EVENT Royal Ascot

“The sport of kings” doesn’t get any more regal than Royal Ascot, which marks the apogee of the British summer season. The royal meeting is graced by the Queen on each of its five days, as the cream of British society dresses up to watch the world’s top equine stars do battle. A new enclosure, The Village, opens this year in the centre of the course, with pop-up food stalls and live music; the reduced-capacity Royal and Queen Anne Enclosures will become even more exclusive as a result. From 20th to 24th June at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire


Balenciaga; Shaping Fashion

Cristóbal Balenciaga transformed high fashion with unbounded imagination, conjuring up shapes that had never been seen before. This exhibition charts his design evolution from the cocktail dresses of the 1950s to the unprecedented geometrical lines that radicalised ‘60s catwalks. The show also documents how Balenciaga’s influence is still felt, long after his death in 1972, through the work of contemporary designers. From 27th May at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Alberto Giacommetti

Encompassing more than 250 works, this Tate exhibition is a worthy tribute to the sculptor. Alberto Giacometti is best known for his elongated bronze figures, but he also delved into the potential of other materials; this is a rare opportunity to see his delicately textured work in plaster and clay; Pride of place goes to “Women of Venice”, as the six plasterworks are reunited for the first time since they were unveiled at the Venice Biennale of 1956. Until 10th September at Tate Modern


The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Crawling up the greasy pole of Al Capone-era Chicago is Arturo Ui, a lowly hoodlum with big ideas who might just have the guile, muscle and sheer ruthlessness required to get to the top. Berthold Brecht’s thinly veiled parable for the rise of totalitarian dictators, here in a new translation by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Bruce Norris, has lost none of its furiously satirical power and, indeed, seems particularly resonant in today’s fast-changing political landscape. The title role offers an ideal platform for Sir Lenny Henry to showcase both his comic precision and his dramatic prowess. At the Donmar Warehouse

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

Saxophonist Charlie Parker helped forge modern jazz until his death at the age of 34. This plummet from triumph to tragedy makes his life a natural subject for the stage, and in Yardbird – Parker’s lifelong nickname – composer Daniel Schnyder takes inspiration from his music for a compelling drama-cum opera. Starring Lawrence Brownlee, a wonderful bel canto tenor, this stylish affair packs a real punch. From 9th June at Hackney Empire


Anne Teresa De keersmaeker/Rosas – Rain

Rain is the work that cemented Belgium’s Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker as a leading contemporary choreographer, and now she brings her company, Rosas, to London to restage the 2001 masterpiece. Set to Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich, the dance builds layer upon mesmerising layer of movement as the 10 performers shimmer, run, pose and fall on a stage bare but for a back-curtain of strings. The cumulative effect is by turns provocative and poetic, and will hold audiences utterly enthralled. 13th and 14th June at Sadler’s Wells


My Cousin Rachel

Passion, intrigue and – perhaps – even murder lurk behind the niceties of Victorian society in My Cousin Rachel, a lavish costume drama based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. The husband of Rachel (Rachel Weisz) has died suddenly and his dashingly handsome cousin Philip (Sam Claflin) harbours suspicious about what happened. However, as he attempts to find out the truth, Philip finds himself increasingly beguiled by Rachel – is this true love or is she casting a spell of seduction to hide her crime? Weisz lights up the screen in a Hitchcockian thriller, directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), that will keep you guessing. Opens on 9th June in the UK

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