If you are kind enough to read Changing Pages regularly, you will know there I love visiting art galleries, museums, exhibitions and the theatre. It goes without saying that I also love to attend any book related event or festival.
You will also know if you read my last post, I am an avid list maker and journal keeper. When it comes to reviewing my cultural year and choosing the high lights this is particularly useful, as it helps me remember all the lovely, and even the not so lovely cultural events I have been lucky enough to go along to.
Below is a selection of my favourites from this year
Film – Good bye Christopher Robin
This one was tough, as I haven’t seen a single film at the cinema this year I haven’t enjoyed. Also I haven’t yet seen Paddington 2 which I feel sure would have been my top choice had I done so.
However in the end I decided on ‘Good bye Christopher Robin’. I adore Winnie the Pooh but knew little about his origins or indeed the author AA Milne. This film although quite sad, was brilliantly acted. It was also beautifully shot with gorgeous light and English countryside in every frame. I adored it.
Theatre – A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic
The best really was saved to last in 2017. On the 29th December we went to see A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic. It was without doubt by far the best production I have seen this year. It could not have been more Chrsitmassy with a stunning set, full of lanterns, and a stage which came out into the audience. Collectively the cast were excellent but Rhys Ifans who played Scrooge was exceptional. He inhabited the character of Scrooge completely and reduced the audience to both tears and laughter in equal measure. It was my absolute runaway favourite and a highlight of 2017.
Exhibition – Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) at The Dulwich Picture Gallery
I have been a fan of Vanessa Bell ever since my first trip to Charleston, her former home some years ago, so I had been especially excited to see this exhibition. I managed to catch it the day before it closed at The Dulwich Picture Gallery, and it was everything I had hoped for, and full of colourful abstracts and landscape paintings and fabrics I had never seen before. I left feeling radiant and uplifted.
Gallery or Museum – The William Morris Gallery
I had never visited this gallery before and it may just be one of my best London discoveries this year. This gallery dedicated to his life and legacy is at the very Northern end of the Victoria Line and housed in the 3 storey Georgian villa in which William Morris lived for a number of years from the age of 13. It is packed full of his work and inspiration and gives a real insight into his personal life too. The coffee shop is particularly delicious and I defy anyone to resist the treasures on offer in the gift shop.
Literary Event – Orla Kiely in Conversation
This was more tricky, as I’ve attended some great book events this year, but I think my favourite has to be Orla Kiely in conversation at Foyles Bookshop talking about her inspiration and the ommemorate the re-issue of her design bible, Pattern. I still clearly remember the excitement of my first Orla Kiely bag purchase at a sale in, I think Chelsea Town Hall in about 2002. I have had many bags and other Orla purchases and gifts since and continue to love her style. I had never heard her talk about her work before and was fascinated by all she had to say about her creative process, her brand and what has become a hugely successful business. She was warm and generous in her conversation and gave a fascinating insight into the world of Orla Kiely. She also looked fabulous in one of her own creations (obviously!)
Music Event – Carfest South
I am taking the easy way out here, rather than choosing just one concert or performance I am going to choose a whole 2 1/2 days worth from the Carfest South Festival. It was my first ever non literary festival and it exceeded all my expectations. We were treated to wonderful sets by bands and solo artists as diverse as Sophie Ellis-Bexter, Seasick Steve (unstoppable), KT Tunstell, Deacon Blue, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott and The Jacksons, and many more. Every performance was delivered with joy and absolute enthusiasm. It was a beautifully hot and sunny weekend, which I have no doubt contributed hugely to the whole experience.
This year has been a very good year for culture finishing on a very big Victorian high with an outstanding performance of Dickens A Christmas Carol which I have decided to award my (drum roll please) ‘Absolute Favourite Cultural event of 2017’.
What do you think? What have your cultural highlights of 2017 been, and what are you looking forward to in 2018?
Pop by next week to see my favourite reads of 2017. Until then, have a lovely weekend