Things To Do This Week In London: 13-19 March 2023
At time of writing, a tube strike is planned for Wednesday 15 March, with train strikes on Thursday 16 and Saturday 18 March – something to bear in mind when planming your week.
ST PATRICK’S CELEBRATIONS: Friday is St Patrick’s Day, but expect to see events going on all week to celebrate the Emerald Isle. From whiskey tasting to pub quizzes to full-on parties, have a look at our pick of St Patrick’s Day events in London.
OSCAR WEEK: With the biggest event in the cinema calendar taking place this week, Barbican Cinema continues its Oscar Week series of screenings, giving you a chance to see this year’s nominated films, including Everything Everywhere All At Once and Women Talking. Until 16 March
THE CROWD SHOW: Writer, actor and podcaster Rob Auton is at Soho Theatre for his current production, The Crowd Show. It’s a comedy/theatre/spoken word show about crowds, people and connection. 13-18 March
VAULT FESTIVAL: It’s the final week of this year’s VAULT Festival — the final year in its current venue. There are still over 200 performances to catch this week alone, spanning work-in-progress comedy shows, to a musical exploring the LGBTQIA+ experience. Until 19 March
JAMES BOND PHOTOS: Camera brand Leica has a rather special exhibition at its Mayfair gallery, with photos depicting six decades of the James Bond films. Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig all feature. FREE, until 21 March
& JULIET: Picking up where Romeo & Juilet ends, but with Juliet still alive, the rather excellent & Juliet uses well-known pop songs to tell the story of Shakespeare’s romantic heroine as she tries to navigate life after Romeo. It’s at the Shaftesbury Theatre, but only for two more weeks. Until 25 March
RUSH: Three women, Abeni, Missy and Aya, tell their stories of life in West Africa and London through the ages. Rush, at Chickenshed in Southgate, explores themes like colonisation and gentrification through music, movement, dance and multi-media. Until 25 March
LITERARY FOOTPRINTS: A reminder that Literary Footprints walking tour festival is still ongoing. Organised by the excellent Footprints of London, it’s a programme of walking and virtual tours with a bookish slant — events this week include a look at London locations which have been destroyed in dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, and a walking tour of the areas of Hampstead Heath that Constable painted and wrote about. Until 31 March
CHERRY BLOSSOM: Some years, the cherry blossom starts to appear in London around this time, so keep your eyes open for your dose of the pink stuff — and swot up on the best places to see cherry blossom, if you’re really keen to get an eyeful.
PUB OF THE WEEK: Seeing as it’s St Paddy’s Day week, we’ll give you 13 pubs for the price of one: here’s a rundown of our fave Irish boozers in London.
READ OF THE WEEK: If you’re a bit of a font freak, you’ll be enamoured by the latest offering from Blue Crow Media — Hackney Type Map (RRP £9) charts the many beautiful fonts waiting to be discovered around the east London borough, from cinemas to shopfronts to pubs.
SLEEP HEALTH: As part of Gresham College’s Living with Mental Health series, consultant neurologist Professor Guy Leschziner gives a free talk about the links between sleep and mental health, and the impact that poor sleep has on our psychology. Takes place at Barnard’s Inn Hall in Holborn, but you can also watch online. FREE, 6pm
ITALIAN CINEMA: Cine Lumiere’s Cinema Made In Italy film festival comes to a close today, with two final screenings. Dry is a semi-apocalyptic drama telling different people’s stories during a drought in Rome, and Margini is about the rise of a punk band. 6.10pm/8.30pm
SMILJAN RADIC: Barbican’s latest Architecture on Stage event stars Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, who discusses his work and career. In London, this includes the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion, and Alexander McQueen’s flagship store on New Bond Street, though he’s currently working on a hotel in Matarraña in Spain. 7pm
NETBALL: Netball team London Pulse take on the Strathclyde Sirens in the Netball Super League. Watch the match on London Pulse’s home turf, at London 2012 venue the Copper Box Arena. 7pm
THE HEART OF IT: Singer, actress and comedian Liza Pulman brings her show The Heart of It to The Other Palace. It’s a celebration of the world’s most-loved singers and composers including Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Irving Berlin, Randy Newman, Michel Legrand, Judy Collins and Charlie Chaplin, with Pulman accompanied by a six-piece band. 7.30pm
YOUNG WRITER AWARD: Ahead of the announcement of the Charlotte Aitken Trust Young Writer Award winner 2023, the nominated authors Tom Benn, Lucy Burns, Maddie Mortimer and Katherine Rundell are at Waterstones Piccadilly, talking to Sebastian Faulks about their books. 7.30pm
CORONATION HISTORY: We’ll all be hearing a lot about the coronation in the coming weeks, so get ahead of the game by swotting up on coronation history at Bishopsgate Institute. Look through scrapbooks, diaries, souvenir brochures, press cuttings, and photographs focusing on pomp and pageantry in London from the 1830s to the 1980s, including Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, and the coronation ceremonies of King Edward VII and Queen Elizabeth II. 1pm
HIGHLANDS ARCHITECTURE: Today’s Gresham College lecture is a recollection of Thomas Telford and Robert Southey’s six-week tour of the Scottish Highlands in 1819, during which they inspected the region’s newly-built roads, bridges and canals. Landscape historian Paul Daniel Marriott discusses the legacy of their journey on travel, transport and design in the 21st century. FREE, 6pm
RIFFRAFF KABARETT: Get yourself to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for RiffRaff Kabarett. Inspired by the Weimar Republic, it’s an evening of live music, burlesque, drag and dancing with undertones of 1920s Berlin. 7pm
SIX NOTABLE WOMEN: Head to Highgate Cemetery for a talk about six extraordinary and interesting women who are buried there. Simon Edwards shares his research on Hilary Bradshaw, fashion illustrator; Anna Swanwick, author and feminist; Emily Ashurst Venturi, artist, writer and activist; Helena Millais, actress and comedienne; Jude Moraes, landscape gardener and broadcaster; and Mary Matilda Betham, diarist and painter. 7.30pm
JAZZ JAM SESSION: Vauxhall’s Tea House Theatre hosts its monthly Jazz Jam Session, when local musicians are invited to join in with the house band. Entry is free for musicians, £10 for everyone else, and the session goes on all the way until midnight. 8pm-midnight
BFI FLARE: London’s LGBTQIA+ film festival BFI Flare is an 11-day celebration of queer cinema featuring gala screenings, panel discussions, short films, and productions on the themes of Heart, Body and Mind. Most events take place at BFI Southbank but some are available online too. 15-26 March
OXFORD STREET: Whether you consider it a shopping paradise or a traffic nightmare, get the lowdown on Oxford Street at a free Guildhall Library talk. Pete Smith discusses all aspects of the thoroughfare, from the Tyburn Tree to the Elizabeth line, via Marble Arch, Centre Point, and other landmarks. Watch onsite at Guildhall Library, or online from your own home. FREE, 2pm-3pm
IOWA CITY ORCHESTRA: 100+ young people from the Iowa City Orchestra, Choir and Wind Band give a free concert at Southwark Cathedral. Expect a mix of British and American music in different genres, ranging from Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky and Holst to Sousa and Craig Hella Johnson, as well as Wilkousky’s Battle Hymn of the Republic. FREE, 3.30pm
MUSEUM TOUR: Viktor Wynd, proprietor of Hackney’s Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, offers a guided tour around the premises, including parts which most of the public don’t get to see. Hear how he collected dodo bones, shrunken heads, extinct bird feathers, old master etchings and more. A glass of absinthe is included, which is… something you don’t get at many museums. 6pm-7.30pm
ETHICAL EATING: Author of Avocado Anxiety, Louise Gray, and Ruth Wescott, Campaign Coordinator for Sustain, discuss the ethical side of food. Could bees be the answer to using fewer chemicals? How do we save genetic diversity in our apples? Are digital apps the key to reducing food waste? They answer these questions and more at Conway Hall. 6.30pm
NERD NITE: Boundary markers, pub segregation, and learning through movement are on the docket at this month’s Nerd Nite at Backyard Comedy Club, with three speakers giving short talks on the things with which they’re obsessed. 7pm-10.30pm
INTERNET DATING: 29 Internet Dates: Part 1 is a programme of five plays — described as ‘serious comedies’ — from the online dating world. Hear tales about a shattered marriage, and how not to end a relationship, among other things, at OSO Arts Centre in Barnes. 16-18 March
TEA MASTERCLASS: Tea retailer Whittard of Chelsea offers tea masterclasses at the Holmes Hotel in Marylebone. Learn how to taste and blend tea, and enjoy a tea and biscuit pairing, before taking home a goody bag. It’s billed as a Mother’s Day event, but there’s nothing to say you have to take your mum along. 16-19 March
FLEUR EAST: Singer-songwriter and radio presenter Fleur East takes over Islington’s Union Chapel, giving fans a chance to hear some of her new music. 6.30pm
MRS CHURCHILL: Actor Liz Grand’s latest one-woman play, Mrs. Churchill – My Life with Winston, investigates the claim that behind every great man, there is a great woman. She takes on the role of Clementine Churchill, wife of former prime minister Winston, examining how much influence she had on his working life. See it at Dudgale Arts Centre in Enfield. 7.30pm
BOOK SLAM: Writers and musicians including Richard Milward, author of Man-Eating Typewriter, and Rose Frater-Taylor join forces for the sophisticated-yet-super-fun Book Slam East at St John on Bethnal Green. 7pm-late
MARGARET ATWOOD: Author Margaret Atwood — who wrote The Handmaid’s Tale — is in town to celebrate the launch of her new book, Old Babes in the Wood. It’s a collection of short stories, and you can hear her discussing it at this Waterstones event at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster. 7.30pm
OUT-SPOKEN: Monthly poetry and live music night Out-Spoken is back at Southbank Centre, with everyone welcome to go along and watch. Poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine, prize-winning author Jacob Polley and writer Stephanie Sy-Quia are on the bill this time around. 7.45pm
IDEAL HOME SHOW: Pimp up your pad at the Ideal Home Show at Olympia. Interior designers, furniture suppliers, window and conservatory installation services, candle brands, home accessory stores, and garden DIY experts congregate under one roof to help you make the changes you want in your home. 17 March-2 April
EAT & DRINK FESTIVAL: As part of the Ideal Home Show, Eat & Drink Festival is also at Olympia, aimed at London’s foodie types. Tuck into all manner of street food at The Great Eat, stock up your kitchen cupboards with produce from the Artisan Producers Market, and pick up tips, inspiration and possibly a new recipe or two from celebrity chefs on the Eat & Drink Stage. 17 March-2 April
BLACK AMERICAN ARTISTS: The Royal Academy dedicates a new exhibition to some of the most influential Black artists from the south-east of the United States from the past century. Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers features sculpture, paintings, reliefs, drawings, and quilts, most of which will be seen in the UK and Europe for the first time, including work by the celebrated quilt makers of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. 17 March-18 June
IRAQ WAR: 20 years after the invasion of Iraq, Brigadier Justin Maciejewski and Lieutenant Colonel Chris Parker — both of whom were deployed in Kuwait — look back at the British Army’s preparation, between September 2001 and the invasion taking place in March 2003. Watch the discussion in person at the National Army Museum, or online. FREE, 12pm
IMPROV: Improvised comedy night The League of Contrivance, returns to the Century in Soho for a St Patrick’s Day special. Featuring improvisers from Chicago’s renowned Second City and IO Theatres and from the ‘FA’ (The Free Association), the actors weave an entire improvised show based on a one-word suggestion from the audience. 7pm-9pm
WIP COMEDY: British-Moroccan writer, actor and comedian Fatiha El Ghorri performs her latest work-in-progress show, Cockney Stacking Doll, at Rich Mix as part Arab Women Artists Now festival. In the show, she pulls apart Muslim stereotypes and challenges people’s views on Islam, Muslims, and Muslim women. 7.30pm
SIX NATIONS: International rugby tournament the Six Nations comes to a close today. Whether you’re supporting England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France or Italy, here’s our pick of places screening the Six Nations action. Until 18 March
RAILWAY MODELLING: Model railway enthusiasts from all over country gather at Alexandra Palace for the London Festival of Railway Modelling. 100+ exhibitors show off their layouts, and there’s a chance to pick up rarer scales and gauges. 18-19 March
SOUTH BANK’S BLACK HISTORY: Take a guided tour along the South Bank with Black History Walks, learning about everything from Black British Civil Rights, to amazing Black movies and how to see them. 10am
RIVER RACE: The Head of the River Race is rowed annually from Mortlake to Putney, with up to 400 crews of eights taking part. Get down to the river’s edge to watch the action taking place. FREE, 1pm
WASPS VS SNAKES VS RATS: Nightmare scenario, that. But Wasps vs snakes vs rats at the Royal Institution actually celebrates the positives of each of these species, with three scientists, each specialising in one species, trying to win you over. Suitable for age 7+. 6pm-7.15pm
TASTE: As part of the ongoing Kakilang festival, TASTE is a celebration of queer East and Southeast Asian artistry, featuring drag, dance and more from the likes of Duane Nasis, Lusty Lovelace and Jason Kwan. If you’ve got the strength, this one turns into an all-night party. 7pm-3am
UP THE CREEK: Tonight’s show at Up The Creek comedy club in Greenwich features Josh James, Kate Lucas, Michael Odewale and Paul McCaffrey. 8.45pm
MOTHER’S DAY: A reminder to pick up a card and some flowers and chocolates. Perhaps treat her to afternoon tea or something, eh?
GHOST SIGNS: Enjoy looking out for the faded wall advertisements from decades ago? Join guide Jane Parker for a tour of the best examples in Shoreditch and Hoxton (11am) or Brick Lane and Spitalfields (2.30pm). Or do both!
RETRO GAMES FAIR: Traders from all over the UK come together for the Retro Games Fair at the Royal National Hotel, where retro video games, board games and merchandise are available to buy. 11am-4pm
TITANIC 25TH ANNIVERSARY: It’s been 25 years since Kate refused to shufty up a bit on that floating door to make room for Leo. The Charlotte Street Hotel marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Titanic with a special 3D screening. 3pm
OLA LABIB: Known for her wry, edgy sense of humour, Ola Labib performs a WIP of A Walking Hate Crime at 2Northdown this evening, with anecdotes from her Islamic and traditional African upbringing. 6pm
SARAH KEYWORTH: Catch comedian Sarah Keyworth — who has appeared on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Roast Battle — performing their latest show Lost Boy at Bloomsbury Theatre. It touches on topics such as personal loss and therapy, yet still stays on the right side of absolutely hilarious. Age 14+. 7pm
PEATBOG FAERIES: Celtic-fusion group Peatbog Faeries play Islington Assembly Hall tonight, showcasing their style of traditional Scottish jigs and reels mixed with contemporary dance music, jazz, pop and techno. 7pm
EQUINOX: The Coven are an inventive collective of cabaret, drag, and burlesque performers — and tonight they’re at the Two Brewers in Clapham, with Equinox. It promises an enchanting show, ushering in spring, and waving goodbye to winter with a flourish of silk fans and discarded gloves. 7pm
COMEDY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Round off your week with even more laughs, as UK-based comedians with backgrounds in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean go head to head in the Comedy Champions League at Rich Mix. Exact line-up hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s strictly an 18+ event. 7.30pm
Just for mother’s day, let’s enjoy this sculpture of a mother and children, which stands outside Uxbridge station. Called “Anticipation”, it’s the work of artist Anita Lafford. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The Doctors’ Orchestra, a musical ensemble of medical professionals, presents a very special classical concert on Monday 13 March. 75 medically trained musicians will play the concert at Cadogan Hall in aid of charity Freedom From Torture. Expect works from Wagner, Sibelius and Nielsen.
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