Spring is here and we’ve got an eclectic mix of theatre, art, exhibitions and more to recommend this month.
There’s a new free museum in London as The Charterhouse in Clerkenwell has opened to the public for the first time since its foundation in 1348.
This historic walled estate, on the edge of the City of London, has been a religious site, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse.
The museum tells two stories, of the people who have lived and studied in the grounds, and then of the site itself.
You could combine a visit with a guided tour (on Tuesdays to Sundays) or a Brother’s Tour on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The American Dream
The British Museum has The American Dream: Pop to the Present opening on 9 March. It’s showcasing for the first time the museum’s outstanding collection of American prints from the 1960s through this turbulent time in the country’s history.
A revolutionary and enduring change in the production, marketing and consumption of prints took place in the 1960s. Inspired by the monumental, bold and eye-catching imagery of post-war America, a young generation of artists took to printmaking with enthusiasm, putting it on an equal footing with painting and sculpture and matching their size, bright colour and impact.
Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition includes works by the most celebrated American artists. From Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu.
The American Dream explores the creativity of a medium that flourished through some of the most dynamic and turbulent years in US history and that accompanied a period when its wealth, power and cultural influence had never been greater.
The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the indoor theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe, has Othello on until 22 April 2017.
Fast-moving and devastating, Othello is one of Shakespeare’s most atmospheric and affecting plays. Shakespeare concocts a poisonous cocktail that reveals how fear and jealousy can destroy the most intelligent minds and the purest of loves. The play tracks Othello’s descent into jealousy and madness after the scheming Lago convinces him of his wife Desdemona’s infidelity.
Ellen McDougall’s production explores the boundaries of time and context, moving between its Jacobean origins and the current world, considering how Shakespeare’s 400 year old play is terrifyingly relevant to the world we live in today.
Kurt Egyiawan is in the titular role and Sam Spruell plays Lago. Desdemona is played by Natalie Klamar, Thalissa Teixeira plays Emilia and Joanna Horton plays Cassio.
Half a century after its premiere on The Old Vic stage, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the play that made a young Tom Stoppard’s name overnight, returns to The Old Vic in its 50th anniversary celebratory production. The show opened on 25 February and runs until 29 April 2017.
Against the backdrop of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this mind-bending situation comedy sees two hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz (Daniel Radcliffe) and Guildenstern (Joshua McGuire), take centre stage with David Haig as The Player. Increasingly out of their depth, the young double act stumble their way in and out of the action of this iconic drama. In a literary hall of mirrors, Stoppard’s brilliantly funny, existential labyrinth sees us witness the ultimate identity crisis.
The People’s Revolt
From 6 to 18 March there’s an intriguing after hours event at the Tower of London. The People’s Revolt is an immersive, interactive experience from theatre company differencEngine in collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces.
Set in the near future, events mirror those of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 led by revolutionary Wat Tyler, when people’s protest turned to violent revolt over taxes, austerity and unstable leadership.
Experience what it’s like to be at the centre of a critical moment in this nation’s history, witness the conspiracy evolve through digital storytelling, watch for the signal, enter the Tower through a long forgotten entrance and take your part in deciding the fate of the nation.
Dance, performance and art stands out at the Barbican this month.
Julie Cunningham, whose performances with Michael Clark Company have won her a Critics’ Circle Award, choreographs a rare combination of dance and spoken word, part of her expressive double bill about gender and identity. Julie Cunningham and Company is on 8-11 March in The Pit and is part of the Barbican Dance Multi-Buy which includes Ballet Black on 2-4 March.
In her second mixed bill at the Barbican, Artistic Director Cassa Pancho commissions bold choreography from Martin Lawrance, Michael Corder and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, blending the classical and contemporary, narrative and abstract for her ballet company comprising international dancers of black and Asian descent.
On 23-25 March, Room 29 has its UK premiere. It’s a multi-media musical entertainment devised and performed by Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales.
In Room 29, Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales give a voice to unseen ghosts, using music, theatrics, clips from classic Hollywood movies and more to reveal the secrets of Room 29 of the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood.
For the duration of one evening the entire audience become occupants of Room 29. Through this collection of songs the show opens the door to that room for all those of you who wish to explore it. How’s that for Room Service?
The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 is in the Barbican Art Gallery from 23 March to 25 June 2017. This is the first major UK exhibition to focus on Japanese domestic architecture from the end of the Second World War to now – a field which has consistently produced influential and extraordinary examples of contemporary design.
Japanese architects have consistently used their designs to propose radical critiques of society and innovative solutions to changing lifestyles.
The Japanese House presents some of the most exciting architectural projects of the last 70 years. As well as architectural projects, the exhibition incorporates cinema, photography and art in order to cast new light on the role of the house in Japanese culture.
Tate Modern is staging a new annual live exhibition in its unique underground Tanks. Combining installation, performance, film, video, sound and talks this live exhibition is for 10 days and 6 nights during 24 March to 2 April 2017.
The Tanks are huge subterranean concrete containers originally built to hold the fuel for Bankside Power Station. They have now been converted into the world’s first museum space dedicated to performance, film and installation. The exhibition also extends outside to the new Terrace on top of the Tanks, animating the landscape around the Switch House for the first time.
Featured artists include Fujiko Nakaya (b.1933, Japan), who first came to prominence through her collaboration with Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) in the 1970s. Nakaya is transforming the Terrace outside Tate Modern with an immersive fog sculpture made entirely of water vapour.
Daytime visits are free with evening ticketed performances by a range of emerging and established artists from around the world.
If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in March 2017 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.
From 31 March to 21 May 2017, Justin Mortimer – It Is Here is on at the Parafin Gallery, off Oxford Street. It Is Here is a new collection of atmospheric canvases by acclaimed British painter Justin Mortimer, and is a commentary on power and its abuse in a new digital, post-truth age. Expect powerful, haunting, paintings depicting scenes of protest, war and a world in a state of disorder.
From 1 to 17 April it’s the Urban festival at Southbank Centre celebrating street culture with an exciting programme of work and events inspired by the city. Taking place across the site for 10 days over the Easter period, the programme spans dance, performance, music, parties, workshops and much more, with most of the events free.
Also during Easter, it’s the Transatlantic Tall Ships Regatta on 13-16 April 2017. Greenwich will host the start of the Sail Training International Rendez-vous Tall Ships Regatta to Quebec in Canada, marking the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The ships will be anchored at two sites in the borough and the festival will end with a huge Parade of Sail.
Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.
Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.