City of London visitors, workers and residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do in the area - especially as the days get longer and warmer.
There are stacks of things to see, do and experience in and around the City of London each and every week. So here’s our roundup of the best festivals, exhibitions, films and live music performances for you to get involved with as settle into February.
TALKS / LGBTQ+ History Month
A series of short talks each weekend in February, which use museum objects to illuminate the experiences of historic LGBTQ+ Londoners. Hear a selection of talks on the untold stories of London’s LGBTQ+ community – from a visiting Roman Emperor, to the outlandishly costumed ‘macaronis’ of the 18th century and a prominent 19th-century literary genius. Discover how Londoners have expressed their identities and pushed contemporary boundaries through culture, love and activism.
Until 29 February, free
Museum of London EC2Y 5HN
Through the media of film and photography, this major exhibition considers how masculinity has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to the present day. That’s no easy feat for the Barbican’s curators. Examining depictions of masculinity from behind the lens, the Barbican brings together the work of over 50 international artists, photographers and filmmakers. These include the likes of Laurie Anderson, Sunil Gupta (below), Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Isaac Julien and Catherine Opie.
20 February-17 May, tickets £15-£17
Barbican Centre Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
PANCAKE DAY / Leadenhall Market
We still don’t quite understand why pancake races are a thing – but we still love them. That’s especially the case for Leadenhall Market’s on Shrove Tuesday. Teams sign up either in advance or on the day (by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) for free and then go in running to win the highly coveted frying pan trophy. They will have to run the 20-metre course while flipping pancakes in front of large crowds. A similar event is held at Spitalfields Market every year too. Because, people seem to love doing this.
26 February, free
Leadenhall Market EC3V 1LT
Celebrated for his powerful and uncompromising vision, Steve McQueen creates work that addresses the urgent issues
of representation, identity and history. And the Tate Modern are now presenting the first survey of his work in the UK for over 20 years, offering a timely moment to reflect on these themes. Featuring 14 major works spanning film, photography and sculpture, the exhibition will be an unprecedented opportunity to experience the depth of McQueen’s visual art career in this country for the first time since he received the Turner Prize in 1999.
Until 11 May, tickets £13
Tate Modern SE1 9TG
FILM / Beyond ‘There’s always a black issue Dear’ screening
Beyond ‘There’s always a black issue Dear’ explores and celebrates black LGBTQ identities and the influence that black LGBTQ culture has had upon fashion, fine art, dance, music and language – much of which has been appropriated by the cultural mainstream. The trailblazing cast vividly recall daring to be different as ballet dancing boys and make-up wearing, gender-fluid school days are described with humour and honesty. Their experiences shed new light on the UK in the 1970s and ’80s and provide a snapshot of this vital historical period. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Digital Curator Foteini Aravani.
27 February, tickets £12
Museum of London EC2Y 5HN
Guildhall School presents a world premiere commissioned by Scottish Opera, with music by Liam Paterson and libretto by Pamela Carter. A mysterious girl witnessed clambering across the ruins of a South Bronx estate dies… or does she? This new opera is based on Don DeLillo’s captivating short story, described by the New York Times as “a dazzlingly told tale of despair and ruination, the dream of redemption and the testing of faith”.
24, 26, 28 February & 2 March, tickets £25 and concessions for £15
Silk Street Theatre EC2Y 8DS