What’s on around the City of London this week

Festival Vivacité 2019

The City of London calendar is always bursting with things to see, do and experience. And this week is no different. Visitors to the Square Mile can expect to check out a whole host of festivals, exhibitions, films and music performances as the we bid farewell to summer. These are the top events in the City this week.

TALKS / Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is opening its doors after hours for an exclusive series of one-off talks: all from one of the capital’s most famous river crossings which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. On 5 September, they’ll be hosting the Illuminated River Project talk which goes into depth about the decade-long public art commission which is lighting up 15 bridges across the Thames river. 12 September sees Dr Jennifer Freeman, architectural historian and writer, discuss the architectural significance of Tower Bridge as well as the architect who designed it. They’ll also put on an exclusive tasting talk about the often unknown gastronomic history of the Bridge on 17 October.
From 5 September, £20 per person (includes a welcome drink and a return ticket to visit Tower Bridge)
Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP

DANCE / Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Celebrating over 60 years of unparalleled artistry, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre make their highly anticipated return with three thrilling programmes of dance, all featuring the soul-stirring masterpiece, Revelations – the most seen modern dance piece in the world. The legendary company’s irresistible dancers dazzle with their trademark technical brilliance and passionate energy, bringing audiences to their feet every night. Highlights include: the UK premiere of Rennie Harris’ uplifting Lazarus, The Call which sees Ronald K. Brown offering up his love letter to Ailey set to the music of Bach, and Ella, artistic director Robert Battle’s celebration of the legendary singer.
4-14 September, tickets £15-£75
Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue EC1R

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Sadler’s Wells never disappoints. Photo by Paul Kolnik

PUBLIC PERFORMANCE / Thank You For Having Us

Take a night-time walk exploring a plastic-filled artificial island right in the heart of the Square Mile. Formed by the currents of the North Pacific Ocean, this is the 8th continent, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Is this the end of life as we know it? This adrenaline-fuelled performance from Générik Vapeur and Gorilla Circus features daring aerial acrobatics, steaming shopping trolleys, a band on wheels and high-wire stunts, to question if we have sacrificed our natural world in the pursuit of technology. From Cheapside to St Paul’s Cathedral, the City’s streets will transform into a street-theatre spectacular. Suitable for adults and children of all ages.
7 September, 8pm, free
King street/ Cheapside Junction EC2V 6DT

LUNCHTIME PARTY / Chancery Lane Lunchtime Streets

Escape the office and enjoy this lunchtime take-over. The street will be transformed by music, performances, games and food.
Until 6 September, 12noon–2pm, free
Chancery Lane WC2A 1JA

INSTALLATION / Illuminated River

The ambitious Illuminated River project launched in July 2019, with the lighting of four bridges in central London. Designed by American light artist Leo Villareal, this long-term art commission seeks to transform the capital with a unified light installation that will connect, celebrate and capture the spirit of the Thames and its diverse communities.
Ongoing, free
Southwark Bridge, Cannon Street Bridge, Millennium Bridge and London Bridge

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More and more bridges are getting the makeover over the next few months. Photo by James Newton

EXHIBITION / The London That Never Was

Discarded designs and rejected plans lurk behind every important building in London. Sometimes serious considerations, sometimes fanciful exercises into the art of the possible, they imagine a city where Tower Bridge is clad in glass and a colossal burial pyramid looms over Primrose Hill. The London That Never Was explores the collections at the London Metropolitan Archives to present plans and drawings of some of the most intriguing proposals that never made it off the drawing board.
6 September-8 December, free
Guildhall Art Gallery EC2V 5AE

MUSIC / Opera in the City

London’s new summer opera festival presents innovative productions that push the boundaries of classical music. Highlights include the classical music and theatre project Vivaldi meets Werther: Four Seasons, the contemporary fashion opera Wear by Scottish composer Alastair White, the forgotten classic Caccia Lontana by Croatian-Italian composer Antonio Smareglia and R’Otello, an opera that brings together rugby and jazz.
Until 7 September, 7.30pm, tickets: £12-£30
Bridewell Theatre 14 Bride Lane EC4Y 8EQ

MUSIC/ Nonclassical

Music promoter, record label and events producer nonclassical bring the new classical, experimental and electronic music to the City skyline. Look forward to hearing artists from across the new music scene, and enjoy site-specific performances, installations and a DJ set in the second nonclassical in the City concert of the summer.
10 September, free
1 Poultry EC2R 8EN

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Check out the nonclassical rooftop set this week. Photo by Cameron Slater

THEATRE / The Sunshine Gang

Everybody has a secret, and when an ENSA group attempt to put on a show, hilarity ensues as those secrets tumble out one by one. Full of pastiche songs, this musical comedy is guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings and make you chuckle.
11-14 September, tickets £15-£18
Bridewell Theatre 14 Bride Lane EC4Y 8EQ

KID FRIENDLY / Second Saturday Family Activities

On the second Saturday of every month, join Guildhall Art Gallery for a revolving programme of family activities linked to the Architecture of London exhibition, the permanent collection and the remains of London’s Roman Amphitheatre.
14 September, 12 October, 11am-4pm, free
Guildhall Art Gallery Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AE

EXHIBITION / “Hot Peascods!”: London Street food through the ages

London streets were always full of places to buy food, with whole sections of the City devoted to selling fish, meat, garlic, milk, strawberries and even pea soup. The streets were also walked by men and women who carried food to sell in baskets, trays and barrows. This outdoor exhibition from Guildhall Library presents images of street food and hawkers from the 16th century onwards.
16 September-16 October, free
16-29 September at Aldgate Square EC3N 1AF 30 and September-16 October at Guildhall Library

FASHION / London Fashion Week

Located at The Store X, London Fashion Week in September will be the first of the four global Fashion Week’s to embrace inclusivity, opening the doors to both trade and the public to join a celebration of everything fashion related. The Designer Exhibition will be re-launched with a focus on Positive Fashion – the BFC’s Initiative designed to champion industry best practice led by their main Positive Fashion pillars: sustainability, equality & diversity, craftsmanship & community.
13-17 September
The Store X, 180 Strand WC2R 1EA

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Get front row seats to this year’s London Fashion Week. Photo by Shaun James

BACK TO NATURE / Open Gardens

Make the most of this special opportunity to explore the peaceful gardens at The Charterhouse, a 14th-century Carthusian monastery. Stroll around seven acres of delightful gardens. You can spend a tranquil evening walking or sitting among the flora and enjoy an informal BBQ and bar.
12 September tickets £10
The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square EC1M 6AN

PUBLIC ART / Big Fat Poo Bergers

To celebrate the 200th birthday of Joseph Bazalgette (the inventor of London’s sewers), Bureau Of Silly Ideas will be playing with water, smells, pipes and sewers throughout the summer, finishing with a ‘seweriffic’ September spectacular.
19-22 September, 12noon-6pm, free
Aldgate Square EC3N 1AF

EXHIBITION / City Women in the 18th Century

In the 18th century, the Cheapside area was known for its luxury goods, most of which were made on site. Among the manufacturers and shop owners were hundreds of women milliners, fan-makers and silversmiths. These women were members of London’s livery companies and employed thousands more in their trades. Some of these elite employers produced highly ornamental trade cards to advertise their business, which are held in the British Museum’s archives. This free outdoor exhibition reveals the economic importance of women in City commerce and manufacturing in the 18th century, of which little is known. The project is supported by the City of London Corporation, Cambridge University, the British Museum, and Cheapside Business Alliance.
21 September-18 October, free
Paternoster Square EC4M 7DX and along Cheapside

Lead image of Thank You For Having Us by Sylvie Pourpardin