The best things to do in London this autumn
For the first time ever, legendary playwright Harold Pinter’s short plays will be performed in one season by a star-studded cast. First up, two comedic masterpieces featuring David Suchet and Russell Tovey, then six of HP’s most political short works. As well as telling stories of abuse of power and oppression, the latter will be brought to life by surprise guest stars.
Ramsay Bolton, Arya Stark and Jon Snow have escaped Westeros and are heading for London’s theatres. Iwan Rheon will swap sword-swashing for pest control in dystopian thriller ‘Foxfinder’, while Maisie Williams plays bedridden teenager Caroline in ‘I and You’ and Kit Harington stars in Sam Shepard’s modern classic ‘True West’, exploring sibling rivalry and the American Dream. Winter might be coming but not until after this lot have hit the stage.
The autumn edition of this after-hours takeover is part of a UK-wide festival giving inquisitive souls the chance to go behind the scenes of super cool cultural venues. Some of London’s best galleries, museums and attractions are taking part including the Transport Museum where an ’80s themed evening will be popping, and the Sir John Soane’s Museum where intimate tours will be led.
Believe it or not, your trusty Time Out is 50 this year. (No, we’ve not had any work done, we just drink lots of water.) We’re celebrating with an exhibition looking back at our first half-century through 50 of our best covers from over the years. Step into the magazine’s – and London’s – history at the Museum of Brands, where you’ll find cover stars like David Bowie and Elton John, designs by Tracey Emin and Banksy, as well as loads more archive gold.
Prepare to have your perceptions tested at the Hayward Gallery’s new exhibition. It’s designed to make you question the space around you via the clever use of glass, light and reflection. See the work of more than 20 artists including Anish Kapoor (the guy behind the ArcelorMittal Orbit), Larry Bell and Fred Eversley, all of which will disorientate and confound you. Just don’t be alarmed if you stumble about a bit.
Known for showcasing the work of the emerging Young British Artists in the ’90s, the South London Gallery is still one of the city’s coolest contemporary art venues – and now it’s expanding. It’s taking over the old fire station across the road, doubling its space. Get down to its opening weekend for loads of free events and to check out ‘Knock Knock’, an exhibition of established and emerging artists across the whole gallery.
Remember when your Instagram feed was filled with neverending mirrorscapes and polka-dotted pumpkins? That’s about to happen all over again because there’s a new Yayoi Kusama exhibition coming to the Victoria Miro gallery. The famous ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ has been given a bit of a makeover, now featuring floating paper lanterns. Expect big queues and lots of selfie-snapping.
Be prepared to go square-eyed as the city’s annual cinematic celebration returns. If you only catch one flick at this year’s London Film Festival, make it ‘Beautiful Boy’. It stars Timothée Chalamet, who’s already being tipped for an Oscar nom for his portrayal of Nic Sheff, a young man struggling with meth addiction. The trailer alone will have you blubbing.
Don’t miss Es Devlin’s ‘Please Feed the Lions’ at this showcase of London’s most creative designers. Devlin, who’s worked with the likes of Kanye and Beyoncé, has created a fifth lion in Trafalgar Square – and this one is luminous red and roars poetry. Poems will be lit up in the lion’s mouth by day and projected across its body and Nelson’s Column by night. You can even choose what the maned beast says (only basic big cats say ‘roar’).
St John is opening its first permanent bakery in Neal’s Yard, making it even easier to grab one of its delicious doughnuts. As well as those custardy treats, it’ll have pastries, sourdough and loads of other baked goods delivered fresh from its Bermondsey site. There’s even talk of wine if the licence gets approved – doughnuts and booze, what more could you want this autumn?