There's plenty going on in the City of London this festive season, from Christmas fairs and carol services to large concerts and new theatre performances.
The City calendar is always bursting with things to see, do and experience each month. And this festive season sees everything sprinkled with a bit of Christmas cheer.
Expect carol services and holiday festivals as well as musical concerts and theatre performances. These are the top events in the City of London this month.
The Guildhall Gallery is hosting an exhibit showcasing works from some of the most influential artists throughout history. Visions and Visionaries brings together work by Edward Burne-Jones, currently the subject of a major exhibition at Tate Britain; Dante Gabriel Rossetti; John Everett Millais; and Turner Prize-winning ceramicist, Grayson Perry. The exhibition highlights some of the figures that defined the ‘Visionary’ idea in art – artists who laid the foundations for a later avant-garde and more liberated generation, which drew from these works and were inspired to find new forms in their art and poetry.
From 11 December
Guildhall Art Gallery EC2V 5AE
Join the LSO for a ‘Half Six Fix’ – an hour-long concert to fit in after work or before dinner. The programmes feature one or two major works, which conductors Sir Simon Rattle and François-Xavier Roth will introduce from the stage.
12 December & 9 January, 6.30pm-7.30pm, tickets £12-£36 (plus booking fee)
Barbican Centre Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Designed to amaze those from the age of three and upwards, Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus reinvents Mozart through physical comedy and the mischievous antics of tumbling acrobats. Joined on stage by a musician, the circus performers initiate audience participation with the wave of a conductor’s baton as classical Mozart music plays in the background.
12-22 December, tickets £12 (plus booking fee)
The Pit Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Join a special seasonal family tour and discover the extraordinary history of the Charterhouse. Remember to keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground as tour guides tell all kinds stories of the people who used to roam those very halls.
16 December, 11am-12noon and 12noon-1pm, tickets adults £12, children go free
The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square EC1M 6AN
Join a traditional carol service in the presence of the new Lord Mayor Peter Estlin. Enjoy a glass of wine and a mince pie beforehand and get into the Christmas spirit as carollers join in with crowds to perform festive classics.
19 December, 5.30pm, free
St Lawrence Jewry, Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AA
Celebrate the Yuletide season with a wide range of festive classics, popular songs and rousing film scores. Expect to hear tunes such as The Four Seasons by Candlelight, Beethoven’s Ninth, Zimmer vs Williams and The Sound of Musicals.
20 December until 1 January, tickets £16.50-£52.50 (plus booking fee)
Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Executive pay is a controversial topic and arguably the primary cause behind public mistrust in business. Various remedies have been proposed but diagnosis precedes treatment. Many of the concerns are based on myths rather than rigorous data. Join Alex Edmans as he presents evidence on which aspects of pay are working well and which are indeed dysfunctional, and on how pay should be reformed.
12 December, 6pm-7pm, free
Museum of London 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN
The 2019 annual Lord Mayor’s Gresham Lecture will explore the ‘digital skills crisis’ and question whether this may actually be an opportunity. As the digital era unfolds and future demands for talent become evident, what exactly are the implications for our system of education? Are more initiatives needed for the UK to position itself as a digitally creative and competitive nation?
8 January, 6pm-7pm, free (booking is essential)
Guildhall Old Library, Gresham Street EC2V 7HH
London was crucially dependent on continental Europe for its economic resilience in the mid-16th century, and Sir Thomas Gresham’s fortune piggy-backed off the special relationship with Antwerp. But the Reformation put the relationship under real strain. This wasn’t a 16th-century Brexit (the division was within Christendom), but it posed similar challenges. How did England cope?
9 January, 6pm-7pm, free
Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN
The UK is considered a world leader in corporate governance, but governance failures are blamed for the loss of trust in business. Alex Edmans presents rigorous evidence on what optimal governance should look like – including issues such as boardroom diversity, independence of directors, employee representation, and whether directors’ fiduciary duty should be to shareholders or all of society.
23 January, 6pm-7pm, free
Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN
Art curator, Melodi Shoja, has put together this exhibition which focuses on the trauma suffered by children who grow up within a war or major international conflict. It explores the psychological and physical impact it has on children through their experience living in an environment that becomes ravaged by war. Shoja draws from personal experiences for she grew up in conflict zones during the Iran-Iraq War. Even though she is inspired by her personal life, the exhibition itself encompasses both a historical and global range of conflicts.
7-10 January, free
St Lawrence Jewry, Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AA
For this concert of carols, the Mozart Festival Orchestra will be in full 18th-century period costumes while they sing and move around the large candle lit stage. They are set to be accompanied by the Mozart Festival Chorus and soprano Jennifer France for a rousing selection of carols and seasonal classics under the baton of conductor Steven Devine. Prepare for classic tunes as well as some readings from Dickens and the Scriptures.
23 December, 2.30pm
Barbican Hall, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
There’s more than a hint of reality TV to this modern production of Shakespeare’s comedy, directed by Fiona Laird. Down on his luck in the suburbs, Sir John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating his comeuppance amid a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos.
Until 5 January, 7.15pm; 1.30pm on Thursday and some selected Saturdays, tickets £10-£75 (plus booking fee)
Barbican Theatre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
St Paul’s is hosting a special Christmas carol service for children and families, where group participation is encouraged. Christmas tales will be told for the young ones too, so they can better understand how the holiday came into being.
22 December, 11am-11.45am, free
St Paul’s Cathedral EC4M 8AD
Discover the rich contribution women have made to jazz over the last 100 years, and of the talented upcoming generation who represent an exciting new era. The exhibition pays particular attention to instrumentalists and draws on the rich resources of the National Jazz Archive, including photos, posters, journals, video and memorabilia.
Until 31 December, free
Barbican Music Library, Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Imagine if Bach was a jazzman, Purcell a folk-fiddler, and Monteverdi a minimalist. Baroque at the Edge returns for a second year to invite leading musicians ranging from all backgrounds to take the music of the baroque and see where it leads them. No rules, no programme notes, no lectures: all you need to do is listen.
4-6 January, all day, £5-£25
LSO St Luke’s, 161 Old Street EC1V 9NG
In a new series of acrylic paintings, Flo Brooks’ exhibition brings together notions of cleanliness, normativity and morality in a dramatised satirical fiction, exploring the ways the body is manipulated through the lens of hygiene. Brooks describes a fictional commercial cleaning company, ‘Scrubbers’, as they work their way through a number of familiar institutional spaces; the public toilet, the gym, the psychotherapy room, punctuated by coffee and cigarette breaks.
Until 15 December
Project Native Informant, Morley House, 26 Holborn Viaduct EC1A 2AT
Renowned international dance competition Popcity UK brings together world-renowned dance artists and the hip hop and ‘popping’ community, with 450 dancers, international judges, guest performers and live DJs comprising the first hip hop event of the year at London Bridge.
5 January, 11am-7pm, tickets from £8
Ugly Duck, 49 Tanner Street SE1 3PL