Poet, playwright, performer, theatre-maker, visual artist and founder of creative walking collective the Midnight Run
Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is an award-winning poet, playwright, performer, theatre-maker, graphic designer and visual artist. He founded the Midnight Run in London 2005 and cites his immigrant background as a key factor of its conception. The Midnight Run is a walking, arts-filled, night-time cultural journey through urban spaces. It gathers strangers and local artists/activists to explore, play and create – all whilst the city sleeps.
While winding your way around the eateries, embassies and market of Portobello Road, The Midnight Run encourages you to step off the high street into a hidden eastern gem. Buried deep within Holland Park is a natural, oriental garden, beautifully formed and open to all.
For the cool cats, Nells Jazz and Blues Bar is a great haunt to see genuine grassroots musical talent. The name may highlight jazz and blues, but the bar also promotes soul, funk, reggae, and rock music. This intimate club allows you to get front and centre with the music, and features performers from all over the world.
See the stage and screen stars of tomorrow performing and rehearsing at LAMDA. With Benedict Cumberbatch as the new president, you can be sure to find excellent theatre productions and films taking place throughout the year. With over 20 theatre performances, a series of original short films, and a variety of acting and technical courses offered annually, there is something at LAMDA for drama aficionados and casual theatre goers alike.
The newly opened Design Museum is a great spot for art lovers. It houses contemporary objects, but the building is a piece of art in itself, designed by a team of architects led by John Pawson. It covers all elements of product, industrial, architectural, graphic, and fashion design. There are numerous talks, workshops, and courses on offer, so you can learn about any aspect of design possible, from cars to graphics, to haute couture.
The Gate theatre is a secret gem of the West, a theatre which has produced some of the most hard hitting new plays. Situated above the Prince Albert Pub, this 75-seat space may be small, but some of the most prominent British actors have studied here, such as Jude Law and Rachel Weisz. The Gate prides itself on producing works that tackle issues of global concern, so the plays here are compelling and challenge the status quo.
The little-known Chelsea Physic Garden is a beauty in itself. The oldest botanical garden in London hosts over 5,000 unusual, medicinal and sensual plants. You can take part in talks, walks, and dinners in this beautiful and unusual setting. The garden is even home to a Florilegium Society, which has played a pivotal role in the development of botanical painting, both at home and abroad.
Museum Lates at the Science Museum is the best ‘late’ in town, mixing art, science and talks. Taking place on the last Wednesday of the month, each Late focuses on a particular theme. Admission is free, though some events may require you to book a ticket.
Leighton House is half house, half gallery. Belonging to Lord Leighton in the 1800’s, this purpose-built home art studio contains some amazing works and offers frequent exhibitions, as well as drawing and painting classes; but it’s not just art that is available with their first Syrian supper club taking place this March. The museum also offers Leighton Lates for visitors to peruse the collection will listening to live music performances.
The Notting Hill Arts Club is in the heart of Notting Hill and plays some brilliant tunes, from funk to flow, this popular club is still a place to throw some shapes. If music isn’t quite your calling, there are fantastic art exhibitions by contemporary artists, photographers, and filmmakers.