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London events in May

Here's your guide to all London's essential cultural events in May

© We Are FSTVL

When May hits London, there really is no excuse not to get outside and start soaking up all that the city has to offer – whether that's heading to a rooftop bar, visiting a city farm, making the most of the many bank holidays or just lounging in one of London's best parks.

We've selected the very best happenings across the capital duing May, so lift yourself off the sofa, step away from the TV and start maxing out your London fun. 

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our May highlights

1

We Are FSTVL

Now established itself as one of the big guns among the new generation of dance festivals, WAF returns to London (well, Essex, but it’s on the tube) for two more days this summer. It boasts another heavyweight line-up of globe-conquering DJs, hot rising talents and respected undergrounders, including Carl Cox, Dizzee Rascal and Basement Jaxx. House and techno of all shapes and sizes are the main ingredients here, but bass and garage are also represented.

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Damyns Hall Aerodrome , Corbets Tey Friday May 26 2017 - Sunday May 28 2017
2

Gin Journey Bermondsey

Following on from the popular Gin Journey Shoreditch tour comes its Bermonsey-based sister. Join mixologist Leon Dalloway on an exploration of Bermondsey's connection to Mother's Ruin from its turbulent history to its vibrant present. Visit state of the art distilleries Jensen's and VICTORY Gin, drink in hidden bars, sample premium gins and crafted gin cocktails, and pick up loads of gin-based knowledge. Advance booking required. See venue website for details.

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Various , London Saturday April 1 2017 - Saturday January 20 2018
3

California

California: is there any other place in the world as synonymous with hedonistic glamour and effortless cool? But what often gets overlooked among the praises heaped on the Golden State is its rich design history. This show should put paid to that, looking at 50 years of innovation – from LSD in the countercultural '60s to the tech revolution of Silicone Valley.

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Design Museum , Kensington Wednesday May 24 2017 - Sunday October 15 2017
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4

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains

Fifty years since their first single, Arnold Layne, the V&A is hosting a retrospective of those psychedelic pioneers, the Floyd. Set and construction pieces from The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall join instruments, designs, lyrics and prints - and, yes, a laser show. Wish You Were Here?

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V&A , Brompton Saturday May 13 2017 - Sunday October 1 2017
5

Stormzy

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O2 Academy Brixton , Stockwell Tuesday May 2 2017 - Thursday May 4 2017
6

Twelfth Night

This delicious crowd pleaser of a 'Twelfth Night' isn't the most heavyweight take you'll ever see, but if you’re looking for actual laughs then you’re in luck. Director Simon Godwin takes Shakespeare's mistaken identity comedy, spices it up with with a bit of sexual fluidity, then chucks in a bunch of great comedy character actors and leaves them to go nuts. 

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National Theatre , South Bank Until Saturday May 13 2017
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7

The American Dream: Pop to The Present

Works by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg all feaure in this major show at the British Museum. The exhibition explores how American art has traced and been inspired by cultural shifts over the last 60 years, beginning with the pop art explosion of the '60s.

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Until Sunday June 18 2017
8

Angel Olsen

When otherworldly Chicago singer Olsen isn't playing with Emmett Kelly's experimental folk-rock band The Cairo Gang, she's a bewitching folk songwriter in her own right. Her heartstring-tugging vibrato and sheer simplicity make her well worth a listen. Pick up her smouldering new album 'Burn Your Fire for No Witness' and catch her playing songs from it tonight.

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Roundhouse , Chalk Farm Wednesday May 24 2017
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10

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

This adaptation of Alan Warner's 1998 novel 'The Sopranos' by 'Billy Elliot' writer Lee Hall arrives in London after a storming tour. It's the story of six riotous teens from an all-girl Oban Catholic school letting loose during a trip to the Scottish capital. It's a fun and filthy torrent of songs, sex and swearing performed by a six-woman cast who each play their own distinct characters but who also walk us through a load more people they meet along the way. 

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Duke of York’s Theatre , Covent Garden Tuesday May 9 2017 - Saturday September 2 2017
11

Badbadnotgood

This young trio found fame by covering the songs of hip hop troupe Odd Future in a cool jazz stylee, eventually collaborating with Tyler, The Creator himself. They have since gone on to turn tracks by Lil B and Waka Flocka Flame into awesomely groovy post-bop jazz jams.

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The Forum (O2 Forum Kentish Town) , Kentish Town Wednesday May 31 2017
12

Metronomy

It's been a long time since Metronomy was just Joe Mount's bedroom pop project in sleepy Totnes, Devon. With a shiny, rounded live line-up – with drummer Anna Prior laying down the beats at the back – Metronomy perform songs from their latest album 'Love Letters' at a big gig in London. These peerless wonky-pop exponents should delve headlong into their excellent back catalogue too. Want more? Read our interview with Metronomy's Joe Mount

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O2 Academy Brixton , Stockwell Friday May 19 2017
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13

Snarky Puppy

Texas-based jazz collective Snarky Puppy are led by composer and bassist Michael League, and consist of just under 30 musicians (not all of whom play at the same time) offering up a fusion of funk, soul and sensitive harmonies.

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O2 Academy Brixton , Stockwell Friday May 5 2017
14

Alice's Adventures Underground

Welcome to Wonderland. Well actually, welcome to Waterloo, where Les Enfants Terribles’s ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ has taken over the Vaults under the station for a summer of wonderful weirdness. It removes our heroine pretty much entirely from the frame, instead placing the audience centre stage. It is you who falls down the rabbit hole and decides which direction your adventure will take – it’s a lot of fun exploring this strange new world

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The Vaults , Waterloo Saturday April 15 2017 - Sunday September 10 2017
15

Open-air theatre season in London

Read our round-up of open-air theatre events for the summer ahead. You'll find London's best outdoor productions at venues as world-famous as Shakespeare's Globe, in parks as pretty as Regent's Park or at festivals as vibrant as More London Free Festival. Not sure what you'll need for an open-air theatre trip? Then don't miss our guide to all the practical open-air theatre info you could need.

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By: Time Out London Theatre
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16

The American Dream: Pop to The Present

This show takes a look the Land of Opportunity through the prism of its artists and their printed works. There'll be many familiar pop faces here. Ed Ruscha's slick images both chronicle and celebrate everyday Americana; Andy Warhol peeks into the darker side of the nation's history with images of disgraced president Richard Nixon and bereaved First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Issues of racial divide – no less pressing than they ever were – are explored by African-American artist Kara Walker.

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Until Sunday June 18 2017
18

Roger Mayne

A major – and long overdue – survey of the British photographer, whose scenes of inner-city scenes from the '50s and '60s document the seismic period of postwar social change.

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Photographers' Gallery , Soho Until Sunday June 11 2017
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19

The Hive at Kew Gardens

Wolfgang Buttress' 17 metre high, 40 tonne installation already wowed audiences in Milan and now it's setting up home in Kew Gardens for the summer. Visitors can stand, lie or sit within the massive lattice structure as thousands of LED lights flicker and an orchestral arrangement plays, triggered by the activity of bees in a nearby hive. The music has been specially composed to mimic a bee's singing voice, namely in the key of C.

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Kew Gardens , Kew Until Sunday December 31 2017
20

Legacy: Photographs by Vanessa Bell and Patti Smith

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 now 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. 

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Dulwich Picture Gallery , Dulwich Village Until Sunday June 4 2017
21

Robot Zoo

Meet a robotic rhino, a squid with 18-foot tentacles and a huge house fly with a vacuum cleaner mouth at the Horniman Museum’s Zoo for larger-than-life robot animals made from familiar machines and gadgets. Through interactive games and challenges the robot creation will reveal how real animal anatomy works. Book tickets here. 

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Horniman Museum , Forest Hill Until Sunday October 29 2017
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22

Angels in America

The centrepiece of the National Theatre's 2017 programming is this jaw-dropping looking revival of Tony Kushner's play epic about the Aids epidemic. The magnificent Marianne Elliott will make her swansong as NT associate director by tackling both three-and-a-half-hour parts 'Millennium Approaches' and 'Perestroika' with one of the best theatre casts in living memory: Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, Russell Tovey, James McArdle and more. 

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National Theatre , South Bank Tuesday April 11 2017 - Saturday August 19 2017
23

Nell Gwynn

There’s deliciously hammy acting in this production, plus Charles II’s throbbing English sausage and more sexual innuendoes than you can shake a pointy stick at. Jessica Swale’s new play plots the rise (easy, gentlemen) of Nell Gwynn, who first sold her body, then fruit, and ended up a celebrated actress as well as the King’s favourite mistress. This West End transfer from the Globe stars a luminously lascivious Gemma Arterton and, while it won’t be to everyone’s taste, goes down a treat.  

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Tuesday May 2 2017 - Saturday May 13 2017
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25

Matilda the Musical

Opening to rave reviews in Stratford-upon Avon before transferring to the West End in 2011 and snatching up Olivier Awards with all the alacrity of a sticky-fingered child in a sweetshop, Matthew Warchus's RSC production remains a treat. 

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Cambridge Theatre , Covent Garden Until Sunday December 17 2017
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Comments

1 comments
Amy R
Amy R

All these events look brilliant, i'm especially interested in the Coffee Festival! 

If you want to attend one of these events but have nobody to go with i recommend www.wouldlovetogo.com 

The site is aimed at helping you meet new people in London effortlessly. :)