We’re mere hours away from a long weekend, heaps of chocolatey goodness and a seriously great line-up of Easter events happening around town. April couldn’t look any more promising if it tried. Grab a brandy and Coke and get yourself on the dance floor at UKG Fest, pick up some crafty creations at the Renegade Art Fair or sit down for dinner at one the city’s newest restaurants. Here’s everything your need to know about the next month in London…
FUN THINGS TO DO
Apr 1–Oct 31: Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past at Danson House This new exhibition, displayed within the ornate setting of Danson House, celebrates the impact of eighteenth-century art and design on British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Designs and outfits on show reference the Rococo paintings of French artists Watteau and Boucher.
Apr 1–Jul 19: All of this Belongs to You at the V&A Opening just before the General Election (and open late Thursday May 7 for election night), this exhibition looks at the role of public institutions in contemporary life and at what it means to be responsible for a national collection.
Apr 2–6: Southbank Centre’s Chorus Festival Back for a seventh year in 2015, Chorus Festival celebrates the power of singing alongside others and explores the health benefits of belting out a tune. Over 100 choirs are due to take part with thousands of singers warming up their vocal chords for concerts, workshops and debates taking place across the festival.
Apr 2–Sep 13: Live Butterfly house at the Natural History Museum Visitors can come face-to-face with tropical butterflies, including the swallowtail, blue morpho, the moon moth and many others originating from Africa, Southeast Asia and North and South America, and take part in games, activities and challenges that teach more about the sensory world of the fluttering creatures.
Apr 2–Sep 25: Visions of War Above and Below at IWM The development of flight and aerial warfare provided a new perspective for artists. The works in this exhibition span a timeline from World War I to twenty-first century conflicts and encompass surreal depictions of aircraft as creatures, abstract views of bombing raids and detailed drawings of life in submarines.
Apr 3–5: The Party: 500 years of Hampton Court Palace If we ever make it to 500 we hope someone throws us a birthday party of this calibre. Hampton Court Palace will open for three evenings of festivities over the Easter weekend, with each event culminating in a 3D sound and light show.
Apr 3–6: Easter in London The first bank holiday weekend of the year is on the horizon so grab your diary and get organising. Whether you plan to hunt eggs, party all weekend or stuff your face with chocs, get cracking with your Easter plans now.
Apr 5: Rabble Easter Egg Hunt in Clapham Chase chocolate and get your daily quota of exercise during this team game which could be mistaken for a rowdy PE lesson on Clapham Common.
Apr 11: The Oxford v Cambridge Goat Race Polish your horns and belt out those bleets, because London’s favourite farmyard fracas is back for a seventh year in 2015. The Goat Race is fast becoming as popular as its Thames-based rival (at least around the Time Out office), and sees two goats – one representing ‘Oxford’, the other ‘Cambridge’ – take part in a dash around the farm.
Apr 10–11: Renegade Craft Fair This market usually sets up shop stateside, but lucky for us it’s made a trip across the pond and is back for a second instalment following a fantastic Christmas event last year.
Apr 13–24: Moët Academy at Oxo Tower Wharf Popping up for two weeks at the OXO2 event space at Oxo Tower Wharf, Moët & Chandon’s latest venture is a recreation of the iconic French vineyards and cellars where those perfect bubbles are produced.
Apr 18: Tweed Run This ten-mile charity bicycle jaunt in aid of the London Cycling Campaign takes in all sorts of iconic London locations and sees riders togged up to the nines in 1920s and 1930s cycling gear.
The Strand Dining Rooms
Apr 1: Queenswood A Battersea Square restaurant from the team behind the café Damson & Co in Soho.
Apr 2: Percy & Founders A 200-cover restaurant and bar, with a chef who has worked at Murano, in the redeveloped Middlesex Hospital site.
Apr 2–5: Fryhard Forget chocolate this Easter, it’s all about everything fried at this Boxpark pop-up. And we mean everything.
Apr 3: Strand Dining Rooms The kitchens here will be taken over by Mark Sergeant, the ex-Gordon Ramsay chef behind Plum + Spilt Milk and Rocksalt in Kent.
Around Apr 7: Bao This Taiwanese-inspired street food operation is opening its first restaurant site in Soho.
Apr 10: The Bull and Gate The legendary Kentish Town music venue, host to groups including Blur and Nirvana before they became famous, is being reinvented as a gastropub and cocktail bar.
Apr 10: Bull in a China Shop This Shoreditch venture from the team behind The Drunken Monkey will be serving Chinese-spiced rôtisserie chicken, salads, bao buns and congee porridge alongside Japanese whiskey cocktails.
Apr 11: On The Bab Shoreditch’s trendy Korean hotspot opens up a sister branch in Covent Garden serving up Korean street food classics with a twist. Plus there’s 50 percent off food on April 10.
Apr 11–12: London Whisky Weekender Head to Oval Space for a weekend of international whiskies and bourbons tastings,with guest appearances from distillers, whisky cocktails, food, music and more.
Apr 13: Craft London Chef Stevie Parle teams up with designer Tom Dixon to bring this fresh new concept restaurant, cocktail bar and shop to Greenwich Penninsula. There’s 50 percent off food from April 13 until the official opening on April 27.
Apr 13: Grain Store Unleashed Chef Bruno Loubet heads to the Zetter Townhouse for an experimental pop-up concept restaurant. Think Grain Store, but more adventurous!
Apr 13: Duck and Rice Alan Yau opens up his latest venture, a swanky Chinese gastro pub on Berwick Street in Soho (where The Endurance pub used to be).
Apr 23: Sesame An all-day Covent Garden restaurant, inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean street food and grills, from one of the founders of Ottolenghi.
Apr 25: Mussel Men party Dalston’s seafood specialists are throwing a spring garden party. Expect lobster and plenty of mussels and frites.
Apr TBC: Foxlow The Hawksmoor crew are opening up a second branch of their Clerkenwell favourite, this time bringing their meaty goodness to Stoke Newington.
All April: House of Peroni at Harvey Nichols Can’t afford a trip to Italy? Just head to the fifth floor of the Knightsbridge department store and check out their Italian-inspired al fresco veranda.
Apr 3: Fast & Furious 7 Completed in the wake of leading man Paul Walker’s tragic death, this seventh episode in the pedal-to-metal franchise may be a more sober, reflective affair than usual. Or hey, it might just be more smashing, grabbing and blowing shit up.
Apr 3: While We’re Young Maturity is a slippery staircase in the comedies of American indie filmmaker Noah Baumbach (‘The Squid and the Whale’, ‘Greenberg’, ‘Frances Ha’). Baumbach delights in puffing up and then deflating characters who aren’t quite ready to grow up. ‘While We’re Young’ is the writer-director’s confident and charming latest, and it plays more like a Woody Allen-ish parody than any of his other movies – a shift that hasn’t required any sacrifice in insight, heart or bite.
Apr 3: The Water Diviner You know him as a surly lunk of slab-faced Aussie manhood. But Russell Crowe shows his squishy side as the director of this soft-hearted war melodrama.
Apr 17: Child 44 British acting heavyweights Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy starred together in the film adaptation of John le Carré’s ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’. Now we’ll see them back on screen in another Cold War thriller. Set in Soviet Russia in the 1950s, Hardy plays a blindly loyal Russian agent investigating a spate of child murders.
Apr 24: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence Pigeons do the funniest things. They burn their feet off with their own corrosive poo. They cannibalistically eat their dead. But do they reflect on existence? You won’t find the answer in this brilliantly odd black comedy from Sweden’s Roy Andersson, which he says is about ‘What it means to be a human being’. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before – unless you’ve seen the two earlier films in his trilogy, ‘You, The Living’ and ‘Songs from the Second Floor’.
Apr 24: The Avengers: Age of Ultron Now here’s a blockbuster we can get seriously excited about. The first instalment, ‘Avengers Assemble’, punched miles above your average multiplex crowdpleaser. The trailer is a belter and director Joss Whedon has yet to put a foot wrong.
Bank holiday parties in London
Apr 2: 3000 with Marcus Nasty + Hatcha Get your grime, bass and gritty house on in a big way this Easter with a party helmed by Rinse FM stalwart Marcus Nasty, Hatcha (playing a special UK garage set), Pete Graham and many more. Heavy, heady stuff.
Apr 2: Secretsundaze Easter Special One of the finest long-running house and techno parties in London returns for another Easter special, featuring DJ QU and Mosca.
Apr 3: UKG Fest After 2-stepping appearances last Easter weekend from Artful Dodger, Pied Piper and more, UKG Fest is coming back to The Coronet for another fifteen hours of sweet, sweet garage.
Apr 3: Artful Dodger The 2-steppin’ duo, known for the hit ‘Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)’ with Craig David supply slick UK garage and R&B. Bo!
Apr 3: Norman Jay The seminal DJ and main man behind the Good Times Soundsystem beloved of Notting Hill Carnival-goers unleashes one of his funky, rare groove and soulful house to hip hop, disco and reggae sets.
Apr 3: Mike Skinner + Ms Dynamite Hear Skinner spin house, bass, hip hop, garage and a good few bangers to boot, plus fiery rhyming from sharp-tongued rapper Ms Dy-na-mi-tee.
Apr 4: Brixton Boogaloo A series of sessions at ace Brixton venue The Prince of Wales, which boasts one of the finest club terraces in London. There’s an eclectic feel to the programming, which covers anything from deep house to disco to funk to soul.
Apr 4: NTS Fourth Birthday Dalston internet radio station NTS celebrates its fourth birthday with a suitably eclectic bash. They’re heading south of the river to rave cave Corsica Studios for this one, where you can hear station residents and regulars (Jon rust, Tasker) plus a few special guests, including US hotshot Delroy Edwards, bashment boss Murlo and grime guy Last Japan.
Apr 5: Dimensions Festival Warm-Up Party This launch party for Croatian dance festival Dimensions, hosted by Electric Minds, should be a belter for anyone who enjoys high-quality dance music. Mano Le Tough’s colourful house grooves sit next to Omar S’s raw, minimal house, which rubs shoulders with Midland’s psychedelic techno.
Apr 5: Eglo Records Bank Holiday Special Eglo Records, the future-thinking jazzy, housey, soulful beats and bass label co-owned by progressive producer Floating Points, takes over south London’s Corsica Studios for a Bank Holiday special, with a great cast of electronic voyagers ready to get busy in leftfield style.
Best of the rest…
Apr 1, 14, 22, 29: Sounds Familiar Music Quiz Eyes down and ears open for this delightfully raucous, super-fun music-fuelled quiz, featuring rounds such as ‘Round of Cheese’, ‘Office Party’ and ‘Feel the Power Ballad’, plus prizes including mugs, medals, champagne and more, and DJ AL compering and spinning the tunes.
Apr 8–12: RBMA UK Tour Full listings for the London leg of the Red Bull Music Academy UK tour, featuring live music, DJs, club nights, workshops and one-off parties.
Apr 17: How Does It Feel To Be Loved? Ian Watson and guest DJs deliver a gloriously twee mix of indie pop, northern soul, Motown and ’60s heartbreak.
Apr 18: Jungle Splash Boat Party Hard-hitting party crew Jungle Splash – who’ve been going strong for over two decades – are getting nautical with a boat party of epic proportions. Helping them pound out blitzing breaks and basslines aboard party boat The Hurlingham are a stellar cast of DJs, producers and MCs that like their tunes fast and furious.
Apr 29: Morning Gloryville A pre-work mid-week fitness rave, which aims to give punters a healthy, start to the working day via snacks, massages and a lot of dancing.
Apr 1: Bo Ningen London-based psych rockers Bo Ningen are a ferocious live act who draw on the Japanese freak-out legacy of Flower Travellin’ Band and play hard, psychedelic rock with febrile energy.
Apr 2–5: The Lock Tavern Festival Egg hunts? Sunday lunch with the family? Church? No way – easily the best way to spend your Easter weekend is in one of Camden’s finest nightspots, watching some really great bands.
Apr 7: Nadine Shah A childhood spent on the stormy coast of north-east England seems to have bred a glowering intensity in Nadine Shah, or rather in the dramatic gothic ballads she writes and performs.
Apr 8: Polar Bear Mega-haired drummer Seb Rochford leads out his double-Mercury-nominated post-jazz quintet.
Apr 14: Sinkane Slinky soul, highly recommended, by the Yeasayer member-turned-solo artist.
Apr 17: Flying Lotus Californian hip hop/jazz/avant-R&B wizard FlyLo – alias Steven Ellison – has a record of staging mind-blowing live shows, accompanying his lopsided beats with hypnotic visuals. He returns to London this evening with a new album (‘You’re Dead’) to bolster his set, which should also feature plenty of trippy tracks from his acclaimed records ‘Cosmogramma’ and ‘Until the Quiet Comes’.
Apr 20–21: Matthew E White Groovy indie dude White won plenty of praise in 2013 for his album ‘Big Inner’, an intimate LP which sounded like TV On The Radio injected with country, funk and soul. He’s back in London to sing songs from the follow-up, ‘Fresh Blood’.
Apr 24: Jon Hopkins With his latest album ‘Immunity’ shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, electronica producer Jon Hopkins has come a long way since his days playing keyboards for Imogen Heap. He’s now collaborated with Brian Eno and King Creosote, both self-professed fans of Hopkins’s lush, melodic electronics tones that sway from gentle dancefloor excursions to blissed-out headphone fodder.
Apr 29: Terakaft Featuring two original members of desert blues legends Tinariwen, Terakaft boast the same rolling grooves, mesmeric rhythms, and Tamashek-sung tales of exile, violence and loss.
Apr 8–Jul 19: Udderbelly Festival Spring is here! And the giant upturned purple cow is back on the south bank. Catch Katherine Ryan, Jason Byrne, Stephen K Amos, The Horne Section, Luisa Omielan, Sara Pascoe and so many more at the inflatable venue this season.
Apr 8, 15, 23, 30: Adam Riches x 4 The wonderfully silly, faux-macho, Foster’s Award-winning character revives four of his critically acclaimed solo shows across four dates this month, starting with ‘Rogue Males’ on April 8.
Apr 8–11: John Robins – This Tornado Loves You Effortlessly funny tales about love and happiness from this laidback Bristolian storyteller and XFM DJ.
Apr 9–11: Felicity Ward – The Iceberg Upbeat, heartwarming storytelling from this talented Aussie stand-up. Eternally optimistic and reliably funny.
Apr 20–24: Dave Hill New York City via Cockfosters This NYC-based classy absurdist used to be a regular on the UK circuit. Now he’s back for an intimate run in a Tufnell Park basement. Unpredictable, sometimes unsettling and very funny indeed.
Apr 27–30: Found Footage Festival You’ll see things at this cult video-based comedy gig that you’ve never seen before. And some you wish you could unsee. Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett showcase some of the most bizarre clips they’ve found on VHS tapes from thrift stores across the US.
Apr 4–Jul 5: Generation of Z Thrill-seekers, apocalypse-dreamers and horror movie fanatics take note: this immersive zombie theatre-cum-experience may be the closest thing to actual end-of-the-world action you’re going to get. Possibly.
Apr 7–May 30: The Twits We can’t seem to get enough of that hilariously naughty Norwegian-born kids book writer Roald Dahl. Following two West End smash productions of ‘Matilda’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ Royal Court associate director John Tiffany is directing a new stage version of Dahl’s funny short book about the revolting and extremely horrible Mr and Mrs Twit for ages 7-plus.
Apr 9–May 31: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Les Enfants Terrible jump on the current trend, and thirst, for immersive theatre experiences with this brand new version of Lewis Carroll’s classic ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. This is an epic retelling which takes place in the spooky vaults underneath Waterloo Station.
Apr 14–May 9: Ah Wilderness Probably one of Eugene O’Neil’s least well-known plays on this side of the pond, ‘Ah, Wilderness!’ is a kind of lighter, more comic prelude to his traumatic domestic tragedy ‘A Long Day’s Journey Into Night’.
Apr 16–Jun 27: American Buffalo Damian Lewis and John Goodman head up this starry West End of David Mamet’s classic play about small time crooks.
Apr 22–Jul 16: Everyman Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Everyman in Rufus Norris’s production of the 15th century morality play.
Apr 23–Jun 7: The Merchant of Venice Dominic Dromgoole’s final season as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe opens with ‘The Merchant of Venice’, directed by Jonathan Munby following his successful production of ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ this summer.
Apr 24–May 7: The Vote James Graham and Josie Rourke team up on this intriguing play, set in a polling station in the final 90 minutes of polling day in the general election 2015.
Apr 29–May 9: A Mad World My Masters The RSC and the Barbican’s relationship continues with the arrival in London of the RSC’s production of Thomas Middleton’s play. Sean Foley and Phil Porter’s 2013 production of the Jacobean satire on London that tells of the cheeky adventures of Richard Follywit, Penitent and a bunch of prostitutes is updated to 1950s Soho to reflect Bohemian life.
Until Jul 18: Gypsy Arriving fresh from the out of town hit factory that is the Chichester Festival Theatre, Jonathan Kent’s Imelda Staunton-starring production of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Gypsy’ received rapturous reviews last year.
Apr 1–May 24: Matt Stokes: Madman in a Lifeboat Through an installation of archival material, appropriated objects and a film, Matt Stokes brings to life the alternative belief system of a man he met when he was casting people for his 2010 Art on the Underground project, ‘The Stratford Gaff: A Serio-Comick-Bombastick-Operatick Interlude’.
Apr 1–Aug 30: Ravilious The WWII artist and designer Eric Ravilious is celebrated in this survey of his watercolours.
Apr 9–15: The Cabinet of Beauty and Culture Houserules the nomadic platform for spontaneous artistic experimentation, present the twelfth and final of the ‘de beauviour residencies’.Artist Lillian Wilkie launches The Cabinet of Beauty and Culture, a cubicle-scale showroom featuring new sculptural and site specific works by twelve artists.
Apr 15: The Best Scene is Off-Screen, Scene Two: The Street A monthly film programme curated by John Bloomfield, featuring films by Felix Melia (live performance), Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Andrzej Barański, Martha Rosler and Agnes Varda.
Apr 15–Aug 9: The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay The first UK retrospective of the distinctly dazzling work of the Russian-French abstract artist often overshadowed by her husband.
Apr 17–Jun 6: Deutsche Börse Photography Prize The sought after and respected international photographic prize has announced this year’s four shortlisted photographers.
Apr 18–May 17: Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award Now in its fifth year, the annual award have partnered with the Royal Academy of Arts to present this year’s five shortlisted artists.
Apr 22–May 4: Pick Me Up The sixth incarnation of the graphic arts festival returns with drawings and prints by artists, creative groups and galleries from all over the world.
Apr 23–26: London Original Print Fair The world’s longest running art fair returns to the Royal Academy for its 29th year with fifty leading print dealers, specialising in everything from Old Masters to contemporary masterpieces.
Apr 24–May 10: Sony World Photography Awards The leading photography competition returns to Somerset House to showcase the winning and shortlisted images selected form a staggering 173,444 entries from 171 countries.
Apr 30–Aug 16: Zabludowicz Collection: 20 Years Anita and Poju Zabludowicz have amassed a world-renowned private art collection over the last two decades. This group show celebrates the breadth and diversity of the Zabludowicz Collection, set up in 1994, through rarely seen and important works shown alongside installations by artists at the beginning of their career.
Find more exhibitions on the art calendar here
HAVE FUN OUT THERE!