Lead image: Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Labyrinth at Winterville
1 Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Labyrinth
Until 1 January
Immersive cinema pioneers Backyard Cinema has popped up at Winterville with The Christmas Labyrinth, their biggest production to date. Navigate an enormous magical maze before journeying through a tunnel of trees and discovering a cosy, enchanted forest cinema. This year there are two huge cinemas, enough giant bean bag seating for the whole family across both screens, and festive flicks including Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually and The Holiday, as well as singalong blockbusters The Greatest Showman, Beauty and the Beast and Moulin Rouge. As well as festive snacks, mulled drinks and cocktails available inside the screens, Backyard Cinema will also host its very own retro Christmas cabaret bar to enjoy before and after the show.
Winterville, Clapham Common SW4; backyardcinema.co.uk
2 Whose Line Is It Anyway? 30th Anniversary Christmas Show, Royal Albert Hall
Channel 4’s much-loved improv show celebrates its 30th birthday with three live shows at the Royal Albert Hall this month. The specials feature a stellar line-up of guests including Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence, Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood, who will join the iconic comedy show’s original host, Clive Anderson. There’ll be classic and new improv games – some of which will involve participation from brave members of the audience. Tickets from £30.
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, Kensington SW7 2AP; royalalberthall.com
Enjoy a seafaring extravaganza with Merry Opera – a professional opera company of exciting talent and bold performances – under the gleaming copper hull of Cutty Sark. The concert will feature music by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as some very apt sea shanties. There will also be a reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s much loved poem Christmas at Sea, which is 150 years old this year. So cosy up under the Cutty Sark and get in the festive spirit with Merry Opera, described as a ‘veritable cocktail of light party fun with a hint of Christmas and a tang of sea air’ by Opera Now. Tickets are £25 and include a mulled cider and a mince pie slice (non-alcoholic options available). Doors open 7pm, show starts at 7.45pm.
King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT; rmg.co.uk
4 The Dickens Christmas Carol Walk, the City
Ebenezer Scrooge’s encounter with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, not to mention with that of his dead partner, Jacob Marley, is one of the most famous Christmas stories ever told. Richard’s Dickens Christmas Carol walk explores the very alleyways stomped by the tight-fisted covetous old sinner, Scrooge. Richard, who will be suitably attired in Victorian costume, will welcome you to Dickens London and will provide a brief account of how Dickens, faced with the prospect of mounting debts, conceived the idea for a ‘Ghostly little book’ that he vowed would strike a ‘sledge-hammer blow…on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child’. Tickets £10. Check the website for dates. Meet outside exit three of Bank Underground Station.
5 The Skateroom at The Last Supper, Battersea
Until end December
The Last Supper art gallery hosts The Skateroom this month, an exhibition showcasing artwork on skateboards by the likes of Jean Jullien, Jeremyville and Steven Harrington. Continuing with The Skateroom’s business model, along with the artists and THE LAST SUPPER, 20% of the turnover of sales will be donated to Make Life Skate, a non-profit organization that creates community-built concrete skateparks around the world, for their latest project, Suli Skatepark in Iraq.
42 Webbs Road, Battersea SW11 6SF; the-lastsupper.com
Join The Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs at Gipsy Hill Taproom for a festive Dino Bridge Action Fundraiser, Roar-ing Around the Christmas Tree. For a suggested donation of £10, you’ll get a Dino Drink and access a unique auction with the likes of private tours of the Natural History Museum and dinosaur art up for grabs, as well as live music from jazz singer/songwriter Florence Firth. The #DinoBridge project for Crystal Palace Park is striving for a permanent bridge to provide access to the park’s iconic dinosaur sculptures, allowing for easier maintenance and access for around 1,200 people per year to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs.
Unit 5 Hamilton Industrial Estate, 160 Hamilton Road SE27 9SF. For tickets see designmynight.com
7 Hungry Heart Christmas Special, Shepherd’s Bush
London’s only bumper-to-bumper Bruce Springsteen night is back for a Christmas Special on Friday 14 December. Join the Hungry Heart crew and the capital’s craziest Springsteen fans for a liberating, life-affirming night of hit after hit from Bruce’s back catalogue, from big hits like Thunder Road and Born to Run to Dancing in the Dark, plus a few niche live versions. This month, the event takes place in one of London’s most legendary music venues, Bush Hall, a former dance hall that has welcomed the likes of Amy Winehouse, The Who and Paul Weller. 7pm-1am. Tickets from £10.
310 Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush W12 7LJ; hungryheartevents.com
8 MadHouse Thursdays at Tonteria, Chelsea
Tonteria, the mad Mexican tapas lounge and Tequila nightspot on Sloane Square that has welcomed A-listers and royals like Tom Hardy, Jessie J, Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry and Princess Beatrice, recently introduced MadHouse Thursdays. Tuna tacos and churros soon give way to trains of tequila chugging their way around the club, incredible male and female dancers and performers until the early hours. Alain Dona, the main partner of Tonteria, is greatly influenced by political trends, pop culture, viral videos and music icons. So from ET to Michael Jackson Thriller tributes and Britney Spears shaving off her head, it’s always wise to expect the unexpected on a Thursday night…
7-12 Sloane Square, Chelsea SW1W 8EG; tonteria.co.uk
9 Xingu Village, The Horniman Museum & Gardens
The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is hosting an immersive installation about the daily life of the Kuikuro people of the Xingu, an indigenous community of around 400 people in the Brazilian Amazon region. This exciting experimental experience brings together the most advanced augmented reality and video mapping technologies with the ancestral rituals of the Xingu territories. Free. 10am-5.30pm. While you’re there, check out Yamal: The Stream of Life, which showcases beautiful photographs from life in the Yamal region of north west Siberia, captured by esteemed British photographer Bryan Alexander, the works capture aspects of traditional life and how it has been affected by social and environmental changes.
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ; horniman.ac.uk
10 Greenwich Circus Festival, Woolwich
The annual Greenwich Circus Festival takes place this weekend at AirCraft Circus Academy in Woolwich. The event, founded in 2011, is set to be even more spectacular this year to round off a year long celebration of 250 years of circus in the UK. The festival will deliver a variety of circus workshops for adults and children, live music and five full-length contemporary circus shows a day, including two major new productions launched in 2018. Shows include The Greatest Circus Show, inspired by The Greatest Showman; Submersion, a collaboration with a stuntman created for Totally Thames Festival 2018. The Festival is split into two parts: A Day Programme including circus workshops for adults and children, face-painting, games and multiple circus shows; and An Evening Programme presenting two professional circus shows and a live band to finish the night with a party. Day adult tickets from £12, evening tickets from £19.50.
Thames-Side Studios, 7A Mellish Industrial Estate, Harrington Way, Woolwich SE18 5NR; greenwichcircusfestival.org
11 The London Pantomime Horse Race, Greenwich
The London Pantomime Horse Race, dubbed one of the world’s wackiest annual events, has really cranked things up a notch for 2018! This year’s race will feature more than 30 costumed nags, dressed in the style of iconic Film & TV characters. The fun gets underway at 11am with the Pre-Race Ceremony at Devonport House on King William Walk. The free public event features live music from X-Factor star Honey G and the UK’s leading Taylor Swift tribute act, as well as dance performances and a Strictly Neigh Dancing competition. The race starts at 1pm at Devonport House and finishes on Royal Hill, with six pub ‘pit stops’ to navigate along the quarter-mile route. The After Race Show (tickets £15) will be hosted by US Comedian Lewis Shaffer from 2.30pm and features a performance by Honey G, a Monty Python tribute show and Taylor Swift’s greatest hits. It’ll be a riot, and it’s all in support of YOUCAN–Youth Cancer Support.
12 Games at Arcola Theatre, Dalston
Until 22 December
The year is 1936. Europe is fractured. Economies are faltering and right-wing populism is surging. Fencer Helene Mayer has been selected as the Nazi’s token Jewish athlete for the Berlin Games, but the event is threatened with a boycott and she is about to discover that she’s fighting for more than just gold… Based on a true story, Games – written by three-time Fringe First winner Henry Naylor – is a cautionary tale for our troubled times.
24 Ashwin Street, Dalston E8 3DL; arcolatheatre.com
13 Greenwich Advent Windows
Until 24 December
Greenwich’s Advent Windows have become a beloved Christmas tradition. Run every year by St Alfege Church, the event, now entering its 12th year, brightens up the town centre with 24 unique windows in shops, homes, schools and pubs. This year’s theme is Field of Dreams, and contributors use their imagination to create a unique window display using paper, paintings, models and light installations and paintings. A new window will be revealed on each day of Advent (1-24 December) in different parts of Greenwich, and once all 24 Advent Windows have been opened, a walking tour of them takes around three hours on foot. The windows will stay up until Wednesday 2 January 2019. Check out the map here.
14 The Selfish Giant, Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre
Until 24 December
Oscar Wilde’s much-loved short story The Selfish Giant is being made into an enchanting new production this month at Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre. Presented by family theatre-makers Soap Soup Theatre and Tessa Bide Productions, the new production will combine storytelling, puppetry and enchanting music to tell the classic tale. It follows Grinter the giant, who lives happily alone in her huge snow-covered house before one day a group of children find a chink in the giant’s wall and climb through, changing the course of all of their lives forever.
1 Clapham Common Northside SW4 0LH; omnibus-clapham.org
15 Bloomberg New Contemporaries at South London Gallery, Camberwell
Until 24 February
New Contemporaries returns to the South London Gallery for the first time since it was last presented in 1999. The major new exhibition has welcomed a number of guest selectors like Katy Moran and Keith Piper to help choose the line-up of 57 artists for the annual open submission exhibition. Showcasing some of the most dynamic work being made today, the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018 will be presented across both of the South London Gallery’s sites, including the newly converted fire station. You can expect to see work from artists like Agil Abdullayev, Kobby Adi, Louis Bennett and Faye Claridge.
65-67 Peckham Road, Camberwell SE5 8UH; southlondongallery.org