December in London 2016

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Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics

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Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics
The Little Match Girl
Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race
Status Quo: The Last Night Of The Electrics Tour
Santa Run Battersea Park
Great Christmas Pudding Race

© BBC/Mark Eilbeck

All the annual festive favourites return to London in December 2016 as well as the first Pantomime to be staged at the London Palladium in 29 years and Matthew Bourne's take on classic fairytale, The Red Shoes.


House of Common

Madness headline their own festival alongside other performers Rob da Bank, Lee 'Scratch' Perry and David Rodigan.

Clapham Common, Windmill Drive, London, SW4 9DE

Tube: Clapham South Station


Dates: 29th August 2016


Madness are to headline their own festival on Clapham Common on the August bank holiday Monday of summer 2016. The band has brought together 20 like-minded bands and DJsfor the one-day event. Joining Madness for the first ever House of Common is Jamaican legend Toots and the Maytals, David Rodigan, The Hot 8 Brass Band and Lee 'Scratch' Perry. Rob da Bank, who has his own festival to organise with Bestival, is DJing and both Ms Dynamite and Mike Skinner will also put in an appearance. Expect massive sounds from Reggae Roast, acid house beats by Terry Farley and salsa and hip hop fused with a sun-soaked reggae sound from Kiko Bun at this festival 'for the love of the common people'.


Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics

Ibiza Classics by the master of dance music and the 60-piece Heritage Orchestra.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station


Dates: Thursday 1st December 2016


Following the huge success of the BBC Radio 1 Ibiza Prom at the Royal Albert Hall last summer, Pete Tong will bring Ibiza Classics along with the 60-piece Heritage Orchestra to The O2 this December. The veteran British DJ presents a line-up of live artists, including Jess Glynne, to perform a homage to the dance tracks which put the Balearic isle on the map. Expect reinterpetations of classic dancefloor fillers like Rhythm is Rhythm's 'Strings of Life' and Stardust's 'Music Sounds Better with You'. "Finally, a chance to cut some moves, to 'stack some shelves'" said The Guardian ahead of Tong's Proms performance. We say: with Pete Tong you can't go wrong.


Robert Rauschenberg

The artist's six-decade career is represented at Tate Modern.

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Underground Station


Dates: 1st December 2016 to 2nd April 2017


American artist Robert Rauschenberg blazed a new trail for art in the second half of the 20th century, moving between painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, installation and performance. His six-decade career is represented at Tate Modern by major works including his early experiments at Black Mountain College, a hotbed for innovation in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and his first collaborations with fellow artists and friends John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, David Tudor and Cy Twombly. A rare chance to see loans that seldom travel, the exhibition has a selection of his Combines, hybrids between painting and sculpture, as well as Rauschenberg's graphic screenprints which signal his early commitment to political activism.


Mary Stuart

Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams take the lead roles in this historical adaptation.

Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, London, N1 1TA

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 2nd December 2016 to 21st January 2017


Following critical acclaimed productions of Uncle Vanya and Oresteia, associate director of the Almeida Theatre Robert Icke now presents an adaptation of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart. Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams trade the play's central roles of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, deciding with a toss of a coin ahead of each performance. With two queens - one in power, one in prison - Schiller's political tragedy goes behind the scenes of some of British history's most crucial days.


The Chocolate Festival

An array of chocolatiers and artisan delights tickle your taste buds at this festival.

Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London, N1 0QH

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 2nd, 3rd and 4th December 2016


Just in time to stock up on goodies for Christmas, The Chocolate Festival returns to Islington's Business Design Centre with an array of chocolatiers and artisan delights to tickle your taste buds. This event will feature stands from award-winning chocolatiers, demonstrations, tastings and talks. There will be a Cocoa Spa, where guests can try luxurious cocoa beauty treatments; a Health Zone, serving up free-from and raw chocolate and providing information with the health benefits of chocolate; and a Chocolate Market, where you can pick up goodies from Britain's best artisan chocolate companies. If you are a chocoholic, or you know someone who is, then you simply cannot afford to miss this event.


Santa Run Battersea Park

Hundreds of Santa running? Must be making room for all those mince pies.

Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, Battersea, London, SW11 4NJ

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: Saturday 3rd December 2016


Join hundreds of other Santas on a festive run through Battersea Park before relaxing afterwards with mulled wine and Christmas cake. No previous experience is needed for this fantastically festive day. Simply register online, turn up on the day, collect your free Santa outfit and tackle the 6km run. The spirit of the event is to be decided solely by the participants, meaning you can decide to walk, jog or run as fast or as slow as you like. It's not only a fun run and a good spectacle, the event also raises money for charity. If you've ever fancied a fun run through London whilst dressed as Father Christmas (and let's face it, who hasn't?) then this is the one for you.


Great Christmas Pudding Race

Runners dressed as puddings dodge flour-filled balloons, foam jets and other obstacles.

Covent Garden Piazza, Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station, Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station


Dates: Saturday 3rd December 2016


You're familiar with the egg and spoon race. Well how about the Christmas Pudding Race? Covent Garden Piazza swells with spectators as about 150 contestants in teams of six don fancy dress and race around a course strewn with flour-filled balloons, foam jets and other obstacles - all while trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a flimsy plate! The race has been going on every year since 1980 and it raises money for Cancer Research. At this time of year Covent Garden is a great place to be, with shops full of Christmas decorations and street entertainers putting on some diverting shows before and after the main event. The perfect way to break up a day of Christmas shopping in Covent Garden's collection of stylish stores.


Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes

The dance master takes on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's film and Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 6th December 2016 to 29th January 2017


Dance master Matthew Bourne takes on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's film and Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale to create new ballet production The Red Shoes, being staged at Sadler's Wells this December. A beloved fairytale and Academy Award-winning movie, the story has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with a tale of obsession, possession and one girl's dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. This adaptation will be set to a new score arranged by Terry Davies, using the music of Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann.


Living With The Lights On

This one man show sees Mark Lockyer share his personal story as an actor.

The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, London, SE1 8LZ

Tube: Southwark Station, Waterloo Station, Lambeth North Station


Dates: 7th to 23rd December 2016


Returning to The Young Vic for a limited run, one man show Living With The Lights Onsees Mark Lockyer share his personal story of an actor living life on the edge. From his on-stage meltdown as Mercutio at the RSC to his fiery relationships and ultimate recovery, the true story is hilarious, gripping and completely bonkers.



A riotous celebration of the absurd lengths people go to when they're in love.

Park Theatre, 11 Clifton Terrace, London, N4 3JP

Tube: Finsbury Park Station


Dates: 7th December 2016 to 7th January 2017


First premiered on Broadway in 1964, Murray Schisgal's Luv now comes to the Park Theatre. The laugh-out-loud comedy is a 1960s riotous celebration of the absurd lengths people go to when struck down with the affection known as love. Having reunited one fateful night, old school pals Milt and Harry uncover each other's miserable life stories before coming up with a plan to find their happily-ever-afters.



The first pantomime to be staged at the London Palladium in 29 years.

London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF

Tube: Oxford Circus Station


Dates: 9th December 2016 to 15th January 2017


The best rags-to-riches fairy tale there is, Cinderella comes to the London Palladium this December. It will be the first pantomime to be staged at the West End's most famous theatre in 29 years, co-directed by Michael Harrison, the producer behind West End hits such as Gypsy and Mrs Henderson Presents, and award-winning choreographer Andrew Wright known for Singin' In The Rain and Mrs Henderson Presents.


The Little Match Girl

Magical ballet based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic story.

Sadler's Wells: Lilian Baylis Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 10th to 30th December 2016


A snowy stage sets the scene for an icy cold Christmas Eve, where the Little Match Girl paces the emptying streets, shivering and desperate, trying to sell her matches. This magical production based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, adapted by celebrated director and choreographer Arthur Pita, returns following a sell-out season last year as the Sadler's Wells Christmas show at the Lilian Baylis theatre. Classically based dance moves are performed against a clever set by Yann Seabra and a score by Frank Moon which uses pre-recorded and live sound. The story may not be the most cheerful but a trip to the moon prompts a fun-filled episode with an astronaut and a miniature space shuttle - more than enough to keep the over 5s enthralled.



The ska septet fronted by Suggs plays their first arena tour in two years.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station


Dates: Saturday 10th December 2016


Hailing from Camden, the ska septet reigned through the 70s and 80s with their upbeat singles including House of Fun, Nightboat to Cairo and One Step Beyond, and continue to perform with their most recognised line-up led by Graham 'Suggs' McPherson. They've played on the roof of Buckingham Palace and at Alexandra Palace but in 2016 they're at one of London's biggest and best concert venues, The O2. This one-night-only gig on Saturday 10th December brings their 'Can't Touch Us Now' tour, their first arena tour in two years, to The O2.


Status Quo: The Last Night Of The Electrics Tour

The rock band turn up the volume for their final full-on electric show.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station


Dates: Sunday 11th December 2016


Classic rock from Status Quo as Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Andy Bown, John 'Rhino' Edwards and Leon Cave bring their live show to the massive O2 arena, just as they did this time last year, but this time it's for their final full-on electric show. Making what has become something of an annual pilgrimage to The O2, the Quo will play a rundown of their biggest hits, new and old. Support comes from American rock band REO Speedwagon and The Lounge Kittens.



The alternative rock outfit celebrates 20 years since their debut album.

SSE Arena, Wembley, Arena Square, Engineers Way, London, HA9 0DH

Tube: Wembley Park Station


Dates: Thursday 15th December 2016 - 6pm


Lead by singer-guitarist Brian Molko, the alternative rock outfit performs songs from the repertoire as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album. Androgyny's favourite son (or daughter) Brian Molko brings his band Placebo to the Wembley Arena for a one off gig to conclude their European tour, which started back in October in Denmark. Born in the glam-friendly Brit-pop aftermath and heavily indebted to David Bowie, Suede and Nirvana, Placebo have perfected the art of "romanticising emotional pain through grindingly bleak electro-rock" (The Guardian). Their catchy riffs, tortured vocals and enduring angst goes down extremely well in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland - where Molko is deemed a god - and with more than 10 million worldwide album sales to their name, Placebo remain one of the most successful groups of their generation.


Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race

Brave swimmers take to the Serpentine lake on Christmas Day.

Serpentine Boating Lake, The Boat House, Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station


Dates: Sunday 25th December 2016


This lot are a hardy bunch but tradition is tradition and members of the Serpentine Swimming Club have been plunging themselves into the Serpentine lake's icy waters every Christmas Day since 1864. At temperatures of below four degrees Celsius in winter, the swimmers will want to get a wiggle on so it's lucky that they are all in hot pursuit of the prestigious Peter Pan Cup. The name of the 100-yard race dates back to 1904 when J.M Barrie, the creator of the boy who refused to grow up, presented the first cup. While most of us are still tucked up in bed or delving into our stocking the competitors line up (and pretend not to shiver) for their 9am start, a jolly crowd gathers to witness the spectacle. It's a great way to get some fresh air on Christmas morning and you'll feel like you've earned your post-lunch snooze. Behind you, Hyde Park offers a wonderful wintry landscape and, if you want to continue the Peter Pan theme, why not nip across to see the famous statue in Kensington Gardens. It was so cold and snowy in 2010 that the race had to be cancelled - although some intrepid souls still broke holes in the ice in order to have a quick dip.

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