This weekend in London: 19th - 21st May

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Photo London

Somerset House Courtyard, entry to Photo London

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Photo London
Open Air Theatre
Frank's Cafe
Urban Village Fete
Chelsea Fringe
Made London - Bloomsbury


Make the most of your precious time off with the LondonTown weekend guide, which gives you the lowdown on the best weekend events in London. Want it straight to your inbox? Be sure to subscribe to the weekly Something for the Weekend mailer.


Photo London

Somerset House, Strand, Covent Garden, London, WC2R 1LA

Tube: Temple Station


Dates: 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st May 2017


Over sixty of the world's top galleries come to Somerset House for four days in May when Photo London returns to the capital for a third year. The photography showcase is not only a selling fair but also includes special exhibitions, installations and a curated programme of talks and presentations. A one-day workshop given by W.M. Hunt is especially aimed at those who have a keen interest in photography. Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers' Gallery, will be in conversation with photographer Jack Latham, and the Whitechapel Gallery hosts a talk series, Prix Pictet Conversations on Photography, featuring leading contemporary photographers from around the world.



Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 19th to 29th May 2017


Returning to the Southbank Centre for 2017, Alchemy is a festival of South Asian culture that has grown to become the largest festival of Indian and South Asian culture outside India. Incorporating comedy, theatre, dance and music, it's an eclectic programme that this year commences with Sukanya, Ravi Shankar's first-ever opera that he worked on just before he died. The special performance will be directed by Curve Associate Director Suba Das with dance choreographed by the Aakash Odedra Company and music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Kerb does Alchemy also returns with an array of tempting spicy street food.


Open Air Theatre

Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NR

Tube: Regent's Park Station


Dates: 19th May to 16th September 2017


A mainstay of summer in London, the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre opens its doors for another season in 2017, opening with On the Town, directed by Olivier Award-winner Drew McOnie. We are then treated to two of Charles Dickens's most popular stories out in the open. Firstly, Matthew Dunster adapts Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities into a new play directed by Timothy Sheader. Secondly, Oliver Twist is created for everyone aged six and over, adapted by Anya Reiss and directed by Caroline Byrne. Jesus Christ Superstar, winner of the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical in the Evening Standard Awards, and a sell-out success in 2016, returns and runs until 16th September, giving audiences one final chance to see the production in its original home.


Frank's Cafe

Peckham Rye Multistory Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST

Tube: Denmark Hill Station


Dates: From 19th May 2017


On the 10th floor of the disused Peckham Multi-Story Car Park this summer you'll find parked cars replaced with drinkers enjoying cocktails and crab on toast at Frank's Cafe and Campari Bar. This temporary rooftop bar is back following years of success - it first opened in 2008 with over 30,000 people visiting in the three months it was open. Frank's is a winning combination of drinking, eating, art and one of the best views in London. It's part of the Bold Tendencies sculpture project initiated and run by Hannah Barry Gallery. The structure of the makeshift cafe / bar has been designed by Practice Architecture (Paloma Gormley - daughter of Antony Gormley - and Lettice Drake), and was set up by bartender Frank Boxer (who worked at the Anchor and Hope and set up the Italo Deli in Vauxhall) with chef Michael Davies. The result is a total transformation of a previously unlovely concrete car park - just add Campari cocktails.


Urban Village Fete

Greenwich Peninsula, 1 Green Place, London, SE10 0PE

Tube: North Greenwich Station


Dates: Sunday 21st May 2017


Back for a third year Urban Village Fete offers a contemporary twist on the traditional summer fete. Roaming acts - think brass band house music and life-sized slinkies - perform alongside Gilles Peterson who DJs all day. Curated designer marketplaces, street food vendors, art and design workshops, pop-ups and talks hosted by BBC Radio London's Robert Elms are all part of the fun. Further activities in the flourishing Peninsula Garden include workshops (we had group hoola hooping and paper hat workshops last year) and the chance to become a DJ for the day with The Charity Shop DJ, all pulled together by HemingwayDesign who are also behind the Classic Car Boot Sale.


Chelsea Fringe


Various Venues Dates: 20th May to 4th June 2017


Chelsea Fringe returns for its sixth year this May, running for three weeks across various venues and settings around town. The initiative, which is entirely volunteer run, is independent of the Chelsea Flower Show and is offered as an alternative, community minded garden festival for Londoners to enjoy. This year's line-up features a talk on carnivorous plants followed by the Film: Little Shop of Horrors, a Bat Walk and a Bee Beautiful workshop at King Henry's Walk in London. Edible plants are feasted on at Salad Daze in Finsbury Park and Battersea Power Station's Storybox invites you to enter a classic red London phone box to hear stories told by local residents. There's also an Ode to Nature exhibition at Oxford House and head to Paddington Basin for London's first ever Floating Pocket Park which launches during The Chelsea Fringe.


Prize for Illustration 2017: Sounds of the City

London Transport Museum, 39 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7BB

Tube: Covent Garden Station


Dates: 19th May to 3rd September 2017


Selected by a panel of judges from over 1,000 submissions, these 100 entries shortlisted for the 2017 Prize for Illustration reflect the Sounds of the City. Taking inspiration from the familiar, the curious, the persistent and the distinctive chorus of sounds we hear about us day and night, this is a celebration of the hubbub and the quiet spaces, the songs and the sounds, of our vibrant, diverse, multi-layered cities. On display at the London Transport Museum, in the Exterion Media Gallery, entry is included in the admission ticket, which allows unlimited daytime entry for the whole year.



Bishops Square, Spitalfields, London, E1 6AA

Tube: Liverpool Street Station, Aldgate East Station, Aldgate East Underground Station


Dates: Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May 2017


Bishops Square, Spitalfields will be transformed into a traditional Sicilian street market for SicilyFEST. Returning for its third edition, the two-day festival brings together an array of stalls selling handmade jewellery, unique accessories, craft and home interiors. Furthermore, visitors will enjoy a taste of Sicily with a selection of cannoli, arancini, pasta, marmalades, jams, desserts, craft beer and wine. There will also be photo exhibitions, music and the Sicilian Marionettes and Puppets theatre to entertain the children.


Open Senses Festival


Various Venues Dates: 19th, 20th and 21st May 2017


Through art exhibitions, live performances, sensory journeys and open studios, the Open Senses Festival aims to change the way we perceive the world. The multi-sensory festival sees the venues such as the V&A, Royal Academy and the National Gallery host events that encourage you to pay close attention to your eyes, ears and nose. Events on the line-up include a tour of the National Gallery using specially curated smells to match the paintings; a multi-sensory club night with a vibrating floor, video artists, food scientists, and a "scent jockey"; an interactive sensory exploration of Jane Austen?s Pride and Prejudice; and a site-specific architecture tour of the Royal Academy of Arts.


Made London - Bloomsbury

Mary Ward House, 5-7 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SN

Tube: Russell Square Station


Dates: Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May 2017


A new companion show to Made London in October - one of the top selling events for designer makers in Europe - Made London Bloomsbury has a different feel to the original but still features the very best designer/makers in the country and across Europe. Visitors will be able to browse ceramics, textiles, glass, wood and interesting jewellery pieces, with goods displayed table top rather than in exhibition stands to give the show a relaxed vibe.



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