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(c) Max Meichowski

RA Summer Lates: The Other Paradise

11 August 2017 Sarah Fortescue

If you thought that lavish evening entertainment in the heart of Piccadilly came with a hefty price tag, think again. Leading the way in museum lates, hidden away in the beautiful Burlington House, is the monthly offering from the Royal Academy: RA Lates. For an additional few pounds on the cost of an exhibition ticket, it’s possible to gain entry to the Late – and the quality of entertainment on offer is remarkable.

We’ve been lucky enough to attend two RA Lates so far: Venetian Magic, as part of the In the Age of Giorgione exhibition, and Abstract Expressionism. For the former we donned 16th century Venetian gowns and, thanks to the jaw-dropping costume efforts of other guests, successfully blended into our extravagant surroundings. Abstract Expressionism was a little cooler, as the flocks of beatniks dotted around the many rooms of Burlington House took in a truly immersive lesson in modern art.
 
The grand space of the entire RA is transformed, each room filled with eclectic activity. From opera singers to swing dancers, having your face painted to creating a giant communal splash painting, from life drawing to film screenings - it’s all there. Or, if you want, you can simply sip cocktails and dance to the late night DJs.


RA Late © Max Meichowski
 
For its next venture, things are stepping outside to celebrate the Summer Exhibition. The Other Paradise will take place on Saturday August 19, promising more art, music, craft activities and cocktails, as well as mermaid life-drawing, performance art, tropical funk DJs and more.
 
Imogen Willetts is responsible for bringing the exhibitions to life. “It’s really important that we have a range of different experiences on offer,” she told us, “from knowledge based talks to hands-on creative activities, entertainment and immersive experiences (like interacting with actors, or experiencing a living installation).


RA Late © Max Meichowski
 
“For the historical Lates, directly inspired by our exhibitions, we try and bring the world of the exhibition to life and celebrate the context in which the artwork was created. We like to make sure that there are communal activities, Ceilidh dancing for example, as well as space for more meditative experiences, such as gong baths, that have an intimacy to them.”
 
They certainly haven’t disappointed. For The Other Paradise, things will look a little different. “We can take over the entire RA campus and create a themed, boutique arts festival. This next event is inspired by ‘paradise’ – it’s a concept that allows for lots of juxtapositions … you can’t think of paradise without thinking of its darker side, dystopia and the underworld. The Late will have everything from the mythical side to a contemporary reimagining of Paradise Lost, as well as tropical paradise inspired activities in the Courtyard.”


RA Late © Max Meichowski
 
If previous historical lates are anything to go by, then this boutique summer arts festival is sure to be spectacular. If you do decide to go, definitely invest time in your costume. ‘Otherworldly Sublime’ is the theme, and your fellow revelers won’t let you down with their efforts. If you like art, architecture or just an eclectic night out, it’s really not to be missed.

RA Summer Lates: The Other Paradise takes place at the Royal Academy, W1J 0BD, on August 19 from 7 - 11:45pm. Tickets start at £45.
 
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