Comedy festival brings Edinburgh Fringe acts back to Fitzrovia pub

Montage of faces.

On Wednesday 18 September the "Objectively Funny Festival" returns to the Albany pub on Great Portland Street with acts from all over the comedy spectrum for a marathon 42 shows over 12 days. The festival will be fresh from Objectively Funny’s success as a production company in Edinburgh, where 10 shows were taken up to the …

Dear Marie Stopes: ‘birth-control opera’ returns as a powerful melodic reminder

Opera cast.

‘Please help me!’ This heart-breaking refrain from Alex Mills’ chamber opera Dear Marie Stopes is drawn from the thousands of letters which Stopes received after her sex manual Married Love was published in 1918. The opera had its stunning premier last year at the Wellcome Collection (reviewed in FN, Sept 2018), and was completely sold …

Autumn events in The Regent’s Park will interest gardeners and night owls

Bat flying at night.

The Regent's Park programme of autumn events kicks off this Saturday with an open day at the park's allotment garden. Visitors can enjoy apple pressing and tasting, and take home some garden produce. There will be a children's treasure hunt, and "guess the weight of the biggest vegetables" for a chance to win a prize. …

Film festival celebrates the art of non-fiction at London venues

Still from flim.

The ninth edition of the Open City Documentary Festival opens this week and runs for seven days at various venues in central London. Celebrating the art of non-fiction, the festival champions the art of creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers from around the world. Aside from film the events include audio and cross media, as well …

Exhibition of Equiano’s life – leading black campaigner for the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade

Painting of Olaudah Equiano.

An exhibition celebrating the life of the leading black campaigner for the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade will open this month at a venue on Tottenham Court Road. Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797) rose to prominence in the late 18th century and his book “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, …

Fitzrovia’s historic streets will be setting for Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller

Cobbled street in rain.

Filming on several streets in Fitzrovia will start this week for a new British movie directed by Edgar Wright, who gained success with Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Baby Driver. The scenes for Last Night in Soho are due to be shot over five days between Monday 29 July and Wednesday 7 August. …

A new history of Fitzrovia shows a rich mixture of workers, migrants, intellectuals and villains

Life on the edge, both geographically and socially, is the theme of this book. Colourful examples come from fake antique dealers, dodgy second hand car salesmen, and a variety of villains. Many honest and underpaid workers in the furniture trade, the clothing industry, show business, and restaurants are also included. And a rich mix of …

Street artist mocks Trump ahead of UK state visit

Trump posing for cameras.

A street artist has mocked US President Donald Trump on the eve of his arrival in the UK for a three-day state visit. The artist who goes by the moniker Loretto stencil-painted four satirical images on a boarded-up, disused building on the corner of Great Portland Street and Carburton Street in Fitzrovia over the weekend. …

Future research, open science, and the power of storytelling

Front of wobbly building on Howland Street.

Scientists sharing research and working with literary and visual storytellers can help spread knowledge to build a better future. That's the theme of an event taking place in Fitzrovia in June. Social science-fiction writer Stephen Oram has been working alongside scientists as part of a project with King’s College London. "They do the science and …

Women coming-of-age in a world of stigma, bad sex education and internet porn

three young women standing against a wall.

A trio of coming-of-age stories about virginity, pleasure, and identity is told by three young women (played by Kara Chamberlain, Vanessa Labrie, Cicely Long and Gina Ruysen) who discover sexual empowerment for the first time. Friday Night Love Poem looks at the challenges girls face when they begin exploring their sexuality in a world fuelled …

Naomi Wolf talks to Erica Wagner about sex, censorship and surveillance

Naomi Wolf.

Feminist, best-selling author and former political adviser Naomi Wolf will be talking about her new book to the literary journalist Erica Wagner in Bloomsbury this month. In Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalisation of Love, Wolf examines how the state came to outlaw sexual relations between men, and how anything referring to this love became …

Demolition theatre: how HS2 is displacing the living and disturbing the dead

Montage of Euston.

A new docudrama opens on the stage this week about the highly controversial £80bn (and rising) construction project to build a high speed railway line from London to Birmingham. Human Jam will be performed at the Camden People's Theatre, a few hundred metres from where 63,000 bodies have been dug from graves, a hundred mature …

History of Ottoman cuisine and photographic exhibition at Turkish cultural centre

Istanbul.

A talk on Ottoman cuisine and an exhibition of photographs are on offer this month at the Turkish cultural centre in Maple Street. Priscilla Mary Işın, author of “Bountiful Empire: A History of Ottoman Cuisine”, will talk about  the culinary culture of the Ottoman Empire as it changed and evolved over many centuries. Accompanying the …

All day comedy in aid of a worthy cause at Fitzrovia pub

Front of pub.

A Fitzrovia pub is hosting an all day comedy marathon in aid of cancer research for the second year running this Saturday. The second Macmillan Comedy Marathon takes place at the King & Queen in Foley Street under the banner of the Coffee and Cocktail Jokes comedy club (CCJ), organised by comedian and CCJ founder, …

Guided walks explore London’s history of sexual diversity

Front of pub.

Two fundraising guided walks to support international LGBT activists will take place in September and uncover the hidden sexual history of some familiar surroundings. London-based activist Richard Cohen is leading the guided tours, in affiliation with the Amnesty International Mayfair and Soho group, showcasing the fascinating heritage of London’s LGBT community. The walks take in …

Third outing for Fitzrovia’s celebration of music and culture

Musicians sitting and playing.

There will be four days of events on offer this week from the organisers of the third annual festival to celebrate Fitzrovia’s rich and diverse artistic past. Team FitzFest will put on a wide selection of concerts, drama, talks, walks, and social and fitness events and will include "a programme of music made entirely by …

Summer gardening club aims to make Fitzrovia greener, not more commercial

Pots of plants.

A new gardening club will be launched on Saturday at one of Fitzrovia's most used and abused public open spaces ahead of London becoming the world's first National Park City. Volunteers from the Friends of Fitzrovia Parks will be spending an hour every Saturday morning this summer making small improvements to Whitfield Gardens leading up …

Wilkie Collins lived out the double identities of his characters

Scene from BBC adaption of The Woman in White.

Of all the 19th century Fitzrovians who had secret families, Wilkie Collins is probably my favourite. Famous for ‘sensation novels’ such as The Woman in White and The Moonstone, Collins was adept at probing the hypocrisy that underpinned bourgeois family values in Victorian England. Like the main character in The Woman in White, he was fascinated by the ‘idea of something …

A history of every street in Fitzrovia West

A comprehensive history of every street in western Fitzrovia is included in the recently published Survey of London for South East Marylebone (Volume 52, Part 2). It includes archive pictures of many pubs, concert halls, places of worship, historic restaurants, art schools, and a fire station... all long demolished. Among the pubs are: The Colosseum …

‘In another life I was a teacher. Now I’m a refugee’ – film tells story of life at Calais camp known as the ‘Jungle’

Scene from film.

The camp outside Calais known as the "Jungle", once home to thousands of people, was demolished by French authorities in 2016. Now a new film tells the story of the camp from a refugee's perspective. In Another Life was shot on location in the Calais Jungle and through a fictional story focuses on Adnan a …