Unmissable Things To Do in London in 2019

Unmissable Things To Do in London in 2019

2018 Is Dead, Long Live 2019!

Regardless of all the politics and shit – or maybe as a two-fingers up to it all – 2019 is looking set to be a great year for cabaret, circus, theatre, comedy, festivals, exhibitions, food, fun and frolics galore! So get stuck in, and remember – it’s going to be alright in the end!

Cabaret & Circus

Christine Bovill’s PARIS | Wilton’s Music Hall | 29 January – 2 February | 7:30pm | £12.50 – £25

Bovill’s voice will lift your 2019 and take you to the streets of gay Paris.

Sex Sex Men Men | The Yard | 26 February – 9 March | 8pm | From £12

The drag princes of Pecs Drag Kings are back at the Yard with a cabaret exploring sex and masculinity.

Peaches Christ’s Drag Becomes Her | Soho Theatre & Leicester Square Theatre | 13 May – 1 June | Times Vary | From £26

A drag race all-star line up presents a drag parody of campfest ‘Death Becomes Her’.


Tina Turner Tea Lady & New Friends | Museum of Comedy | 18 January | 7pm | £10

Wonderfully weird characters collide for this outing of our fave neo-variety queen’s newest work.

The Delightful Sausage: Regeneration Game | Soho Theatre | 7-9 February | 9pm | From £13

Our Edinburgh Fringe 2018 festival favourites are back with their rib-tickling tale of ‘cultural regeneration’.

Kieran Hodgson: ’75 | Purcell Room | 28 May | 8pm | £18

Newcomer Hodgson looks back to the 1970s to understand how Britain joined the EU in the first place.


The Anatomy of Melancholy | Bethlem Museum of the Mind | 16 January – 27 April | Times | FREE

An exhibition exploring melancholy’s causes and cures, in a fantastic hidden gem of a museum in Beckenham.

Olafur Eliasson | Tate Modern | 11 July 2019 – 5 January 2020 | £18

Delve deeper into the playful immersive world of Eliasson from indoor rainbow to a pop up vegetarian art canteen.

Image: Olafur Eliasson Your spiral view 2002 Installation view at Foundation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, 2002 © Olafur Eliason Photo: Jens Ziehe Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art | Barbican | From 4 October | £TBC

This groundbreaking visual art exhibition charts the electrifying history of cabarets, cafés and clubs in modern art across the world, from turn of the century Vienna to Nigeria’s Mbari clubs of the 1960s.

Image: Erna Schmidt-Caroll, ‘Chansonette (Singer)’, c. 1928. Pastel crayon on paper. Credit: Private collection. © Estate Erna Schmidt-Caroll


Welcome to the Forest | Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road & Lloyd Park | 11-13 January | 6-9:30pm | FREE

Waltham Forest launches its year of culture fiesta with this slightly mysterious event. Hopefully more details will be announced soon…

Winter Lights | Canary Wharf | 15-26 January | 5-10pm | FREE

Sadly no Lumiere London this year, but this annual free light art festival is no disappointment – it’s the perfect remedy for the dark misery of January.

MT Fest | The Other Palace | 11-23 February | Times Vary | From £12.50

A scratch musical theatre festival with such eclectic and intriguing themes as Murder She Wrote, porn and coming out in high school (But I’m a Cheerleader!).

WOW – Women of the World | Southbank Centre | 8 & 9 March

The festival fighting for gender equality around the world is back in London.

Chronic Youth Film Festival 2019 | Barbican | 23-24 March

Barbican Young Programmers are a group of film critics, filmmakers and budding programmers aged 16–25, and this is their festival.

Catfest | Beckenham Place Mansion | 29 June | 10:30am – 10:30pm | From £15

A must visit for cat-lovers, featuring cat-related products, books, cat films, an art show, live music, cat-themed cocktails and vegan street food.


London Short Film Festival | ICA | 11-20 January

Feature length is dead, long live SHORT FILMS. This festival has a consistently brilliant programme including NEW SHORTS: Sketch Night – a night of live comedy and short films.

Chaos Walking | From 1 March

Patrick Ness’s superior YA trilogy gets the big-screen treatment, in what is intended as the first in a three-film series. Tom Holland plays Todd Hewitt, brought up on a world where women have been killed off and where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts. Daisy Ridley is the mysterious girl whose arrival suggests Todd’s world view is about to change a great deal…

Us | From 15 March

Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out is another horror, this time starring Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as parents whose family are confronted by evil doppelgängers…

Back To The Future in Concert | Royal Festival Hall | 13 April | 2pm & 7:30pm | From £35

Back To The Future gets the live orchestra treatment at the Royal Festival Hall – all the more rewarding as there’s little to no chance you’ll be seeing a reboot or prequel in cinemas any time soon..

Under The Silver Lake | From 19 April

David Robert Mitchell, director of the It Follows, turns his directorial eye towards Neo-noir. Early reviews are mixed, but none of those who saw the film vin the festival circuit appear to have been bored!

Knives Out | From 29 November

There’s not a lot of information about this mystery crime film from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, but a return to Earth with a cast including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer should deserve a prime-award season release date.

Launches & Openings

Overtures Piano Bar | 12 Old Quebec Street | From January

No new venues opening in London? Well you’re wrong, here’s a quirky piano bar with top singing talent. Support it in 2019!

Theatre & Performance Art

Time Is Love/Tiempo es Amor | Finborough Theatre | 1-26 January | 7.30pm (3pm Matinees) | £18 – £20

‘Love and Betrayal. Tenderness and Rage. Crime and Home. Adventure and Ageing. Los Angeles behind the mask.’

Re-Visions | Camden People’s Theatre | 17-19 January | 9pm | £12

Fast-paced dialogues, exaggerated characters and banter colide in this exploration of the roles we play.

The Austerity Playbook | Hoxton Hall | 18 January | 8pm | £10.00 – £16.50

A jazz recital combined with community theatre, taking a wry-eyed look at the consequences of austerity.

White Pearl | Royal Court | 10 May – 15 June | 7:30pm (2:30pm Matinees) | £12 – £49

A Singaporean start-up is firefighting a PR nightmare, delving into the thorny issues of public opinion and race online.

And The Rest Of Me Floats | Bush Theatre | 20 February – 16 March | 7:30pm (2:30pm Matinees) | From £10

‘Performers from across the trans, non-binary, and queer communities weave together autobiographical performance, movement, pop songs, stand-up and dress-up in this anarchic celebration of gender expression and identity.’

Inside Bitch | Royal Court | 27 February – 23 March | 7:45pm (3pm Matinees) | £18

Prison ain’t all Orange is the New Black,  as this show – featuring actors who’ve been in prison – can attest.

The Twilight Zone | Ambassadors Theatre | 4 March – 1 June | 7:45pm (3pm Matinees) | From £19.50

Almeida Theatre’s acclaimed production of the weird stories of The Twilight Zone transfers to the West End.

Little Miss Sunshine | Arcola Theatre | 21 March – 11 May | 7:30pm (3pm Matinees) | From £10

The indie feelgood road trip movie gets the musical treatment at the Arcola.

Noughts & Crosses | Stratford East | 24 April – 4 May | 7:30pm (2pm Matinees) | From £10

Malorie Blackman’s classic dystopian tale of a divided world is adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz for its theatre debut.

Blues in the Night | Kiln Theatre | 18 July – 7 September | £TBC

A superstar cast including Sharon D. Clarke (Caroline or Change, Ghost, Amen Corner) and Clive Rowe (Guys and Dolls, Carousel) lead this stomping concert of the blues.

A Friendly Society | Kiln Theatre | 26-29 September | £TBC

A homegrown true story of community, Brent-style.


Woman SRSLY | The Yard | 8 February | 9pm | £10

Grace Nicol’s game-changing performance platform gets back to the Yard.

Binaural Dinner Date | Rich Mix | 13 February – 2 March | 6pm & 7:30pm | From £10

‘Part interactive performance, part dating agency, Binaural Dinner Date invites genuine applications from individuals looking for love, or existing couples who simply want a very different dating experience.’.

The Crystal Maze – Live Experience | Trocadero | From March

Picadilly Circus’s former hotspot. The Trocadero, looks to return as the kooky fun palace that once was with the arrival of the Crystal Maze live experience.

Queer Ghost Tour of Shadwell | From the Prospect of Whitby | 18 March | 6:30pm | £10

Discover the ghosts of gay London, including poet Wilfred Owen.

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Club Nights | Wilton’s Music Hall | 29 March | 9:30pm | £15

A late night chance to experiece Matt Tedford’s divine comedy creation inspired by the Iron Lady. Expect 80s classics, lipsync battles and cabaret interludes. Perfect for Brexit Day misery-busting.

Duckie Loves Fanny | Secret Location | Summer | £TBC

‘Bent London troublemakers Duckie celebrate the legacy of Leytonstone’s feisty home gal Fanny Cradock as post-war pop culture, style, food, gender politics and aspiration combine in this very queer celebration of a real British icon.’

Did we miss the perfect 2019 event or opening? Let us know and we’ll do our best to add it in!


Occasionally the To Do List team are forced to work together.

Rupert likes: free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.

Stuart likes: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.