Last updated on June 25th, 2023
Get your March diaries out and get planning with my guide to some of the best cultural things to do in London this month including art exhibitions, theatre, events, opera, dance and music.
Londoness Loves: Cultural things to do in London this March 2023
Free things to do in London this March
A new exhibition at the National Gallery will shed new light on one of the most unforgettable paintings in the Gallery’s Collection: Quinten Massys’ An Old Woman. Defying Western canons of beauty and rules of propriety, this arresting figure became known as ‘The Ugly Duchess’ after she inspired John Tenniel’s hugely popular illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. She has remained associated with the world of fairy tale ever since. The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance. 16 March – 11 June 2023. Room 46.
The National Maritime Museum holds the largest collection of the Van de Veldes’ artwork in the world and is a longstanding centre of Van de Velde expertise. A new exhibition at the Queen’s House will celebrate these forgotten masters and their practice, marking 350 years since they arrived in England. It will also reveal how the family’s legacy as renowned émigré artists transformed British visual culture and inspired future generations of artists including J.M.W. Turner. 2 March to 14 January 2024.
Evelyn De Morgan: The Gold Drawings explores the artist’s unique practice of making gold drawings, showcasing 14 artworks loaned by the Trustees of the De Morgan Foundation and Victoria Dolorosa from the Leighton House collection. This exhibition will be the first since 1896 to display a group of these beautiful artworks made in brilliant gold pigment on dark grey woven paper. Leighton House. 11 March to 27 August.
With a fierce commitment to pushing boundaries and experimenting and exploring the possibilities of the moving image, Nalini Malani, the recipient of the National Gallery’s first Contemporary Fellowship, has created a deep black exhibition space with one monumental artwork, My Reality is Different. Encompassing over 40 meters of wall, the 25 striking new animations immerse the viewer in a panorama of nine large video projections, played in a continuous loop. 2 March to 11 June in the Sunley Room at the National Gallery.
Check out all the free events for International Women’s Day at the Museum of London, including Women: Witches and Wenches and Crime and Punishment: Women throughout History.
A special one-room display at the Wallace Collection, The Queen and her Corgis celebrates through photographs the unique connection The Late Queen had with her corgis. Each decade of her life will be marked by a single image that captures her love of the breed. 8 March – 25 June.
Enjoy musical performances in the Queen’s House given by students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Performances take place in the Great Hall at the heart of the historic house and art gallery. Select Wednesdays. 1pm-2pm. Free, drop-in.
There were hundreds of known women cross-dressers in Britain, Europe and the Americas, yet they have been erased from both social and military history. Some are hailed as the first female sailors and soldiers like Deborah Sampson and Lucy Brewer. Hear fascinating stories on what society thought of them, and what happened to them after they were discovered. More than a Uniform at the National Maritime Museum. 31 March. Book here.
From 13 to 18 March 2023, British artist Francis Salvesen, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Artists, will exhibit a collection of over 100 paintings at London’s Mall Galleries. Many of the paintings depict British culture, and include UK landscapes, wildlife, sport and traditions. Brilliant Brushstrokes – The Joys of Being British. 13 to 18 March at the Mall Galleries.
Istituto Marangoni London introduces a Design in Conversation series featuring high-profile industry figures that compliment and reinforce the school’s academic design courses. In the first series, industry design experts, will be joined in conversation with well-known design commentators where they will discuss key issues and topics, while offering valuable perspectives and insights on working within the design arena. Book a ticket here.
A new exhibition examines the world through the photographic and digital works of internationally acclaimed East and Southeast Asian artists. State-less 無國界 asks what it means to have a complex identity, influenced by background as well as country of origin, how East and Southeast Asian heritage can engage politically, and how it can challenge the wider public. 11 March to 9 April at Two Temple House.
For the past 15 years, Piers Secunda has been making art about the destruction of culture, with extensive bodies of work about the Taliban, ISIS in Iraq, and other geopolitical events. More recently, he has found historically important, previously unknown sites, which shine a light on the experiences of Holocaust victims whose suffering on Alderney have left behind dramatic markers, which will add to our understanding of the Holocaust on British soil. Alderney: The Holocaust on British Soil. 15 March to 15 April at Cromwell Place.
Mary McCartney is set to take over Sotheby’s gallery on New Bond Street with her forthcoming exhibition Can We Have a Moment? Three Decades of Photographs in Britain this March – the artist’s first major survey of her works in the UK. All taken over the last thirty years, the exhibition will feature around 30 works, all of which McCartney describes as “unexpected moments.” 9 March to 2 April.
London Art and Exhibition this March
Berthe Morisot: Shaping Impressionism is the first major UK exhibition of the renowned Impressionist since 1950, bringing together over 30 of Morisot’s masterpieces from international collections, many never seen before in the UK, to reveal the artist as a trailblazer of the movement as well as uncovering a previously untold connection between her work and 18th century greats such as Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. Dulwich Picture Gallery. 31 March to 10 September. Book here.
A major new exhibition of around a hundred paintings and sculptures by artists such as Cezanne, Van Gogh, Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, Klimt, Käthe Kollwitz, Sonia Delaunay, Kandinsky and Mondrian opens at the National Gallery. With loans from museums and private collections around the world After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art (includes some of the most important works of art created between 1886 and around 1914. 25 March to 13 August. Rooms 1-8.
A new exhibition at Charles Dickens’s London home peers through the London fog to explore the inspiration provided by a sulphurous London phenomenon, which often fired its people with pride and which resisted many attempts at being quelled. A Great and Dirty City: Dickens and the London Fog. 29 March – 22 October. Book here.
Portraits of Dogs from Gainsborough to Hockney explores our devotion to four-legged friends across the centuries. Through carefully selected paintings, sculptures, drawings, works of art and even taxidermy, the exhibition highlights the unique bond between humans and their canine companions. On at the Wallace Collection. 29 March to 15 October.
Andy Warhol: The Textiles at the Fashion and Textile Museum will take its visitors on a journey through the unknown and unrecorded world of designs by the influential artist before his Silver Factory days. 31 March to 10 September. Book here.
Discover the Black artists from the Southeastern United States who created some of the most spectacular and ingenious works of the last century. Souls Grown Deep brings together paintings, sculpture, drawings and quilts – many in Europe for the first time – by some of the most important artists of the region, their works consider politics, community and ancestral memory. Royal Academy. 17 March to 18 June. Book here.
The interwar period in Britain saw a flowering of artists who retreated to planting and painting in their gardens. Finding the Modern British Garden at the Garden Museum will bring together intimate depictions of gardens, greenhouses, and favoured specimens by artists including Charles Mahoney, Evelyn Dunbar, Eric Ravilious and Ithell Colquhoun. 22 March to 25 June. Book here.
Anthny Caro: The Inspiration of Architecture will focus on the resurgence and development of architectural themes within Caro’s sculpture, comprising 16 key works created between 1983–2013. The pieces explore contained space and its relation to the human figure; architectural features such as passages, doors and steps in the form of sculpture; the use of specific materials – notably Caro’s use of coloured Perspex, which echoes Soane’s use of stained glass, as well as steel, wood, concrete, stoneware and brass; and the relationship between exterior and interior areas. 9 March to 10 September. Book here.
London Theatre and Stage
The Bridge theatre transforms for one of the greatest musicals of all time: Guys and Dolls. The seating is wrapped around the action while the immersive tickets transport you to the streets of Manhattan and the bars of Havana in the unlikeliest of love stories. 3 March to 2 September. Book here.
Summer 1945. Hitler is dead, but the Pacific war rages on. Meanwhile, six of Germany’s top nuclear scientists are detained at a stately home in the Cambridge countryside, with only redacted newspapers, a broken piano and a copy of Blithe Spirit to pass the time. But when news arrives from across the globe that rocks Farm Hall to its core, the residents have no idea that their every word is overheard. Farm Hall at the Jermyn Street Theatre dramatises the true story recorded inside the bugged walls the house between July 1945 and January 1946. Stephen Unwin, former Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre and the Rose Theatre Kingston, directs Katherine Moar’s debut play. 9 March to 8 April. Book here.
A Little Life is sold out but it’s worth contacting the theatre to see if there are any returns. Starring James Norton, it’s a Sin’s Omari Douglas, and Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson, this promises to be the theatre event of 2023.
London Opera and Classical Music
Au Printemps brings audiences closer than ever to The Bach Choir in the gorgeous setting of Holy Trinity Sloane Square. The second concert in the Into Spring series curates a tranquil and lush programme of French works, while the choir and organ orchestration showcases the range and intimacy of a choir usually known for performing with the world’s best orchestras. 2 March. Book here.
Some Wigmore Hall favourites to book this month include soprano Nina Stemme, baritone Roderick Williams who will be one of three soloists performing at the King’s coronation, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and mezzo-soprano Christine Rice.
A unique piece of concert theatre comes to St Martin-in-the-Fields. Four costumed actors are joined by Matthew Kofi Waldren, the rising star violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason, and the LPO and friends, to present Bill Barclay’s The Chevalier, which tells the fascinating life of Joseph Bologne – an 18th-century Black composer, virtuoso violinist and friend of Mozart and Marie Antoinette In fact, you will remember Le Chevalier de St Georges if you watched BBC’s Marie Antoinette. 21 March. Book here.
Phelim McDermott’s Olivier award-winning production of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten returns to the ENO. A mesmerising spectacle, Akhnaten tells the story of one of the world’s most influential figures – the Pharaoh Akhnaten, the first Pharaoh to switch from worshipping a pantheon of gods to just one: the Sun. 11 March to 5 April. Book here.
Aurora Orchestra will illuminate one of classical music’s most recognisable works – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 – presenting it in two radically contrasting ways, conceived for two of London’s best known venues – Printworks London and the Southbank Centre. Each event features a new music commission from one of the UK’s most exciting young composers. 23 March at 6 and 9pm. Book here.
A selection of opera songs, some of which have not been heard in over 200 years, will be performed in a live concert at The National Archives on 16 March. Book here.
The Barnes Music Festival, the annual celebration of music-making which includes choral, instrumental, orchestral, opera, jazz and film event at venues across Barnes, is back. 4 to 19 March. Book here.
Seeta Patel creates a compelling interpretation of the iconic Rite of Spring using the classical South Indian dance form of bharatanatyam. With a cast featuring more than 10 dancers, this ensemble piece sees Stravinsky’s score performed live by the full Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, under its Chief Conductor, Kirill Karabits. Sadler’s Wells. 13 and 14 March. Book here.
The Boat Race is back this month, the annual event when Oxford rows against Cambridge. More details here, and if you want some other ideas on what to do whilst you’re in the area, here’s a handy post.
Collect Art Fair returns to Somerset House this month. Browse and buy artworks from 40 specialist galleries, representing over 400 exceptional craft artists makers from across the globe. 3 to 5 March. Book here.
Originally conceived by Mark Rylance in 2017, Shakespeare in the Abbey returns to Westminster Abbey for six special performances to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday. Audience members are invited to explore the Abbey, encountering actors performing extracts from some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and sonnets in intimate encounters. Book here.
Treat your whole being to a warming, rejuvenating and restorative yoga series this March the historic William Morris Coach House in Hammersmith. All levels welcome. A 75 minute session costs £12/members £15/non-members. Book here.
A five day Science Fiction Festival takes place at the Science Museum when visitors will hear from legendary filmmakers, such as Danny Boyle (in-person), Christopher Nolan (pre-recorded), Joe Cornish (in-person) and Peter Ramsey (pre-recorded), together with leading scientists. Screenings of several blockbuster sci-fi films will also take place on the museum’s IMAX screen. 8 to 12 March. Book here.
Join Katie Wignall of Look Up London for one of her fabulous tours in celebration of Women’s History Month. There are four different walks in Bankside, the City of London, St James’s and Bow, uncovering amazing lives and unsung heroines. More information here.
Out of Towners
Public booking opens for the Glyndebourne opera festival on the 5 March.
Public booking opens on 13 March for the Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Quills & Characters explores the art of letter-writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at Chawton House. 8 March to 3 September. Book here.