What’s On | July

The best of the arts in London and beyond this month.



Simon Stone’s radical update of Lorca’s 1934 masterpiece, Yerma, returns to the Young Vic this month. Billie Piper resumes the central role, which won her five-star reviews last year. The original story about a farmer’s wife in rural Spain, broken by her longing for a child, is given a fiercely modern reworking. In this production, Yerma becomes ‘Her’, a hard-drinking journalist who’s settled down with her boyfriend, John (played by Brendan Cowell), in a corner of London. ‘Her’ writes a blog documenting her attempts to conceive, and there are lots of cracks about pre-pregnancy yoga, Veuve Clicquot and avocado on toast. But as her desperation for a child grows, her bravado cannot overcome the vulnerability of her body. Set to be one of the must-see plays of the summer.

26 July–30 August. Performances Monday–Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday matinees 2.30pm. Tickets £10–£38. General tickets now sold out, but some might be available in the returns queue. See website for details.

WALALA X PLAY at the NOW Gallery


Greenwich Peninsula’s NOW Gallery has joined forces with acclaimed digital print designer Camille Walala as its 2017 Design Collaborator. WALALA X PLAY, an interactive abstract installation, will welcome visitors to explore, examine and enjoy a labyrinthine network of corridors and enclosed spaces in a ‘temple of wonder’ created by Walala Studio. Visitors will be encouraged to pass through the gallery and experience a range of spaces – some open, some tight and uncomfortable, some with dead ends. With walls of different heights, passageways of different widths, curved and zigzag paths, the installation addresses the idea of human scale. It ensures that visitors leave with not only a visual impression of the installation, but transformed by the experience.

13 July–24 September. Open Monday–Friday 10am–7pm and Saturday–Sunday 11am–4pm. Free entry. Visit the website or call 020 3770 2212 for more information.

Tanguera at Sadler’s Wells


On the sultry streets of Buenos Aires, you will find the world of the Tanguera – the tango dancer who must seduce men with her f lashing legs and smouldering eyes in order to survive. It is here that the young French woman, Giselle, must make her way, and the dockworker Lorenzo must fight to win her love. Experience the passion, drama and breathtaking dancing in this adrenalin-fuelled journey through the sizzling world of tango, with award-winning choreography by Argentinian dance superstar Mora Godoy. With a cast of over 30 dancers and musicians, Argentina’s hit show returns to Sadler’s Wells for a strictly limited summer run. On 25 July, the performance will be followed by a post-show tango class!

19 July–6 August. Tickets from £12–£52. Visit the website or call the box office on 020 7863 8000

Leonardo to Rembrandt


The creative encounter between individual artists and sitters is explored in this major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, featuring portrait drawings by some of the outstanding masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Drawn from the holdings of British collections, exquisite observational drawings by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Holbein and Rembrandt will be on display in a celebration of portrait drawing from life, during a time of extraordinary artistic ingenuity.

13 July–22 October 2017. Tickets with donation: full price £10, concessions £8.50, members free. Open daily 10am–6pm, Thursday’s and Friday’s until 9pm.

Pavilion designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré


The annual Serpentine Pavilion has this year been designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré, the award-winning architect from Gando, Burkina Faso. Kéré, who leads the Berlinbased practice Kéré Architecture, is the 17th architect to accept the Serpentine Galleries’ invitation to design a temporary Pavilion in its grounds. Since its launch in 2000, this annual commission of an international architect to build his or her first structure in London at the time of invitation has become one of the most anticipated events in the global cultural calendar and a leading visitor attraction during London’s summer season. Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel made their selection of the architect, with advisors David Adjaye and Richard Rogers. Inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his hometown of Gando, Francis Kéré has designed a responsive Pavilion that seeks to connect its visitors to nature – and each other. Make sure you see it for yourself before it is dismantled in October.

Open until 8 October. Admission free. The gallery is open 10am–6pm, Tuesday–Sunday, plus Bank Holidays.

Frieze Sculpture in Regent’s Park

Discover this stunning outdoor exhibition featuring works by some of the world’s most famous sculptors (including KAWS, pictured) with Frieze Sculpture 2017 in Regent’s Park’s English Gardens. Bringing together 23 sculptures by acclaimed 20th-century and contemporary artists, Frieze is an unmissable opportunity to get a taste of Frieze Masters and Frieze London, before the renowned art fairs open their doors in October. Highlights of the sculpture trail include works by John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, Gary Hume, Michael Craig-Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi and Ugo Rondinone.

From 5 July–8 October 2017. Admission free.

Dessert at the Southwark Playhouse


The world premiere of Dessert, a new play written by Oliver Cotton and directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, opens at the Southwark Playhouse this month. Set at a lavish dinner party populated by wealthy  financiers, this darkly comic play is about wealth, greed and the lengths to which people will go to claim what’s theirs.

12 July–5 August. Performances at 7.30pm and 3pm. Tickets £20 adults, £16 concessions, £12 preview performances.

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