From a dry January non-alcoholic drinking festival to a new art exhibit at the Whitechapel gallery, we've got your guide to what's on in the City of London this month.
The City calendar is always bursting with things to see, do and experience each month. And as the Square Mile wakes from its holiday slumber, 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 month.
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
Screening and discussion with artist Fiona Tan on her remarkable cultural, temporal and geographic portrait of Mount Fuji. Revealed through thousands of photographs, Ascent blurs the boundary between both documentary and fiction, and the still and moving image to compelling effect. Tan will be in conversation with Gareth Evans after the screening.
10 January, 7pm, tickets from £7.50
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX
This is one of the most important events in the UK film calendar thanks to its huge emphasis on inclusivity – sadly something the film industry lacks. The London Short Film Festival is not afraid to push boundaries and explore somewhat taboo subjects. It aims to get people out of their comfort zones, and has been doing so for 15 years now. Over 10,000 people are expected to turn up to the festival and watch some groundbreaking films from all over the world. There will also be more than 500 films screened this year which have been carefully curated from over 2,500 UK and international submissions. Check out the events calendar ASAP to secure tickets to some of the screenings early as they can sell out very fast.
The Mindful Drinking Festival is returning to the Truman Brewery for sober January. In association with Adnams, the free festival will take place over two days and is part of the Re:Solutions health and wellness series of events which were created to help people discover what’s new with alcohol-free drinks. Guests will have the chance to sample over 60 of the best low and no-alcohol drinks on the scene, including craft beers from the likes of Nirvana Brewery and Fitbeer, wines and spirits. There’ll also be a couple of cocktail competitions and some inspirational speakers, beer tastings, kombucha and fermentation workshops, partying and more.
12&13 January, free
Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QR
The London Symphony Orchestra will be performing Bruckner Symphony No 6 for two nights only at Barbican Hall. It’s often described as a masterpiece of atmosphere, with chilling melodies which constantly twist and cascade, and frenzied, pounding rhythms, in a unique reimagining of traditional peasant dances. You’ll recognise it as a big part of The Shining’s film score. The performance will be preceded by a free early evening concert by senior musicians from the Guildhall School of Music.
13 and 20 January
Barbican Hall, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Dance the afternoon away in the magnificent surrounding of Shoreditch Town Hall’s Assembly Hall. Join fellow dancers for a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and relive those tea dance memories with entertainment led by the aptly-named Mr
Wonderful. New dancers, group parties and all ages are welcome. There is also a beginners’ dancing class taking place before the party.
14 January, 1pm-4pm, tickets £5
Shoreditch Town hall, 380 Old Street EC1V 9LT
During this course students will examine the processes and application needed to create their own work using letterpress. This includes hand composition of metal type and the use of Albion, Columbian, Stanhope and Vandercook presses. The course includes induction to the workshop, health and safety, explanation of hand setting, and introduction to the presses. Subsequent courses will look at wood letter printing, two colour printing and the use of illustration blocks with type.
From 14 January, tickets £195
14 Bride Lane EC4Y 8EQ
Friends, neighbours, and colleagues who meet regularly in their local communities to make music provide the focus of a new exhibition at Barbican Music Library. Making Music Together: A Celebration of Leisure-Time Music in the UK will show how thousands of groups get together to play and perform a wide range of music, from jazz and folk to classical and barbershop. The free exhibition will feature posters, film and quotes contributed by Making Music member groups, as well as specially commissioned portraits of leisure-time musicians. Graham Packham, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s culture, heritage and libraries committee, said: “Visitors to Barbican Music Library will see for themselves how, across the breadth and width of the country, hundreds of thousands of people are coming together to perform music.”
16 January until 23 March
Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Glory To Sound is a new musical initiative founded by musician, DJ, broadcaster and Studios resident Nabihah Iqbal, inspired by her love for music. Through a series of events – talks, live shows and club nights – the aim is to experience and explore music from different perspectives, and to think about what it really means to us. For the first performance in the series, Nabihah invites Lucinda Chua and James Maloney to play special sets designed specifically for the Rifle Range at Somerset House.
16 January, tickets £5, 7pm-9pm
Rifle Range, Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA
This art fair isn’t only for collectors. It’s also great fun to attend if you just want to look at where contemporary artwork is right now. The 31st reincarnation brings together more than 100 galleries together, showcasing museum-quality contemporary artworks from the early 20th century to today’s leading artists. Browse through sculptures, paintings, photographs and ceramics for hours on end. There are also two specially-curated sections beyond the main fair this year focusing on new works, less established galleries, and contemporary photography.
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street N1 0QH
Internationally acclaimed authors explore Spain’s leading collection of contemporary art in this series of four displays taking place over the course of a year. Each writer curates a display of artworks and contributes new writing based on their selection. Pre-eminent Spanish novelist Enrique Vila-Matas brings an intuitive and personal approach to La Caixa Collection of Contemporary Art for the first display, opening this month. He selects figurative works by his favourite artists, including Gerhard Richter, Dominique González-Foerster and Dora García.
17 January until 28 April
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street E1 7QX
Sir Mark Elder conducts Brahms’ radiant second symphony in the second year of an acclaimed four-year symphony cycle. The cycle borrows from the spirit of early performances of the works by performing them with the musical forces that Brahms intended. The concert also traces a poetic line from Brahms’ symphonic Romanticism to more intimate evocations of poetry, love and nature in Mahler’s emotionally charged Songs for a Wayfarer, and Britten’s Suite on English Folk Tunes, the composer’s last completed orchestral work.
17 January, 7.30pm, tickets £15-£40
Barbican Hall, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
BBC Open Ear presents music from the leading-edge of the UK’s contemporary scene. Head into the studio to hear some really alternative and experimental music hosted by Sara Mohr-Pietsch.
19 January, 7pm, tickets £10
LSO St Luke’s, 161 Old Street EC1V 9NG
Double Fringe First Award winner David Benson and his co-star Jack Lane play 25 different characters in this brilliant staging of three classic radio episodes based on favourite scripts from the original TV
series. Celebrating 50 years of Perry and Croft’s quintessential sitcom, the two actors present a selection of favourite lines, cherished characters and great feats of vocal impersonation.
22-26 January, 7.30pm; 3pm Thursday and Saturday matinees, tickets from £15.50
Wilton’s Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley E1 8JB
The exhibition brings together the ceramics, art and furnishings by two skilled makers, Teddington Carmela Kantorowicz and Stephanie Wilkinson. These artists bring strong influences of their respective Italian and Brazilian homelands to their work, resulting in design objects that have a specially appealing and distinctive style.
Until 28 January
Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS