Culture to look forward to in 2021

We’re still living with shifting sands as far as what we are able to enjoy in real life and what we can enjoy in the safety of our own homes, but it’s heartening to see that the arts, across all forms, are making big plans for the coming year. Keep an eye on their websites for opening dates. Here’s a snapshot of what we hope to enjoy in the first half of the year.


The Holburne Museum in Bath continues to build its reputation for hosting ‘once in a lifetime’ exhibitions and this season’s is no exception. Canaletto: Painting Venice will see a collection of 23 works leave their home at Woburn Abbey for the first time in more than 70 years. A real treat for gallery visitors. The exhibition is due to run until 5 September. Find out more here

The Royal Academy in London presents Francis Bacon: Man and Beast which was originally due to open at the end of January and to run until 18 April. The Irish born painter, described as an artist of the macabre, died in 1992 but his work still has the power to shock. Dates to be announced. Find out more here

Music lovers will rejoice at hearing orchestras playing live together again. The Halle Orchestra has filmed a whole series of concerts for our enjoyment, which includes Stravinsky’s The Solider’s Tale, in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the Russian composer, pianist and conductor. Find out more here

The London Symphony Orchestra has steadfastly supplied its audiences with streamed music since the very first lockdown and continues to do so. Visit their website here


Easter is early this year (Easter Sunday is on 4 April) so Shrove Tuesday falls on Tuesday 16 February – traditionally known as Pancake Day.

On February 21 the Chinese New Year begins, heralding the start of the Year of the Ox. The symbol is associated with hard work, diligence and reliability.

When the Bath Film Festival screened Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in 2017 it went down a storm with audiences and its star Frances McDormand went on to win the best actress Oscar for her performance. Her new film, Nomadland is due on UK release on 19 February and is already tipped to be another roaring success. Dormand plays one of a growing tribe of older people in the United States who lost everything in the financial crash of 2008, reduced to living in camper vans moving around looking for casual work.

February will also mark the 200th anniversary of the death of the poet John Keats, who died of TB at the age of just 25. Hear his work recited and discussed on the Keats-Shelley podcast here


This is a good month for the written and spoken word with World Book Day on 4 March and World Poetry Day on 21 March.

Actor Anthony Hopkins is playing an emotionally harrowing role in The Father, his latest film in which he co-stars with Olivia Colman, due for release on 12 March. The title role in the stage play by French writer Florian Zeller was played by Kenneth Cranham at the Ustinov in Bath in 2014, winning five star reviews.

We can also expect the publication in paperback of The Mirror and the Light, the final book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy by Hilary Mantel.

The V&A in London celebrates the influence that Lewis Carroll has had on artists, writers, philosophers and scientists with its exhibition, Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, scheduled from 27 March to 31 December. Find out more here


It was 300 years ago, in Aril 1721, that Britain got its first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. A timely read is The Prime Ministers: 55 Leaders, 55 Authors, 300 Years of History by Iain Dale, which includes an essay on each office holder

The Oscars ceremony, which was due to be held in February, has been pencilled in for 25 April.

This month also sees publication of the first volume of folk musician Richard Thompson’s autobiography. The beret wearing singer-songwriter presents Richard Thompson – Beeswing: Fairport, Folk Rock and Finding My Voice, 1967 – 1975.


Tate Modern is putting on a major exhibition of more than 200 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917) – many of them never before seen outside France – from 6 May to 10 October. Learn more about the modelling processes used in the studio by the artist who created such iconic works as The Kiss and The Burghers of Calais. Find out more here

Our very own Bath Festival is scheduled to take place in May and at the time of writing our programmers are inviting authors and musicians to visit Bath to delight our audiences. The Bath Festival Finale Weekend has been rescheduled from 2020 and is due to take place on The Rec over the weekend of 29 and 30 May. We will, course, keep you posted as developments occur. Sign up to the mailing list here

The Glyndebourne Opera summer season is also planned to open in May, beginning with the festival’s first ever production of Verdi’s early masterpiece Luisa Miller, a tragedy of jealousy and desire. Visit the website here for more details of the programme.

Keep up to date with The Bath Festival by joining the mailing list here


More news