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25 arts and cultural happenings to look forward to in 2019

21 December 2018

Enough looking back, it’s time to look ahead to 2019 and the cultural wonders it has to offer. From major art exhibitions to landmark TV series; from new festivals to exciting book publications and long-awaited blockbusters, 2019 is looking good.

From L to R: Vox the Dog (© Taylor Creighton), Scottish Ballet’s The Crucible (© Nicola Selby), Game of Thrones (PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo), Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road (© Denise Else), Star Wars Episode XI, Van Gogh and Britain (Image: National Gallery of Art, Collection of Mr and Mrs John Hay Whitney), Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams (© Laziz Haman), Manga マンガ ( © Noda Satoru)

1. All About Eve

Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove directs a new adaptation of All About Eve, the Academy Award-winning 1950 film by Joseph L Mankiewicz. The West End production stars Gillian Anderson (The X Files, The Fall) and Lily James (Downton Abbey) as Margo Channing and Eve Harrington respectively and includes music from double Mercury Prize-winner PJ Harvey. The classic American movie is still the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations.
2 February - 11 May 2019, Noel Coward Theatre, London

2. Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

The V&A present the UK’s largest exhibition dedicated to the House of Dior. Based on the major Paris exhibition, Designer of Dreams also explores Christian Dior’s fascination with British culture, from the grandeur of great houses to Savile Row suits. Drawn from extensive archives, the exhibition presents over 500 objects, with over 200 rare haute couture garments.
2 February - 14 July 2019, V&A Museum, London

3. Only Fools and Horses: The Musical

The comedy series about the Peckham brothers and their get-rich-quick schemes ran for ten years between 1981 and 91 and brought us iconic TV gags such as Del Boy falling through the bar. Only Fools and Horses has now been adapted for stage, written by Jim Sullivan (son of John Sullivan, who wrote the TV series) and Paul Whitehouse. Whitehouse also stars as Grandad, with Tom Bennett as Del Boy and Ryan Hutton as Rodney.
9 February - 22 June 2019, Theatre Royal Haymarket, London

4. You Know You Want This

The author of the viral sensation Cat Person, which was published in the New Yorker and dubbed “the most talked-about short story ever”, Kristen Roupenian publishes her first short story collection. Sold for a high five-figure sum, the book is billed as “a compulsive collection about sex, dating and modern life”, where sometimes women endure horror, and sometimes they inflict it. The anthology has been bought by TV giant HBO for development.
Penguin/Jonathan Cape, February 2019

Lily James & Gillian Anderson in All About Eve | © Perou
Christian Dior with model Lucky, circa 1955 | Courtesy of Christian Dior

5. Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, 144 of his drawings go on display in 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK. As well as a painter, Da Vinci was a sculptor, architect, engineer and anatomist, and the drawings selected reflect the full range of his interests. The drawings are then brought together for exhibitions in the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
February 2019, various venues; May, Buckingham Palace; November, Palace of Holyroodhouse

Da Vinci preview

Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night Over the Rhône, 1888 | Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / HervéLewandowski

6. Van Gogh and Britain

The Tate present the largest collection of artworks by the Dutch impressionist for over a decade. Among the 45 exhibits are iconic pieces including Sunflowers, Starry Night Over the Rhône and Prisoners Exercising, which was created whilst the artist was a patient at the Saint-Paul Asylum. Van Gogh and Britain looks at both Britain’s influence on Van Gogh and his influence on the country's future artists.
27 March - 11 August 2019, Tate Britain, London

More Van Gogh

7. Chaos Walking

A big screen adaption of Patrick Ness’s bestselling science fiction series set in a dystopian world in the near future. Todd Hewitt has been brought up believing a virus has killed all women, and released 'Noise', which allows all living creatures to hear each other's thoughts. One day he finds a patch of silence and a mysterious woman, Viola Eade. Together the pair go on the run to discover the truth about the New World. Chaos Walking stars Tom Holland (Spider-Man) and Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) in the lead roles.
Date to be announced.

8. Scottish Ballet 50

Scottish Ballet celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2019 with three world premieres. In spring Sophie Laplane’s Dextera is performed in a double-bill with Elite Syncopations (choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan); in the summer Helen Pickett’s The Crucible opens the Edinburgh International Festival dance programme; and in winter 2019 Christopher Hampson’s The Snow Queen premieres. The Crucible and The Snow Queen are part of Scottish Ballet's commitment to commission and stage five new full-length ballets over five years; one for every decade of the company’s history. They also present their second Digital Season, with a series of commissioned films, live streams and virtual reality experiences.
28 March, then throughout 2019

Elite Syncopations | Photo: Nicola Selby

9. Spring by Ali Smith

Spring is the third novel in Ali Smith’s inventive novel cycle, the Seasonal Quartet. It follows on from 2016's Autumn, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker, and last year’s Winter. The books don’t continue the plot of their predecessors and are delivered very close to publication, allowing them to deal with topical issues such as Brexit and terrorist attacks in the UK.
March 2019

10. Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt

The second major exhibition at the V&A's new Scottish museum explores videogames as one of the most important design fields of our time, with an estimated 2.2 billion people who play videogames worldwide. Design/Play/Disrupt focuses on games designed and developed since the mid-2000s, from multi-million-dollar blockbuster titles to smaller independent games and the work of DIY artists from a hacker/maker culture.
20 April - 8 September 2019, V&A Dundee

Journey, an indie video game developed by thatgamecompany
David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Good Omens

11. Good Omens

Based on the 1990 novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, this six-part TV series is adapted by Gaiman. Set in 2018, Good Omens follows an angel and a demon trying to prevent the apocalypse. The illustrious cast stars David Tennant as the devil Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, as well as Jon Hamm, Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson and Nick Offerman.
Amazon Prime, 31 May 2019, then BBC Two, date to be announced

12. Game of Thrones Season Eight

After eight years of the epic fantasy series, the final six episodes of Games of Thrones arrive in April. All the main cast are back, though how many will be left standing by the end remains to be seen. The final season will feature a major battle, which apparently took 55 days to film. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) says: "It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park."
14 April 2019

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones | AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

13. Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

Original props, costumes, set models and photographs offer an insight into the archive of director Stanley Kubrick. Relive iconic scenes from The Shining and A Clockwork Orange, and explore the relationship he had with London, where Kubrick created the battlefields of Vietnam for Full Metal Jacket and an orbiting space station for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
26 April - 17 September 2019, The Design Museum, London

14. Insiders/Outsiders

A major new nationwide arts festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture. Programmed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, Insiders/Outsiders highlights the contribution of artists, writers, designers, filmmakers, musicians and more who fled Nazi-dominated Europe. The programme (announced in the new year) features concerts, exhibitions, performances and screenings, and runs until March 2020.
March 2019

2001: A Space Odyssey | Photo: ScreenProd / Photononstop / Alamy Stock Photo

15. Manga マンガ

Art and storytelling collide as The British Museum hosts the largest exhibition of manga ever outside of Japan. It explore the art form's global appeal and cultural crossover and showcases both original Japanese manga and its influences, such as anime and cosplay.
23 May - 26 August 2019, The British Museum, London

More Manga

Keith Haring, Ignorance = Fear, 1989 | © Keith Haring Foundation

16. Keith Haring

The first major UK exhibition of late American activist and artist Keith Haring, whose politically-charged work responded to issues including nuclear weapons, Aids education and apartheid. Known for his iconic motifs of barking dogs, crawling babies and flying saucers, the exhibition features 85 of Haring's works, most of which have never been seen in the UK, and evokes the style and spirit of the time using archival documents, video and photographs.
14 June - 10 November 2019, Tate Liverpool

17. Moon Festival

This July marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the first Moon Festival. Described as an “all encompassing lunar celebration” the festival celebrates humanity’s relationship with the moon across cultures, time and disciplines with a programme of art exhibitions, live music, pop-science lectures, night food markets and moonlit film screenings.
19-21 July 2019, Woolwich, London

Keith Haring, Untitled, 1980 | © Keith Haring Foundation

18. The Lion King

A quarter of a century after the Oscar-winning original arrived in cinemas, Disney release a live-action remake, following on from the success of 2016’s live action Jungle Book and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast. Donald Glover voices Simba, Beyoncé voices Nala and Hans Zimmer reworks the original score. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Musafa, ready to emotionally wound a whole new generation with that scene.
19 July 2019

19. Red Dust Road

A stage adaption of Jackie Kay’s best-selling memoir, Red Dust Road, which charts the poet’s childhood in Scotland as the adopted, mixed-raced child of a communist couple, and her journey to Lagos to find her birth parents. The co-production between National Theatre of Scotland and Manchester's HOME is adapted by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton.
August 2019, Edinburgh International Festival, then touring

20. Stranger Things Season Three

The portal to the Upside Down is sealed off and the lab is closed but less than a year after the events of the previous season the town of Hawkins has a dangerous and unexpected new threat. All the original cast are on board for the eight new episodes, as well as season two additions Max and Billy. Speculated plot lines for Stranger Things include the return of Eleven's “sister” Kali/Eight, the Mind Flayer's new awareness of Eleven and her powers, and more "Dad Steve magic".
Netflix, summer 2019

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Stranger Things 2 | PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
The handmaid uniform from Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale has become a feminist symbol of protest | Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

21. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Canadian author Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her best-selling dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, which was adapted into a TV series in 2017. Atwood says the book, which will be published 34 years after the original, is inspired by “everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings”, as well as the world we are living in.
September 2019

22. Heritage Open Days

The 25th anniversary of Heritage Open Days sees the festival extended to ten consecutive days. The theme for 2019 is “People Power”, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, and explores the myriad ways that people have changed the world, from marches and sit-ins to peaceful protests and rebel songs. The festival features over 5,000 events covering exhibitions, performances, talks and workshops.
13-22 September 2019, across England

23. Line of Duty Season Five

The AC-12 team returns to weed out corrupt cops in a new series set nearly two years on from the last instalment. Written and created by Jed Mercurio (Bodyguard), there will be twists and turns aplenty as the officers take on a deadly organised crime group, discover the identity of Balaclava Man and attempt to unmask the shadowy figure known only as 'H'.
BBC One, date to be confirmed

24. His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman’s acclaimed series of fantasy novels, which have sold nearly 18 million copies, is adapted for television by Jack Thorne. His Dark Materials opens in an alternative universe where people have dæmons, an external physical manifestation of a person's 'inner-self' in the form of an animal. It stars Dafne Keen as Lyra, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel and Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter.
BBC One, date to be announced

25. Star Wars: Episode IX

Seven years after George Lucas sold his production company Lucasfilm to Disney and they announced a new trilogy of Star Wars films, Episode IX hits the big screen. Following on from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Rey, Finn, Poe and BB8 return with the rest of the resistance to take on Kylo Ren, now Supreme Leader of the First Order.
20 December 2019

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