Having been confined to our homes and environs for much of the past two years, our craving for culture is unprecedented.
Netflix has been a saving grace, but nothing can compare to in-person experience: the thrill of seeing a performance live on stage, of standing beside a mammoth art installation, or of physically interacting with an exhibit.
Here are some of the most exciting and absorbing cultural events taking place in Britain in 2022:
© Beatrix Potter
If a comforting warmth courses through your veins at the memory of Mrs Tiggy-winkle’s twinkly eyes and clean laundry, Squirrel Nutkin’s brazen ways and bushy tail, and Peter Rabbit’s biddable, blackberry-picking sisters, then this is a cultural event you cannot miss. Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature, at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, looks at the life story of this beloved children’s author-illustrator (who herself was born and grew up in Kensington) and her enduring love of nature. The V&A has collaborated with the National Trust to create an immersive exhibition highlighting Potter’s work as a farmer and conservationist in the Lake District, which helped to influence the accuracy of her illustrations. In addition to a multitude of original watercolours, drawings and manuscripts, many of Potter’s personal artefacts (including letters and photographs) will be displayed.
12 February – 25 September 2022
© Michael Brzezinski – Sheila Hicks, Escalade Beyond Chromatic Lands, 2016-17 Natural and synthetic fibres, cloth, slate, bamboo 600 x 1600 x 400 cm, 236 1/4 x 629 7/8 x 157 1/2 ins © Sheila Hicks. Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery, London.
The Nebraska-born, Paris-based artist Sheila Hicks – now in her late eighties – is celebrated for her ground-breaking, distinctively colourful textile sculptures which range from tiny woven wall hangings to bold and joyful room-filling installations. Sheila Hicks: Off Grid is a major exhibition opening at The Hepworth Wakefield, an award-winning art gallery in the heart of Yorkshire, overlooking the River Calder. Hicks’ work is inspired by her extensive travel – including to Mexico, Morocco, India, Chile, Israel and Japan – where she observed indigenous weaving practices. She developed relationships with local designers, architects and cultural leaders with whom she then collaborated on projects.
7 April – 25 September 2022
To Kill A Mockingbird cast © The Other Richard
Actors from the company photographed at Souvenir Scenic Studios where the set designed by Miriam Buether is being built. Back (l to r): Pamela Nomvete, Jim Norton, Rafe Spall, Jude Owusu; Foreground (l to r): David Moorst, Gwyneth Keyworth, Harry Redding.
Rafe Spall will star as Atticus Finch in the West End première of Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The much-admired English actor has appeared in films including A Good Year, One Day, Prometheus, Life of Pi and The BFG. Opening at London’s Gielgud Theatre, and directed by Bartlett Sher, this tale of racial injustice is based on Harper Lee’s 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. Seen through the eyes of a child, the story tells of a court case in 1930s Alabama. Atticus Finch is an eminent lawyer who, despite threats from the community, agrees to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman.
Untitled Drawing, c.1946-1959, The Charleston Trust © The Estate of Duncan Grant, all rights reserved DACS 2021
Duncan Grant (1885 – 1978), a leading artist in early 20th century Britain, was ostensibly known for his still life, portrait and landscape work. As a gay man living at a time when such relations were not accepted, Grant felt constrained to keep his homoerotic art private. Exploring themes of gender and intimacy, Very Private? presents a body of his work only recently discovered. The exhibition is shown at Charleston, the former East Sussex home of Grant, his lover, fellow artist Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) and her two young sons. During the First World War, the property became the country meeting place for a group of conscientious objectors who were radical writers, artists and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group. Open to the public since 1986, the interior of the house is an intriguing riot of imaginative decoration.
17 September 2022 – 12 March 2023
Stay nearby at Ockenden Manor, West Sussex
The highlight of The Royal Ballet’s Spring / Summer programme, Like Water For Chocolate mixes magic, emotion and cooking in an audacious take on a modern Mexican classic. Based on the novel of the same name by Laura Esquivel, Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon and composer Joby Talbot’s new full-length ballet will be taking over the main stage at the Royal Opera House in London. The saga, set in Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century, tells of Tita’s love for Pedro, and a family precedent which prevents them from marrying. Forced instead to care for her mother, Tita’s powerful emotions begin to surface in astonishing ways through her cooking.
2 – 17 June 2022
Fans of Alan Partridge – or those simply fascinated by the scale of ineptitude, inappropriateness and self-aggrandizement portrayed by Steve Coogan in his parody of British television personalities – will be delighted by the bumbling broadcaster’s brand-new live show touring the UK in 2022. ‘Strategem’ with Alan Partridge Live promises ‘a manifesto for the way we can move forward, a roadmap to a better tomorrow, an ABC for the way to be’. With several dates added to the original run owing to high demand, the socially awkward and staggeringly tactless Alan will be delivering his wisdom at various venues across the UK including Edinburgh, London, Leeds and Bournemouth.
Various dates throughout April, May and June 2022
Exploring the science within the universe of the longest-running sci-fi TV show, Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder is a new exhibition – a global première, no less – at the World Museum in Liverpool. Immersive experiences and interactive displays bring to life almost 60 years of mind-bending scientific developments. Visitors are invited to travel through space and time meeting the show’s iconic characters, coming face to face with Daleks and Cybermen, visiting the Monster Vault, trying a sonic screwdriver, and inspecting the Police Box in the TARDIS Tech room.
27 May – 30 October 2022
Images left to right: Stonehenge; © Seahenge Lynn Museum
On Wiltshire’s Salisbury Plain stands the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe: Stonehenge. A new exhibition at London’s British Museum, The World of Stonehenge, brings us the human story behind the stones; how our ancient ancestors lived and what they believed. By way of over 430 fascinating objects brought together from across Europe, including grave goods unearthed near Stonehenge itself, this is the first exhibition of its kind. The focal point of the exhibition is an incredible 4,000-year-old Bronze Age timber circle – dubbed ‘Seahenge’. It is the first time this monument has been on loan, having been excavated in 1999 from the sands of a Norfolk beach.
17 February – 17 July 2022
Robert Indiana, LOVE (Red Blue Green), 1966-1993, conceived: 1966; executed: 1993, Polychrome aluminium, 144 x 144 x 72 in. (365.8 x 365.8 x 182.9 cm). Shinjuku-I-Land Public Art Project, Tokyo. Photo: Courtesy of Shinjuku-I-Land Public Art Project, Tokyo, Japan; Artwork: © 2021 Morgan Art Foundation Ltd. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, set within the 500-acre Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire, presents Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958-2018, displaying work that spans 60 years of the American pop artist’s career. Best known for his iconic ‘LOVE’ image, Indiana’s work drew inspiration from signs, billboards and commercial logos, and explored the darker side of the American Dream. This is the first European museum exhibition of sculpture by the artist: a selection of 47 works, 34 of which are sculptures with six displayed in the open air against a beautiful backdrop of parkland, lakes and a woodland valley.
12 March 2022 – 8 January 2023
Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City © Julian Abrams Building
Fans of immersive entertainment are in for a sensory storytelling treat in 2022. Internationally-acclaimed theatre company Punchdrunk are back in the UK for the first time since 2014 and bringing The Burnt City to London. The show takes place at a suitably extraordinary venue – One Cartridge Place, a former military arsenal in Woolwich – across three Grade II Listed Buildings amounting to 100,000 square feet of space. Each member of the audience is invited to conceive their own ancient Greek adventure through a dystopian underworld after the fall of Troy, through neon backstreets and labyrinthine pathways, and within a gigantic playground.
Article written by Mischa Mack