From a night of world class tango at the Peacock Theatre to a new art exhibit at Parasol Unit, we've got your guide to what's on in the City of London this week.
The City calendar is always bursting with things to see, do and experience each week. And as the Square Mile gets back into the rhythm of things this new year, visitors to the area can expect to check out a whole host of talks, exhibitions, films and music performances. These are the top events in the City of London this week.
EXHIBITION / Hyon Gyon
In the first-floor gallery, Hyon Gyon presents recent paintings and sculptures which she has made specifically for this solo exhibition at Parasol unit. A number of these works were made using sgraffito, a technique of scratching through a top surface of lime mortar to reveal lower layers of contrasting painted colours. Such works are created by subtraction rather than addition. She is known for her intricate and highly expressive works, often like mid-burst manifestations of explosive raw energy. In this exhibition, Gyon explores themes of sociocultural identity, grief, anger and sexual politics.
23 January – 31 March
Parasol Unit, 14 Wharf Road, Hoxton N1 7RW
Genetic Automata is a new commission by artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy. It forms the first part of an ambitious new body of film-based works by the artists that attempt to address the complex history of classification and segregation. It delves into concepts of race and ethnicity in science over the last century and how they have been split between two main perspectives. One, rooted in the eugenics movement, treats racial and ethnic categories as biological classifications. The other, stemming from social science, regards race and ethnicity primarily as cultural and historical constructs with very little biological significance. Even though the human genome was decoded in 2003, which scientists believe proved there was no biological basis for race, the arguments continue to rage. Sadly, there is still reason to discuss such issues surrounding race.
24 January until 30 March
Arts Catalyst, 74-76 Cromer Street WC1H 8DR
The might of Rome rested on the back of its legions – an expertly trained and equipped fighting force. Simon Elliott launches into his most recent book, Roman Legionaries, during this talk as he delves into every aspect of their lives as they existed within the ancient world.
24 January, 6pm-8pm, tickets £8
Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury EC2V 7HH
Andrew Watkinson, first violinist of the Endellion Quartet, leads listeners on a journey through a classic string ensemble repertoire. From the despair of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 8 to the joy of Tchaikovsky’s String Serenade, all will be performed by the Guildhall String Ensemble.
24 January, 7pm, tickets £15
Milton Court Concert Hall, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
This programme acts as a sort of online architectural walking tour of the City. Ten newly commissioned audio tracks, ranging from modern classical and electronic to globally-inspired soundscapes have been created to be heard when visiting specific parts of London. It includes unique works from Sarathy Korwar, Midori Komachi, Bambooman, and Angele David-Guillou. Each has been inspired by the towers and open spaces situated in the Square Mile. Simply head to a designated site, open the web app at musicityglobal.com and listen to the new tracks on arrival.
10 different sites in the City of London
Festival co-hosts and global a cappella stars The Swingles present a gala celebration of the London A Cappella Festival’s 10th Anniversary – and a decade of vocal magic. It’s an opportunity for the group to showcase the latest in vocal innovation, pay tribute to their rich heritage, and celebrate the festival’s global community of music lovers. For the festival’s 10th anniversary gala, The Swingles promise to raise the roof higher than ever with an unforgettable night of a cappella, featuring beloved classics, exclusive world premieres, and very special guests.
26 January, 8.30pm, tickets from £24.50
LSO St Luke’s, 161 Old Street London EC1V 9NG
Experience the spectacle of a live symphony orchestra and be captivated by traditional tunes and tales of yore. Music and stories hail from the sparkling skies and icy mountains of northern lands, including Catch the Wind/Veiða vind – a tale of elves and dragons by author Rakel Helmsdal, all the way from the Faroe Islands. Presented in a unique and engaging way, it will guide you through a themed programme, with some music you’ll know and some you won’t. You can also get into the spirit of the concert with free activities and immersive workshops in the Barbican foyers beforehand.
27 January, 2.30pm, £10-£16
Barbican Hall, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
The Newall Dunn Collection is one of the world’s most comprehensive photographic and reference collections on merchant shipping. This introductory exhibition showcases the achievements of shipping historian Peter Newall and artist and writer Laurence Dunn, appealing to both maritime enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in the age of travelling in style. Discover a treasure trove of images, company brochures, press releases and cuttings, menus, and other collectables from the Cunard, Orient and Union-Castle vessels.
28 January until 24 May, free
Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury EC2V 7HH
Award-winning Tango Fire returns to The Peacock for two weeks of emotionally-charged dance. The team of six couples will showcase the history of authentic Argentine tango, from its origins in the streets and tango houses of Buenos Aires, to contemporary interpretations. The ensemble is made up of some of the best tango dancers in the world, including internationally renowned Germán Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi. Tango Fuego Quartet enhance the production by playing the music of the great tango masters live – including Piazzolla, Pugliese and Gardel. Skilled virtuosos on piano, bandoneon, contrabass and violin enrich the sensuality of Tango Fire.
29 January until 16 February, tickets £15-£45
Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street WC2A 2HT
Directed by Nicole Charles and designed by Charlie Cridlan, Fury is set in a council flat in Peckham and tells the story of Sam; a young single mum fighting to survive. The play about motherhood and class has been described as a modern retelling of the classical Greek play Medea by Euripides.
1-12 February, tickets £10
Milton Court Theatre, 1 Milton Street EC2Y 9BH
One of the strangest, most twisted films of the silent era, this is the story of a man who relives the greatest humiliation of his life, day after day, in front of a paying public. He Who Gets Slapped is an exploration of emotional masochism from David Lynch. It will be shown alongside live music by composer and pianist, Taz Modi, and more who are yet to be announced.
3 February, 4pm, tickets £12.50
Barbican Cinema, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Aleksandra Mir presents the Pre-Presidential Library, a free exhibition in Hayward Gallery’s HENI Project Space in which she displays a series of New York City tabloid covers featuring Donald Trump. Each of the 32 front pages, which have been photocopied and enlarged to almost two metres high, feature headlines relating to the business dealings, political aspirations or personal life of the current US President. The covers date from 1986 to 2000 and help Mir explore the historical significance of the tabloid print media and its distribution in the public space, as well as what makes the news and why.
Until 4 February
Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Road SE1 8XX
Russian screen and stage star Victoria Isakova is aristocrat Lyubov Ranevskaya in an enigmatic and seductive production of Chekhov’s majestic portrait of a nation facing revolutionary change. The epitome of measured elegance, Ranevskaya returns to her estate when she learns that her beloved orchard is to be sold to pay off debt. Haunted by the all-too-real presence of her dead son, she and her family entourage fail to recognise their plight, living in denial, while the world they know succumbs to the tide of transformation.
5&6 February, tickets £16-£85
Barbican Theatre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
There are just two representations of Shakespeare that are unambiguously identified as him, both of which may be posthumous. And yet, in the first 40 years of its existence, the National Portrait Gallery was offered 60 portraits purporting to be of the Bard. So how can we really know what he looked like? Peter Ross, principal librarian at Guildhall Library, reviews the evidence in the hunt for a true likeness of William Shakespeare.
5 February, 2pm, free
Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury EC2V 7HH