What’s on around the City of London this week

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

EXHIBITION / Young Barbican Nights

The Barbican is open late for the last Wednesday night of the month. Explore creative and scientific developments and prepare for your preconceptions of AI to be challenged by this timely exhibition, which reflects on how this type of technology impacts our very existence. Join Young Barbican members for a special evening with exclusive access to the exhibition alongside workshops, installations, talks and screenings curated by Guerilla Science and young creatives responding to themes from the exhibition.
June 26, 6.30-8.30pm, tickets £10
Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS

POP UP FOOD / Kindness Café

This one is for all the optimists out there who believe in being kind to their fellow humans. For two days (28 and 29 June), guests to the pop-up Kindness Café by Shoreditch Boxpark need only pledge to do an act of kindness, pin it on the pledge wall and receive a free plant-based meal from the Gosh! team. It will then move on to Brighton, Birmingham, Dublin, Manchester and Leeds. Spread the love and get some free food in the process. It doesn’t get much better than that.
28 & 29 June
Shoreditch Boxpark, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road E1 6GY

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Simply stick up your promise to do something kind and receive your free meal

FESTIVAL / Talawa Firsts

Talawa Firsts is an annual festival giving fresh, black creative voices a platform to perform. Experience their stories and be a part of Talawa’s artistic community as they take over the Ditch at Shoreditch Town Hall to celebrate the UK’s exciting new black writers and theatre makers. Wednesday nights are all about playwrights, when they will showcase fresh and exciting plays through intimate readings. Thursdays will be all bout participation. They have set up a series of workshops to help guests practice their own creativity with Talawa and guest facilitators. And Fridays are the most popular mixed bill of performances. See a whole host of shows made by innovative and inspiring black theatre makers.
Until 5 July
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street EC1V 9LT

FESTIVAL / Tower Bridge Turns 125

To celebrate the 125th birthday of London’s iconic landmark, Tower Bridge is hosting a series of themed events, and will be replacing standard admission with a special entry offer of £1.25 and exclusive souvenir bookmark. Visitors to the bridge will ‘Meet the Victorians’ that once walked the walkways, enjoy performances by aerialists and acrobats, and learn more about the history of the building in a packed programme of talks, exhibitions and activities throughout 2019.
29-30 June, tickets £1.25
Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road SE1 2UP

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Fantastic Feats events continue at Tower Bridge

FILM / Arab British Filmmakers in Conversation

As part of Shubbak, London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture, a multi-award-winning panel of Arab-British directors discuss how they interpret their hyphenated identities and how this impacts the stories they tell and films they make. Panellists include Sally El Hossaini (My Brother The Devil), Naziha Arebi (Freedom Fields), Amrou Al Kadhi (Run(a) way Arab, Anemone), Claire Belhassine (The Man Behind The Microphone), Saeed Taji Farouky (The Runner, Tell Spring Not To Come This Year) and Mustapha Kseibati (Skateboards and Spandex, Painkiller).
6 July, 4pm tickets £7
Barbican Cinema, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS

DANCE / Phoenix Dance Theatre Double Bill

Approaching group rituals from two different angles, Phoenix Dance Theatre presents an energetic double-bill of reinventions. The Rite of Spring draws on the themes of ceremony and sacrifice in a captivating performance for today’s modern global society. Alongside Rite of Spring will be a new work from established choreographer Amaury Lebrun. Left Unseen explores inclusion and isolation and our instinctive reliance on the five senses. Using precise choreography, moments of unison, interaction, sporadic bursts of movement and sudden stillness, Lebrun poses the question; how sensitive and aware can we become when we lose one of our senses?
27&28 June, tickets from £18
The Peacock, Portugal Street WC2A 2HT

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Photo and lead image by Tristram Kenton

WORKSHOP / Brutalist Lino Printing

This workshop gives insight into the linocutting process and introduces the techniques, tools, methods and materials used to create a collection of handmade prints. It will kick off with a 45-minute Architecture Tour (included), where guests can find inspiration in the many surfaces and textures of the Barbican Centre and attached estate. Starting with one block of lino guests will make a single colour lino print, practicing with different cutting tools and ways of printing before introducing a second and third layer of colour.
29-30 June, tickets £75
Barbican Centre Shop, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS

INSTALLATION / Colour My Summer

The outdoor spaces of Nova and Cardinal Place in Victoria, and One New Change and New Street Square in the City have been transformed into a series of multicoloured and highly Instagrammable spots for Londoners to kick back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine. One New Change and New Street Square will also have their own outdoor screens for Wimbledon. We’re sure there will be plenty of Pimm’s rolling around here, too.
Until 14 July, free
Various locations

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One New Changes rooftop has been transformed into a green oasis for Wimbledon

SUMMER FESTIVAL / The River Stage Festival

The National Theatre’s biggest annual event is back again for summer. The River Stage Festival will descend on the Southbank each and every weekend from 5 July until 4 August. Throughout this period, visitors are welcome to discover new performers, join in on a smattering of workshops, or simply lay down by the Thames and soak up the sun and festival vibes. 2019’s River Stages programme features five weekends of events, each curated by a different group. East London drag hub, The Glory, will kick things off from 5-7 July with their famously over the top performances full of glitter and glam. Arab cultural fest Shubbak perform from 12-14 July and will be introducing Londoners to music, art and theatre from the Middle East. Green champions National Park City Festival will then enlighten us on environmental issues plaguing the world and London (19-21 July), before physical theatre masters Frantic Assembly celebrate their 25th birthday through an epic three-day party on the bank from 26-28 July. The season is capped with a weekend curated by the National Theatre itself from 2-4 August. It is going to be another epic summer of theatre, dance, art, music and whatever other art form you can think of.
5 July until 4 August, free
South Bank SE1 9PX

MUSIC / Guildhall Chamber Music Festival

Guildhall School of Music & Drama is hosting its second summer Chamber Music Festival, featuring showcase performances from some of the school’s most accomplished chamber groups. This year’s festival offers an expanded series of concerts, talks and masterclasses taking place at the school and venues in the surrounding area, in which Guildhall musicians collaborate with many of the school’s renowned professors. Five of the concerts will take place in Guildhall School’s Milton Court Concert Hall, which has been praised for its excellent chamber music acoustics by performers and audiences alike since the venue opened in 2013. The ensembles featuring in the festival include Guildhall’s Visiting Quartet in association with the Endellion String Quartet, faculty members the Heath Quartet, and String Quartet Fellows the Marmen Quartet, winners of the prestigious 2018 Royal Overseas League Competition. It’s all hands on deck.
5-7 July
Various locations

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The Guildhall Chambers Festival will be huge

COMEDY / Actually Rather Good Comedy Festival

ARGComFest is a weekend comedy festival of Fringe previews and work-in-progress shows that takes place every July. The festival brings an attentively curated programme of 60 comedians, from big name TV favourites to up-and-coming newcomers, to the labyrinthine settings of Shoreditch Town Hall. They sell day or weekend tickets, with audience members free to see whichever acts they like – just like a music festival. In 2016, ARGComFest also became the first major comedy festival to have a gender balanced programme and it continues to champion diversity and representation within comedy.
6&7 July, tickets for one day £27 each or £44 for the entire weekend
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street EC1V 9LT

SUPPER CLUB / The Gramounce

Supper Clubs are becoming all the rage in London but have been exiled from the city’s centre for quite some time. But now, as part of The Other Art Fair, a new supper club is popping up. The Gramounce is hosting four nights of vegan feasting, accompanied by live performances, local art and plenty of quirky theatrics. The experience, called You Used to Call Me on my Cellphone, will explore the ways in which millennials navigate a capitalist world through a series of surprising dishes. Here, you’re encouraged to play with your food.
4-7 July 
Handyside Canopy, 1 Wharf Road N1C 4BZ

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The Gramounce supper club runs for four nights

BOTTOMLESS STEAK AND WINE / Temper City

Move over bottomless brunch, the City steak pros at Temper are changing things up with their very own meaty version. The new carnivorous feast includes a hefty cut of rare-breed British rump steak with sides, along with 90 minutes of unlimited wine. And the extravagant feasting won’t have you feeling too ethically bad thanks to their hugely sustainable focus. The restaurant houses one of the world’s biggest restaurant fire-pits and its own dedicated butchery area on the mezzanine where chefs cut their own steaks to order from whole animals. That reduces waste on a really large scale and makes everything fresher and tastier, too.
Ongoing
2 Angel Court EC2R 7HJ

DANCE / Flamenco Festival

In its 16th year, celebrating the diversity and dynamism of flamenco, Sadler’s Wells’ annual Flamenco Festival returns for a whole fortnight of unique shows featuring some of the world’s best dancers and musicians. Sara Baras will be showcasing her special blend of flamenco and ballet in Sombras while Dorantes, Adam Ben Ezra and Tim Ries blend flamenco with jazz music in their UK debut. And one of the most anticipated shows comes on the closing night. Patricia Guerrero is joined on stage by three dancers, a guitarist, two percussionists, two opera singers and a flamenco singer, ensuring an epic finish. Throughout the festival, Sadler’s Wells is also hosting a range of unique workshops to allow guests to learn and explore flamenco’s choreographic style and technique from the artists themselves, including Patricia Guerrero and Olga Pericet. On 14 July there is a music workshop focussing on flamenco guitar while on 6 & 7 July there is a multidisciplinary workshop exploring the practice of artistic expression. True lovers of flamenco don’t just watch it, they participate too.
2-14 July
Rosebery Avenue EC1R 4TN