What’s On in London in April

London Theatre Breaks’ What’s On in London in April

Far beyond just hosting the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, the River Thames is slowly regaining its historic influence over the whole of the city of London. So much so that we barely leave its banks to present a whole host of worldclass events and attractions for this April.

Royal River: Power, Pageantry & the Thames, sponsored by Barclays
National Maritime Museum, 27 April – 9 September 2012
David Starkey guest-curates a major new exhibition on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Royal River explores the relationship between the monarch, the City and the people as it was brought to life on the Thames.

Taking in the palaces, processions, parties and promenades that made the London we know today. Royal River brings together a wealth of paintings, manuscripts and rare objects.

Highlights include 50 objects generously lent by the Royal Collection, many of which are on display for the first time. Among the items selected for the exhibition are Handel’s autographed score for the Music for the Royal Fireworks (British Library), the stern carvings from the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert III and a remarkable collection of artworks by Canaletto.

The Cutty Sark reopens in Spring 2012
The last and most famous tea-clipper, which broke all records for speed in 1885, is due to reopen with improved displays and access.

Xchanging Boat Race 2012
7 April 2012
Internationally recognised annual race on the River Thames between Oxford and Cambridge University rowing crews. The race starts in Putney (normally late afternoon), where a great range of family activities take place along the riverside and in pubs, bars and restaurants including live music, a large market and other entertainment.

2012 Virgin London Marathon
22 April 2012
One of the most popular marathons in the world, the Virgin London Marathon will see over 45,000 runners from 150 different countries attempt the grueling 26 mile course that takes in some of London’s most scenic sights. Those just planning to spectate can pick out a spot and soak up the race atmosphere anywhere between the start in Greenwich Park to the finish at Buckingham Palace. Over half a billion pounds has been raised for charities by runners since the first London marathon in 1981.

Blue Badge Olympic Marathon Walk
Launches 21 April 2012
Book your place on a new walking tour highlighting the route of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Marathon, the perfect tour for those planning to watch the London Marathon the next day. This is not the full 26 miles 385 yards, just a nine kilometre stroll taken during the course of a day and with a break for lunch.

You will learn why marathons are always that particular distance, and the clue lies in the London Games of 1908. You’ll hear tales of the competitor who covered part of the course by carriage and of runners who were plied with champagne and brandy during the competition. Your Blue Badge Tourist Guide will help you pick the best spots from which to view this free event.

Globe to Globe
Shakespeare’s Globe, 23 April – 9 June 2012
For the first time, 37 international companies present all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 37 different languages in a kaleidoscopic, six week festival starting on Shakespeare’s birthday.

An opening weekend of celebrations includes an adaptation of Venus and Adonis by the Isango Ensemble from South Africa, a public open day at the Globe to celebrate Shakespeare and the worlds’ languages, and Ngākau Toa’s Troilus and Cressida beginning the festival with a haka. Globe to Globe is part of the World Shakespeare Festival and the Cultural Olympiad 2012.

Sundance London 2012
The O2, 26 – 29 April 2012
Robert Redford, The Sundance Institute and AEG Europe present film screenings, live music performances, master classes and more at the inaugural Sundance London. This new four-day multidisciplinary arts festival will be held at The O2, the world’s most popular music and entertainment venue. The Sundance Film festival will include film screenings, live music performances, discussions, panels and other public cultural programming.

Of course there are several events to drag us away from the river. Not least of all the Free event in the Covent Garden Piazza for the Olivier Awards with MasterCard
on Sunday 15 April 2012.

Whilst the most prestigious event in the UK’s theatrical calendar, will take place inside at the Royal Opera House the hoi poloi are invited to join in the celebrations with a “glamorous”, free event in Covent Garden piazza. Theatre lovers can gather to see the stars on the red carpet and watch performances from top West End shows and a big-screen live show relay.

Star catchers will also get the chance to see Cate Blanchette at the Barbican in Benedict Andrews’ production of Gross und Klein by Botho Strauss between 13 – 29 April 2012.
First staged in 1978, Gross und Klein whisks audiences down a rabbit hole and into a curious Wonderland-like world where Lotte (Cate Blanchett) is always trying to fit in. Like Carroll’s Alice, sometimes Lotte is too big for her surroundings and sometimes too small to be noticed within them.

Earlier on in the month there is achance to hear Arvo Pärt Passio in Westminster Abbey on 3 April 2012. A rare opportunity to hear Arvo Pärt’s compelling and profoundly beautiful setting of the Passion of Jesus Christ as told in the Gospel of St John.

And if you want a bargain what about checking out  the  Seven Dials and St Martin’s Courtyard 20% off Shopping Evening sale on 26 April 2012.

I am not too sure that 20% will bring prices in line with the rest of the country as Seven Dials is a haven for “independent style” and “modern British Heritage” for “shoppers of discerning taste” none of which are by-words for “cheap” but it will be great window shopping and you may well pick up a bargain!

Lastly, your child may well have donated their milk teeth to this Science Museum project, or they may, like mine did, have pocketed the proceeds from the tooth fairy themselves, but “Palaces” at the Science Museum from 2 April to 28 July 2012 is a participatory artwork made from thousands of milk teeth donated by children around the UK.

Artist Gina Czarnecki has created a 2 metre high sculpture resembling a coral castle in an attempt to raise questions about consent and the reuse of human tissues in medical research, as well as to draw attention to sources of stem cells in the body.

What a highlight to your next London Theatre Break!

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