If you are coming to study at SGI in the next few months, then here’s a guide for some of the cultural highlights and hot tickets that you can catch in London to make your stay the best experience that you’ll remember all your life. As well as the famous SGI Social programme and the thousands of places to see, restaurants to visit, clubs to dance in, pubs to drink in and the best entertainment in the world, you are spoilt for choice! You lucky people!
1st March until 2nd May: FRANKENSTEIN
Fresh after his unbelievable Oscar success with Slumdog Millionaire and a change of pace with 27 Hours, Director Danny Boyle changed track again by directing a National Theatre production of Mary Shelley’s world famous Gothic story of Frankenstein. Critics and public alike have been wowed by this amazing production. The next lot of tickets goes on sale on March 10th.
6th March: MASLENITSA RUSSIAN FESTIVAL
This free event will cure any homesickness blues for the many Russian students at SGI. This annual festival takes place in Trafalgar Square this year and the crowds will enjoy Russian Dance and musical acts: rock group Moral Codex, pop band Chelsea and folk diva, Ludmilla Rumina. There will be lots of stalls offering Russian cuisines and delicacies, such as pelmeni, blinis, bubliki and I dare say, a vodka or two!
1st March onwards: ANNA NICOLE
The true-life story (so ridiculous that you couldn’t invent it) of Anna Nicole Smith has been turned into an opera! The Royal Opera House has can’t have ever heard so many swear words before as the hilarious opera about the fame-obsessed, white trash, lap-dancer who married an 89-year-old billionaire rolls on in it’s very successful run. There are English surtitles on the big screens…just to help out SGI students, who will no doubt be going along with teacher Owen on one of his popular theatreland visits.
17th – 19th March: KATY PERRY
If you are into throwaway pop, then you might like to drop in on the HMV APOLLO, Hammersmith, as Katy Perry performs all her hits, including, I kissed a girl, Hot n Cold, California Girls, etc. Make sure you buy tickets early, as this will definitely be sold out on in advance.
23rd March: CAGE THE ELEPHANT
If I did just one thing this month in London, this would be it. Cage The Elephant are a blues/rock/indie band from Kentucky USA, who play it like it should be played! Get down to The Electric Ballroom in Camden to catch this act for only £10 before they become superstars and only play stadiums and festivals. Here’s a video of them in action on British TV with English subtitles to help you understand the lyrics.
26th March: OXFORD & CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY BOAT RACE
2011 will see the 157th Boat Race. Last year, the Cambridge crew was victorious with their 80th win. Oxford have only won 75 times, so this year they will be out for revenge and trying to close the gap in the total number of wins. This is a great event to experience along the banks of The Thames, anywhere between Mortlake and Putney. Make sure you get there early if you want to cheer on the rowers, as the crowds for the race are usually very big.
17th April: LONDON MARATHON
Approximately 30,000 runners will take part this year in the gruelling 26.2 mile (42.2 km) event through the famous streets of London, passing some of the world’s most iconic sights along the way: Tower Bridge, The Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and many more. Most people run for charity and it’s estimated that since the first race in 1981, over £300m has been raised for charitable causes. To help the runners along, millions of people support from the sidelines and you can be one of them too – for free!
29th April: THE ROYAL WEDDING
Westminster Abbey will see the long-awaited marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton on Friday 29 April, which has been declared a public holiday in the UK. Possibly millions of people will line the streets to try to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds. At midday, after the ceremony, the happy couple will travel back to Buckingham Palace in a horse drawn carriage along Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and The Mall. They are bound to appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace at around 1.30pm to kiss for the thronging crowds. Don’t miss this chance to see history in the making! The hottest ticket of them all!
18th June – 11th September: SHAKESPEARE”S RICHARD III
This is still a long way off, but if you are thinking of coming to summer school at SGI, then this is going to be a hot ticket. Kevin Spacey will be starring in Richard III, in the lead role as one of Shakespeare’s most famous villains. This will be one of the theatrical highlights of the year, as the team from the classic film, American Beauty (director Sam Mendes & Spacey) join forces again at The Old Vic.