“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” So wrote the great Henry James. Those words could not be more true than this year, as we continue to be spoon-fed endless days of defiant sunshine. The London culture scene is sending us rays of warmth too.
Art is proudly out on the streets this month, courtesy of Grayson Perry and an all-night pop-up festival by the Thames. And theatre is offering us mistaken identity, romance, the perils of of freezing one’s eggs and a dollop of tragedy too.
Here is our selection of all the art, theatre and exhibitions to see in London this July.
Hayward Gallery’s ArtNight
What: Art by the moon
Why: A fabulous, summery, all-night arty festival is happening along the river Thames this July. As well as the plethora of contemporary art you can browse and buy on the night, they’ll be art-inspired cocktails, beer, food, live music, workshops and a film screening.
Saturday 7th July – Sunday 8th July
Where: Various locations: Festival Square, Battersea Power Station/ Nine Elms/ Southbank/ Vauxhall
As You Like It
What: All the world’s a stage
Why: Regent’s Park open air theatre will be transformed into the mythical forest of Arden as director Max Webster brings us a warm, open-hearted production of Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy, As You Like It. The score promises to be superb too – former frontman of Noah and the Whale, Charlie Fink, has written brand new music for the play.
Friday 6th July- Saturday 28th July
Where: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Cir, London NW1 4NU
Royal Academy’s 250th Summer Exhibition
What: Art on the streets
Why: The annual summer exhibition has been been given a bit of shake up this year. Grayson Perry is co-ordinating the Royal Academy’s 250th Summer Exhibition and for the first time ever, it will be spread across the new Royal Academy and will spill onto the streets of London’s West End. Pieces from David Hockney, Anish Kapoor, Joana Vasconcelos will feature.
Throughout July until Sunday 19th August
Where: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD
Life in the Dark exhibition
What: Who’s afraid of the dark?
Why: Fancy being deep underground and surrounded by bats? Delve into the nocturnal world in this immersive experience that will tap into your every sense. Perfect for those who are tickled pink by slimy creatures.
Friday 13th July to Sunday 6th January
Where: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
What: Topical comedy
Why: Harry Enfield stars in this sharp and timely comedy about human reproduction and the lengths people will go to defy biology.
Until Saturday 28th July
Where: Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, NW3 3AU
Exhibition: Stories from the city: The Bank of England in Literature
What: Literary connections
Why: What do William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen all have in common, beyond the obvious? They have all appeared on Bank of England notes, of course.
This exhibition explores and celebrates The Bank of England’s literary connections, from the works of fiction that it has inspired, think the theft in Around The World In Eighty Days, to it’s illustrious alumni of employees – namely Wind in the Willows writer Kenneth Grahame, who worked as a senior clerk at the bank.
Throughout July until Friday 14th September
Where: Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane, London, EC2R 8AH
Invitation to a Rave
What: Escapism in art
Why: The title, Invitation to a Rave, is borrowed from exhibiting artist Lena Brazin’s brilliant oil painting. Heralded as an exhibition that ‘vibrates with a call to action, with artworks that grapple with very current issues’ this selection of painting, photography and sculpture showcases some of the best emerging talents in the art world.
Among the eclectic bunch, expect escapism in the form of Will Reid’s stringy, deformed creature in Head in the sand (I can’t look anymore).
Friday 6th July 2018- Sunday 26th August
Where: The Nunnery, 181 Bow Rd, London E3 2SJ
What: A woman revolts
Why: Unable to continue living in a world which doesn’t listen, and married to a man who makes her skin crawl, a young woman finds herself careering down a unconventional and ultimately doomed path of tragedy.
Cold, mechanical, monotonous machines are the grating and oppressive landscape which a young woman finds herself at odds with in this celebrated expressionist play, first written and performed in 1928.
Until Saturday 21 July
Where: Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, London, N1 1TA