Listings: Summer 2012

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
May – September 2012
Celebrating its 80th Anniversary in 2012, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has become a London landmark and a firm fixture of summer in the city. At 1,240 seats, it is one of London’s largest playhouses. With stage and auditorium completely uncovered, the weather adds a thrilling contribution to every performance, making each visit a truly unique experience. For more information of the individual productions visit

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Kensington Gardens, 8 May – 9 September 2012
A dazzling and dramatic retelling of C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe opens in the historic grounds of Kensington Gardens this summer. In a unique collaboration this major new production is adapted by award-winning director Rupert Goold; staged by threesixty, who gained international acclaim for their first production, Peter Pan, and directed by Rupert Goold and Michael Fentiman. Staged in the state of the art threesixty theatre tent, this visually stunning live production will use threesixty’s ground-breaking surround video and enchanting puppetry to bring to life the magic of Narnia in one of the world’s best-loved stories

Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 4 May – 7 October 2012
The largest ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body will be shown at The Queen’s Gallery. Leonardo has long been recognised as one of the great artists of the Renaissance, but he was also a pioneer in the understanding of human anatomy. He intended to publish his ground-breaking work in a treatise on anatomy, and had he done so his discoveries would have transformed European knowledge of the subject. But on Leonardo’s death in 1519 the drawings remained a mass of undigested material among his private papers and their significance was effectively lost to the world for almost 400 years

Expressions of Movement
The Grove, 1 May – 30 September 2012
London’s country estate, The Grove is opening its gardens and grounds this summer to celebrate and champion one of the most exciting and dynamic art forms – sculpture. The curator, Virginia Grub has invited 24 sculptors and artists, to create pieces which are loosely inspired by 2012’s two great events: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. The result is an engaging and surprising collection of 57 pieces together titled Expressions of Movement. Come and interact with the sculptures whilst enjoying lunch or tea at the Grove. All sculptures and paintings on display will be available for sale.

Universe of Sound
23 May – 8 July 2012
A virtual Philharmonia Orchestra will take up residence at the Science Museum. An immersive digital installation will employ the latest digital and interactive technologies to reveal the inner workings of each orchestral section and invite the public to interact, create and explore. The project will include a live performance of The Planets, the commission of a new work to allow the audience to develop their own musical journey, and workshops

Dickens on the Thames: a literary boat trip
Boat tour with the Museum of London, 5 May 2012
Spend an afternoon boating down the Thames, discovering Dickens’ London and the river at its heart. From Festival Pier to Greenwich and back, experts Alex Werner and Tony Williams (co-authors of Dickens’s Victorian London) will uncover the key sights of the author’s life and works – from the blacking factory he worked in as a boy to the Limehouse pub in Our Mutual Friend.

London’s Pleasure Gardens
Pleasure Garden’s, June 2012
For 200 years Pleasure Gardens were central to London’s social life. Long before the festivals of today, they were places where people converged to meet, debate, listen to music, watch shows, admire paintings and walk and drink. LPG will recreate this festival atmosphere as an ever-evolving creative playground for both young and old alike.

Sol Melia’s ME, The Strand
Opening May 2012
The ME London (a sub brand of Spanish company – Meliá Hotels International) is a cutting-edge, cool and contemporary hotel designed by British architect, Sir Norman Foster. ME London is located next to Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square, in the district of Holborn. Upon opening, the hotel will comprise of 157 rooms and suites, including 17 suites and 1 ME Suite, 1 ground floor bar and 1 roof top terrace club/ bar with amazing views across London. The hotel will have 2 fantastic restaurants including an offering from hot, American Steakhouse STK. The property will combine the historic facade of Marconi House with a new Portland Stone building and will feature a rooftop bar with views of Somerset House and the Thames.

Gangster Tour of London
Various Locations, June 2012
The tour explores real life and film locations associated with London’s criminal underworld. Actor Stephen Marcus guides this tour around the infamous Kray twin’s stamping ground. Highlights of the tour include seeing the pub used in The Krays which is smashed up by the Maltese boys and the location where Vinnie Jones’s had his first day of filming for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.v

Southbank Centre Summer Festival
Southbank Centre, 01 June – 09 September 2012
Hundreds of international artists will converge on Southbank Centre this summer for its Festival of the World. Highlights from the UK include Bryn Terfel’s uplifting four-day celebration of Welsh heritage and culture; and Unlimited, the largest single program of commissions by disabled and deaf artists ever undertaken in this country. Installations by artists from around the world include the reopening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof garden and weekly food markets

The Royal Observatory Greenwich, June 2012
The summer activities explore the historic, scientific and cultural relevance of transits and of humanity’s quest to comprehend and measure the true size of the Universe. The June instalment of the thought-provoking Spacetalk series sees Dr Lewis Dartnell ask one of the biggest questions in the Universe: are we alone? The Across the Universe show continues in the newly refurbished Peter Harrison Planetarium, whilst the Measuring the Universe exhibition also runs throughout the month. The planetarium also screens Coral: Rekindling Venus by Australian artist Lynette Wallworth as part of the London 2012 Festival. A very different type of show for the planetarium, it is a unique example of digital contemporary art exploring the beauty and fragility of the world’s coral reefs

David Nash at Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, 09 June 2012 – 14 April 2013
David Nash, one of the UK’s most prolific sculptors, will produce and exhibit his work across the Gardens. The exhibition will open to members of the public, with sculptures, installations, drawings and film in place throughout the Gardens, glasshouses, and exhibition spaces. Nash will work at Kew on a ‘wood quarry’ – the first he will have done in ten years, creating new pieces for the exhibition using trees from the Gardens that have come to the end of their natural life.

Dickens and the Artists
Watts Gallery, 19 June – 28 October 2012
Dickens and the Artists will explore the significant connection between Charles Dickens and visual art. Dickens was interested in both contemporary artists and the art of the old masters which he viewed and commented on in his tours of Europe

BP Portrait Award 2012
National Portrait Gallery, June 21 – 23 September 2012
The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting. With a first prize of £25,000, the exhibition has proved to be the launch pad for the careers of a number of successful portrait artists

Another London: International Photographers capture City life 1930- 1980
Tate Britain, 27 July – 16 September
Brings together some of the most celebrated names in international photography, from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Eve Arnold, with less familiar photographers to explore the distinctive ways in which they saw and represented this unique location. Tate Britain will show over 150 classic photographs that depict the city and its communities from the 1930s to 1980s by photographers for whom London was a foreign city. Another London shows the city as a dynamic metropolis, richly diverse and full of contrast.

Open Garden Squares
200 communal gardens around London, 09 June – 10 June 2012
Open Garden Squares Weekend is held throughout London every June and organised by the London Parks and Gardens Trust, Around 200 communal gardens, many that are not usually open to the public, will be taking part ranging from the historic to the traditional through to roof gardens and allotments. Among the green spaces open especially for Open Garden Squares Weekend will be many of the much loved and popular gardens such as HMP Wormwood Scrubs; Eaton Square, Bonnington Square, Cable Street Community Gardens, The Regent’s Park Allotment Garden, The Royal College of Physicians’ Medicinal Garden, The Kensington Roof Gardens, Canons Park – George V Memorial Garden – which will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary and the National Trust’s Carlyle’s House.

Celebrate the City
London, 21 June – 24 June 2012
Over the course of four very special days, thousands of people will be given the keys to the City of London, as the Square Mile opens its doors to reveal many of its secrets and treasures – it’s a unique opportunity to find out why it’s not as square as you might think! Events will include glittering exhibitions, City walks and talks, Livery Hall openings, family entertainment at the Cheapside Fayre, activities at the Barbican Centre and Museum of London, and music in the City’s churches. Play some tunes on one of the golden street pianos that will mark the opening of the 50th anniversary of the City of London Festival or take part in the Midsummer street party at the climax of Spitalfields Music Summer Festival.

London 2012 Festival
All 33 London boroughs, 21 June – 09 September 2012
The Festival, announced by London 2012, is a 12-week celebration of the world’s best music, theatre, dance, visual art, literature, film and fashion. In London, an unparalleled programme of free events is being planned by the Mayor’s Office in partnership with artists and performers, across all 33 boroughs, to create an unforgettable experience for anyone in the city during the Festival

Poetry Parnassus
Southbank Centre, 26 June – 02 July 2012
Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus is set to be the largest poetry festival ever staged in the UK, bringing together a poet from each of the competing Olympic nations. 205 poets will come to Southbank Centre and tour the UK for a week-long celebratory gathering which will include, readings, workshops and a final gala event with all the poets

London’s Pleasure Gardens
Pleasure Garden’s, June 2012
For 200 years Pleasure Gardens were central to London’s social life. Long before the festivals of today, they were places where people converged to meet, debate, listen to music, watch shows, admire paintings and walk and drink. LPG will recreate this festival atmosphere as an ever-evolving creative playground for both young and old alike.

Various locations, June – September 2012
The pop- up cinema will return to some of its favourite open-air venues with not only the best kit but also the best atmosphere. No matter where The Nomad appears, it will embrace and enhance each venue, offering new ways of seeing an uplifting range of films, from silver screen classics to cult, noir and silent, to mainstream guilty pleasures

Summer of Love
Generator Hostel London, 08 June – 08 July 2012
Generator Hostel London will transform its social spaces into a pop up park with grass, deck chairs and sun loungers. City sightseers can enjoy a homemade smoothie on the inside green of Generator Hostel London, while relaxing from the hustle and bustle of the day’s activities. In addition, the famous Generator Bar will be transformed into an International Sports Bar during the summer.

Summer at the National Theatre
National Theatre, June – October 2012
The National theatre is presenting two very special performances. Timon of Athens: World Shakespeare Festival, directed by Nicholas Hytner, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, will run from July – October 2012 and The Last of the Haussmans: a new play by Stephen Beresford, directed by Howard Davies will play at the Lyttelton Theatre from June to September

City of London Festival 50th Anniversary
Various locations, 24 June – 27 July 2012
City of London Festival, is celebrating 50 years in dramatic fashion with over 100 performances over 34 days in over 55 spectacular London venues. The Festival’s theme, City of London – Trading Places with the World will be brought to life in the City’s most iconic and historical spaces. Each event and performance acts as a new instalment in the story of the City taking the audience on journey that connects back to London’s heart.

Barbican Hall Upcoming Shows and Collaborations
Barbican Hall / Village Underground, 22 June – 05 July 2012
The Barbican Hall has announced four exciting new shows as part of its contemporary music summer season. The events are as follows: Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras meet The Congos, Van Dyke parks with Briten Sinfonia and special guests Robin Pecknold and Daniel Rossen, Paul Heaton’s The 8th and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012.

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