I know the cast is more than just one Hollywood actor but it is exciting to have Jude Law performing at The Barbican Theatre this month. He’s starring in Obsession, a stage adaptation of Visconti’s film, which runs until 20 May 2017.
Jude Law is Gino who meets Giuseppe and his much younger, trapped wife Giovanna at their roadside restaurant and petrol station. He and Giovanna are so irresistibly attracted to one another they begin an affair while plotting to murder her husband. But the crime does not unite them in this chilling story where passion can lead only to destruction.
Alchemy is the largest UK festival of South Asian culture and it’s returning for the eighth year to Southbank Centre on 19-29 May. It’s the largest festival of South Asian culture outside the subcontinent.
Alchemy explores the region’s art, artists, politics and society through a programme of dance, music, theatre, visual art, comedy and literature. Sukanya, Ravi Shankar’s first ever opera that he worked on just before he died, opens this year’s festival in a special performance directed by Curve Associate Director Suba Das, uniting dance choreographed by the Aakash Odedra Company, production by The Royal Opera House and musicians of Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Discover world-renowned stars and up-and-coming talent from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Soak up the atmosphere at the Alchemy food market or try something new at one of the festival’s many free events.
The Rose Theatre
After a winter closure, The Rose Theatre has its Saturday Open Days back. It’s free to visit this indoor archaeological site that was Bankside’s first Tudor theatre. Volunteers are on hand to explain the site and there’s a film to see too.
Pride, Power and Politics
On Friday 26 May and Saturday 27 May, The Tower of London has an interesting after-hours tour. Pride, Power and Politics is a tour of the Tower’s LGBT history as part of the #PalacePride event series, celebrating 1,000 years of kings, queens and in-betweens in 2017, and the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967.
The tour explores the history of this iconic castle through the lens of changing attitudes to gender and sexuality, telling the stories of key people linked with it from the 12th century to the present day. The close male friendships of Edward II and his treatment of his favourites resulted in the rebellion of the earls. The little-known influence of Henry VIII and Queen Victoria on the criminalisation of homosexual acts shaped viewpoints for over 400 years. Bringing us to recent history, the tour reveals how the alleged homosexuality of 20th century prisoner Roger Casement was used by Parliament to build a case against him, and the real danger posed by queer sexual slander.
There are three tours each evening ay 6pm, 7pm and 8pm.
City Now City Future
A year-long season opens at the Museum of London on 18 May, as City Now City Future invites visitors to join a conversation about the past, present and future of our cities. This starts a major programme of exhibitions, creative commissions, large-scale public events, talks and debates to ask museum visitors to participate in shaping their cities.
The Museum of London wants to ask visitors what it means to live in a truly global city, how we experience those things that make city life both attractive and challenging, and imagine how London could change in the future.
There’s a free late night opening on 19 May to really launch the season. Discover London-based artist and community projects that consider what it means to be a Londoner today through fashion, style, food, music and film. Music, art and activities by Reprezent Radio, Cut Festival, OOMK Collective, Nina Manandhar, Mazi Mas, Jasleen Kaur. The evening also includes the launch of new displays and experiences in the museum.
Bank of England
This month brings the 20th Anniversary of the Bank of England’s independence so the Bank of England Museum has a new display from 2 May.
On 6 May 1997, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer granted the Bank of England operational independence. The Bank began to set interest rates, and the Monetary Policy Committee was established. This new display uses a range of documents from the Bank of England’s Archive to explain what these changes meant and how they shaped the way the Bank works today.
And on 19 May there’s a rare opportunity to visit the Bank of England Museum after dark as part of the annual Museums at Night festival. Visitors can enjoy a variety of gallery talks and chat to gold and banknote experts. And we can also meet members of the Museum and Archive teams who will reveal some unique and unseen objects from the Bank’s collection which visitors can handle.
Opening near the end of the month at the Fashion & Textile Museum, The World of Anna Sui features this classic American fashion designer. This is the first time an American designer has been the focus of a retrospective exhibition in the UK.
From Detroit to New York, her signature rock-n-roll romanticism reinvents pop culture for every new generation. Since her first catwalk show in 1991, Sui has shaped not only the garments, textiles, accessories, beauty and interiors which comprise her design universe, but also the course of fashion history.
The exhibition includes over 100 looks from the designer’s archive, presenting a roll call of archetypes from Surfers and School Girls to Hippies, Mods and Punks.
The World of Anna Sui runs from 26 May to 1 October 2017.
It has been 50 years since Tate Gallery first showed his work to London, and this month the story of Alberto Giacometti’s artistic evolution comes to Tate Modern.
Giacometti is one of the few artists of the last century whose work is often more recognisable than his name, his distinctive elongated figures are inescapably linked to the post-War climate of existential despair.
Tate has been given unparalleled access to the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti’s extraordinary collection and archive. From his first works of art through his Surrealist compositions, to the emergence of his mature style, Giacometti has rarely been explored this fully.
This exhibition focuses on the influences that shaped Giacometti and the experimental way in which he developed his practice. Visitors can view some never before seen plasters and drawings alongside more familiar bronze sculptures and oil paintings.
Giacometti opens at Tate Modern on 9 May and runs to 10 September 2017.
If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in May 2017 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.
The O2 in North Greenwich is celebrating its 10th birthday next month. There are shows from 16 to 24 June with big name artists wanting to join the celebrations. alt-J and Jamiroquai have dates, as do Ed Sheeran and Celine Dion.
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June is Open Garden Squares Weekend when over 200 private and little-known gardens open to the public. The event is spread across 27 London boroughs with gardens taking part this year ranging from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental.
Also starting next month, and continuing throughout the summer, is the Southbank Centre: Festival of Love. Running from 3 June to 28 August, the Festival of Love takes over the 21-acre Southbank Centre site with a summer-long programme featuring performances, music, installations and design from Nordic artists.
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.