Brighton Fringe Festival, across Brighton, 28 May – 27 June
England’s largest arts festival is back with the most exciting and unusual cabaret, circus and comedy, dance, drama and drag! This year will be a hybrid festival with a mixture of live and digital shows and the line-up includes Arthur Smith, Circus Abyssinia, Marcel Lucont and The Wardrobe Ensemble.
The Language of Kindness, touring Warwick, Tunbridge Wells and Shoreditch, 20 May – 12 June
The first piece of new writing to tour when restrictions lift, The Language of Kindness is based on Christie Watson’s bestselling memoir of her twenty years as a nurse. A tactile piece without touch; a new work for a new performance world: this socially distanced production premieres on 20 May.
ABBA MANIA, Shaftesbury Theatre (West End), 21 May – 6 June
Following a year of silence on the West End, audiences are invited to dust off their flares and become a Dancing Queen with ABBA MANIA, which returns to the West End for the first time in 19 years. The world’s number one touring ABBA tribute concert is back by popular demand this May.
Theatre For Two, London Tour 5 June – 7 July
One actor, one spectator. Theatre For Two is a series of newly commissioned micro-plays which celebrate the absurdity of human connection. These personal, interactive meetings between actor and audience member are presented in a specially designed Covid-secure pop-up venue.
Bad Nights and Odd Days, Greenwich Theatre (London), 23 June – 10 July
Bad Nights and Odd Days sees a trio of Caryl Churchill’s unforgettable and rarely performed plays (Abortive, Seagulls, and Three More Sleepless Nights) reenergised for the stage, led by acclaimed actor Paul McGann (Withnail and I; Doctor Who).
What the Ladybird Heard, Palace Theatre (London), 15 July – 29 August
The acclaimed stage adaptation of much-loved children’s book, What The Ladybird Heardfrom Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo) and illustrator Lydia Monks, returns to the West End. This family favourite brings the farmyard to life in a rollicking musical hoedown, complete with puppets!
Wonderment, Palace Theatre (West End) 16 July – 30 August
There’s magic brewing in the West End once more. Wonderment will bring together some of the greatest illusionists – including award-winning mind reader and TV star, Chris Cox, and Britain’s Got Talent’s Josephine Lee, for breath-taking displays of illusion that will electrify and delight.
Pleasance Reopening Season, Pleasance (London), 17 May – 14 July
Pleasance Islington reopens on the first Monday with The NextUp Relaunch Party and they’ve jam-packed the programme with unmissable stand-up from Sarah Keyworth, Nabil Abdulrashid, Fin Taylor, Sindu Vee, Bridget Christie, Phil Wang, Joel Dommett, Rob Beckett, Sophie Duker and more!
Aubrey Beardsley, Shapero Rare Books (London), from 13 May 2021
A remarkable and rare collection of famed illustrator Aubrey Beardsley’s works will be on display and for sale at Shapero Rare Books, New Bond Street, from 13th May. This is the most comprehensive collection of Beardsley ever assembled.
Remember the Future, Orleans House Gallery (Richmond), 18 May – 14 November 2021
Orleans House Gallery’s bold new environmental exhibition Remember the Future will see five artist residencies setting up studios in the gallery and researching how we can better our relationship with the environment. The first residency will be renowned activist artist duo Ackroyd & Harvey.
Sonia Delaunay, BASTIAN Art Gallery (London), 18 May – 27 June
A pioneer of abstraction, Sonia Delaunay will be the subject of an exciting intimate exhibition, Rhythm and Colour, which brings together works that epitomise the bold approach to colour and sense of depth and movement she is known for.
Gaia, Old Royal Naval College (London), 30 May – 1 July 2021
Following a sold-out run last summer, UK artist Luke Jerram’s jaw-dropping sculpture Gaiareturns to the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College. The monumental artwork is a scale replica of Earth made using NASA imagery to inspire the Overview Effect on its viewers, as astronauts feel from space.
Jock McFadyen, Dovecot Studios in partnership with The Scottish Gallery (Edinburgh), 11 June – 25 September
Lost Boat Party is the joint exhibition between two Edinburgh galleries which features paintings exploring the romance and grandeur of the Scottish landscape alongside McFadyen’s celebrated works of urban dystopia.
Nevill Holt Opera Summer Festival, Nevill Holt Opera (Market Harborough), 4 – 25 August 2021
Nevill Holt Opera are returning with their Summer Festival with beloved operas La Traviata(orchestra – Manchester Camerata, conductor – Nicholas Chalmers) and Don Giovanni(orchestra – Shadwell:Ensemble, conductor – Finnegan Downie Dear) performed on a specially-built outdoor stage.