Margaret Atwood at the Royal Festival Hall

Well known for such novels as Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace, the MaddAddam Trilogy, and the Booker-Prize-winning The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood has been much in the news recently due to the launch of the critically-acclaimed series of her international bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale as a television series – some say, just in time for the Age of Trump.

In this unique London appearance, Margaret Atwood will read from her work; then, in conversation, she will discuss not only her career, but the past, present, and future of her best-known novel and the real world it reflects.

Tickets go on sale on May 11th from www.southbankcentre.co.uk

John le Carré at the Royal Festival Hall

An Evening with George Smiley

“The literary event of the year” – The Guardian

Join us for a unique celebration of one of the world’s greatest writers, as he shares the secrets behind the creation of his most beloved character.

From his extraordinary Cold War novels – such as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – to his powerful descriptions of the arms trade in The Night Manager, and the War on Terror in A Most Wanted Man, the writing of John le Carré has come to define the last half century.

In this one-off event, the author discusses the full breadth of his career, and reflects on the continuing story of his most famous creation, the tubby, bespectacled spy, George Smiley.

Coinciding with the publication date of his new novel, A Legacy of Spies, the event will include readings from the book by the author. The novel sees the return of some of le Carré’s most iconic Cold War characters, including George Smiley and his trusted lieutenant, Peter Guillam, as their past comes back to claim them in the present. With a rare question and answer session, this will be an unmissable opportunity to experience one of the foremost chroniclers of our age, direct and in his own words.

In support of MSF, the leading emergency medical humanitarian aid organisation, John le Carré is donating his speaker’s fee to the charity.

Borders Book Festival

Sir Michael Parkinson, Jay Rayner, Carol Klein, Anne Reid and more at the Borders Book Festival from 15th – 18th June.

Jay Rayner ‘My Dining Hell’

Jay Rayner has been a restaurant critic for over a decade, written reviews of well over 700 establishments, and if there is one thing he’s learnt it is that people like reviews of bad restaurants. No, scratch that. They adore them, feast upon them like starving vultures who have spotted fly-blown carrion out in the bush. In My Dining Hell, Jay examines our love affair with lousy reviews, reads from accounts of some of the most excruciating nights out he’s ever had & looks at the worst reviews his own work has ever received. A hugely entertaining show in the company of the man recently voted the best food and drink journalist in Britain.

Jay Rayner is an award winning journalist, writer and broadcaster. He has been the Observer newspaper’s restaurant critic for over 12 years, is the resident food expert on The One Show, a regular judge on Masterchef and chair of BBC Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet. He has a lot of hair and a fine collection of flowery shirts.

Bryan Batt ‘Batt on a Hot Tin Roof’

“A spectacular one-man cabaret show… thrilling the audience with his ability to own the stage.” indaily.com.au
“There are triple-threat stars, and then there’s Bryan Batt. He sings. He dances. He acts. And he’s one of the most brilliantly funny comedians on Broadway today.” Broadway World

BATT ON A HOT TIN ROOF is a show born out of Hurricane Katrina. Broadway veteran and Mad Men star Bryan Batt grew up in New Orleans, a city that fostered his love of music and theatre. After experiencing the flooding and devastation of his hometown, he put together a one-man cabaret show paying tribute to his life there.

The music from the show features Broadway and some original material written for Bryan, peppered with the comedic skills that only Mr. Batt can provide. The cabaret experience is a divine exploration through the wacky and wildly entertaining mind of Bryan Batt.

Television audiences know Batt from his two-time Screen Actors Guild Award-winning performance as Salvatore Romano on the critically acclaimed television series, Mad Men. New York audiences have been delighted by Bryan’s brilliant stage performances in Jeffrey, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Starlight Express, Sunset Boulevard, La Cage and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Batt is a brilliant comedic actor, which began with his long run in the hilarious Off-Broadway hit show Forbidden Broadway. This season, Bryan tackles cabaret stages throughout the U.S. culminating with one special week of performances at The Crazy Coqs.

Samantha Barks & Kerry Ellis

Samantha Barks and Kerry Ellis come together for a stunning concert at Mayflower Theatre on Saturday 20 May.
They will perform musical theatre classics and songs from Samantha Barks new album. Expect ‘On My Own’, ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ & even some Disney.

Parkinson: The Man & his Music

A live theatrical journey through Sir Michael Parkinson’s musical DNA in words, pictures and performance featuring Sir Michael himself in conversation with his son plus very special musical guest: Joe Stilgoe.

Sir Michael’s knowledge, passion and love of music in all its forms is celebrated in a new show to be premiered at Ronnie Scott’s. In conversation with the multi-talented Joe Stilgoe using clips of classic musical moments from the Parkinson archive featuring performances and interviews with the likes of George Shearing, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby alongside live music from Joe this will be a fascinating , entertaining and informative journey to the musical heart of Sir Michael Parkinson.

Kansas Smitty’s House Band

The Kansas Smitty’s House Band have been quietly, or depending on where you’ve been spending your evenings, not so quietly, carving out a name for themselves as one of the driving forces in the London jazz scene. Their reputation, built on their incendiary live shows, has recently been cemented by the release of their full debut album and the opening of their own bar venue in East London.

The House Band don’t like to be boxed in. As their debut album exemplifies, they make wide use of the the sour mash of styles that has allowed them to cross the divides between generations and dispositions. Moving through sounds of swing, blues, R&B, New Orleans ethnic music, and gospel, they relentlessly pursue a sound of their own, seeking out and creating a genre-blind audience for their music. The Sunday Times summed it up nicely, saying ‘Conservatories or cocktails? If jazz is to survive it will need more bands (like this one)’

Willemijn Verkaik

Willemijn Verkaik Live in Concert with special guests Celinde Schoenmaker, Savannah Stevenson, Suzie Mathers and Tyrone Huntley.

Catch the international star of Wicked and Disney’s Frozen at the Cambridge Theatre in the heart of London’s West End for one night only on the 31st July. Willemijn will be joined by StageBox Musical Theatre Kids and an 8-piece live band.

The Jay Rayner Quartet

The renowned restaurant critic, Masterchef judge and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet has one other skill. He’s also a jazz pianist.

Now Jay brings The Jay Rayner QuartetSongs of Food and Agony, to the stage: an ensemble of top flight musicians performing tunes from the Great American food and drink songbook including Cantaloupe IslandBlack CoffeeOne For My Baby, and Save The Bones. There will be standards from the likes of Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Blossom Dearie and Dave Frishberg.

Alongside anecdotes from his life being paid to eat out on somebody else’s dime, he also talks about growing up with a mother, Claire Rayner, who was an agony aunt and plays tunes that draw on the narratives of the problem page letter.

With the singer Pat Gordon Smith, bassist Robert Rickenberg and saxophonist Dave Lewis.