Despite living in a city as vibrant and ever-changing as London, it’s easy to fall into the same ol’ routine. It’s so easy to forget the endless opportunities only a stones throw away from your backdoor, especially when it comes to galleries and theatres. Granted, they can be filled with tourists, but there are always ever changing exhibitions and productions which are a must-see, even if it means battling through the slow-walking tourist streets to get there.
Here’s our guide to the best in art, theatre and exhibitions happening this May.
Some might call him the king in art, and there’s no doubt we haven’t all tried to copy his technique back in art class, but Van Gogh’s largest collection for a decade, is presented at Tate Britain. This major exhibition showcases 45 of his most famous works, including Starry Night on the Rhone, Shoes, and two pieces he created while a patient at the Saint-Paul Asylum. It’ll also take a look at how his work inspired multiple British artists, including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg.
Running until August 11th
Where: Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG
Known for creating the most haunting face we all grew up having nightmares about – The Scream. Despite becoming a universal symbol of anxiety and also a meme, Edvard Munch’s piece delves deeper into his personal struggles as a young artist.
The exhibition shows how new ideas about personal and political independence gave rise to an important voice. It’s in collaboration with the Munch Museum in Oslo, in his home country, helping to understand his innovative techniques and bold colours.
Running until July 21st
Where: Room 35, British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
Be transported into the classic locations from The War Of The Worlds, from Horsell Common to Victorian London, where you will be met with AR, VR, volumetric holograms, actors and mind boggling technology – set to Jeff Wayne’s iconic score. You’ll meet a new side of immersive theatre allowing you to truly explore what it was like to live through the Martian invasion in 1898. It’s a chance to be thrown deep into the story from the minute you step inside the mule-level site in the city centre.
Running from May 31st
Where: 56 Leadenhall Street, EC3A 2BJ
If you’ve ever studied photography, you’ll have had a lesson devoted to the wonders of Martin Parr and his fascinating documentation of people. In his new major exhibition, Only Human, you’ll find portraits of people from all over the world with, of course, his special focus on all things British. The series investigates Britishness in today’s society, and what it means to be human in a time of both change and retrospection.
Showing until May 27th
Where: National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE
This Summer we’re giving the opportunity to explore the history and impact of one of the twentieth century’s most influential couturiers, both Dior’s expansive influence to the fashion industry and the relationship with Britain. You’ll get the chance to immerse yourself in over 200 rare Haute Couture garments drawn from the V&A’s collection, Dior archives alongside accessories, photography, film, perfume, original make-up, illustrations and Christian Dior’s own prized personal possessions. It’s an opportunity to explore the mind behind the hugely influential fashion and make-up brand.
Running until September 1st
Where: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Uncover the wild minds of fourteen artists who channeled the thoughts and feelings during the 1960’s and 70’s in Chicago. How Chicago! Imagists 1960s & 70s sheds light on the collision of art history, folk art, the urban fabric of Chicago, as well as the immersing material culture such as comic books, pinball machines and the wonderful world of advertising. It’s the first significant exhibition in the UK for nearly 40 years by the Chicago Imagists, and is definitely worth the viewing.
Exhibited until May 27th
Where: Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Arts, St James, New Cross, SE14 6AD
Another memorable photographer for anyone who has studied or has an interest in photography is William Eggleston, known for being a true pioneer of colour photography. David Zwirner presents 2¼, a series of square-format colour photographs from the 1970’s, where Eggleston combined vernacular subject matter with a sophisticated understanding of colour, form and composition.
April 12th – June 1st
Where: David Zwirner Gallery, 24 Grafton Street, W1S 4EZ
Emigrating countries is always challenging, and in this heart felt performance of Andrea Levy’s, Orange Prize-winning novel, Small Island, the journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 will be told. The performance follows three intricately connects stories of three individuals all with different dreams. It traces the unsettled history of Jamaica and the UK, where the hope laced with emigrating is shoved headfirst into the stubborn reality of it all.
May 14th – August 10th
Where: National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX