City of London visitors, workers and residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do in the area -whether the experiences are online or in-person.
Despite the current restrictions shutting down a lot of venues, there are still stacks of things to see, do and experience in and around the City of London (either virtually or IRL). So here’s our roundup of the best festivals, exhibitions, theatre shows and immersive experiences for you to get involved with as you settle into October.
Written in response to their play Death of England, Michael Balogun (lead image) plays Delroy in this new standalone work by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, which explores a Black working-class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Great Britain. Filled with anger and grief, Delroy recalls the moments and relationships that gave him hope before his life was irrevocably changed. Like the original Death of England play, this will focus on how class and race continue to be huge issues in England – before and after the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a hyper personalised way to explore these important themes.
21 October to 28 November, tickets from £20
National Theatre SE1 9PX
This autumn, Barbican Art Gallery stages the first ever major exhibition on the groundbreaking dancer and choreographer Michael Clark. Exploring his unique combination of classical and contemporary culture, Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer unfolds as a constellation of striking portraits of Clark through the eyes of legendary collaborators and world-renowned artists.
Until 3 January 2021, tickets £15
Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Discover a new exhibition inside Tower Bridge’s Engine Rooms, celebrating the lives of Tower Bridge today more prominently than ever before; piecing together the story of the people working behind the scenes at the historical bridge, and the visitors who walk its floors. With London’s defining landmark only 126 years old, the many staff, engineers and visitors today are a key part of its history. Commissioned in 2019 to celebrate the monumental 125-year anniversary of the Bridge, documentary photographer Lucy Hunter spent several months recording the modern life of Tower Bridge, including the staff who work here. Visitors to Tower Bridge journey up the iconic towers and through the high-level West Walkway while learning about workers of the past; before making their way into the Engine Rooms where the new exhibition will be on display.
Tower Bridge SE1 2UP
One of London’s most exciting celebrations of modern beer is making a proper comeback this November. The 2020 event will feature a final line up of 80 breweries from the UK and around the world, descending on Wapping for the two-day festival, full of food, drinks and live music – of course, with all the social distancing and hand gel you could ever dream of. Head down for both days, or just one on either Friday 27 or Saturday 28 November. Ticket holders will be invited to build their very own table of up to six friends, where they’ll be served rounds of 1/3 pint pours from each of the participating breweries ordered via the dedicated LCBF app.
Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane E1W 2SF
The new concert series features an eclectic mix of artists and introduces a new concept for the Barbican. For the first time, it will bring the live experience online for a wider, global digital audience alongside a reduced, socially distanced live audience. All performances will be streamed live from the Barbican Hall on a pay-to-view basis, and tickets for the live experience in the Hall will also be available for all concerts, if Government guidance continues to permit this.
Until 13 December, tickets £12.50
Take a trip through the streets of Vauxhall on a digital treasure hunt and uncover the secrets of its queer and hedonistic past. Explore Vauxhall’s transformation from a quiet rural village into a pleasure seeker’s paradise. Along the way, you’ll hear stories of brick-wielding drag queens, the mysterious Princess Seraphina, a street that angered the Nazis and the people who fought for the right to love and be loved. This hunt has been developed in collaboration with guide Nick Collinson, aka The Urban Rambler, and the team from Breadcrumbs.
Until 6 March 2021, tickets £14.99 per team
INSTALLATION / Playing Democracy
Playing Democracy is a new interactive installation by artist Ling Tan, designed as a giant two player game of Pong which explores ideas around social structures, collective responsibility and agency in participation. Projected onto a wall, participants can modify the rules of the game as they play, either collaborating with each other on opposite sides or even violating the rules as they go, bringing into question ideas around social structures, the implications of influencing them and our interaction with other people. Players can adjust its fairness, equality and freedom parameters to increase the difficulty of the game. By working together the game can be played longer, or players can compete to win.
Until April 2021, free
Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
Important works by renowned artists including Etel Adnan, Nan Goldin, David Hockney, Joan Miró, Eduardo Paolozzi and Pablo Picasso will be on public view for the first time in two consecutive, artist-curated exhibitions drawn from the Hiscox Collection, taking place at Whitechapel Gallery. The series forms part of the Gallery’s ongoing commitment to showing rarely seen public and private collections. British painter Gary Hume and Berlin-basedVenezual an artist Sol Calero each bring new perspectives to the Hiscox Collection in their personal selection of works.
Until 2 May 2021, free
Whitechapel Gallery E1 7QX
During lockdown, while the Bridge Theatre was shut, the team worked with the BBC to produce Alan Bennett’s landmark Talking Heads monologues – broadcast on BBC1 in June. Now, eight of the monologues come to the stage in a series of unique double bills, all of them with the same leading actors whose performances were universally acclaimed on television. But Talking Heads isn’t the only series running at the Bridghe Theatre this season. Be sure to check out Ralph Fiennes in Beat the Devil, Zodwa Nyoni in Nine Lives, Yolanda Mercy in Quarter Life Crisis and Inua Ellams in An Evening With and Immigrant. Theatre ain’t dead in London. They’re fighting hard to hold on and the industry needs support from arts lovers all around the City.
Until 31 October, tickets from £15
Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park SE1 2SG
CONCERT / Opera Triple Bill
Watch these live-streamed performances of three darkly comic Italian operas, exploring troubling romantic relationships and escapist fantasies in the interwoven lives of three Florentine women. Susanna is suspected by her controlling husband of having an affair when he smells smoke on her clothes, but is that really her secret in this tale of marital misunderstanding? Silvia is trapped in the luxurious but unfulfilling life of an escort, and longs for the innocence of true love. When she meets the man of her dreams it seems this wish has been answered, but will she follow her heart? Rita believes she has lost her abusive husband at sea, and now reflects his bullying nature onto her downtrodden new spouse. When the first husband reappears unexpectedly, the two men must decide – who is most deserving of her?
Watch online from 7pm on 2 November