Home » The inside scoop: a giant serving of the UK’s best summer arts and entertainment

The inside scoop: a giant serving of the UK’s best summer arts and entertainment

Art

National Treasures
Twelve museums across the UK, closing dates vary
Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire visits Tyneside, Artemisia Gentileschi shows at the Ikon in Birmingham and Caravaggio goes to Belfast in this epic tour of paintings from the National Gallery. The revered London museum has collected art for the nation since 1824 and this celebration sees its masterpieces more widely spread than ever. Jonathan Jones

Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520-1920
Tate Britain, London, to 13 October
The story of British art since the days of Henry VIII, with women holding ye brushes. What was it like to be a female artist in Stuart times or the days of Queen Victoria? Seventeenth-century portraits by Mary Beale and the neoclassical art of Angelica Kauffman star alongside Welsh modernist Gwen John. JJ

Franki Raffles: Photography, Activism, Campaign Works
Baltic, Gateshead, to 16 March 2025
A first major retrospective for the feminist documentary photographer who died aged only 39 in 1994. Whether captured near her base in Scotland or from around the world – Soviet Union, China, Israel, Palestine, Zimbabwe – these images not only document women’s individual lives and work, but wider gender-related issues of health, violence, inequality and activism. Nick Wroe

Beatriz Milhazes’
Maresias, on display at Tate St Ives. Photograph: Estudio321/Beatriz Milhazes Studio

Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection
V&A South Kensington, London, 18 May to 5 January 2025
A lavish show of more than 300 images created by a who’s who of the great photographers active from 1950 to the present day. Stunning depictions of art, fashion and social history – some on public display for the first time – through the eyes of William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus and many more. NW

Beatriz Milhazes
Tate St Ives, 25 May to 29 September
One of the most renowned abstract painters of today, in a museum dedicated to 20th-century modernism. St Ives was a haven for British abstract painters, and their works hang at its Tate with the likes of Rothko. How will the postmodern play of this Brazilian artist interact with that heritage? JJ

Bharti Kher
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, 22 June to 27 April 2025
What’s more summery than a sculpture park? The rolling green hills and indoor galleries of YSP make for a lively day out. New for the season is Bharti Kher’s provocative reinvention of the female figure. She draws on, but questions and reinvents, both western and Indian traditions of the nude. JJ

Edinburgh art festival
Various venues, 9 to 25 August
Ibrahim Mahama has a sensual show at the Fruitmarket while the found beauty of El Anatsui can be savoured at the Talbot Rice Gallery. The visual component of Edinburgh’s summer festivals is always a surprise selection. Even when less than brilliant it provides quiet moments to soothe your fringe hangover. JJ


Film

Once were warriors … Anya Taylor-Joy in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. Photograph: Landmark Media/Alamy

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
24 May
Fans of George Miller’s 2015 Mad Max reboot (and they are legion) were especially enamoured of the figure of Imperator Furiosa, the one-armed rebel played by Charlize Theron, who kicks ass in the desert and makes common cause with Max. Now we’re given her backstory in this glitzy prequel starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the young Furiosa. How did she lose her arm? Is Furiosa a nickname or an actual name she lived up to? All will hopefully be revealed. Peter Bradshaw

Inside Out 2
Out 14 June
Pixar has lost its golden touch in recent years: might this sequel to one of the studio’s most celebrated films help it correct course? Inside Out’s original team of emotions (voiced again by the likes of Amy Poehler and Lewis Black) are joined by a slew of newcomers, notably Anxiety (Maya Hawke), as their host Riley enters her fraught teenage years. Gwilym Mumford

Sasquatch Sunset
Out 14 June
A gripping piece of absurdist futurism on the subject of climate catastrophe, with hints of Planet of the Apes and Watership Down. In a vast North American wilderness of the near future, four Sasquatch (AKA Bigfoot), played in old-school analogue hairy costumes by stars including Riley Keough and Jesse Eisenberg, are wandering. There is no human dialogue, just whoops and grunts. Their encounter with humanity is heartstopping. PB

Bye Bye Tiberias
Out 28 June
Palestinian star Hiam Abbass is perhaps best known as the reluctant matriarch on Jesse Armstrong’s TV drama Succession. Now this documentary from her daughter Lina Soualem, with intimate interviews and personal videos and photos, tells the story of her leaving her Palestinian home village of Deir Hanna in lower Galilee to pursue her acting dream in France. PB

Kinds of Kindness
Out 28 June
We had only just recovered from Yorgos Lanthimos’s steampunk freakout Poor Things, starring Emma Stone as a fallen woman raised from the dead using sinister surgery. Now Lanthimos and Stone are reunited for a new film, an all-star anthology featuring Stone with Willem Dafoe, Jesse Plemons and Margaret Qualley. PB

Twisters
Out 19 July
A sequel few have been clamouring for, this followup to the 90s weather-disaster film nevertheless looks one of the summer’s more promising blockbusters, thanks to a dynamite cast. Normal People’s Daisy Edgar Jones and Glen Powell are the duo trailing a rather angry looking tornado, with Minari’s Lee Isaac Chung in the director’s seat. GM


Stage

No strings attached … The Making of Pinocchio, part of Bristol’s Mayfest. Photograph: Tiu Makkonen

Mayfest
Various locations, Bristol, to 26 May
Take the controller at interactive work asses.masses, where video gaming confronts automation and the role of technology in our future, explore the aesthetics of horror in Goner, or lie in a hammock and listen to birdsong with Memory of Birds. All tickets for Bristol’s festival of international performance are pay what you can (minimum £5). Kate Wyver

Kanan Gill
Touring to 26 May
The Netflix and Amazon star, best loved in India for his YouTube series Pretentious Movie Reviews, toys with pretentiousness on stage, delivering (in his new show What Is This?) slick and playful existential standup on the mysteries of identity, the vicissitudes of Indian bureaucracy and his recent participation in the Tiramisù World Cup. Brian Logan

NoFit State Circus
Bristol, 18 May to 2 June; Pembrokeshire, 13 to 30 June; Brighton, 8 to 25 August
NoFit State embody circus traditions – they travel in caravans, erect their own big top wherever they go and celebrate an alternative way of life – and combine that with a modern aesthetic and a political edge. New show Sabotage promises to be a gritty, boisterous experience that challenges the status quo. Lyndsey Winship

Edinburgh’s international children’s festival
Various venues, 25 May to 2 June
A busy schedule of circus, dance, storytelling and theatre fill this year’s international children’s festival, which centres the child’s perspective. The programme varies from a sensory experience of the cosmos for toddlers in Univers to a physical exploration of violence and freedom in Black, for tweens and teens. KW

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Keeping it surreal … Jazz Emu. Photograph: Dylan Woodley

Jazz Emu
Soho theatre, London, 3 to 22 June
The breakout comedy act of 2023, Archie Henderson’s synth-funk musical comedy alter ego returns this summer with a brand new show. Expect a blizzard of audio, visual and lyrical gags – and some groovy tunes – as our delusional host tries to woo royalty and keep criminal allegations at bay. BL

The Secret Garden
Regent’s Park Open Air theatre, London, 15 June to 20 July
This children’s classic seems destined to be told in the open air, where magic may emerge from any direction. Holly Robinson and Anna Himali Howard reimagine Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 adventure, as Mary sets out to find the secret garden she’s heard whispers about. For ages 10+. KW

Slave Play
Noël Coward theatre, London, 29 June to 21 September
It made waves in New York. Now Jeremy O Harris’s provocative production about sex, race and interracial relationships comes to the West End. With a cast including Fisayo Akinade and Kit Harington, tickets aren’t cheap. But it’s likely people will still be talking about this show in a decade’s time, so be there if you can. KW

Oliver!
Chichester Festival theatre, 8 July to 7 September
The Chichester summer musicals are always a special occasion, and this revival of Lionel Bart’s iconic story – created by the dream team of Cameron Mackintosh, Matthew Bourne and Lez Brotherston – feels particularly exciting. £5 tickets are available for 16-30s through the theatre’s Prologue scheme. KW

Fuerza Bruta: Aven
Roundhouse, London, 9 July to 31 August
A new mega spectacle from Argentinian success story Fuerza Bruta, back in London for the first time in a decade. The mood for Aven is one of optimism and euphoria: part club, part circus, with a cast of dancers, acrobats and aerialists and the visual wow factor turned up beyond 11. LW

Cambridge Comedy Garden
Parker’s Piece, 17 to 21 July
Its Bristol and Brighton events have been staples of the summer calendar for several years, and remain so. Now 57 Festivals rolls out a Cambridge edition of the big-top standup extravaganza, five days of funny featuring Harry Hill, Maisie Adam, Simon Amstell, Sara Pascoe and more. BL

Greenwich + Docklands international festival
Various locations, London, 23 August to 8 September
Every ticket is free for this outdoor performance festival which never fails to surprise and delight. This year’s programme includes extravagant spectacles, immersive theatre from renowned UK directors, dance from international artists and wildly imaginative installations. You never quite know what you’ll bump into as you turn each corner. KW


Gigs

South Bank shows … Chaka Khan, curator of this year’s Meltdown. Photograph: Jo Metson Scott

Horace Andy
Village Underground, London, 21 June
Falsetto-singing reggae great Horace Andy performs a rare headline show at London’s cavernous Village Underground. Expect gems that span the variety of his five-decade long catalogue, including sound system favourite Skylarking, his 90s trip-hop collaborations with Massive Attack and recent late-career explorations in dark, heavy dub with producer Adrian Sherwood. Ammar Kalia

Enji
Band on the Wall, Manchester, 20 May
Born in Mongolia and trained in throat singing, Enji has pioneered a new form of jazz vocal, setting her Mongolian lyrics against a backdrop of dramatic plucked double bass and cinematic woodwinds. Accompanied here by just guitar and bass, this promises to be a gorgeous showcase of a formidable and fresh voice. AK

Curlew River
Blythburgh Church, Halesworth, 21 and 22 June
Sixty years after Aldeburgh festival presented its premiere, one of Benjamin Britten’s most original works is revived in this year’s festival. Ian Bostridge and Willard White head the cast for Claire van Kampen’s staging of Curlew River, the first of the “parables for church performance”, which was based on a 15th-century Japanese Noh play. Andrew Clements

Chaka Khan’s Meltdown
Southbank Centre, London, 14 to 23 June
Now in its 29th year, Meltdown is the UK’s longest-running artist-curated musical festival, hosted this year by Chaka Khan. Performances from Big Joanie, Emeli Sandé, Todrick Hall and Khan herself start at about £35, but the Queer C*ntry cabaret, Sisters in Dub party and futuretense new talent gig series are all free to enter, encouraging Londoners to immerse themselves in the diasporic history of LGBTQ+ dance and party culture. Jenessa Williams

Hozier
On tour, 5 to 10 July; starts Dublin
Over the last few years, the Irish folk-soul musician has established himself as the unlikely Bard of TikTok, a sleeper hit-maker whose sonic intimacy and literary references seemingly speak across generations. He’ll be joined by Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) and rock band Lord Huron for an all-dayer at Finsbury Park, before setting out for singalongs at Chepstow Racecourse and Glasgow Green. JW

LSO Live in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square, London, 13 July
The London Symphony’s free open-air concert in the centre of the capital has become an annual event. This year the orchestra’s principal guest conductor François-Xavier Roth is in charge; his programme will include Chabrier’s Marche Joyeuse, a new work from Joanna Lee, and Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka. AC

La Bohème
Longborough Festival Opera, Moreton‑in-Marsh, 27 July to 6 August
The cycles of Wagner’s Ring at Longborough this summer may be long sold out, but this relaxed, least-pretentious of country-house opera seasons also includes a new production marking the centenary of Puccini’s death. La Bohème is directed by Sarah Fahie and conducted by Alice Farnham, with Elin Pritchard as Mimi and Jung Soo Yun as Rodolfo. AC

Massive Attack
Bristol Downs, 25 August
Supported by Killer Mike, Lankum, Sam Morton and DJ Milo, Massive Attack return to their home city for their first UK show in five years, an eco-friendly affair that promises “new standards for the decarbonisation of live music”. Adult tickets start at £68, but there are various tiered options for children, offering up the perfect opportunity for parents to teach recycling under the guise of musical education. JW


Albums

Year of the Brat … Charli XCX. Photograph: Harley Weir

Charli XCX – Brat
Out 7 June
Having distanced herself from the mainstream pop experiment that was 2022’s Crash, Charli XCX heads back to the club. Expect sweaty, syncopated bangers about life, hedonism and the giddy thrill of dissecting all the drama of the night before. JW

Twenty One Pilots – Clancy
Out 24 May
If a new Billie Eilish album (Hit Me Hard and Soft) isn’t enough emo-pop excitement for May, US alt-rock duo Twenty One Pilots also return with their seventh album, promising more of the kind of unpredictable melodies and bat-signal storytelling recently teased on the singles Overcompensate and Next Semester. JW

Remi Wolf – Big Ideas
Out 12 July
Fresh from supporting fellow Californian Olivia Rodrigo, Remi Wolf stretches her love of elastic funk and soul on a DayGlo odyssey that reminds the listener that great pop music is often just about letting loose, having fun and dancing like nobody’s watching. JW

Yannis & the Yaw – Lagos Paris London
Out 30 August
Formed out of sessions with Fela Kuti’s late, great drummer Tony Allen, this is Yannis Philappakis’s first collaborative project outside Foals. Percussion naturally takes centre stage, forging intergenerational connections that sparkle with the soundscape bustle of vibrant city life. JW