Culture team highlights of 2016

16 December 2016

It’s that time of the year when we all tend to reflect back on the 12 months, so we thought we share some of our personal cultural highlights from 2016.

What were your favourite cultural moments of 2016? Let us know @LDN_Culture

Jackie McNerney, Acting Head of Culture

Forbidden Zone at the Royal Academy

Forbidden Zone at the Barbican – part of 14-18 Now
An amazing portrayal of the female view of war and the use of chemical weapons. It was technically amazing, wonderful direction from Katie Mitchell and so sad - stayed with me long after the show.

Emma Rice’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe
I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much and so many wonderful contemporary reference.

Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Royal Academy
Room after room of amazing art. I loved getting lost in the Rothkos and the Pollocks!

Jacqueline Rose, Acting Head of Culture

People dancing in Trafalgar Square

Big Dance 2016 by Akram Khan
Thanks to all the Londoners who participated in the final commission for Trafalgar Square.

Goodbye to the Big Dance Bus – the final tour saw the bus rock around the capital from May to September and feature as a highlight in the Liberty Festival at National Paralympic Day.

Opening of the Design Museum by Terence Conran
It was so exciting to see its new home at the Commonwealth Institute transformed into a welcoming inspiring place for future generations.

Chenine Bhathena, Senior Culture Officer

Lumiere London Westminister Abbey

Lumiere London
A new festival woke up London's iconic West End streets and buildings and bringing light and art to Londoners during the darkest month.

Themes of migration
Floating Dreams by Ik-Joong Kang (part of Totally Thames) reminded us of the plight of migrants displaced in foreign lands sharing their hopes and fears, stories echoed by BAC's haunting Migrants Tales.

Illuminated River
London's Burning a ceremonial burning marking the Great Fire of London, lit the way for the announcement of a wonderful new permanent light commission for bridges across the River Thames, soon to be the longest public art gallery in the world!

Mike Clewley, Cultural Tourism Officer

PJ Harvey at field day festival

PJ Harvey at Field Day
Majestic sonic sorcery from a true musical original with a backdrop of suitably moody east London storm clouds.

Yerma at the Young Vic
Shocking, funny and tragic. Incredible staging and an amazing lead performance by Billie Piper.

Weekend Punk at the Design Museum
A grand send off for the museum’s closing weekend with protest sign workshops and children whacking a Punk Piñata. What could be more punk?

Anna Maloney, The Culture Diary Manager

PunkLondon 100 Club 2x1
Punk Launch Party at 100 Club
An amazing mash up of punk poetry, people and pizza. Anchovy in the UK.

Hackney WickED DIY Studios and Lord Napier Project Commission
In the true spirit of DIY/Punk, 100s of artists across Hackney Wick come together to collaborate, open their studios and creative workspaces and make a statement about the rapid changes to the environment “I caused Hackney Wick to become gentrified” #SaveHackneyWicksArtists recognising that artists increase the land value of an area which ultimately leads to the death of that very community.

And, (on a personal tip) my 40th Birthday Party!

Adam Cooper, Senior Culture Officer

still image from film: Their finest

Their Finest at the London Film Festival
A brilliant, funny and moving gem. Standout performances from Bill Nighy and Gemma Arterton.

Shadow Puppet Theatre at the British Museum
A window on another world. A fascinating look at the British Museum’s collection of shadow theatre puppets from South East Asia.

Firework displays across London as seen from Parliament Hill
Impromptu displays, sparklers, and homemade mulled wine. What could be better?

Brad Barrett, The Culture Diary coordinator

A winters tale at the Globe

The Winter’s Tale at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
A magnificent first experience in the candlelit indoor branch of Shakespeare’s Globe, with a production that made full use of brightness, shadow and pure night to project laughter, madness and tragedy in the ultimate example of Shakespeare’s traipse through light and dark.

The Culture Diary website relaunch
Having a new look that really promotes UK culture with imagery and revolving content, along with simple features such as adding events to your personal calendar and social media sharing, it feels like the Culture Diary has truly become an essential tool for the UK culture industry here and overseas.

Meet Me In St Louis at The Dome, Tufnell Park
My very local venue, just a few minutes’ walk from my flat, hosted the temporarily reunited intric-core staccato-chisms of Meet Me In St Louis for a 10-year celebration of their only album, Variations On Swing. Every word was sung back, every stop-on-a-dime change was nodded out, every memory of the mid-00s was gratified (except maybe style choices and haircuts). 

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