What's on in London during the Games

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SHAKESPEARE: Shakespeare's Globe

Mark Rylance takes the title role in Richard III

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SHAKESPEARE: Shakespeare's Globe
ART: National Gallery
SPORT IN ART: John Soane's Museum
Theatre: National Theatre
Theatre: Sweeney Todd
Theatre: Open Air Theatre
FRINGE: London Wonderground
FRINGE: Camden Fringe
MUSIC: Opera Holland Park
MUSIC: Royal Albert Hall
ART: Tate Modern
ART: Tate Modern
ART: Serpentine Gallery
ART: Dulwich Picture Gallery
SHAKESPEARE: National Theatre
ROYALTY: The Queen: Art And Image at the National Portrait Gallery
ROYALTY: Kensington Palace
SPORT IN ART: Design Museum
SPORT IN ART: National Portrait Gallery
MUSIC: Southbank Centre
Theatre: The Scoop at More London
FRINGE: Exhibition Road Show
FRINGE: Exhibition Road Show
 

 

If you'd rather mooch around an art gallery than watch the sweat and tears, don't fret. There's a huge amount going on in London during the Olympics - none of which involves perspiration. Read on and you'll find out the best cultural events during the Games.

 
 

Music

The Proms, Opera Holland Park and Antony's Meltdown offer rich pickings

 

The world famous Proms continue throughout the Olympics and Paralympics, finishing on 8th September with the rousing Last Night of the Proms coupled with the Proms in the Park - Kylie joins Terry Wogan at this year's event. But before that, on the night of the Opening Ceremony, Friday 27th July, Daniel Barenboim's Beethoven cycle - which has been wowing audiences and critics alike - reaches its climax with a youthful take on the traditional annual Proms performance of Beethoven's 9th. Opera is a major part of this year's Proms festival and opera lovers are also in for a treat with Opera Holland Park which runs until 4th August finishing with a final performance of a new production of Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onegin which promises to be a highlight. It's Antony's Meltdown this year (Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons fame) as the musician and artist presents twelve days (1st to 12th August) of music, debate and performance. The impressive line-up includes Marc Almond, Lou Reed and Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser who will be making a rare live appearance.

 
 
 

Shakespeare

Star turns by Mark Rylance and Simon Russell Beale

 

The World Shakespeare Festival may have begun back in April but it continues throughout both the Olympics and Paralympics and current highlights include the British Museum's exhibition, Shakespeare: Staging the World; the National Theatre's Timon Of Athens; and the Royal Shakespeare Company's brand new production of Julius Caesar at London's Noel Coward Theatre. Internationally renowned actor, Simon Russell Beale, stars in Nicholas Hytner's "bold, incisive revival" (The Telegraph) of Timon Of Athens (8th August to 15th September) at the National. Meanwhile, at Shakespeare's Globe, the hugely talented Mark Rylance (whose performance in Jerusalem left audiences stunned and spellbound) returns to the theatre he presided over as Artistic Director from 1995 to 2005 to take the title role in Richard III, the first of two productions he's starring in, returning with Twelfth Night in September.

 
 
 

Art

From Titian to Andy Warhol, there's art across the ages in London's galleries

 

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, features new work by contemporary artists Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger in a unique collaboration with The Royal Ballet. The Damien Hirst exhibition continues at Tate Modern where Edvard Munch is on display and Tino Sehgal fills the vast Turbine Hall with his interactive installation - "one of the best Turbine commissions yet", says Adrian Searle in The Guardian. If it's performance art you're into you shouldn’t miss the brand new Tate Modern Oil Tanks which open for a 15-week arts festival, The Tanks: Art in Action (18th July to 28th October). Iconic figures of the 1960s, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono and The Rolling Stones are all the subject of solo exhibitions in art galleries across London during the Olympics. Yoko Ono's work is on display at the Serpentine Gallery which also has its Pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei and we look forward to the new Zaha Hadid designed Sackler Gallery opening in 2013. From the Bauhaus at the Barbican to the best of British Design at the V & A, there's something for every type of art lover who will undoubtedly find joy in choosing a 'favourite' at the annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy - a well-loved tradition at this London fixture.

 
 
 

Sport in Art

Exhibitions with a focus on sport, from medals to architecture and design

 

Even if your aim is to avoid the track and field events, you can always enjoy sport within the safety of a London gallery. And many of the top art establishments in town have chosen to dedicate some wall space to the Olympics. There's the British Museum's Mine to Medals exhibition which traces the story of the production of the medals for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The John Soane's Museum presents Stadia: Sport and Vision in Architecture, an exploration of the origins of the world's great sporting arenas. The National Portrait Gallery has BT Road To 2012, a free exhibition of athletes and those working behind the scenes to make the 2012 Games happen. While the Design Museum looks at the technology in sportswear in Designed to Win. If you want to see the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Posters head to Tate Britain where Another London, a photographic exhibition which shows how contemporary photographers have used the city as their subject, is also on display.

 
 
 

Theatre

Get curious about theatre at the National and go outdoors for open air theatre

 

Mark Haddon's enormously successful novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, comes to the National Theatre for one of the summer's most hotly anticipated shows. In the courtyard outside, the National's annual Watch This Space free festival of outdoor entertainment returns this summer with an array of theatre, fire, circus, juggling, music, dance and street performance. David Suchet, Laurie Metcalf and Kyle Soller star in Long Day's Journey Into Night, Eugene O'Neill's semi-autobiographical tale of a family haunted by the demons of the past which runs at the Apollo Theatre until 18th August. Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton have received rave reviews for their roles in Sweeney Todd, both praised for their "bold and striking" performances by Michael Billington in The Guardian. Green Wing comic actor Stephen Mangan stars as a father-to-be in Birthday by Joe Penhall playing at the Royal Court. And - with fingers crossed for sun - head to outdoors for annual favourites The Scoop at More London, and the Open Air Theatre at Regent's Park, which this year are added to by The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe staged by the threesixty theatre company in a tent in Kensington Gardens, with Rupert Goold and Michael Fentiman directing.

 
 
 

Fringe

Comedy, theatre and cabaret in intimate and unusual settings

 

Making its debut, the summer-long London Wonderground brings cabaret, circus, music and magic to a 1920s Spiegeltent outside the Southbank Centre on the South Bank. Don't miss the London premiere of Cantina, a vaudeville and circus show from the creators of Tom Tom Crew; the world record breaking human beatboxer Shlomo; and an intergalactic exploration through shadow puppets in Slapdash Galaxy. An annual highlight is the Camden Fringe festival which returns to north London for a 7th year this summer for 4 weeks of experimental theatre, comedy and improv between 30th July and 26th August. If you really do want to avoid London 2012, you'll have to give a swerve to four shows: Rosie Wilby's Olympic Swingball Champion 2012; Bowlympics; Not the Olympics; and Survive. The Science Museum, V & A and the Natural History Museum are all staying open until 10pm during the Exhibition Road Show which runs from 28th July to 5th August. The week-long festival is a fusion of music, art, food and literature with performances by 'the saviour of British folk' (The Independent), Eliza Carthy and Band, twice nominated for the Mercury Prize; the Trinidadian Ebony Steelband; and The Olympianist, Anthony Hewitt, who is cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats - with his piano in tow.

 
 
 

The Queen & Royalty

See inside the Queen's London residence in her Diamond Jubilee year

 

The Diamond Jubilee celebrations may be a distant but happy memory now but there are still several exhibitions with the Queen at their core which are worth seeing. These include The Queen: Art And Image a landmark exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which brings together some of the most remarkable images of Elizabeth II made during her reign and continues until 21st October. Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration, which includes an unprecedented display of a number of the Queen's personal jewels, is part of a visit to the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening. Whilst there you can also see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. At Kensington Palace, itself the subject of recent renovations, the temporary exhibition Jubilee - A View From the Crowd explores Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee of 1897 from the point of view of those who celebrated it. Also at the palace the exhibition Diana: Glimpses of a Modern Princess continues (until 28th October), offering visitors the chance to see a special selection of dresses worn by Diana, the Princess of Wales.