From theatre and exhibitions to festivals and installations, here’s our pick of London’s creative happenings this August for adults, families and big kids…
Photo: Van Gogh Alive
1 No Comply: Skate Culture and Community, Somerset House
No Comply explores the phenomena of skateboarding and the impact of its culture and communities in the UK for the last 45 years. Photographers, designers and filmmakers capture the diversity and vibrancy of the scene while documenting skateboarding’s transformative influence on shaping people, cities and UK culture.
On until September 19; free, but you must pre-book your timed ticketed slot; Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA; somersethouse.org.uk
2 Game Changers, Hang-Up Gallery, Hoxton
For its first exhibition for the year, Hang-Up is celebration of some pretty boss women working in contemporary art and addressing that question, why are there no great women artists? Presenting works by Tracey Emin, Yayoi Kusama, Bridget Riley, Nancy Fouts, Swoon and Nina Chanel Abney – all of whom are great creative trailblazers and women – the exhibition looks at just a handful of the pioneering female forces working in contemporary art, and the industry that stacks the odds against them.
On until September 17; free; Hang-Up Gallery,10D Branch Place, Hoxton, N1 5PH; hanguppictures.com
3 Twelfth Night and Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside
Two classic Shakespeare stories return to the Globe Theatre for the summer. Depending on your mood (and perhaps your relationship status) choose from the love story and comedy of errors, the Twelfth Night, or the tragic romance of Romeo and Juliet. Also, now’s your chance to grab a cheap ticket again. With the easing of restrictions, the theatre is incrementally bringing back standing tickets – as long as you’re ok to stand for more than two hours.
Twelfth Night is on until October 30 and Romeo & Juliet until October 17; tickets start from £5 (standing); 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside SE1 9DT; shakespearesglobe.com
4 Outdoor family theatre at Kew Gardens, Richmond
The Australian Shakespeare Company are performing child-friendly shows of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Wind in the Willows – two perfect tales to be performed in the magical grounds of this World Heritage Listed Site. Watch on as the classic Shakespeare comedy is brought to life within a dream-like woodland, filled with feuding fairies, eloping lovers and a hapless troupe of actors, or say hello to Ratty, Mole and Badger as they embark on adventures within Kew Garden’s beautiful grounds.
Prices and times varies; Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE; kew.org
5 Immerse yourself in van Gogh, Kensington Gardens, Shoreditch
Confusingly, there are two exhibitions on van Gogh at the moment, and confusingly, they similar but not the same. One is Van Gogh Alive and the other is Van Gogh The Immersive Experience. Both exhibitions have projections and installations of some of the troubled artist’s most famous works, and have whimsical soundtracks to go with them. Creative interpretations of said works tap into van Gogh’s psyche, and The Immersive Experience as an optional VR section that takes you into and through van Gogh’s world. It’s superb but also a little squeamish. Give yourself at least an hour to get through either exhibition. Want more van Gogh? Head to the Hotel Cafe Royal for the Van Gogh Afternoon Tea taken in the exquisite Oscar Wilde Lounge.
Van Gogh Alive; East Albert Lawn, Kensington Gardens, SW7 2AP; on now until September 26, tickets from £14; book them here; vangoghaliveuk.com
Van Gogh The Immersive Experience; 106 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ (opposite Spitalfields); on now until February 2022 tickets from £22.90; book them here; vangoghexpo.com
6 Amy In The Light, Brownsword Hepworth Gallery, Knightsbridge
Marking the 10-year anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death, exhibition Amy In The Light celebrates the life of the iconic singer with never-seen-before photographs. The photos were taken by her pal, music video director and photographer Phil Griffin when making Back to Black together in 2006.
On until September 14, online and in gallery; free entry, Brownsword Hepworth Gallery; 15-17 Walton St, Knightsbridge, SW3 2HX; brownswordhepworth.co.uk
7 Advena Island Experience, W London, West End
We might not get an overseas holiday this summer, still, it doesn’t mean we can’t go on a trip with friends. Artist Georgia Tucker as created a VR island getaway in the heart of the city as part of an installation in a suite in W London, complete with a ball-pit bath and awash in highly saturated colour. Pop the headset on and away you go to a technicoloured island dreamscape with exotic vistas. Scan the QR code to confuse your reality with palms, pineapples and tropical weirdness that’s also a whole lot of fun. Try it as part of the hotel’s Advena Island Escape stay package or on its own. The ‘holiday’ lasts for 30 minutes and has a six person capacity.
On until August 22, Free or hotel package from £300 per night; 10 Wardour Street, W1D 6QF; book package here, or as a standalone activity through eventbrite.co.uk
8 Kensington + Chelsea Festival, various venues around Chelsea and Kensington
An array of performing arts, comedy and theatre are set to take place throughout Kensington and Chelsea which are great things to do as a family. The festival, which has been going since July, is designed to help performers and communities bounce back from the lockdowns; the programming is free or affordable, and the happenings take place in the area’s theatres, parks and streets. August highlights include the Young People’s Takeover Stages and the fringe and comedy nights held in Chelsea Theatre. There are plenty of family and young person’s theatre, as well as stuff for adults too.
On until August 31, kcfestival.co.uk