Our pick of the top dance, opera, theatre, art, folk, jazz and classical music events taking place this week.
DANCE: Wah! Wah! Girls is a new musical from Sadler’s Wells, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Kneehigh (opening Thursday at the Peacock Theatre, Holborn). Set in East London but with the spirit of Bollywood the new show was written by Tanika Gupta and directed is by Emma Rice. Expect some serious dance sequences.
OPERA: Contemporary opera abounds this week. At ENO, starting on Friday, is Caligula, an ancient Rome-inspired exploration of dictatorship by German composer Detlev Glanert. This production, by Australian director Benedict Andrews, sets the action in a football stadium. At the Royal Opera House meanwhile, Wayne MacGregor directs a short new opera, Sum (opening tomorrow night), by German-born British composer Max Richter. What happens to us when we die is the theme.
THEATRE: A trio of interesting plays open tonight. Sadie Frost performs at the Soho Theatre, Touched… Like a Virgin, an eighties Madonna-themed one-woman play; Chariots of Fire at Hampstead Theatre – playwright Mike Bartlett brings the classic Olympics story to Eton Avenue; and the intimate Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell hosts Machines for Living by theatre company Let Slip, a play looking at the legacy of the brutalist architecture of the sixties and seventies.
Tomorrow, Posh, the successful Bullingdon Club-inspired play by Royal Court Young Writers Programme graduate Laura Wade, opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre, while on Thursday night, the Almeida presents a world premiere, Children’s Children by Matthew Dunster.
ART / EXHIBITIONS: Damien Hirst may have a big retrospective on at Tate Modern but you can now also see figurative paintings by the great man at the White Cube’s Bermondsey space. Damien Hirst: Two Weeks One Summer opens tomorrow.
The V&A has renovated its fashion galleries and to mark their reopening, the museum presents Ballgowns (now open) with more than sixty designs since 1950. With the gowns of designers like Alexander McQueen on show plus a series of royal ballgowns, this one is bound to be a crowd pleaser.
The Photographers’ Gallery in Soho has reopened after a lengthy refurbishment and is presenting two free exhibitions, including Oil by Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, which documents the strange industrial beauty of world of black gold.
CLASSICAL: Isabelle Faust is a classy German violinst and she performs a classy German concerto, by Brahms, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre on 24 May. At Southbank Centre the next night, Spira mirabilis, a unique young European orchestra who play without a conductor, perform Beethoven’s fifth symphony.
JAZZ: Despite still being in her twenties, Esperanza Spalding is fast becoming jazz royalty. The American bassist and vocalist launches her new album at Koko in Camden on 28 May — not a usual venue for jazz stars. Here’s why she is special…
Anything we’ve missed that you’re really looking forward to seeing this week? Let us know in the comments below.
We also have listings for ongoing shows at London’s top museums on our Museums and Galleries page.