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Traces of War from King’s College London

Traces of War

Exhibition preview

TRACES of War, a major new exhibition from King’s College London, is the result of collaborations between The Department of War Studies at King’s and three international artists – Jananne Al-Ani, Baptist Coelho and Shaun Gladwell.

It will be on display at King’s College London, Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, Strand, London from October 26 to December 18, 2016.

As the ‘everyday’ of battle is brought into the gallery space, Traces of War hopes to represent the paradoxical dynamic of war and the everyday – its enduring imprint upon both the body politic and the subject of international relations.

Working primarily with photography, film and multimedia installations, all three artists have direct experience of conflict and war zones, from Iraq to India, Bangladesh to Afghanistan.

We see war in all kinds of spaces and locations, some predictable and others less so. The elements of war are present in our everyday lives, in our daily routines; from violence, antagonisms, discourses of exclusion, displacements and populations on the move.

There is a resonance in Michel Foucault’s observation that the ‘roar of battle’ travels silently in our modes of being and interactions, discourses and institutions, and the practices we take for granted.

Artists throughout history have sought to capture the agony of war, its impact on combatants and civilians, on landscapes, and on the most hidden spaces: our memories, identities, and lived experiences. At the same time, the phenomenon of war is not confined to moments of crisis or battlefield locations.

War should not be something defined by its representation on screens or in print where narratives of patriotism distort, but rather should be seen as a force which disrupts the normality of everyday life, ever present both viscerally and emotionally.

Traces of War, curated by Cécile Bourne-Farrell and Vivienne Jabri, Professor of International Relations, King’s College London, reimagines war beyond its exceptionality, locating it in spaces where it would be least expected. At the same time, the artworks and artists reveal the sheer power of the everyday, as life in its own right and at its most ordinary makes its presence felt in the most dangerous war zones.

In Traces of War, the three artists expose the more quotidian side of warfare.

Jananne Al-Ani uses aerial imagery, both moving and still, to depict archaeological sites but also to evoke a sense of the dual purpose of aerial imagery for surveillance. War’s imprint upon a surface is itself only comprehensible in terms of what lies underneath.

Baptist Coelho did extensive research into the lives of Indian soldiers, whose experience of war is much more rooted in patience than direct conflict. By using the ‘fabrics’ of war (soldiers’ uniforms, rations, personal letters) his multimedia installations aim to reveal both the humanism of war and the paradox of heroism, where more lives are lost due to extreme cold than the army bullet.

Shaun Gladwell served as Australia’s official war artist in the first Gulf War and was pioneering in his use of the medium of video to explore the role of technology and surveillance in contemporary warfare.

The Inigo Rooms, King’s College London’s flagship exhibition space is in Somerset House East Wing and can be accessed from the Somerset House courtyard and from the Quad on King’s Strand Campus. The closest tube stations are Temple (on the Circle and District lines), Covent Garden (on the Piccadilly line) and Charing Cross (on the Northern and Bakerloo lines). The nearest mainline rail station is Charing Cross.

Image: Shaun Gladwell, Double Field/Viewfinder, (Tarin Kowt), 2009–10, Two-channel HD video, 18:39 minutes, 16:9, colour, stereo sound. Commissioned by the AustralianWar Memorial.

Time: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm.

Rock art: power and symbolism in southern Africa - British Museum

The British Museum

Exhibition preview

THIS Asahi Shimbun Display Rock art: power and symbolism in southern Africa, on display at the British Museum until November 20, 2016, focuses on a piece of San|Bushmen rock art from Zimbabwe.

San|Bushmen describes groups of hunter-gatherer-fishers living in southern Africa. The object depicts two human figures and three antelope on a quartz base. Particular animals such as eland and kudu had symbolic importance for San|Bushmen, relating to their cosmology and rituals.

Rock-art images often depict shaman (or spiritual leaders) together with eland or kudu. Shamans entered trance-like states while dancing, believing that the spirit of an animal was inhabiting their bodies. This gave them the power to heal the sick, overpower evil spirits and summon rain.

Although rock art is not practiced today, the display will show how the images they left behind can provide a glimpse into the lives and belief systems of the people that made them.

The display draws on The African Rock Art Image Project which has catalogued and uploaded more than 20,000 images into the Museum’s collections, and presents our understanding of San|Bushmen material culture and belief systems.

In 2013, The British Museum launched The African Rock Art Image Project, a landmark undertaking to document and disseminate c.25,000 digital images of rock art from throughout the continent, through generous support from the Arcadia Fund. The images, donated by The Trust for African Rock Art (TARA), are being catalogued, integrated and made accessible through the British Museum’s online collection catalogue.

New analysis by British Museum scientists have revealed a build-up of mineral deposits on the back of the rock art. This shows that water erosion caused it to naturally fall off the rock face, and that it had been on the ground for a significant period of time before it was collected. Digital technologies have also helped to determine the relationship between the two human figures and the antelope.

D-Stretch is photo manipulation software developed specifically for rock art research, which enhances different sets of pigments highlighting some and suppressing others. D-stretch analysis revealed that the antelope may have been superimposed on the figure, and possibly repainted at a later date. It also made it possible to detect more figures at the bottom of the fragment, the feet of another animal at the top and pigment on the lower left side. All of this is impossible to see with the naked eye.

Rock art was made using two techniques: petroglyphs (carving or engraving) and pictographs (paintings). Rock art sites can be found high up in mountain ranges or on boulders in the open landscape, sometimes close to crucial water supplies. These sites were not picked at random but carefully chosen.

Unfortunately, rock art is also at risk from destruction by both the natural world and people. Construction work, weather conditions, graffiti and touching continue to cause damage.

The display coincides with the British Museum’s major exhibition South Africa: the art of a nation, sponsored by Jack and Betsy Ryan with logistics partner IAG Cargo.

Rock art: power and symbolism in southern Africa addresses the role of San|Bushmen rock art as a symbol of a distinct heritage and a common humanity. It also takes up the issue of San|Bushmen experiences of colonial encounter and invasion in the region and helps visitors to understand what rock art means in southern Africa, both to indigenous communities and more recent settlers.

Opening hours: 10am to 5.30pm Saturday to Thursday and 10am to 8.30pm Fridays.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Tel: +44 (0)20 7323 8181


The X Factor Live Tour 2017

Exhibition preview

YOU will watch them compete week after week for your vote, and you can now see the X Factor finalists perform their biggest hits in an arena near you, as dates for The X Factor Live Tour 2017 are announced. Tickets go on sale this Friday (October 7, 2016).

Kicking off in Nottingham on February 23, The X Factor Live Tour 2017 is a country wide arena tour that will travel to Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cardiff, Dublin, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle with contestants performing classic songs and viewers’ favourites from the TV series.

Attended by over three million people, The X Factor Live Tour has been one of the most successful annual arena tours in the UK for the past twelve years. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch this year’s stars live in an arena near you.


Thursday, February 23 – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena

Friday, February 24 – Birmingham Genting Arena

Saturday, February 25 – London The O2 (Matinee and Evening)

Sunday, February 26 – Liverpool Echo Arena

Tuesday, February 28 – Aberdeen AECC

Wednesday, March 1 – Glasgow Braehead

Friday, March 3 – Sheffield Arena

Saturday, March 4 – Manchester Arena (Matinee and Evening)

Monday, March 6 – Bournemouth International Centre

Wednesday, March 8 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

Friday, March 10 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena

Saturday, March 11 – Leeds First Direct Arena

Monday, March 13 – Belfast The SSE Arena

Tuesday, March 14 – Dublin 3 Arena

Thursday, March 16 – Brighton Centre

Tickets: from £20 (plus booking fee). Limited availability Family Tickets (4 tickets maximum 2 adults) are available from the venue box offices, select ticket agents and the official hotlines – and or by calling 0844 811 0051 and 0844 826 2826.

For Belfast, call 0844 277 4455 or visit and for Dublin call 0818 719 300 or visit

Natural History Museum Ice Rink opens on October 27

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

Event preview

THIS winter, the Natural History Museum Ice Rink will be open to skaters from Thursday, October 27, 2016 until January 8, 2017, running for an extra week due to popular demand. Tickets are now on sale at

Welcoming over 130,000 visitors every year, the Natural History Museum Ice Rink, will be bringing back the glittering 40ft Christmas tree decorated by Swarovski.

Decked with 6,000 twinkling fairy lights and adorned with over 1,000 precision-cut Swarovski crystal ornaments, the Christmas tree is sure to bring that Swarovski signature sparkle to the middle of the ice rink this winter.

Also returning is the Swarovski ice photo-opportunity, which allows guests to take a touch of sparkle home with them.

As the ice rink glistens alongside the South Kensington streets all winter, the Café Bar and open-air balcony will be open for seasonal treats providing a place to stay warm out of the winter chill. Visitors to the Café Bar, which overlooks the rink from the first floor, can watch the skating action from a prime viewing spot.

Festive food and drink on offer will include mulled wine and cider, cookies, hot chocolate and much more. The Café Bar is open daily as a place to unwind after a skate around the shimmering ice rink.

Tickets: From £8.80 for children, £12.65 for adults, £39.60 for family (all include booking fee). Book online at or Or in person at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink Box Office; or by phone on 0844 847 1576 (public sales) and 0844 847 1575 (groups including school groups).

Check website for daily session times and peak times.

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD

Picasso Portraits - National Portrait Gallery

Exhibition preview

AN EXHIBITION entited Picasso Portraits will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery (Wolfson Gallery) from October 6, 2016 to February 5, 2017.

Picasso’s portraits epitomise the astonishing variety and innovation of his art. This major exhibition of over eighty works focuses on the artist’s portrayal of family, friends and lovers and reveals his creative processes as he moved freely between drawing from life, humorous caricature and expressive painting from memory.

On display will be portraits from all periods of Picasso’s career and in all media, from the realist paintings of his boyhood to his later ultra-spontaneous canvases. The works on show will range from celebrated masterpieces loaned by international institutions to works in private collections being shown in the United Kingdom for the first time.

The exhibition is co-organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Museu Picasso, Barcelona.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE


India’s Gateway: Gujarat, Mumbai & Britain - Redbridge Museum

Exhibition preview

ON DISPLAY at Redbridge Museum in Ilford, east London from October 18, 2016 to January 28, 2017, India’s Gateway: Gujarat, Mumbai & Britain explores the links between Gujarat, Mumbai and Britain which stretch back over 400 years.

Gujarat has been a centre for international trade for thousands of years, its coastline studded with ports connecting India with the outside world.

In 1615, when Sir Thomas Roe of Woodford (which is now in the London Borough of Redbridge) first secured a base for London’s East India Company at Surat on the coast of Gujarat, the region became the first point of contact between Britain and the Indian subcontinent.

It was the beginning of an extraordinary relationship that endures to this day. This relationship changed Gujarat and its people, who in turn have profoundly altered the fabric of modern-day Britain. Over half of British Indians can trace their roots back to Gujarat, and large Gujarati communities can now be found all over the world.

Back in Britain, East India Company merchants used their wealth to build magnificent estates during the 1700s in places such as Ilford, Wanstead and Woodford, which are now part of the London Borough of Redbridge. Later, from the 1960s onwards, many Gujaratis moved to Britain, some via east Africa, and made their home in east London as well as other places such as west London, Leicester and Bradford.

This exhibition at Redbridge Museum presents a vivid portrait of the region and explores the lives and experiences of Gujarati communities today in both India and east London.

The display is based around new photography and film by renowned photographer Tim Smith complemented with material from Redbridge Museum’s collections.

Tim Smith is based in Yorkshire and explores stories around migration, culture and identity. He says:

“Over the past three decades I’ve photographed many of the different British Asian communities in the UK. I’m fascinated by individual life stories that often depend on chance and circumstance but are also shaped by the impact of world events: whether it be the arrival of British ships on Indian shores over 400 years ago, the Partition of India in 1947 or the need for labour in the post-war reconstruction of Britain.

“The idea for the exhibition was in part inspired by something a British Indian friend said to me once: ‘There’s a little bit of India in everyone that lives in Britain. I just wish more people realised that’.

“With India’s Gateway, I wanted to tell these stories from the other end. By travelling back along the lines of migration to modern-day Gujarat and Mumbai, I wanted to take photographs and gather stories that explored the shared history between Britain and India, much of which is still visible today.

“Before setting off to India, I travelled around England asking British Gujaratis for advice about where to go and who to meet in Gujarat. Redbridge Museum had already made a research trip, funded by the British Council, to explore some of these local connections and that was an immense help.

“I travelled in 2014 in the so-called ‘NRI season’ when many Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) escape the cold British winter to visit their family homes. This enabled me to meet, photograph and interview lots of people from Britain, as well as hundreds of Indians with family and business connections to the UK.

“I hope the exhibition will reflect aspects of the British Indian experience, as well as giving people an insight into how our shared histories have ‘put a little bit of India in everyone who lives in Britain’, and have left a little bit of Britain in India too.”

The book and exhibition has been sponsored by Prashad. This award-winning restaurant in Yorkshire showcases some of the very best vegetarian Gujarati food, with founder Kaushy Patel’s recipes compiled in her best-selling cookbooks. The story of her family’s journey from Gujarat to Britain is one of many featured in both the India’s Gateway book and exhibition.

The India’s Gateway book which accompanies the exhibition will be available for sale at Redbridge Museum at a special introductory price. It is published by Northern Arts Publications, ISBN 978-1-911148043.

This exhibition is part of a national tour to six different towns and cities, assisted by Oriental Arts and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.

Image: Premji Hari Manvar, who works from his home in the weaving community of Hamapur near Junagadh, central Gujarat. Photo credit: Tim Smith.

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Friday, 10am – 5pm; Saturday, 10am – 4pm; closed Sunday and Monday.

There is a full events programme to complement the exhibition.

Kite Crazy! – Saturday, October 22 at 3pm. Free.

Free storytelling event about the largest kite festival in the world in Gujarat. No need to book. Led by Shweta Aggarwal, author of the Dev and Ollie books (

India’s Gateway Treasure Trail – Tuesday, October 25 to Saturday, October 29 from 11am – 3pm.

Free family trail and puppet/mask making (50p). No need to book.

Sail Away to India – Tuesday, October 25 from 10.30am – 12 noon. £1.50 per child. Book at

Storytelling, rhymes and craft for under 5s.

Super Saris! – Wednesday, October 26 from 10.30am – 12 noon. Ages 7+. £1.50 per child. Book at

Make a sari in the traditional Gujarati Bandhani style and then learn how to wear it.

Redbridge Museum, Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1EA

Tel: 020 8708 2317


British Museum acquires rare group of post-war Picasso prints

The British Museum

THE British Museum has acquired sixteen important lithograph prints and three aquatint prints by Pablo Picasso covering the post-war period from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. This acquisition closes the last major gap in the British Museum’s representation of Picasso’s achievements as a printmaker.

Highlighting key themes in his work from this period, including his relationship with the youthful and independent-minded Françoise Gilot, the lithographs were produced in Paris when he was working in close collaboration with the printer Fernand Mourlot.

The large aquatints from the early 1950s show Picasso’s experimentation with the painterly possibilities of the technique working with young printers at the Paris workshop of Roger Lacourière with whom he had first worked in the 1930s on the Vollard Suite.

This exciting acquisition is the final part of the Museum’s sustained campaign to represent more fully Picasso’s work as a printmaker. His achievements in this field, where he produced over 2,500 prints principally in etching, lithography, aquatint and linocut, rank alongside his great predecessors Dürer, Rembrandt and Goya.

The new addition follows the acquisition in 2013 of 17 large Picasso linocut prints from 1962, with the generous help of the Art Fund and private donations (currently on show in the Lady Lever Art Gallery as part of a UK touring exhibition).

The momentum to augment the British Museum’s Picasso print collection was given a tremendous boost by the acquisition in 2011 of the famous Vollard Suite, the complete set of 100 etchings made in the 1930s, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Hamish Parker Charitable Trust in memory of the donor’s father, Major Horace Parker. In 2014 Hamish Parker donated the funds for the purchase of Picasso’s great etching series made in late age, the 347 Suite, named after the number of prints the octogenarian artist produced in an astonishing creative burst over six months in 1968.

With this new purchase of post-war prints, the British Museum’s collection now covers all key periods in Picasso’s printmaking, beginning with the Frugal Repast etching of 1904, the Vollard Suite from the 1930s, his engagement with linocut in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and his brilliant return to etching in his final years.

Of the sixteen lithographs, six are inspired by the youthful beauty of the aspiring artist Françoise Gilot, whom he first met in 1943 when she was 21 and he was 62. They show how fluidly Picasso manipulated and reconfigured the face of his lover, distinguished by her long hair and columnar neck. The eroticism of the figure in the Composition is checked by Picasso’s arrangement of these elements as if they were a Cubist still-life suggesting a guitar and strings.

More abstracted is the tribal mask-like presentation of her features in the Form. Both works were produced on the same day, November 21, 1948. In Figure of 1949, she stands out from a solvent-spattered background like a queen of the night against a star-studded sky.

In one of the final depictions of his partner, Head on black background of May 9, 1953, Picasso combines frontal and profile views, an evocation of moody introspection made four months before Françoise permanently moved out with the children in September 1953. Happier times are recalled in The Artist and the Child of February 20, 1949 showing the pregnant Françoise painting at the easel while the toddler Claude plays with his toys at her feet.

The little artist of May 18, 1954 was made during a brief visit to Picasso by Françoise and the children. In addition to the use of colour to enliven the composition, Picasso rested the five transparent transfer papers, one for each colour, on a wooden board or table so that when he drew with the coloured crayons he could achieve an uneven textured effect in contrast to the whiteness of the paper on which Claude draws.

Picasso’s sense of identification with the sensuality of the pagan world was very much part of his Mediterranean heritage. Bacchanalian scenes feature in several of the newly acquired lithographs from the 1950s. In Rehearsal made over six consecutive days in February 1954, the pagan and the modern world are brought together in the form of the tambourine-playing satyr and the youthful trumpeter surrounded by three voluptuous female nudes.

The same figure appears in the lithograph Figures and Dove made a few days earlier (February 18, 1954) where the protagonists include a Picasso-like potbellied old man gazing mutely at three naked women.

The group of lithographs concludes with three portraits of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979), the German-born dealer with whom Picasso maintained a long, if sometimes difficult, relationship, from before the first world war until the artist’s death in 1973. Made in a single day, June 3, 1957, Picasso adopted a more representational style to record, perhaps not without a hint of malice, Kahnweiler’s bald cranium, lined features and elephantine ears.

While lithography was Picasso’s primary focus as a printmaker from 1945 to the mid-1950s, he also explored further possibilities with the technique of sugar aquatint. The three newly acquired aquatints made in collaboration with the printer Roger Lacourière show Picasso’s dazzling mastery of the medium.

In Hen of 1952 the artist dabbed with his fingers the sugar-lift solution on the plate to create the effect of the bird’s dappled plumage, and then used a scraper to define the direction of its feathers. Visitors to the Studio of 1955 depicts a Goya-like group of figures (some of whom are satyrs) observing the elderly artist at work.

The 1955 portrait of Jacqueline Roque, the beautiful young woman, who would later become Picasso’s second wife, is the most direct and the most personal of the three aquatints. His tenderly sensual portrait was made by brushing the sugar-lift solution to the plate; her profile is contrasted by the rapid flourishes of the brush that describe her hair tied in a ponytail. Her calm introspection is markedly different from the direct forcefulness of the lithographs inspired by Françoise Gilot from just a few years earlier.

This rare group of post-war Picasso prints, ranging in expression and style, underlines the importance of representing the artist’s work in depth. Now holding over 550 Picasso prints in the collection covering all phases of the artist’s career, the British Museum is the destination point for the study of his graphic work both nationally and internationally.

These sixteen lithograph prints and three aquatints will go on display at the British Museum in January 2017.

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: “Art Fund trustees simply couldn’t resist giving a major grant for the acquisition of this captivating group of works. Even in a collection as huge and important the British Museum’s prints and drawings, they stand out for their visual and art historical punch.”

Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, said: “These exceptional lithograph and aquatint prints are a significant addition to the British Museum’s holdings of Picasso’s graphic work, one that now stands us among the most important public collections of Picasso in the world. I am very grateful to the Art Fund and the individual donors who have secured these unique works of art for the Museum’s Prints and Drawings Collection.”

The prints will go on public display early next year from the last week in January to the first week of March 2017 and are available to study upon appointment at the Prints & Drawings Study Room at the British Museum.

Animality: Animals and Art - Marian Goodman Gallery London

Gabriel Orozco, Untitled, 2016.

Exhibition preview

ANIMALITY: Animals and Art – A Fairy Story by Jens Hoffmann will be on display at the Marian Goodman Gallery London from November 3 to December 17, 2016.

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. George Orwell

Man is the cruelest animal. Friedrich Nietzsche

Why have animals not been the subject of greater interest in contemporary conversations and historical discourses in the arts? With this question as a premise, Animality examines how an artistic and theoretical impetus might be formed that challenges the way we think about beings that are not of our own species.

In its essence, Animality asks what we as human beings can learn about ourselves when looking at the limitations of our own thinking, with respect to nonhuman animals. The exhibition leads us to reflect on the importance of addressing ethical issues, thinking beyond our own cultures, and questioning accepted assumptions of who we are.

Animality proposes that while some distinctions between humans and animals are valid, the two groups are more productively conceived as parts of an ontological whole.

The exhibition unfolds around six themes— Crossings, Extinction, Markings, Origins, Traces and Variations – each introduced by a short wall text guiding the visitor.

Animality participates in a broader philosophical debate of the past two centuries that includes such thinkers as Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, Emmanuel Levinas, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault, who has a particular importance to this exhibition.

In his groundbreaking 1964 book Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, Foucault connects the idea of human madness with that of animalism. He describes how terms such as ‘wild beasts’, ‘untamed, and ‘frenzied’ have been applied not only to those actually suffering from mental illness, but also to humans from exotic places and cultures that, in the eyes of colonizers, had chosen to live like animals and thus were treated accordingly.

Animality explores clear parallels between Foucault’s idea and our contemporary realities of refugees and immigrants, expanding the dialogue to the larger social and political issues of our time. Contemporary and historical artworks as well as numerous artifacts are juxtaposed, allowing for relationships between art and non-art materials to emerge, creating strong and provocative links between historical and contemporary realities.

The display of the exhibition follows the layout of the zoo. Over the last 150 years, zoos have developed completely new display strategies to simulate animals’ natural habitats and retire as inhumane the old-fashioned cage. The layout of Animality examines the meaning of nature in the city by looking at how zoos have assembled and displayed their animal collections, contrasting the idea of museum with that of a zoo.

Indeed, both zoos and museums are concrete expressions of long-standing tensions between wildness and civilization. In their efforts to promote an appreciation of art and nature, both museums and zoos reveal much about how our culture envisions the world and humanity’s place in it.

Jens Hoffmann is a writer and exhibition maker. He is currently Director of Special Exhibitions and Public Programs at The Jewish Museum, New York, Co-Artistic Director of FRONT International: Cleveland Exhibition of Contemporary Art and Senior Curator at the MOCA Detroit.

A fully illustrated catalogue designed by A Practice for Everyday Life will accompany this exhibition. To commemorate Animality, Marian Goodman Gallery will sell a limited edition print by George Shiras.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 6pm.

Marian Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John Street, London, W1F 9DY

Strictly Come Dancing 10th Anniversary Live Tour

Event preview

CELEBRATING ten FAB-U-LOUS years, the Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Tour extravaganza is back on the road in January 2017 for 30 spectacular super-sized shows across the country!

Tickets for the UK Tour will go on sale at 10am on September 23, 2016 (pre-sale from September 21).

BBC One’s hugely popular entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing returns to TV screens later this month with a new exciting celebrity line-up and a host of breathtaking dance routines guaranteed to leave audiences spellbound.

And the Strictly Live Tour is no different – this must-see event for fans of all ages brings the magic of the TV show to an arena near you.

This year’s tour will star TV Judges Len Goodman and Craig Revel Horwood. They will be joined on the judging panel by former Strictly professional dancer and winner of the 2006 series, Karen Hardy.

The tour will also feature a brand new host, Countryfile’s Anita Rani, who was a semi-finalist in the 2015 series and a contestant on this year’s live tour.

Craig Revel Horwood will direct the tour for the seventh year, creating all of the showbiz sparkle, breathtaking choreography and incredible live music that Strictly is famous for – audiences can experience everything that they love about the TV show live on stage.

Head Judge Len Goodman said: “The live tour always has such a great atmosphere and the 10th anniversary tour will definitely be one to remember, especially as this will come as I complete my final year on the TV series as Head Judge. Rest assured audiences, this tour will be a ten from Len!”

Craig Revel Horwood added: “I am very pleased to be back on tour with legendary Len and also welcoming Karen to the tour’s judging panel. This 10th year is going to be bigger and better than ever before. We’ll be pulling out all the stops to make sure that this anniversary tour is the best yet!”

Guest Judge Karen Hardy said: “I couldn’t be more excited to be joining Len and Craig in the judging hot seat. Having seen the fantastic line-up for this year’s TV series, I know that audiences around the country are going to be in for a real treat. I can’t wait to get started!”

Host Anita Rani said: “I had such a great experience on the series and the tour, that I jumped at the opportunity to come back and host the tour. I had a taster as tour host last year when I stood in for Mel Giedroyc, which was so much fun. I’m really looking forward to being back in front of the lovely Strictly audiences to celebrate 10 years on the road!”

This entertainment extravaganza will star many of the celebrities and professional dancers from the hugely anticipated 14th BBC One series, as they take to the dance floor and recreate their most popular TV dance routines. Details of celebrities and professional dancers appearing on tour will be announced over the coming months.

The judges will provide their invaluable wisdom, advice and scores at each performance on tour. But not only are the celebrities and their dance partners competing for the judges’ scores, they will also be battling to win votes from the arena audiences, who can text vote via their mobile phones and ultimately have the power to decide who wins the coveted Glitterball Trophy at the end of each show.

The 30 show spectacular will open at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham on January 20, 2017. The tour will then visit the biggest entertainment venues across the UK: Metro Radio Arena Newcastle, Sheffield Arena, The SSE Arena, Glasgow, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, First Direct Arena Leeds, Manchester Arena, Liverpool’s Echo Arena, The SSE Arena, Wembley (February 9 – 10), before culminating at The O2, London (February 11 – 12).

Last December, an audience of nearly 12 million viewers tuned in to watch the nail-biting Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final on BBC One, when The Wanted singer Jay McGuiness was crowned the winner with his professional dance partner Aliona Vilani. The television format, internationally known as Dancing with the Stars, is one of the most successful TV formats ever created and has been sold into over 50 countries around the world.

To book tickets, contact the venue or call 0844 875 8758. For online bookings visit or For more information visit

NoFit State bring Bianco to the Southbank this Christmas

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a critically-acclaimed world tour, the UK’s leading circus company, NoFit State, are bringing their ground-breaking promenade show Bianco to London’s Southbank Centre for the first time. Directed by Firenza Guidi, it runs from November 23, 2016 to January 22, 2017.

Bianco, which promises to be more impressive and spectacular than ever before, was previously seen at the Roundhouse in 2013.

Pioneers of contemporary circus, NoFit State will bring their silver spaceship Big Top to Southbank Centre’s Hungerford Car Park, creating a new and memorable addition to London’s iconic landscape.

Bianco is a promenade experience unlike any other. With innovative rigging and counter-weighting techniques, it takes place above, behind and all around the audience, in an up-close and all-consuming theatrical spectacular.

The boundaries between artist and audience are broken down, immersing them in an intimate world of breath-taking and powerful performances, accompanied by an electrifying live band with an eclectic original score.

Rather than relying on a linear narrative, Bianco takes the audience on a journey of individual interpretation, creating a unique experience for all spectators. A production where the music, costumes, props, lighting and design influence the action as much as the story, Bianco creates a personal experience that is engaging and accessible for all ages.

Rupert Thomson, Senior Programmer for Performance and Dance, Southbank Centre said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be welcoming the world-class NoFit State company to Southbank Centre this winter, with a revamped version of their hit circus show Bianco. There is a great spirit to the company, and the style with which they work carries through beautifully to the show itself. NoFit State will offer audiences something altogether different and we can’t wait to have them a part of our jam-packed and diverse winter programme.”

Tom Rack, Artistic Director, NoFit State said: “We are thrilled to be bringing Bianco back to London, and to Southbank Centre for their Winter Festival supported by NatWest. This is the first time the show has performed in England in three years, and it’s going to be great to spend this winter closer to home.

Bianco has captivated and captured the hearts and minds of audiences in Hong Kong, New York, Australia, and in every corner of Europe. We are sure that London is going to love this raw, raucous and infectious contemporary circus experience.”

Bianco has music direction by David Murray, production design by Saz Moir, lighting by Adam Cobbley, costumes by Rhiannon Matthews and rigging design by Lyndall Merry.

NoFit State’s Big Top

Bringing together some of the most talented international circus performers with a diverse range of skills, the company of Bianco includes Lyndall Merry (Head Rigger/Performer), Joachim Aussibal, Junior Barbosa, François Bouvier, Edd Casey, Delia Ceruti, Augusts Dakteris, Jani Foldi, Enni Lymi, Felipe Nardiello, Jessica O’Connor, Danilo Pacheco, Blaze Tarsha, Lee Tinnion, Cecilia Zucchetti, and musicians Matt Collins, Doug Kemp, Annette Loose, and Andy Moore.

NoFit State Circus is presents Bianco in partnership with Southbank Centre as part of Winter Festival supported by NatWest.

Image (top): Bianco taken in New York. Photographer/Creator: Maike Schulz.

On Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4, 2016, NoFit State Circus offer a variety of workshops in Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall for all ages and abilities.

Children aged 7-12 years have the opportunity to explore soft youth circus skills including juggling, hula hoop, basic tumbling, poi, plate-spinning, diabolo and scarf juggling. A tight-wire area allows parents/guardians to help their child walk the tight-wire with a helping hand.

Ages 12+ and adults can explore additional skills including club and ball juggling, acrobalance and advanced tumbling.

The 45 minute workshops take place at 12pm, 1.30pm and 3pm. For further details visit

There will also be a 45 minute pre-show Q&As on Thursday, January 5 and Tuesday, January 10, 2017, when the company and creative team discuss how Bianco is created. Free with purchased tickets for the show (limited availability). For further details visit

For more information visit or

NoFit State’s Big Top in Hungerford Car Park, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX