May 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      >

Remembering Altab Ali

Remembering Altab Ali

Image courtesy of Paul Trevor

Altab Ali was the young Bengali man whose racist murder in Whitechapel in 1978 mobilised the Bangladeshi and wider community to take a stand against racial intolerance.

To keep alive the important messages about community cohesion and standing united against racism, London Borough of Tower Hamlets host  Altab Ali commemoration day annually on 4 May. This year we will be marking the day with a photography exhibition at The Brady Arts Centre and a public film projection at Toynbee Hall

Brick Lane 1978: The Turning Point

An exhibition by East End photographer Paul Trevor will celebrate East London's Bengali activists of 1978. The exhibition reveals the dramatic events which were sparked by the murder of Altab Ali and pay tribute to the activists who mobilised around the rallying cry for justice that followed. The show marks the culmination of a major heritage project led by Four Corners and Swadhinata Trust, in partnership with Paul Trevor. With the help of volunteers and activists, the project is creating a record of the events as told by local people. The exhibition is open from 4 – 30 May.

Public Film Projection: Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane

Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane is a short, animated documentary that explores the events surrounding the racist killing of Altab Ali.

The film will be played on a loop so drop-in to Mallon Gardens to catch an open-air screening on the walls of Toynbee Hall on the evenings of 3 – 5 May. Memories of Brick Lane part of the oral history film from Four Corners, will also be screened.

Victoria Park Bandstand Season returns for summer 23

Victoria Park Bandstand Season 23

Image: VPF © 2010>2022 

Come and enjoy a great family afternoon at Vicky Park's famous bandstand as the Victoria Park Bandstand Season returns for summer 2023. Concerts take place every Sunday from 21 May to 30 July. From Portugal to The Balkans, Bow and Stepney, 22 bands over 11 days provide fantastic free concerts to liven up your summer Sunday.  Performances start at 2pm. Check out the full programme.

The bandstand season is brought to you by Victoria Park Friends Group in partnership with Tower Hamlets Council. 

Last chance to see! Rana Plaza and the Resistance 

Rana Plaza and the Resistance Exhibition

This important exhibition marks the tenth anniversary of the Rana Plaza Collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed over 1,100 people and injured thousands. The Rana Plaza Solidarity Collective is hosting a photography exhibition by the celebrated Bangladeshi photographer and activist, Taslima Akhter and the Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity. The photos document the devastation of the collapse, the resistance that followed, and pays tribute to those who were lost. 

The exhibition is open daily, 2 - 6pm at The Kobi Nazrul Centre until 30 April.

A Team Arts Education “Explore” Summer Term Programme

A Team Arts Education “Explore” Summer Programme 2023

A Team Arts Education support young people with their creativity and wellbeing by providing opportunities to aspire and achieve. The summer term Saturday Study Support Programme is delivered in partnership with Alexander McQueen and University of the Arts London: Central Saint Martins. These free sessions for young people take place at The Brady Arts Centre.

The EXPLORE: Saturday Support Programme is for young people who may need support with GCSE and A level course work or may just wish to explore their art form by working in a safe and creative environment. This term we are focusing on careers in art and design, fashion and textiles.

Summer Half Term Programme: Explore Stop Motion Animation and Film making

On this two-day project students will be using a wide range of materials from found objects to plasticine. Get to grips with these incredible tactile film making techniques. You will also create a scene of your own for a mini epic film, from plasticine and 3D set building materials. Deadline for registration 25 May 2023

For more information about the programmes and to register contact

Judy's Vintage Fairs at The Pavilions

Judy's Vintage Fairs and Kilo Sale at The Pavilions

After their successful debut in February, we welcome Judy’s Vintage Fairs back to the Pavilions in Mile End Park. Shop affordable, vintage, handmade and reworked at carefully curated marketplaces.

Judy’s Vintage Market at The Ecology Pavilion on 14 May

From vintage fashion and homewares to handmade jewellery and lifestyle products – unique ideas cross paths with a sustainable ideology, small-batch and preloved.

The Vintage Furniture Flea at The Art Pavilion on 14 May

Voted 'Best Fair' by the Vintage Guide to London. Doing away with expensive replicas and focusing on quality and affordability, the Flea provides an antidote; a celebration of mid-century living from the 50s and beyond, the event offers up top vintage traders, all offering furniture and homewares without costing the earth. 

One ticket for 14 May gets you into the events at both pavilions.

Coronation arts and crafts in Tower Hamlets parks

Coronation arts and crafts

On Monday 8 May, join the Mile End Park Team at The Play Pavilion for The King's Teddy Bears Picnic. Bring your favourite teddy bear and a picnic and have fun in the park.

On Tuesday 9 May there will be Coronation themed arts and crafts sessions in Mile End Park and at Whitehorse Adventure Playground.

All are welcome to attend these free sessions but spaces are limited.

Join The Community Tune-In at Toynbee Hall

The Community Tune-In

Do you have a song that holds special meaning to you or your community? Join local charity The Young Foundation  on 10 May for a free event celebrating the songs that matter to Tower Hamlets residents. There will be music, food and family-friendly activities, including a ‘Song Swap’ where you can give and get a song suggestion. You’ll have the chance to listen and add to our growing #CommunityPlaylist and preview a video display of the songs and stories to date. 

Move and Sketch Meets Old Flo at Canary Wharf

Move and Sketch Meets Old Flo

A free wellness programme for women in East London from Trapped in Zone One. Activities include exploring public artworks in Canary Wharf with walking sessions and getting creative by sketching Henry Moore's sculpture Old Flo. Workshops will take place outdoors at Cabot Square. Sessions take place on Thursdays in May. 

Grand Union: If Music Could...

Grand Union: If Music Could...

Grand Union Orchestra invite East End communities to participate in a special choral project reflecting on our hopes and aspirations for the power of music in our troubled world.

Inspired by the music and lyrics of one of Grand Union Orchestra’s most enduring and loved choral works ‘If Music Could...’ this participatory project invites local singers of all cultures, ages and abilities, to come and join Grand Union’s charismatic musicians and vocalists to share their own stories, songs, experience and personal responses, working together towards a public performance at St John on Bethnal Green on 20 May.

The project will launch with a workshop on Saturday 13 May and rehearsals will take place on 19 and 20 May.  

Bow Families: Natural Dyes and Painting

Bow Families: natural dyes and painting

Join Bow Arts on Sunday 30 April and discover the spectrum of colours that can be found in everyday food stuff and plants, to draw where we live.

What’s one place in your local area that makes you feel at home, happy and comfortable? Children and families will mark out their own representations of their special place, before choosing colours that embody how they are feeling, from a range of vibrant natural dyes. The drawn spaces and places  will then be brought to life by painting and animating them with your favourite colours. 

This event is an inclusive, friendly environment which is accessible to all abilities and age groups.  

Bow Families is a series of free, drop-in family art workshops that take place on the last Sunday of every month in the Bow Arts Courtyard. These sessions are a wonderful opportunity for local families to get creative and try something new! Each session is led by a Bow Arts’ Artist and all materials are provided. 

Butterfly Walks in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Butterfly walks in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Join Terry at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on 14 May and 8 July for spring and summer butterfly walks in the Cemetery Park.  Did you know that at the height of summer up to 17 types of butterfly can be seen in the park?  If the weather is good we can hope to see species including Brimstone, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Orange-Tip, Large, Small and Green-Veined Whites, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue.  In poor weather, we’ll learn about these butterflies from pictures, and look at caterpillar food plants and nectar plants.

Tower Hamlets Wedding Fair

Tower Hamlets Wedding Fair

Join us on Sunday 21 May in the heart of East London for Tower Hamlets Wedding Fair. Come and find out about our historic and beautiful spaces in Bethnal Green Library, our Grade II listed building and all our wedding venues. You will get the opportunity to meet our accredited and local suppliers and businesses, who can bring your ideas to life and help create those personal touches and lasting memories.

Expect to see florists, caterers, entertainment, photographers, cake makers, stationary, beauty specialists, plus lots more, as well as complimentary goodie bags, bubbly and treats!

The is a free entry event - tickets are required as venue capacity is limited. Please book your preferred arrival time (11am-1pm or 1pm-3pm)

Help Shape the Future of Tower Hamlets Youth Service

Help Shape the Future of Tower Hamlets Youth Service

Aged 10 - 24 and passionate about making a difference in your community? We want to hear from you! Young people aged 11-19 are invited to shape the new service by attending one of four youth service #hackathon events (no booking required): 

  • 2 May, 16:30-20:30 at Haileybury Youth Centre 
  • 3 May, 16:30-20:30 at Osmani Centre and Trust 
  • 4 May, 16:30-20:30 at Spotlight Youth Centre 
  • 11 May, 15:30-18:30 at George Green’s School 

You can also take our short survey to be in with a chance of winning a £100 voucher. Your voice counts! 

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.

Twitter @THevents

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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 | |

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