit London Blog » barbican http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:51:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Top Five Secret Gardens in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/top-5-secret-gardens-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/top-5-secret-gardens-in-london/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 09:00:19 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38789 London is one of the greenest capital cities in the world. As well as the large parks and open spaces, you’ll find many charming, tucked-away gardens dotted around the capital. We’ve picked five of the best, which are free to enter and open all year round. Please note, many gardens are closed at dusk and/or locked in the evenings (check websites for opening times and special events before you visit).

1. Postman’s Park
This pretty park hidden away from the Square Mile’s hustle and bustle was once a popular lunch spot for workers at the nearby General Post Office (now closed). As well as containing a handsome sundial, flowerbeds and a fountain, Postman’s Park is home to the Watts memorial, which commemorates the bravery of persons who lost their lives saving others.
BEST FOR: Midweek lunch in the City

Barbican Conservatory

2.  Barbican Conservatory
In the centre of the Barbican Arts Centre is London’s second-largest Conservatory (the biggest is at Kew Gardens). This calm oasis contains more than 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees as well as exotic fish who circle lazily around the ponds.
BEST FOR: Relaxing with friends and family

3. Kyoto Japanese Garden in Holland Park
Inside Chelsea’s Holland Park you’ll find the tranquil Kyoto Garden. A gift from Kyoto’s Chamber of Commerce in 1991, this is a small piece of Japan in Central London. The Kyoto garden contains stone statues, waterfalls, Japanese plants and peacocks.
BEST FOR: Achieving Zen in Central London

Phoenix Garden. Photo: http://www.thephoenixgarden.org

4. Phoenix Garden
The Phoenix Garden is a community wildlife garden in London’s West End that showcases innovative and sustainable gardening techniques. The colourful array of wildflowers have been specially selected to withstand dry and low-water conditions, so they look beautiful all year round and provide a vital habitat for urban wildlife.
BEST FOR: The ultimate West End garden retreat

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. Photo: http://dalstongarden.org

5. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
This recently-opened garden was built on an old railway line and lies between Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction overland stations in trendy East London. The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden contains bee and butterfly-friendly plants as well as a pavilion for events, a cafe and a bike rack outside to chain your fixie.
BEST FOR: Urban hipsters

What’s your favourite secret garden in London? Tell us in the comments below.

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London Theatre News: The Scottsboro Boys gets its revival, and Hollywood stars Ben Foster and Juliette Binoche head for the West End http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/london-theatre-news-the-scottsboro-boys-gets-its-revival-and-hollywood-stars-ben-foster-and-juliette-binoche-head-for-the-west-end/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/london-theatre-news-the-scottsboro-boys-gets-its-revival-and-hollywood-stars-ben-foster-and-juliette-binoche-head-for-the-west-end/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 09:00:19 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38697

Since it closed at the Young Vic there have been rumours about The Scottsboro Boys transferring to a West End theatre. Brilliantly, these rumours have now been confirmed. From October, theatregoers at the Garrick Theatre can see exactly why critics and audience members in Waterloo were so excited about Kander and Ebb’s musical tale inspired by real events of the 1930s when nine young black men were falsely accused of rape.

The Olivier Award nominated show will open too late to join the productions taking part in West End LIVE, the free festival of all London’s theatre district has to offer. The annual event, held in Trafalgar Square, has announced it is happening on 21 and 22 June, and that Billy Elliot The Musical, The Bodyguard, Jersey Boys, Stomp and Wicked are already lined up to perform. More shows are set to be announced shortly.

Away from musicals, there have been a raft of exciting casting announcements.

Jane Horrocks – of Absolutely Fabulous and The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice – is returning to the West End as part of the eagerly awaited second Trafalgar Transformed season at the Trafalgar Studios. She’ll play the torn wife of George Khan in the revival of hit play East is East. The tale of a Pakistani chip shop owner trying to give his children a Muslim upbringing in 1970s Salford opens at the Trafalgar Studio 1 in October.

Before that another brilliant British actress, Gina McKee – of Notting Hill and Our Friends In The North – joins The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman in the first show of the season, Shakespeare’s Richard III, from 1 July.

Then there’s Great Expectations’ Vanessa Kirby and X-Men: The Last Stand’s Ben Foster joining Gillian Anderson in the Young Vic’s A Streetcar Named Desire from 23 July, Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche starring in Antigone at the Barbican in 2015 and Neil Morrissey of Men Behaving Badly – and Bob the Builder – replacing Rory Bremner in Relative Values from 26 May.

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London Theatre News: Benedict Cumberbatch, National Theatre and Old Vic seasons, Alexandra Burke, Thriller Live, The Commitments, Olivier Awards http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-theatre-news-benedict-cumberbatch-national-theatre-and-old-vic-seasons-alexandra-burke-thriller-live-the-commitments-olivier-awards/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-theatre-news-benedict-cumberbatch-national-theatre-and-old-vic-seasons-alexandra-burke-thriller-live-the-commitments-olivier-awards/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:15:43 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38276

There’ve been rumblings about it for months, but we finally know for sure that Sherlock and The Hobbit star Benedict Cumberbatch will get all Shakespearean and give London his Hamlet. The production, which already looks to be one of 2015’s highlights, will play at the Barbican.

I know we’re barely three months into 2014 and already we’re looking forward to next year, but Cumberbatch fans aren’t the only people getting excited about 2015.

The National Theatre has looked that far ahead and announced a season including new plays by David Hare, Tom Stoppard and Richard Bean alongside an adaptation of Treasure Island and Helen McCrory starring in Medea.

Hit musicals Thriller Live and The Commitments have also cast their eyes that way and announced extensions to their popular runs taking them into 2015.

Kevin Spacey’s not thinking quite that far in advance. The Artistic Director of the Old Vic has only announced plans until the end of 2014. He’ll be taking to the stage in May to play ground-breaking lawyer Clarence Darrow in a one-man show, followed by a modern take on The Crucible and Kristin Scott Thomas starring in Greek tragedy Electra.

At the Adelphi Theatre, one British music mega star will replace another as X Factor winner Alexandra Burke takes over from soul sensation Beverley Knight as The Bodyguard’s Rachel Marron from 2 June. By all accounts Knight has made a big impression since making her stage debut in the Whitney Houston musical; let’s hope Burke can do the same.

Just one more thing, if you’re wondering what to do on the evening of 13 April, the answer is watch the Olivier Awards with MasterCard. The show’s fantastic performances have been announced and include all the nominated Best New Musical and Audience Award shows, Broadway star Bernadette Peters and ABBA’s Benny and Björn joining the cast of Mamma Mia! to celebrate the show’s 15th birthday. Tune in to ITV from 22:15 to see all the best bits.

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London Fashion Week: Fashion Exhibitions in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/lfw-fashion-exhibitions-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/lfw-fashion-exhibitions-in-london/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 09:00:25 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37656 From The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. Kylie Minogue, 2008. William Baker. The Surrealists collection, “Médée” gown Haute couture fall/winter 2006–2007 © 2008, Darenote Ltd. All rights reserved

The capital is gearing up for the start of London Fashion Week which begins on Thursday. But it’s not the only display of fashion finery in town.

Learn about fashion’s icons and see their fabulous designs at these fashion-forward exhibitions.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House

Explore the amazing life and wardrobe of Isabella Blow, the legendary fashion director who is credited with discovering and nurturing the likes of designers Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and Hussein Chalayan, as well as models Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant. Try to tie in your visit to Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! with one of the special related events, be it a free tour or the documentary about ‘the empress of fashion’ Diana Vreeland. Until 2 Mar

The Cloth. Photo credit: Anita Cobin. From the V&A exhibition Club to Catwalk

Club to Catwalk at the V&A

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s closes bang in the middle of LFW (on 16 Feb), so if you haven’t been yet, don’t miss your chance! This popping exhibition explores the creative explosion of London fashion during the 80s, and the influence of club styles such as New Romantic and High Camp. See outfits worn by Adam Ant and Leigh Bowery, and discover the bold, experimental new looks being conjured by the bright young designers of the day, such as Betty Jackson, Katharine Hamnett and John Galliano. Until 16 Feb

Dress worn by Princess Margaret

Fashion Rules at Kensington Palace

The changing styles of British fashion are brilliantly illustrated through Fashion Rules, an exhibition of rare dresses once worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. Spot the nipped-in waist of the buoyant 1950s, the short hemlines of the defiant 1960s, the sparkles and shoulder pads of the outrageous 1980s – the Royals knew the fashion of the day, and made sure they followed it! Entry to the exhibition is included in admission to Kensington Palace, so save enough time to explore this remarkable building – we can’t guarantee you’ll bump into Wills, Kate and George though (even if they do live there!). Until 2015

Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol at the Fashion & Textile Museum

Fabulous fashion would be nothing without fabulous textiles. In Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol, the Fashion  & Textile Museum explores the history of 20th century art in textiles – featuring more than 200 rare pieces (many of which have never been seen before) by Salvador Dalí, Barbara Hepworth, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, among others. See how artistic movements such as Cubism and Pop Art influences textile designs, and how the public engaged with modern art through their clothing and home furnishings. Until 17 May

The Anatomy of a Suit at Museum of London

What makes a suit? Find out in the Museum of London’s free exhibition The Anatomy of a Suit. The museum’s experts have dissected a selection of retro suit jackets, picked up from London markets, to discover the engineering that lies within. Find out how clever tailoring and design can change the shape of the wearer’s body, and discover the trade secrets of the nimble-fingered tailor. Until 1 Jun

Paul Smith in his office. Courtesy of the Design Museum

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum

The Design Museum is celebrating the world and work of Paul Smith, acclaimed British fashion designer. In Hello, My Name is Paul Smith you can find out how his quintessentially British label began in Nottingham and went on to become one of the leading brands in the world – plus discover what’s next in store. Until 22 Jun

COMING SOON: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican

Ok, so it doesn’t start until April but we had to give a mention to this very exciting exhibition coming to the Barbican. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is the first major exhibition devoted to the acclaimed French couturier, and features more than 180 cutting-edge couture and ready-to-wear garments, including Madonna’s infamous conical bra and corsets, stage costumes designed for Kylie Minogue and pieces created for the films of Pedro Almodóvar and Luc Besson‘s The Fifth Element. There’ll also be footage of catwalk shows, concerts, music videos, dance performances and Gaultier’s cult television show Eurotrash. Book now! 9 Apr to 17 Aug

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What’s On This Weekend: 8-9 February http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/whats-on-this-weekend-8-9-february/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/whats-on-this-weekend-8-9-february/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37556

A mixed bag of events spread across this weekend range from the all-out madness that comes with Winter Pride and the Six Nations, to the more serene prospects of a David Hockney exhibition in the Dulwich Picture Gallery or admiring orchids at Kew Gardens.

David Hockney, Printmaker at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

The lovely Dulwich Picture Gallery opens its latest exhibition this weekend as Hockney, Printmaker celebrates the career of one of Britain’s most loved artists. The exhibition features over 100 carefully chosen works concentrating on two of Hockney’s favoured techniques: etching and lithography. Classics such as A Rake’s Progress (1961-63) and Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (1969) are included in this must-see collection. Opens 5 Feb

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

From the creative team that brought the spectacle that is War Horse to the London stage (Bristol’s Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris and the Handspring Puppet Company) comes this innovative adaptation of Shakespeare’s much loved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Expect a combination of puppetry and general stage wizardry alongside the bard’s fantastical prose when this opens for a short run at the Barbican Centre. 6-15 Feb

Flying the flag (indoors)

This year marks the first ever indoor Winter Pride event, hosted at the Tobacco Dock. As many as 3,000 revellers from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community can party away from the elements, with music coming from big LGBT club brands and international DJs, including Bear Necessities, East Bloc, MINT, One Love and Popstarz. Also inside will be fairground attractions, cultural and charitable stands and a Victorian marketplace. 8 Feb

Keep dancin’! at The O2

Cue that catchy tune from the opening credits, as there are still tickets available for the four live Strictly Come Dancing shows at The O2 this weekend. Confirmed stars for this live version of the much loved BBC show include the model Abbey Clancy, former Dragon Deborah Meaden, Westlife’s Nicky Byrne and rugby World Cup winner Ben Cohen. 8-9 Feb

The season of beer and bruising tackles is upon us

The Six Nations returned last weekend, as rugby fans descend once again upon the best pubs and bars across the city (or mostly south of the river really). The rivalry between the Six Nations (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) is fierce but this makes for a great atmosphere as fans watch shoulder to shoulder and banter the afternoon away under a haze of Guinness and pride, the only thing to do is join the scrum. 1 Feb – 15 Mar

A tropical treat at Kew Gardens

For an altogether more tranquil weekend activity head to the warmth of the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens for the annual celebration of Orchids. Explore the tropical plants and orchids inside the conservatory and witness some of the rarest specimens in the world at this botanical wonderland. 8 Feb – 9 Mar

Next week this blog will be relocating to its new permanent home on visitlondon.com, stay tuned for details.

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London for Under 18s: Teenagers’ Day Out http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-for-under-18s-teenagers-day-out/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-for-under-18s-teenagers-day-out/#comments Sun, 15 Dec 2013 10:00:06 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36541 Visitors at Trafalgar Square. London on View/VisitBritain

Going on a day out in London can be tricky when you’re a teenager. You want something interesting and cool but not too expensive – and where you don’t need ID or parental accompaniment (if you’re going with just friends).

So we’ve come up with an itinerary for how your day could look. There’s enough to fill a whole weekend, let alone one day, so pick and choose according to how much time and money you have to spare.

Camden Market

Morning: Shopping at Old Spitalfields Market or Camden Market

Markets are a great place to pick up a bargain or unique gift. Old Spitalfields Market is a cobbled, indoor market with stalls selling everything from vinyl records (on the first and third Friday of the month) to vintage (on Saturdays). If your style is more alternative, head for Camden Market where you’ll find goth fashion, handmade accessories and much more.

The Boiler House Food Hall

Lunch at Boiler House Food Hall or Honest Burgers

If you went for the Spitalfields option, pop into nearby Boiler House Food Hall for lunch. This indoor food market – located inside The Old Truman Brewery (look out for the giant chimney) – is packed with traders selling dishes from around the world: India, Japan, Poland, Morocco… it’s all there. Opted for Camden? Pick up some street food at the market or take a seat at Honest Burgers for a British beef burger (served with chips, from £8).

Roundhouse

Get involved at the British Music Experience or the Roundhouse

Hop on the Tube to North Greenwich and explore the British Music Experience (£6 for under 17s when booked in advance). See John Lennon’s specs and other music memorabilia, show off some moves in the ‘Dance the Decades’ booth, record a song in the Interactive Studio and much, much more. Alternatively, see what’s happening at Camden’s Roundhouse. This top music venue has a programme called Creative Projects, with drop-in sessions for 11-25 year olds in music, creative media and performing arts (from £2).

Namco Funscape

Go Gaming at Namco Funscape or Get Creative at Tate Modern

Take the Tube to Waterloo and then walk to Namco Funscape (next to the London Eye) – an amusement venue full of interactive games, plus a laser maze, bowling alley, bumper cars and karaoke rooms. Watching the pennies? Walk up river for a wander around free contemporary art gallery Tate Modern. Don’t miss the digital drawing bar on Level 3, where you can create a piece of digital art and see it displayed instantly on a giant screen. Then you can say you’ve exhibited at the Tate!

Dinner at Wahaca or the Gourmet Pizza Company

Refuel for the evening at the South Bank branch of Wahaca, where street food tapas starts at £3.70 for a black beans & cheese quesadilla. Or go Italian at the Gourmet Pizza Company (along the river near the OXO Tower), where you’ll find delicious pizzas and pastas starting at £7.75.

National Theatre

Take in a show at the National Theatre or Barbican Centre

Many London theatres offer cheap tickets to under 26s. The National Theatre has a free membership scheme, Entry Pass, offering a limited number of £5 tickets to 16-25 years for each of its performances (UK residents only). The Barbican offers free (yes, free!) tickets for film, music, art, dance and theatre shows to 16-25 year olds through its freeB membership scheme. Younger teens should check out Unicorn Theatre near London Bridge, which groups shows by age (i.e. 17-12, 13+, adult) to make it easier to choose the ideal show for your age group.

Party with Under The Radar or McCluskys

Given UK licensing laws, London’s clubs and bars are strictly reserved for over 18s – as Justin Bieber discovered on his birthday. However, a number of underage, alcohol-free nights do exist in the capital. Upcoming events include Winter Special at the Renaissance Rooms in Vauxhall, organised by youth music scene promoters Under The Radar. Also on the calendar for December is a live showcase by MOBO award Winners Krept & Konan at McClusky’s in Kingston.

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G&T Time: Gin Lovers’ London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/gt-time-gin-lovers-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/gt-time-gin-lovers-london/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 10:30:06 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36409 Gin at The London Gin Club

Gin has had a rollercoaster history in London. Once the favoured drink of London’s poorest (and nicknamed ‘Mother’s ruin’), it gradually improved in quality and by the mid-19th century was enjoyed by well-heeled punters in ornate gin palaces.

Later, younger generations began to turn their noses up at what was seen as an old-fashioned spirit – until a recent gin revival made it the hottest drink in town. Get on the bandwagon at these top London gin attractions.

The London Gin Club

The London Gin Club

Every night (except Sunday and Monday), family-run Soho bar The Star At Night plays host to The London Gin Club. Step into this tiny bar and you’ll find more than 70 gins to choose from, including a new, limited stock of vintage gins from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. There’s also an experimental Ginventor menu and Gin Tasting Menus – complete with balloon glasses, hand-cracked ice, paired garnishes and Fever-Tree tonic.

Martini Masterclass at Dukes Bar

James Bond author Ian Fleming was a regular at the Dukes Bar, and it’s said that the inspiration for the classic catchphrase ‘Shaken, not stirred’ came from here. Today you can learn the tricks of the trade directly from Dukes’ expert barman on a Martini Masterclass. You’ll make the bar’s signature martini and other classic cocktails, learn the history behind each and then, of course, taste your handiwork with some tasty canapés.

Gin Joint at the Barbican

Gin Joint at the Barbican

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world… you have to walk into this one. Located on the second floor of the Barbican Centre, The Gin Joint is a slick, smart brasserie and bar (from Searcy’s) serving only London dry gin or varieties distilled in the same style. Choose from gin with a mixer, gin on tap (a first in the city, it claims) and six signature gin cocktails. Head along from 5-8pm to enjoy any G&T for £7.50.

The London Distillery Company Tour

As the popularity of gin has grown in recent years, so has the number of people distilling right here in the capital – putting the London back in ‘London Dry Gin’ (the term refers to the distilling process not its geographical origins). The London Distillery Company has gone one step further and opened its Battersea home to (pre-booked) tours. You’ll learn about gin and the distilling process, find out about TLDC’s own gins (Dodd’s Gin and the TESTBED Anglo-American range) and naturally partake in some sampling.

Bourne & Hollingsworth

Bourne & Hollingsworth

Cosy prohibition-style bar Bourne & Hollingsworth is known for its retro parlour décor and cocktails served in teacups. Gin favourites on the menu include Gardener’s Tea Break with Hendricks gin and green tea syrup; Hollingsworth fizz with egg white and soda; and the wonderfully named The Wibble, mixing gin and sloe gin.

Graphic

A stylish, design-led alternative to London’s traditional gin palace-style bars (such as The Worship Street Whistling Shop and The Viaduct Tavern), Graphic showcases work by contemporary artists such as Ben Allen, Eine and Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger. But gin is no sideline here, with an incredible 180 gins on the menu – the most extensive gin collection in the UK. Opt for the ‘Gold’ Paint Tin Punch and it will come delivered with a blast of Spandau Ballet’s hit record of the same name.

Gin & Jazz at Intercontinental London Park Lane

Gin & Jazz at Inter Continental London Park Lane

Flapper dresses, gin cocktails, vintage jazz… every month the Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel revives the golden 1920s with a night of Gin & Jazz. On the menu you’ll find 40 different gins, sharing plates and a veritable cocktail of music from the likes of The Swing Ninjas and The FB Pocket. It’s the cat’s meow.

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London Theatre News: The Sound of Music; Ghost Stories; Miss Saigon; and the Park Theatre http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/london-theatre-news-sound-of-music-ghost-stories-miss-saigon-and-the-park-theatre/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/london-theatre-news-sound-of-music-ghost-stories-miss-saigon-and-the-park-theatre/#comments Thu, 29 Aug 2013 09:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35265 Michael Xavier as Captain von Trapp and the children. Photo by Johan Persson

Good news for fans of The Sound of Music: the Open Air Theatre’s production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic has extended to 14 September. Let’s hope the weather stays kind for the rest of the run.

It was a huge hit first time round, so I’m pleased to announce that Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s terrifying production of Ghost Stories is coming back to the capital. The spooky show will play from 13 February at Leicester Square’s Arts Theatre, four years after it first appeared in London.

If, like me, you’re eagerly awaiting more details about Miss Saigon returning to the West End, I’ve got some news for you. The Olivier Award-winning show will play at the Prince Edward Theatre from 3 May next year. Tickets go on sale on 9 September – put it in your diaries!

Finally, I’ve news of London newest theatre, the Park Theatre’s second season. Tim Pigott-Smith will star in the world premiere of a new play by Larry Belling; and Sean Holmes brings his production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night back to the capital. There’ll be another world premiere (Sarah Rutherford’s Adult Supervision); a run by the ever-brilliant Reduced Shakespeare Company; and a festive pantomime.

London Theatre Cast News

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Arab Hip-Hop, Musical Rebels and Sudanese Art: Shubbak Festival of Arab Culture Launches in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/06/arab-hip-hop-musical-rebels-and-sudanese-art-shubbak-festival-of-arab-culture-launches-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/06/arab-hip-hop-musical-rebels-and-sudanese-art-shubbak-festival-of-arab-culture-launches-in-london/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 13:52:07 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=34118 Ghada Khunji: The Wall Whisperers

The Shubbak festival of Arab culture begins tomorrow in London, with 15 days of concerts, films, theatre, exhibitions, family activities and debates to look forward to.

“These are turbulent and challenging times for the region,” said Festival Chair Omar Al-Qattan, “but they are also rich with expectation and hope. No-one can guide us better through them than the region’s writers, artists

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and creators, and London is one of the best places to celebrate that extraordinary vitality and creativity.”

Have a look through the festival programme and you will find plenty of interesting and unexpected events, such as a party at The Flyover Portobello showcasing young Arab hip-hop, soul and reggae artists from America, the UK, Jordan and Palestine.

“What we wanted to do was look at the whole range and not limit ourselves to the classical art forms,” said the festival’s Artistic Director, Eckhard Thiemann.

Other highlights include a double bill at the Barbican starring two musical rebels from Algeria, rock and rai performer Rachid Taha and singer-songwriter Souad Massi, and an exhibition of work by 83-year-old Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi at Tate Modern. There are also free events for families in Kensington Gardens and Lyric Square, Hammersmith.

Find out more at www.shubbak.co.uk

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What’s On This Weekend: 5-7 April 2013 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/whats-on-this-weekend-5-7-april-2013/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/whats-on-this-weekend-5-7-april-2013/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 15:30:36 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=32373 The clocks have gone forward, meaning that you have an extra hour of daylight in which to enjoy the wonders of London! There are lots of great events and exhibitions taking place this weekend, from neuroscience-themed activities to a chance to see majestic displays of birds of prey.

Oysters and Absinthe at Callooh Callay 

This weekend is your last chance to discover the atmospheric absinthe and oyster bar at Callooh Callay, an eclectic Alice in Wonderland-inspired bar by Old Street. Located behind the venue’s wardrobe (seriously), the upstairs absinthe bar offers a selection of reasonably-priced oysters and bar snacks alongside delicious absinthe cocktails such as Sazerac and Death in the Afternoon. You’ve only got until Saturday to mix with the Green Fairy, however, as the pop-up bar is being once again converted to a new theme. Until 6 Apr

Bollywood Showstoppers at The O2

Revel in the magic of Bollywood dance at this spectacular show, which combines colourful costumes, catchy songs and amazing choreography. Amongst the performers will be notable performers Bipasha Basu, Shaan and Atif Aslam. Tickets start at £25. 7 Apr

Open Days at Upminster Windmill

Visit one of England’s finest examples of an 18th century smock mill (a windmill with a hexagonal or octagonal tower) in Upminster this weekend. The Grade II* listed building will be open for free tours on Saturday and Sunday, on which visitors can view the mill’s fascinating machinery and enjoy views that extend over London to the transmitter at Crystal Palace. 6-7 Apr

Eagles at Easter: Falconry Displays at the Royal Air Force Museum

In celebration of the symbolic place that birds of prey have within the Royal Air Force (RAF) – the eagle is, for example, featured prominently on the service’s badge – the RAF Museum is staging falconry displays on its helipad. Three displays will be held per day, and visitors can also enjoy the museum’s display of more than 100 aircraft as well as a host of fun activities. Entry is free. 6-12 Apr

Warhol on Film at the ICA

This weekend the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) will be screening UK premieres of three rare Warhol films from the 1960s, which have been newly restored. Chelsea Girls, Sleep and Vinyl are among the most significant works of the artist’s career, during which he created more than 600 films. Screening times and ticket prices can be found on the ICA website. 5-7 Apr

The Wonder Street Fair at the Barbican Centre

Coinciding with the Barbican’s Festival of Neuroscience, the Wonder Street Fair will fill the Barbican Foyer with free activities, performances and demonstrations. More than 20 inspiring activities will be on offer, including the chance to discover cave painting, play with motion sensors and even knit a neuron. 12pm-7.30pm, 7-9 Apr

Photo by Ade Bradshaw via Flickr.

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