Inbox: January 2015  

ANYONE WHO thinks ballet is not for boys, really should take a long look at the photograph here of Xander Parish, who will be starring in the Russian Ballet Icons Gala 2015. This gala evening is dedicated to the story of Russian ballet, and will be held on March 8 at the London Coliseum. Featuring performances by living masters who celebrate the life and art of the greatest performers of the Russian ballet lucky audiences will see excerpts from the Russian classical repertoire and masterpieces by contemporary choreographers.  Music will be provided by the orchestra of English National Ballet under the direction of Valery Ovsyanikov. Ballet companies on stage include the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, Staatsballett Berlin, New York City Ballet, Finnish National Ballet and Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Enough to make you leap!

THE HEPWORTH Wakefield presents the UK’s fi rst museum survey of work by Greek- American artist and feminist icon Lynda Benglis. This highly-anticipated exhibition will be the largest presentation of Benglis’ work in the UK, featuring approximately 50 works that will span the entirety of her prolifi c career to date. Aged 73, Benglis is one of America’s most significant living artists.  Heralded as the ‘heir to Pollock’ by Life magazine in 1970, she emerged as part of an artistic generation forging new approaches to sculpture and painting in the wake of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Pop Art. The exhibition opens on February 6. More details at www.hepworthwakefi

THE BIRMINGHAM Rep’s busy season includes a visit from the world-renowned Palestinian Freedom Theatre, embarking on its first ever tour of the UK with The Siege in June.  This new play is inspired by the true story of a group of fighters who took sanctuary in one of the world’s holiest sites, the Church of the Nativity. Palestinian theatre director Nabil Al- Raee and British theatre director Zoe Lafferty traced the fighters who are now exiled across Europe and collected their untold accounts.  The Siege is created by The Freedom Theatre actors – an ensemble who have lived under occupation their whole lives. Book now at

YINKA SHONIBARE Love this image by Yinka Shonibare – just one of the many wonderful pieces in Self: Image and Identity at Turner Contemporary in Margate,  The gallery is presenting more than 100 artist self-portraits from the 16th century to the present day, from Sir Anthony van Dyck and JMW Turner to contemporary work by Louise Bourgeois and Yinka Shonibare.

The exhibition explores the diverse ways in which artists have chosen to represent themselves and their identities through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and fi lm. More than 70 works from the National Portrait Gallery will be showcased alongside key 20th century and contemporary self-portraits from public and private international collections.  Find out more at the gallery’s lovely website

I F YOU’RE around in London you might like to pop in to Vault 2015, a Heritage Arts project for adults, young people and children. The six-week cultural festival in the labyrinthine tunnel network in Waterloo, opens on January 28.  It features more than 70 shows and live music plus weekends of spectacular underground shows, events and free activities for families.  Other events will include curated performance installations, a street art tunnel takeover, wall-running classes, essential political debate and panel discussion, masterclasses, workshops, IdeasTap Spas, a permanent gallery space and a partnership with homeless charity The Passage. See if there’s anything for you at

A brilliant idea: Ikon’s 50th anniversary celebrations will culminate in Artists for Ikon, an exhibition at the gallery opening on April 24 followed by a major contemporary art auction at Sotheby’s, London in July 2015.  The exhibition will preview works donated for the auction by some of today’s most important artists, all of whom have exhibited at the gallery. It will be a survey of Ikon’s greatest hits.  Artists include Hurvin Anderson, Martin Creed, Ian Davenport, Marcel Dzama, Ryan Gander, Antony Gormley, Carmen Herrera, Roger Hiorns, Beatriz Milhazes, Julian Opie and Cornelia Parker amongst others. The proceeds of the auction will lay the foundations for Ikon’s 50th Anniversary Endowment Fund, dedicated to the gallery’s artistic programme and the commissioning of new art work.  More details from

Craft workshops and live drawing will be offered at the brilliant Imagine Festival from leading illustrators and book makers including Laura Allen Anderson, Suzanne Barton, Jennifer Gray, Jane Bull, Benji Davies, Sarah Dennis, Emma Dodd, William Grill, Faye Hanson, Hilda Offen, and Gary Parsons. Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival sponsored by the Book People returns for two weeks over half term (9-22 February) with a huge site-wide line up to activate ideas and creativity. Over half of the 2015 programme will be free of charge. For full information click

There is still time to pop in to the Illustrationcupboard’s 19th Annual Winter Exhibition, the most comprehensive collection of modern illustration art worldwide.

This unique show is now regarded as a key international event for illustration art and features over 350 original works from the very best artists from all over the world. Head to the Illustrationcupboard Gallery in St James’s London where your art students will enjoy a superb collection of sketches by the classic illustrator Beatrix Potter for The Fierce Bad Rabbit, work from Quentin Blake for The Twits and Jill Murphy’s All in One Peace.

Contemporary illustrators are represented with former Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne, David McKee who celebrates 25 years of Elmer the Elephant, the international phenomenon Shaun Tan as well as fantasy artist John Howe, who has recently finished working on the feature film of The Hobbit.

The exhibition also includes Shirley Hughes at Illustrationcupboard Gallery. Shirley is one of this country’s most treasured picture book authors and illustrators and this new collection of artwork from her favourite books such as Alfie and My Naughty Little Sister is a must for all fans and collectors.

For more information may I draw your attention to