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"They will make you feel, reflect, dream and leave that space a little different than you came in."
Spending the holidays in London and looking for something great to do? Between new plays, exhibitions and musicals, there are quite a few shows* to catch in the city this season. They will make you feel, reflect, dream and leave that space a little different than you came in. Here are 7 events we highly recommend this Winter.
1) Soheila Sokhanvari - Rebel Rebel at the Barbican
From 7 October 2022 to 26 February 2023
Rebel Rebel, the first major UK commission by Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari, celebrates and commemorates feminist icons from pre-revolutionary Iran. Sokhanvari transforms the Curve into a devotional space, populated with exquisite miniature portraits of glamorous cultural figures from Iran. The project spotlights the rarely told histories of these women, who pursued creative careers in a culture enamoured with Western style but not its freedoms. With hand-painted floors to ceiling, and a soundtrack composed by Marios Aristopoulos, the exhibition culminates with extravagant mirrored sculptures featuring internal projections drawn from Filmfarsi. An extraordinary, must-see project. More info on www.barbican.org.uk.
2) HEX at the National Theatre
Now playing to 14 January 2023
Hex is a colourful and big-hearted new musical to catch this Christmas season. Deep in the wood, a lonely fairy longs for someone to bless. When she is summoned to the palace to help the princess sleep, her dream turns into a nightmare and her blessing becomes a curse. Soon, she is plunged into a frantic, hundred-year quest to somehow make everything right. Rufus Norris directs this vividly original retelling of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ fairy tale with music by Jim Fortune, book by Tanya Ronder, designs by Katrina Lindsay and choreography by Jade Hackett. The level of enchanting we needed this end of the year. More info on www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.
3) Hallyu! The Korean Wave at the V&A
On now until 25 June 2023
Hallyu! The Korean Wave showcases the colourful and dynamic popular culture of South Korea, exploring the makings of the Korean Wave and its global impact on the creative industries of cinema, drama, music, fandom, beauty and fashion. Exhibition highlights include the magnificent painted sculpture "Untitled G-Dragon, A Space of No Name", by Gwon Osang, the artwork entitled “Beauty Adorning Herself”, attributed to Kim Hong-Do in Joseon 18th – 19th century, and stills from the hit show Squid Game. Worth the trip! More info on https://www.vam.ac.uk.
4) Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly in League with the Night, at the Tate Britain
From 24 November 2022 to 26 February 2023
With its original run cut short by lockdown in 2021, this major show of work by contemporary painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is back at the Tate museum. The exhibition brings together around 70 of the painter’s enigmatic portraits, which are all detailed depictions of fictitious people conjured up in the artist’s imagination. Her paintings particularly address issues around identity and representation. We absolutely loved it. More info on www.tate.org.uk.
5) Mandela at the Young Vic
From 29 Nov 2022 to 4 February 2023
It's 1960. Young activist, Nelson Mandela, rallies the people of South Africa to protest against the racial segregation of apartheid. In 1962 he is arrested and sentenced to life in prison, where he will spend the next 27 years, taken from his wife and children, as the fight for freedom sweeps his country. Infused with the rhythms of South Africa, this soaring new musical tells the extraordinary story of a man who changed the course of modern history - the sacrifices he made as a husband and father, and the global movement that inspired him and his comrades to keep fighting. The production, an adaptation of the book by Laiona Michelle, and directed by Schele Williams with music and Lyrics by Greg Dean Borowsky and Shaun Borowsky, is presented in proud partnership with Nandi Mandela, Luvuyo Madasa and the Mandela family. High emotions ahead! More info on www.youngvic.org.
6) ActionAid and Latitude Festival to host ‘Stand Up with Women’ comedy event at 21Soho
On 19 January 2023
International charity, ActionAid UK, and Festival Republic, return for the second year with their innovative live comedy gig “Stand Up with Women”, in support of women and girls’ rights around the globe. Headlined by comedians Jo Brand and Rosie Jones, the event will take place on Thursday 19 January at comedy club 21Soho. Confirmed artists also include Charlie George, Kemah Bob, Shazia Mirza, Ola Labib and Thanyia Moore. All proceeds from the event will go to support ActionAid’s vital work, helping to end violence and fight poverty so that all women, everywhere, can create the future they want. The event will also be live-streamed online. A great way to carry on the new year celebrations. More info on www.actionaid.org.uk.
7) Othello at the National Theatre
From 13 December 2022 to 21 January 2023
In Othello, a bright, headstrong daughter of a senator and a refugee of slavery who's risen to the top of a white world wed in secret. And as unseen forces conspire against them, they find that the new life they so crave is not theirs to decide. Clint Dyer (Death of England: Parts 1, 2 and 3; Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical) directs an extraordinary new vision for one of Shakespeare’s most enduring tragedies, with a cast that includes Giles Terera (Death of England: Face to Face), Rosy McEwen (The Alienist) and Paul Hilton (The Inheritance). An exciting new take on a classic. More info on www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.
* The Spill was invited to view some of these shows and would like to thank all organisers.