January event highlights

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Tower Hamlets has a vibrant arts scene, and a host of family and community activities. We hope you find something to enjoy.

For more events taking place in Tower Hamlets this month, visit our What’s on Guide for arts and entertainment listings.

What's on in Tower Hamlets      >

Dazzling Winter Lights Festival returns to Canary Wharf

Winter Lights Festival returns to Canary Wharf in January

Canary Wharf’s magical Winter Lights Festival is back for its seventh year, returning to light up the dark winter nights in January 2022. Combining creativity with state of the art light technology, the stunning showcase of illumination and colour will run 5pm - 10pm daily, Wednesday 19 - Saturday 29 January.

The free attraction will feature over 20 mesmerising installations from some of the most innovative light artists from across the world, with firm favourites from previous years set to return as well as new commissions and pieces that have never yet been shown in the UK.

Highlights to look forward to include a life-size mammoth, a series of mirrored, luminescent pillars and a giant, mesmerising projection wall. Many of the pieces have been chosen to promote sustainability with clever use of recycled materials.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year as an important reminder of how humanity can come together to learn from the past, empathise with others and help to build a better future. In 2022 a series of events are due to take place from 27 to 30 January.

Residents are invited to reflect on ‘One Day’, the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2022. ‘One Day’ can be interpreted in a number of ways… One Day in history, One Day when life changed, One Day at a time or One Day in the future. One Day is also the difference a day makes. One Day is a brief moment in time but can help bring the full picture to life.

Art classes begin in January

Art classes begin in January at The Brady Arts Centre

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, students of all levels are welcome to come along to the Brady Arts Centre in January to get creative with a range of classes on offer.  On Mondays there is a Mixed Media Art Class with John Adams with a chance to try your hand at drawing, puppet-making, collage and more.  On Tuesdays you can have a go at Printmaking and Painting with Ginny and Nurcan. On Wednesdays, you can join Ginny and Nurcan to practice or learn how to paint in oils, and new for this this term are our Whitechapel Life Drawing classes on Thursdays. The art studio is a spacious, well equipped and friendly environment in which to feel energised and inspired to make new work in a variety of media and get your creative juices flowing for the new year.

Please note that you will need to adhere to the Brady Centre's Covid-19 measures when attending classes at the centre. 

Half Moon Theatre – New shows for the new year!

Dommy B’s Best Adventure Ever! at Half Moon Theatre

Half Moon Theatre get the new year started with some fantastic theatre for children and families.

Stars in the Sky inspired by a traditional folk tale and the creatures of the zodiac, Stars in the Sky is a luminous mix of storytelling and shadow puppetry. Follow the adventures of Stella as she sets out on a magical night-time adventure, helped by an assortment of strange and wonderful creatures. Will she reach the stars in the sky?

Dommy B’s Best Adventure Ever! Creating a whole fantastical world on stage with only his words and imagination, CBeebies Rhyme Rocket poet Dommy B explores the challenges and triumphs of making new friends when everything around you is different and strange.

Created in response to young children’s experience of anxiety, Butterflies is an uplifting tale of friendship, courage and facing your fears, told using innovative staging, breathtaking physicality, touching humour and an original musical score.

#POPGoesGreen this January

Pop Goes Green  - events and workshops this January

#POPGoesGreen is all about revolutionising our relationship with stuff, discovering sustainable ways to live and having tonnes of fun along the way! Hot on the heels of  COP26 the Poplar Union team are more motivated than ever and will be planting trees and taking on challenges like vegan week and no single-use-plastic week.  

Check out their range of affordable eco-conscious events for  adults, children and families!

They will be sharing the journey on social media channels and welcoming some special guests to offer free resources and advice on aspiring eco-warriors! Follow along with the action and share your favourite green living tips. 

Instagram  I  Facebook Twitter

Almost Adult - In person and livestreamed from The Space

Almost Adult from the Space - live and live streamed

Hope has just moved out from her childhood home in Macclesfield to the bright lights of London. After getting a job at a (get this) dinosaur themed bar and moving in with a very mature housemate, everything seems to be going brilliantly. But when she learns some questionable things about her manager, things at work spin out of control. Hope slips deeper and deeper out of her depth and questions how ready she was to leave home after all. 

With witty audience interactions, hilarious physical comedy and touching vulnerability, you can expect a good laugh followed by a single tear rolling down your cheek. Almost Adult runs 13 - 15 January.

London Short Film Festival at Rich Mix

London Short Film Festival

The London Short Film Festival (LSFF) is back in venues for their 19th edition with screenings, talks, music and comedy at Rich Mix. 

From the regularly scheduled New Shorts programmes showcasing the best short filmmaking talent, to an expansive Special Events and Industry programme curated by T A P E Collective and partners.

Whatever you’re into, there’s a screening or event for you.  The festival takes place Friday 15 – Saturday 23 January.  

London: Port City at Museum of London Docklands

London: Port City at Museum of London Docklands

Image © Port of London Collection/Museum of London

Don’t miss the chance to explore fascinating stories of London’s port at this new, free exhibition. From Victorian docks to modern day mega-port, London: Port City brings to life personal stories and pivotal moments from the port through rarely seen objects, interactive displays, specially commissioned art pieces and more. Now open - pre-book a free ticket on the Museum of London Docklands website. Until 8 May 2022, free entry

Hannes Schüpbach & Stephen Watts | Explosion of Words

Hannes Schüpbach & Stephen Watts : Explosion of Words at The Nunnery

Bow Arts’ Nunnery Gallery present Explosion of Words: a cinematic photo installation and imaginary library of modern poetry in translation, testament to the power of language and poetic forms.

The exhibition is a culmination of Swiss artist Hannes Schüpbach’s (b. 1965) response to theoeuvre of east London-based poet and language activist Stephen Watts (b. 1952).  The installation calls on us to recognise and engage with the vast wealth of poetry in translation that has been, and still is being, written and performed today out of many different histories and environments.

Watts’ monumental Bibliography of Modern Poetry in English Translation has been transformed into an immersive physical experience, extending as an ocean of text across the central gallery walls.

Painting Bow 

Exhibition by Mira Connolly continues at The Brady Arts Centre

Painting Bow - exhibition by Mira Connolly continues at The Brady Arts Centre

Mira Connolly’s exhibition of oil  paintings of Bow and the surrounding area continues in January at The Brady Arts Centre.  The centre will re-open on 4 January and the exhibition runs until Tuesday 25 January.

Current work particularly focuses on the greenery of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park which provides a wealth of ever-changing subject matter.

Grants for community events to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Tower Hamlets Council Mayor’s COVID Recovery Cohesion Events Fund – Jubilee celebration events

Next year sees the Queen’s 70th year on the throne and we want to support and encourage community celebrations and street parties, with small grants for events. 

A Jubilee Celebration Events Fund has been made available from the Mayor’s Covid Recovery Fund, to award grants of up to £500 to organisations holding events and street parties to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  

Events must take place over the bank holiday weekend, between Thursday 2 June and Sunday 5 June 2022. The deadline for grant applications is 31 January 2022.

Tower Hamlets Council coronavirus updates

We continue to work with Public Health England, the NHS and a wide range of partners to ensure we're doing everything we can, in line with the government advice, and urging our residents to do the same. Please regularly check www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest advice and subscribe to updates.

Are you organising events?

If you are organising arts or cultural events, either online or at your venue in Tower Hamlets, please submit listings to our What’s On pages.

Use #TowerHamletsTogether to highlight your event and enter wider conversations about activities and support available to the local community.

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Gally Space Brady Art Centre

Tower Hamlets Arts and EventsTeam

Brady Arts Centre, 192 - 196 Hanbury Street, E1 5HU

020 7364 7921 | artsandevents@towerhamlets.gov.uk | www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/arts

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