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September
Photograph: Time Out

London events in September 2022

The best events, exhibitions and all-round great things to do in London in September 2022

Written by
Alex Sims
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September in London may be ‘back to school’ time, but it’s also when the city comes alive. A lot of London’s cultural scene goes into semi-hibernation mode over the summer, but come autumn it kicks back into gear with landmark museum exhibitions, new theatre and art shows and brand new food and drink openings. 

One of the most anticipated big exhibitions of the year hits in September. The V&A’s ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’ is a large-scale exploration of Korean pop culture and the first of its kind in the UK, taking a look at South Korea’s music, movies, fashion and online games from the explosion of K-Pop bands to the ‘Gangnam Style’ craze. 

London theatres will also be gearing up for a brand new season of shows with the National Theatre putting on an ‘urgent new staging’ Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, the Donmar Warehouse will see US smash-hit musical ‘The Band’s Visit’ have its UK premiere, while big guns Helen Hunt and Simon Russell Beale will be taking to the stage, with Oscar-winner Hunt in new play ‘Eureka Day’ and Russell Beale playing the lead in Henrik Ibsen’s classic ‘John Gabriel Borkman’

In the art world, Freize is taking over Regent’s Park again with a collection of eye-popping sculptures, Damien Hirst is burning his paintings in Newport Street Gallery and there are also major (and much-needed) retrospectives of Slovakian artist Maria Bartuszová and iconic performance artist Carolee Schneemann.  

There’s also a whole host of city-wide fests taking over the capital, including Open House London – giving us a chance to get a sneak peek inside usually private buildings – London Design Festival and Totally Thames – the brilliant celebration of London’s watery main artery complete with an illuminated flotilla installation

While autumn is still on the horizon, summer isn’t over yet. So make sure you grab your final chance to enjoy the spoils of the season by booking a seat at some of London’s best rooftop bars and alfresco restaurants and lolling about in the city’s best urban beaches, parks and lidos. Get your diary out and start filling it up now.

RECOMMENDED: Want to get really organised? Start planning your perfect October in London now. 

London events in September 2022

  • Art
  • South Kensington

One of the stand-outs of the V&A’s 2022 programme, ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’, is a large-scale exploration of Korean pop culture and the first of its kind in the UK. Hallyu (meaning Korean Wave) started gaining traction in the 1990s, encompassing Korean music, movies, fashion and online games. The exhibition will take a close look at the explosion of K-Pop bands such as BTS as well as the 2012 ‘Gangnam Style’ craze. 

 

  • Art
  • Barbican

Carolee Schneemann created some of the most famous works of performance art of the twentieth century – including the genuinely iconic ‘Interior Scroll’ – and is long overdue a proper celebration. The American artist used her interdisciplinary approach to tackle topics like sexual expression, the objectification of women and the violence of war, often using her own body as the main subject. Powerful, influential, important art. 

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  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

London’s ‘dirty old river’ is about to look a whole lot snazzier. An illuminated flotilla will float along the Thames at night on Sep 24. Over 150 boats decorated in glistening white lights will process along the waterway from Chelsea to Tower Bridge as part of Totally Thames’s art installation ‘Reflections’ that will make a ‘sparkling nighttime Canaletto scene’, according to organisers.

  • Art
  • Vauxhall

The naughtiest boy in all of art returns, and this time he’s setting paintings on fire. It’s all part of his latest project, ‘The Currency’, which involved creating 10,000 little primary coloured dot paintings, and 10,000 corresponding NFTs. Collectors then had the option of keeping the NFT and destroying the physical artwork, or vice versa. If you chose NFT, your £20,000 painting is going to be torched, live in the gallery, during the run of this exhibition. Silly? Yes. But offensive? Also yes. 

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  • Art
  • Chalk Farm

Combining anime, videogames, sci-fi and aspects of traditional spiritual belief, Chinese artist LuYang's new exhibition promises to be a technological, immersive wonderland. All based around their digital avatar DOKU, this exhibition will feature a series of video works as well as an arcade section where visitors will be able to play a videogame version of the project.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Seven Dials

The Donmar’s 2022 season has another huge UK premiere of a US smash: ‘The Band’s Visit’. It’s an adaptation of a 2007 Israeli indie flick about a band of Egyptian musicians who cross the border to play for an Arab-Israeli audience but get lost, winding up in a boring desert town where everybody does a lot of learning and growing and generally has a good time. Lo-fi, touching, somewhat weird and offering an incredibly rare platform as a musical with a Middle-Eastern cast, it’s not a big flashy show, but it did charm Broadway and secured that gargantuan haul at the 2018 Tony Awards. This is a brand new UK production from Donmar boss Michael Longhurst.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Covent Garden

First shown at The Almeida, ‘The Doctor’ is now on the West End. What starts out as a fairly straightforward examination of medical ethics, very loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 'Professor Bernhardi' turns into a whole mass of other issues; identity politics, media witch hunts, the way institutions protect themselves against criticism. Juliet Stevenson reprises her role of Ruth Wolff, a white female senior clinician who refuses to allow a Catholic priest to see a 14-year-old girl who's dying after a botched abortion. 

This is 'talky' theatre, 'ideas' theatre; the kind where intense debates play out over long stretching-out scenes. 

  • Art
  • Bankside

This major retrospective of the Slovakian artist’s work concentrates on her output from the 1960s onwards when she first started making plaster sculptures by pouring the liquid into rubber balloons. She would then shape it either by hand or by submerging it in water, resulting in a series of beautifully delicate works that look like egg shells, spiders’ webs or birds’ nests. Summary: gorgeous, one-of-a-kind art by an artist deserving greater recognition. 

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  • Music
  • Music

The most famous classical music concert series on the planet. This year it’s celebrating its 150th anniversary with 84 concerts over 57 days with over 3,000 musicians. This year the event will see the return of international orchestras and feature a large-scale repertoire not heard at the festival since 2019.

Highlights in September include: The Dream Prom,a storytelling spectacle transforming the Royal Albert Hall into a series of dreamscape projections and live music (Sep 1); a Prom from Chineke! – Europe’s first majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra (Sep 2); Handel and Philip Glass in a spectacle that fuses music, dance, video and haute couture at Printworks (Sep 3); the Berliner Philharmoniker (Sep 4) and the legendary Last Night of the Proms (Sep 10). 

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