EVENT RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Royal Horticultural Society’s flower show has been a fixture of the London calendar for more than a century. Among this year’s highlights are a garden commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, a medieval-style garden marking 800 years since the Magna Carta was signed and sealed. From 19th to 23rd May at the Royal Hospital

FILM Far From the Madding Crowd

In the straight-laced world of rural Victorian England, a young woman finds her heart pulled in all directions in an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel. Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) has inherited her uncle’s farm and finds herself courted by three very different suitors. Will she fall for proud, determined shepherd Gabriel (Matthias Schoenaerts) or a handsome soldier (Tom Sturridge) – or see the sense in marrying a gentleman of considerable means, William Boldwood (Michael Sheen)? Mulligan shines with an outstanding performance in an intensely romantic film from the Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt). Opens on 1st May in the UK

FILM Tomorrowland

“What if there was a place – a secret place – where nothing was impossible? You wanna go?” That invitation to young heroine Casey (Britt Robertson) from eccentric genius Frank Walker (George Clooney) is going to be impossible for viewers to resist. From Brad Bird, the visionary director of the animated films Up and Ratatouille, this live-action sci-fi fantasy is inspired by Walt Disney – who opened the real Tomorrowland as part of unlimited wonders – but where monsters lurk too. Opens on 22nd May in the UK

THEATRE Sylvie Guillem – Life in Progress

Possessed of extraordinary talent and burning charisma, Sylvie Guillem has been a dominant force for a generation. Now, after almost 35 years, she’s ready to retire – but first comes one final programme. Typical of this adventurous dancer, it features new works by innovative choreographers whom she’s worked with before. A solo, accompanied by musicians on stage is devised by Akram Khan, who bridges contemporary dance and the traditions of South Asia. And Guillem rejoins forces with choreographer Russell Maliphant – who collaborated with her on the award-winning PUSH – for à pas de deux with Italian dancer Emanuela Montanari. From 26th to 31st May at Sadler’s Wells

THEATRE The Elephant Man

His is a story of extraordinary courage in the face of almost unthinkable adversity: Joseph Merrick (sometimes called John) lived in Victorian England, and because of his extreme facial and bodily deformities was nicknamed The Elephant Man. Presented as a freak attraction for paying visitors, it took crusading humanitarian Dr Frederick Treves to recognise Merrick’s wit and sensitivity. In the London staging of Bernard Pomerance’s play, Bradley Cooper and Alessandro Nivola reprise their roles as Merrick and Dr Treves, respectively. It was Cooper’s performance, entirely free of make-up that wowed Broadway. From 19th May at Theatre Royal Haymarket

OPERA Antonio Pappano  the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Antonio Pappano and the orchestra under his command are an intrinsic part of the magic at Covent Garden. Now, the conductor and musicians take centre stage for the first in a series of annual concerts. In the first half, two pieces from Ravel’s poetically evocative Miroirs are followed by the ethereal song cycle Poème de l’amour et de la mer by Chausson. The brio and energy of the ballet score Fancy Free by Leonard Bernstein and Aleksandr Skryabin’s Le poème de l’extase complete the programme. From 4th May at the Royal Opera House

EXHIBITION What Is Luxury?

Challenging our notions of luxury, this playful exhibition of more than 100 objects celebrates the investment of time and application of skill in the process of making. Results of tireless labour, innovation and artisanship include a diamond made from roadkill, a necklace of 1,000 hand-knitted nylon bubbles, and the Space Travellers’ Watch handcrafted by Horologist George Daniels. From 25th April at the Victoria and Albert Museum

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