This week’s best London events

Sci-Fi-London Film Festival

Normally it might seem a bit silly to schedule indoor film festivals at the
start of summer but, given recent weather, it could be a masterstroke for
this year’s Sci-Fi-London
Film Festival
. As you’d expect, the festival showcases science fiction
films but the focus is specifically on low-budget or foreign films that are
unlikely to be shown in the country otherwise – fans of the genre can expect
that many of the films featured will have their only big-screen showing in
the UK as part of this festival. Events take place throughout the city – you
may already have noticed a parade of stormtroopers, superheroes, zombies and
others marching along the South Bank at the end of April to promote the
festival – but most film screenings are held in the Apollo on Leicester
Square and the BFI.

When: May 1-7
How much: standard screenings cost from £6-£10

Globe to Globe; Shakespeare’s Globe, South Bank

Image: Alamy

The cultural component of this summer’s Olympic
, the London
2012 Festival
’s programme has made an effort to celebrate great
Britons past, as well as the country’s modern-day creative stars. During the Globe
to Globe festival
(itself a part of the World Shakespeare Festival) at
Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the Bard’s enduring international impact is
recognised with an unprecedented event: over six weeks, Shakespeare’s 37
plays will be performed by 37 different theatre companies in 37 different
languages. You can see Antony and Cleopatra in Turkish, King Lear
in Belarusian or The Merry Wives of Windsor in Swahili. The endeavour
will see over 600 actors from around the world perform in the city for the
festival’s duration, making it one of the most comprehensive tributes to
Shakespeare ever staged.

When: until June 9
Where: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT
Tube: Mansion House and London Bridge are a ten-minute walk away
How much: standing tickets cost £5, with other tickets costing £10-£35.
Discounts are available if buying tickets to numerous performances

Camden Crawl, Camden; Land of Kings, Dalston

Camden’s artistic, musical and creative credentials are reconfirmed each year
with the return of the Camden
. This year, the music festival incorporates comedy, art, spoken
word, exhibition openings, club nights and games as well as the main musical
performances – it’s set to be a belter. Headliners this year include Death
in Vegas, Alabama 3, Glasvegas, The Cribs and Spector.
Meanwhile, over Dalston way, Land
of Kings
sees 15 venues around Kingsland Road host a series of special
musical performances, loft parties and cabaret shows to celebrate the area’s
own burgeoning music scene. You just need to purchase one wristband to join
most events (subject to capacity). It’s not quite on the scale of Camden
Crawl yet, but organisers will be hoping to emulate its popularity and

When: Camden Crawl takes place from May 4 – 6; Land of Kings from May 4
– 5
Where: numerous venues throughout Camden and Dalston. Event websites
have complete programmes and locations listed.
How much: Camden Crawl prices vary; a one-day pass for Land of Kings
costs £20, a two-day pass cost £30.

First Thursdays; East London

Always a good – and very affordable – night out, First
returns this week. The premise is simple: on the first
Thursday of each month, over 100 galleries and museums throughout east
London remain open until 9pm, offering free access to exhibitions, talks and
parties; it’s all typically followed by late-night events at the bars and
clubs of Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Dalston. Major galleries and cultural
venues contribute to the programme again this month – at the Barbican Art
Gallery, Chinese artist Song Dong presents an immense analysis of family
life and her childhood during the Cultural Revolution. The installation
comprises over 10,000 items collected by her mother during that time.
Elsewhere, you can enrol for a free life drawing class at The Prince’s
Drawing School, contribute to the Writers in Residence programme at
Whitechapel Gallery or witness Aeneas Wilder’s ‘Void’ at August art gallery.
A site-specific work in the interior of a Victorian-era warehouse, the
self-supporting structure has been built out of hundreds of pieces of wood
and will be left to stand until time takes its toll and the construction

When: May 3
Where: throughout east London. A complete list of participating venues
is found on the First Thursdays site
How much: most events are free

Udderbelly Festival, the Southbank Centre

Image: Belinda Lawley

Now in its fourth year, the Udderbelly
has already made a significant impact on Londoners thanks to
its excellent comedy programme and distinctive venue – performances are held
in a huge, partially inflated, upside-down purple cow. Performing this year
are Tim Minchin, Sean Hughes, Andi Osho, Patrick Monahan and many more – the
festival continues until July so there’s plenty of time to visit but expect
the most popular acts to sell out soon. As well as comedy, there are family
shows, theatre performances and musical experimentations.

When: until July 8
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd London SE1 8XX
Tube: Waterloo
How much: prices vary

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