From flowers on Mother's Day, through to eggs on Easter Sunday - and not to forget the first bank holiday of the year - there's plenty to throw yourself into as spring approaches. Here's our pick of London's best events to keep you happy during March.
RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar
Our March 2017 highlights
Hyperactive comedy superstar Russell Howard is embarking on his biggest ever world tour – inventively titled 'Round the World' – taking in the US, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. And for his London stint, the Bristolian arena-filler is playing a whopping ten-night run at the Royal Albert Hall. It's not till 2017, but buy tickets soon, is our advice.
The 2017 edition of this festival will feature another stellar line-up championing everything that is great about women and girls. Through discussion, debate, performances and activism, female achievements are celebrated and the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their full potential and contributing to the world are explored.
The Royal Court's tack to the left under Vicky Featherstone had borne some serious fruit in the shape of this collaboration with the towering genius Simon McBurney, fresh from blowing our minds with his theatre company Complicite's reality-shredding 'The Encounter'. Produced by Barbara Broccoli, 'The Kid Stays in the Pictures' charts the rise and fall of legedary Hollywood man Robert Evans.
North London's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) representatives present their annual beer festival, which will see pint enthusiasts (attempt to) taste their way through real ales, ciders, perries and imported beers. A bar dedicated to London beers will represent our flourishing local breweries, and a changing menu of homemade food will be on offer to line stomachs.
Hailing from Oxford, this experimental electronic pop outfit made a splash with their debut album 'Zaba' – full of lush, hazy pop curveballs layered with psychedelic synth-work and gentle electronic beats. They've got a follow-up coming up soon so you'll hear new material here.
Seriously: book your tickets now. Yes, Ivo van Hove's legendary mash up of Shakespeare's Roman tragedies – 'Coriolanus', 'Julius Caesar' and 'Antony and Cleopatra' – is six hours long, and doesn't have an interval in the conventional sense. But it is simply one the greatest theatre productions ever staged, less a gruelling feat of endurance than a great communal endeavour, in which the audience is invited to wander up onto the stage, sit down, buy drinks and snacks during the frequent semi-pauses and generally be thrust into the heart of things.
Explore how architecture and family life in Japan changed after 1945 with this new exhibition at the Barbican. The legacy of WW2 and the changing face of Japanese society wrought huge changes in the way the nation lived, and the way Japanese design principles influenced the West over the last 70 years.
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are celebrating 50 years since the first gig by The Who by retiring gracefully. Just kidding: clearly long done with hoping they die before they get old, they’re off on another massive arena tour, which (after a few postponed dates late last year) stops off in London for a set of ‘hits and misses’.
Free events this March
Holy, moly it's a miracle! We've found a free yoga class open to all abilities with mats provided and no advanced booking needed. Yogis will even be served tea and coffee following the class, meaning they'll be heading off to work feeling new levels of heavenly. The early morning sessions take place in St Stephen's Church in Westminster. Donations welcome.
Combining intelligent debate, a group of opinionated players and good humoured fun in a local boozer, Bardeblah is an intellectual game of persuasion centred on contemporary political and social issues. The setup is simple: a statement is selected by the drinking spectators, which is then posed to the two teams sat ready and waiting to debate. A 'Bard' chair moderates the proceedings, while the drinkers are free to air their views and ultimately decide which team has the winning point of view.
This family-friendly show is a testbed for professional musicians, comedians and poets to try out their latest material. A number of short films will be screened throughout the night and a handful of DJs will be spinning tracks in-between acts and into the small hours once the performances have finished. Food and drink will be available from the restaurant and bar.
Join artist Emma McGarry as she invites people to explore the properties of materials, while taking a closer look at the human behaviours of decision-making and power relations in her hands-on art workshops. Running alongside Pilvi Takala’s solo exhibition at the Pump House Gallery, the workshops will offer a series of lively activities throughout the day.
A showcase of board games that'll be sure to have you reminiscing about rainy days spent competing with your siblings. Over 100 objects will be on display featuring games from across the globe and some of the most iconic examples from the V&A's collection. Favourites such as Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly will also be included and a number of hands-on activiities will give visitors the chance to become part of the gaming action.
2016 marks the 150th anniversary of celebrated children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, who was a frequent visitor to the museum where she would often sit and sketch. This exhibition celebrates the date with artworks, original sketches and her earliest published works on show.
Showcasing a diverse collection of over 35 emerging artists, the return of the Vending Machine Art Gallery will see artistic interpretations around the theme of ‘Celebrating Multiculturalism’ exploring the global and ethnic influences that surround us every day.
This one-of-a-kind exhibition highlights the importance of children’s rights and their slow but steady historical evolution. Held at London’s Central Family Court this collection of quotes, images and artefacts gives a powerful insight into the court’s work and proceedings. Children’s experiences are brought to the fore, from tying threads in a mill to firing guns on a battleship as well as the work of the progressive activists that brought them into the comparative safety of the Victorian school room and then the era of human rights.
Art exhibitions this March
The Guerrilla Girls are some of the art world’s most creative complainers, and for over 30 years now, they have been handing America’s galleries their arses on a platter. For their show at the Whitechapel Gallery, they’ve turned their attentions to Europe. This entire exhibition is based on a survey they sent out to 400 art institutions across 29 countries on the continent. In it, they demand stats for their representation of female artists, those who are gender non-conforming and artists of colour. Spoiler: it doesn’t go well. As the Guerrilla Girls announce on a banner on the front of the Whitechapel building, ‘only one quarter’ of those contacted responded (disappointingly, the Serpentine and the Saatchi Gallery were among the no-shows). The completed questionnaires are pasted onto the gallery wall, filled with the urgently scrawled handwriting of gallery directors. Put your contacts in, because there’s a whole lot of reading required for this show. Colourful posters pull out some of the best responses; when asked if it was the first time they’d collected such stats, Manchester Art Gallery replied: ‘No, we talk about these issues a lot’ – but the Guerrillas point out that their collection is still ‘80 percent male and 85 percent white’. The average representation of women artists was a pathetic 22 percent. One of the few glimmers of hope was Poland, where that figure was 28 percent and all but one of the responding galleries had a female director. Informative as all
A commission by artist Yinka Shonibare, produced by Up Projects for the Royal Opera House. Titled 'Globe Head Ballerina', the work is inspired by a famous photograph of ballerina Margot Fonteyn. Shonibare's sculpture depicts a life-size ballerina, modelled on Melissa Hamilton, a soloist with the Royal Ballet. Encased in a giant 'snow globe', the figure, whose head is a replica Victorian globe, rotates slowly. Her tutu is made of fabrics that are synonymous with Shonibare's work and his exploration of the ambiguities of heritage and identity; originally manufactured by the Dutch for sale in the Indonesian market, the fabrics have become a symbol of African identity, having eventually been sold to the colonies in West Africa. The work is displayed on the exterior of the building overlooking Russell Street and will remain in place for five years.
Whether it’s Robert Mapplethorpe’s sleeve photo for ‘Horses’ or the cover of Time Out, we’re used to seeing Patti Smith in front of the camera. But next spring Londoners will get a chance to see the world through the singer’s own lens, as 17 of her photographs go on display at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Visit the gallery’s exhibition of work by Vanessa Bell and you’ll also find a smaller show called ‘Legacy: Photographs by Vanessa Bell and Patti Smith’. Smith’s photos document her residency at Charleston, Bell’s house in Sussex, in 2003, with subjects including Bell’s bed and library. They’ll be displayed alongside Bell’s own photo albums (on loan from the Tate Archives) which capture the Bloomsbury Group of artists, writers and thinkers before the war. It sounds like a fascinating coming together of two groundbreaking artists, so if you’re heading south this spring, don’t miss out.
Now in its fifty-second year, the renowned and celebrated annual wildlife photography competition and exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum with images of the most extraordinary species on the planet, captured by professional and amateur photographers. And FYI, all wannabe animal-snappers out there: next year's competition will be open for entries from October 24 and will close on December 15. Please note that last entry to the exhibition is daily at 5.15pm.
When he’s not writing pop songs about wind-proof candles or knitting himself new wigs, Sir Elton John is a serious collector of modernist photography. No, honestly, he’s been buying the stuff for years, and his collection is world famous. This show features just a little slice out of his 8,000-strong hoard. Some images are grouped thematically, others hung in the same way they are in his office. There are portraits by fashion great Irving Penn, groundbreaking compositions from André Kertesz, surreal experimentations from Josef Breitenbach, innovations from Man Ray: hold me closer, tiny art lover, because this really is a staggering collection of some of the most important photography of the early twentieth-century. Photography wasn’t new when these images were being made. But modernism was, and that was an excuse to tear everything apart. It’s the ‘radical’ bit that works best in this show, when photographers were pushing the medium to extreme conclusions, testing its limits. The work of Man Ray or Breitenbach or Edward Steichen feels genuinely exciting, like scientists discovering new cures to a disease; a disease called boring art. It’s the wild stuff – the rayograms, photomontages and solarised images – that’s the real gold here: Margaret de Patta transforming an ice cube tray and some marbles into an abstract cityscape, Herbert Bayer chopping a chunk out of his own arm, Man Ray shattering a portrait of Max Ernst. There’s compositional experimentation too: extreme persp
Details of Parreno's commission for Tate Modern's vast Turbine Hall space have been pretty damn vague. But we should definitely expect something grand, ambitious and dazzling. Quite possibly with bio-reactors, helium canisters and ventriloquism. Read our full guide to Tate Modern's Hyundai Commission: Philippe Parreno
Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the shtick. Gavin Turk’s shtick especially. He’s the guy whose degree show was just a blue plaque with his name on it (he failed), the guy who thinks rubbish bags are art, the guy who reckons his signature is a masterpiece in itself, the guy who put himself on the cover of ‘Hello!’ magazine. But all those headlines obscure the truth that beyond the shtick, schlock and schmaltz, Turk is a quiet, clever, passionate and maybe even – whisper it – important artist. Fellow YBA and shtick master Damien Hirst has been collecting Turk’s work for years, and this mini-retrospective is pulled entirely from his own collection and shown in his natty Vauxhall gallery space. The show opens with Turk’s signature. It’s carved into thick card, laid out as a blueprint for a country garden, and scrawled across the wall. It’s even splattered across a whole room of canvasses as he does a little turn as Jackson Pollock. Then he’s plonked himself on the cover of ‘Hello!’. Never mind that it’s handmade, out of focus and that he’d done naff all to warrant a magazine cover at this point in his career – Turk was myth-building. The massive central space in the gallery is given to ‘Cave’, the notorious blue plaque. It’s a bold, obscene, ridiculous, funny waste of space that totally undermines what a gallery’s meant to be used for. Upstairs, Turk casts himself as Sid Vicious in Warhol-esque paintings, or as statues of sailors, tramps and horseguards. There’s a huge
If there are no original ideas left in art, it’s probably because Robert Rauschenberg had them all. Over the course of his 60-year career (he died in 2008 aged 82), he reinvented, reused, recycled and revolutionised himself so many times that walking around this retrospective feels like stumbling through a textbook on twentieth-century art history. There’s pop, abstract expressionism, conceptualism, performance art, installations: it’s all right here, and Rauschenberg played a part in all of it. The show is roughly chronological. It starts with a tyre print spanning almost a whole wall of paper (from a car that was being driven by John Cage), there’s a painting of pure black, another of white, there’s a work by Willem de Kooning that’s been completely erased. Young Rauschenberg was a cheeky bastard. Then he decided that painting needed re-engineering. He abandoned the conceptual abstraction and suddenly his canvases have buckets or fans attached to them, or they’re lying on the floor with a taxidermy goat plonked on top. In these ‘combines’, paintings become sculptures and collages: they move beyond the canvas. The reinvention never stops. Rauschenberg discovered screen-printing in the early ’60s. Now the works are covered in photos from the news: war, politics, sport. Right here in front of you is the birth of pop art. These images are iconic, they’re little slices of history. And he just kept going. By the ’70s he’d turned his attentions to performance. Then collabora
Admit it, you’re addicted to your phone. You’re addicted to social media, to likes, to notifications, to retweets – it’s okay, we all are. And young Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s green-screened video installation is here to smash us out of our click-reverie. In a glittering pink-carpeted room, Maclean has basically created a long, angry, nasty, bubblegum-pop attack on social media masquerading as a broadband advert A pretty, noseless, yellow-skinned character acts as a metaphorical embodiment of data (as in 4G data). Pizza-faced zombie hordes worship her, chanting her name on the streets, while rabbit-faced hackers attack her and chew through Ethernet cables. There are viruses and trolls, then beautiful Data bloats and goes bald, and the world they inhabit goes post-apocalyptic. The chants for data get all Gregorian, as if the masses are worshipping at a church of social media. It's all fallen apart. It’s a treat to find something so odd and so contemporary in Tate Britain. The museum needs to put more effort into showing younger art that explores how people are living right now. The ‘Art Now’ series, which this is part of, just scratches the surface. More of this. Please. Maclean has created a vicious, surreal, fairytale-like deconstruction of modern lives lived online. It’s like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’ but, you know, not painfully oversimplified, and actually good. Her aesthetic can become a little grating, but she’s made something relatable and strong here, with
This show brings together two artists whose works looks at issues of migration and identity. Paci has created a series of watercolours based around YouTube stills and army training videos, while Racco is showing a film that was shot at a Catholic cemetary in her Albanian hometown.
Nightlife in London this March
The musical brains behind ace indie night Feeling Gloomy have come up with a new party. Burn Down The Disco will take the baton from the popular Old School Indie party at the end of September, showcasing the same great indie tunes as OSI, but also with tons of lovely soul, synth pop, ska and vintage rock 'n' roll mixed in. Think anything from Depeche Mode to The Specials to Chuck Berry to Pulp. OSI founder Carl Hill says this new night will allow him to open things up a bit and play a wider range of great music, all of which is definitely fine by us. But don't worry – BDTD will still thrive off the same fun-filled atmosphere as OSI, and certainly won't take itself too seriously. There'll be sweets given out on the door, dance competitions, colouring sheets, confetti and a weekly 'rubbish ballon drop'. Farewell, Old School Indie. Now let's all go and get drunk and jump around the dancefloor at Burn Down The Disco.
If you absolutely cannot wait until megastar Beyoncé returns to London, or can't afford to fork out £50 for the pleasure, The Yoncé Experience may just be the next best option for you. How does five hours of unadulterated Bey tunes sound? Pretty jumpin, jumpin' right? Ahem. Pitched up in the main room Martin 2 Smoove will be playing non-stop Beyoncé, while in room two you'll find – you guessed it – more Queen B. Room three caters for the folk dragged by their friends who don't want work it out to Mrs Carter all night, providing a selection of funk, pop and party tunes.
Rock disco with artistic live turns, hosted by Amy Lamé with the best retro set in town from DJs The Readers Wifes. Duckie distinguishes itself as gay London's leading pop-and-performance club. The team also put on large theatrical events at venues like the Barbican. But The RVT is where the faithful flock every week.