Things to do in London in 2017

Unmissable Things To Do in London in 2017

Put the clusterf**k that was 2016 behind you, and get ready for a sensational year of things to do in London in 2017, Trump, May & Farage be damned!

Check out our hot picks for 2017, and let us know if we missed any gems…

Cabaret & Circus

Lady Bunny in Trans-Jester! | Soho Theatre | 14-25 February

Leave any last traces of political correctness behind with outrageous drag superstar Lady Bunny.

Compagnie XY: It’s Not Yet Midnight | Roundhouse, Chalk Farm | 10-23 April

The French contemporary circus troupe Compagnie XY bring their ‘supreme act of resistance’ (Marcus Davey, Artistic Director at Roundhouse) to London.


Scott Capurro’s Gay Turnaround | Soho Theatre | 6-11 February

Searing Scott Capurro is back with a new show giving the sass back to Soho.

Whoopi Goldberg – Stand Up Live! | London Palladium | 11 February

Comedy legend and star of our fave films ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit’, Whoopi Goldberg makes a rare live UK appearance at the Palladium with her latest stand up outing.

Emma Sidi: Telenovela | Soho Theatre | 16-18 March

Cult character comedy newcomer Emma Sidi channels the Latin American telenovela. Get ready for some fiery, funny  tamales!


Wolfgang Tillmans | Tate Modern | 15 February – 11 June

We’re not sure if Tate have quite nailed the art of the exhibition description, with such informed copy as describing Tillmans as having a ‘characteristically innovative style’… Nevertheless, Wolfgang Tillmans is a brilliant, ballsy photographer with an eye for the sexy side of life.

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov | Tate Modern | From 18 October

The power couple of installation art get a retrospective at the Tate to show off their Soviet style of humour, sadness and theatricality.

Imagine Moscow | Design Museum | 15 March – 4 June

Early 20th Century architects and designers are explored with an eye to understanding more about the Soviet Union.

California | Design Museum | 24 May – 15 October

‘California here we come, right back where we started from’ – and this exhibition is here to show why so much of the world’s design culture stems from the Western US state.

Ten Days Six Nights | The Tanks at Tate Modern | 24 March – 2 April

An iconoclastic live exhibition combining installation, performance, film, video, sound, and talks over a period of ten days.


Creative/Disruption 17 | Arcola Theatre | From 3 January

A DIY festival of performance and activism.

Nordic Matters | Southbank Centre | From 13 January

A year-long celebration of the Scandi countries often thought of as being at the forefront of the fight for social change.

Winter Lights | Canary Wharf | 16-27 January

A free outdoor exhibition of light art in the Canary Wharf estate. Wrap up warm and see flashy things.

The Sick of the Fringe | Wellcome Collection | 17-19 February

This #EdFringe sub-festival comes south to celebrate the body (‘its problems and potential’) through performances, talks, new commissions & artist development workshops.

VAULT Festival | The Vaults, Waterloo | 25 January – 5 March

The biggest festival to happen in the Vaults under Waterloo Station makes for the ultimate opportunity to see the future of live performance, art and comedy.

Play The Gallery | Tate Britain | 11 & 12 February

The stark white cube of the Tate needs a bit of family fun and here it is.

Cut Festival | Various East London Venues | 24 February – 5 March

An unusual art and performance festival themed around barbering and the social history of the barbershop.

GAYW3 | JW3 – Jewish Community Centre | 27 February – 12 March

‘GAYW3 explores the issues and celebrates the lives of the LGBTQ community throughout history to the present day.’

Crystal Palace Overground Festival | Crystal Palace Park & Beyond! | 12-18 June

South London’s Overground festival returns after a year off for more outdoor community fun in the only park we know with giant dinosaurs (Jurassic Park doesn’t count!).


A Monster Calls | 1 January

A jaw-droppingly beautiful adaptation of Patrick Ness’s melancholic yet ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story – a future classic.

La La Land | 12 January

As near to cinematic perfection as you’re likely to find this year – a love-letter to the golden days of Hollywood that might as well be given the Oscar right now.

Manchester By The Sea | 13 January

Kenneth Lonergan’s long-awaited follow-up to Margaret is a masterclass in melancholy – a low-key study of bereavement and responsibility which lasts long in the memory.

Lion | 20 January

Evidence that a good story well told is really all an audience really needs, Lion is a disarmingly heartwarming tale which favours substance over style and wins big.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets | 4 August

The latest low-key, understated film from the director of The Fifth Element and, more recently, Lucy. The trailer looks pretty incredible – it could go either way, but it’s certainly not to be missed!

Look out for 25 more unmissable films (that you might not have heard of) – coming soon on To Do List!


Reopening: The Garage | Highbury | February

Relaunching following an extensive refurbishment, legendary music venue The Garage returns, now also home to a daytime coffee spot, craft beer and cocktail bar, a cutting edge nightclub and an exciting new programme of live concerts and immersive club nights.

Printworks Launch Extravaganza | Canada Water | 4 February

London’s newest giant night club and cultural hub in Surrey Quays – in the old Evening Standard printworks – is ready to reveal its music credentials after a few test runs in 2016.

Theatre & Performance Art

Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady | Wilton’s Music Hall | 10-14 January

Left-field, hairy and heartfelt theatre fresh from a hit run at Edinburgh, at one of London’s most beautiful performance venues.

The Nature of Forgetting | Shoreditch Town Hall | 18-20 January

Dementia is dissected in this thought-provoking coup de theatre .

Only Bones | Soho Theatre | 23 January – 4 February

‘Micro-physical theatre unlike anything you’ve ever seen’ all in a space just 1m squared.

NOW 17 | The Yard Theatre | 31 January – 4 March

The Yard’s daring festival of new performance is back with some masterful mindfuckery, including Drag On by James Morgan (pictured above).

Madam Butterfly | King’s Head Theatre | 8 February – 18 March

The classic opera retold through Japanese schoolgirl culture, or Joeshi-kosei. But is it harmless fun or sexual exploitation?

Bucket List | Battersea Arts Centre | 13 February – 4 March

To Do List fringe faves Theatre Ad Infinitum are coming to BAC to tell the impassioned story of a Mexican woman’s fight for justice.

Twelfth Night | National Theatre | 15 February – 17 April

The Bard’s bonkers battle of the sexes is reinvigorated by TV comedy royalty Tamsin Greig (Green Wing, Extras) and Doon Mackichan (Smack the Pony). 

Angels in America | National Theatre | From 11 April

Seven (yes, 7!) hours of pure theatre gold with an interstellar cast including Denise Gough, Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane, and directed by War Horse’s Marianne Elliot .

Lizzie | Greenwich Theatre | 22 February – 12 March

Here’s the premise of this bloody rock opera:

‘Lizzie Borden took an axe,
Gave her mother forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
Gave her father forty-one.’.

Thrive | Stratford Circus | 22 February

A unique theatre experiment exploring the effects of traumatic events on us all.

Reopening: Bush Theatre | Shepherds Bush | 1 March

The new and improved Bush Theatre reopens in April.

An Evening with an Immigrant | Stratford Circus | 16-18 March

‘Inua Ellams tells his ridiculous, fantastic, poignant immigrant-story of escaping fundamentalist Islam, directing an arts festival at his college in Dublin, performing solo shows at the National Theatre, and drinking wine with the Queen of England, all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home.’

Room | Stratford East | 2 May – 3 June

The Oscar-winning film sensation about a kidnapped mother and child is adapted for stage in Stratford.


Guilt + Shame Podcast

The filthiest and funniest podcast in town – Gabriel Bisset-Smith, Robert Cawsey and Vicky Jones tackle the tastiest of topics: including masturbation, pooing and ageing so far! Perfect listening for your commute, as long as you don’t mingd looking weird when you spend the whole journey laughing out loud…

Witchy Methodologies | ICA | 13 January

Artist Anna Bunting-Branch presents an evening of presentations, live performance, screenings and discussion exploring the idea of ‘witchy methodologies’.

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat | Soho Theatre | 28 March – 22 April

Lucy McCormick’s ★★★★★ Soho and Edinburgh hit, packed full of hilarious anarchy, returns for a month-long run at Soho Theatre.

Did we miss the perfect 2017 event or opening? Let us know in a comment below and we’ll do our best to add it in.


I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.