Unmissable Things To Do in London in May 2023
May arrives with a bank holiday bang, and whether you care about crowns and coronations or not, the extra day off is surely a good thing! Make the most of May by following our list of Unmissable Things To Do in London (and beyond) this May!
EuroFestival Liverpool 2023 | 1-14 May
Get thee to Liverpool for truly wonderful short break and discover the electric atmosphere of being a Eurovision host city. This festival programme is a great way to discover the city through some unique events.
Retrograde | Kiln Theatre | 2-27 May | From £15
Outstanding writer, Ryan Calais Cameron (For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy) tells the Faustian pact of Sidney Poitier signing a lucrative Hollywood contract.
NOW23: we are all made of stars | The Yard | 2-6 May | £17
A Technicolor trans odyssey.
The Rocky Horror Show | Sadler’s Wells | From 3 May | From £18
Strictly Come Dancing winner, Ore Oduba joins this irresistible production of camp classic Rocky Horror Show.
The Women Who Gave No F*cks | Rich Mix | 3 May | £12.50
Six women who give no fucks tell stories.
Candy Gigi: Friday Night Sinner! | Soho Theatre | 3-20 May | From £11
‘Description.’ a one-woman, horror-comedy musical about a Jewish, sexually repressed, newly married maniac.’. Sounds frightful and brilliant.
First Thursday Bar Evening | Novelty Automation | 4 May
Discover crazed inventor Tim Hunkin’s gloriously bonkers coin-operated contraptions.
UK Asian Film Festival | Various Venues | 4-14 May
A celebration of South Asian Independent cinema with something for everyone.
Repetitive Strain | Matchstick Piehouse | 5 May | £8
A queer post-punk night with bands like Pink Pound and a fully modded retro games console, the magical Sega Dreamcast!
Brighton Fringe | From 5 May
Take a day trip to London-on-Sea and discover the cheaper and more accessible version of the Edinburgh Fringe. Offbeat highlights for us include the bonkers clown comedy Troll, Brighton surrealist troupe Club Silencio and THE WRÖNG PLANET..!?.
Brighton Festival | 6-28 May
A stunning programme of international arts curated by Nabihah Iqbal including the premiere of Galatea by Emma Frankland.
Peckham Fringe 2023 | Theatre Peckham | From 5 May
May is full of new Fringe talent in London’s most down to earth theatre.
Unsound London | Barbican | 6 May | From £22.50
Electronic and experimental music collide with trippy visuals and a global outlook.
Duckie: Fuck the Coronation | The Eagle | 6 May | £10
Duckie queers the coronation in this protest anthem edition with activist Liv Wynter, The Artist Taxi Driver, Daniel Oliver and The Kitchenettes.
Cease & Resist – Sonic Subversion & Anarcho Punk In The UK 1979-86 | Helgi’s | 11 May | £7.50
A launch party for new album exploring Sonic Subversion & Anarcho Punk In The UK 1979-86 featuring bands like NAPALM DEATH.
Out-Spoken: Kae Tempest, Travis Alabanza, Daljit Nagra and Mysie | Queen Elizabeth Hall | 11 May | £12
A spring gift of a line up with the incredible talents listed above.
minus one | ICA | 11 May | From £10
An art party taking over the ICA on the Mall off Trafalgar Square.
Lady M (at Home with Lady Macbeth) | The Place | 11-13 May | £18
Delve deeper into the psyche of Shakespeare’s infamous Lady Macbeth.
LOCO London Comedy Film Festival | Hackney Picturehouse | 11-14 May
Laugh yourself silly with London’s premier hoot of a film festival which includes A Gaza Weekend with Stephen Mangan (pictured above).
Stuck in the Lift: Underground | Rich Mix | 12 May | From £10
Experimental performance night full of gender smashing riotous energy.
Beyond Words Festival | Institut Français | 12-21 May
An inspiring mix of literature, movies and Gallic culture.
January (2021) + Q&A with Alex Barrett | The Cinema Museum | 12 May | £8
Andrey Paounov’s stunning absurdist mystery January is shown in the outré surroundings of The Cinema Museum.
Norfolk & Norwich Festival | 12-28 May
Head East for a cultural fiesta including Le Coup the new show from circus smash-hit makers Scotch & Soda (Cantina).
Offprint London | Tate Modern | 12-14 May
Contemporary art, photography and graphic design books galore in Tate Modern’s gigantic Turbine Hall.
Arty Farty Makers Market | The Albany | 13 May | £1
A joyous makers’ market in Deptford.
Livia Rita: Fuga Futura | Rich Mix | 13 May | From £10
‘Avant-pop artist, designer & Alpine witch’ takes Rich Mix in Shoreditch on a ride to the wild side.
Lobster Telephone | The Cockpit | 17 May | £15
An evening of surreal delights featuring performers from the UK’s cabaret and alternative comedy scenes including Dusty Limits, The Wrong Numba
Songlines Encounters Festival | Kings Place | 18-24 May
Take a musical round the world trip with this beautifully curated festival in King’s Cross.
The Close Encounter Club: Japanese Television, Balancing Act & cowboyy | Brixton House | 18 May | £13.50
An ‘intergalactic live music venue orbiting planet Earth’. Expect psych, surf, sci-fi, garage rock including cult genre math rock.
Runt May | Unit 3K, West Wing Oslo House | 18 May | Pay What You Can
Revel in Hackney Wick’s true rebellious artistic spirit with this avant-garde night that champions work by artists that are outcast or overlooked by wider society and mainstream arts venues.
Holly Spillar: Hole | Riverside Studios | 18 & 19 May | £12
A ‘muff-busting’ musical comedy around vaginismus.
The Last Word Festival | Roundhouse | From 22 May
Spoken word takes centre stage in London’s iconic rail shed.
Guidelines (Work in Progress) | Camden People’s Theatre | 23-25 May | £8
A folk horror around growing up with the Internet.
Re-Member Me | Hampstead Theatre | From 25 May | From £10
Lip-sync, documentary theatre and Hamlet combine in this 21st century seance.
Elvis Died of Burgers | Battersea Arts Centre | 25 & 26 May | Pay What You Can
Food, overeating and death are explored in this food fable.
Panti Bliss: If These Wigs Could Talk | Soho Theatre | 26 May | From £13
Irish drag activist and pioneer Panti Bliss returns to London.
NTS One Day | Burgess Park | 27 May | From £45
Burgess Park comes to life with this future DIY mixtape of a line up from independent radio collective NTS.
DISRUPT | Cambridge Junction | 26 & 27 May | From £15
Take the Choo Choo to Cambridge and head to other side of the tracks from the elite university and you will find the finest DIY chaos in the UK at Disrupt festival. Don’t miss new work from Nando Messias, WET MESS, and Greg Wohead.
Camille O’Sullivan: Dreaming | Wilton’s Music Hall | From 30 May | From £13
Irish chanteuse Camille is electrifying and lights London’s original and preserved Victorian music hall.
Did we forget something? We almost certainly did – please let us know in the comments below!
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.