Hamlet! James Bond! Lady Gaga! The cultural events we’ve waited too long for

Since March 2020 the pandemic has taken a big red marker pen to the cultural calendar – here are the longest postponements across the arts

Lady Gaga: The Chromatica Ball

Previously July 2020
Now July 2021
Delay equivalent to The ideal period between MOT tests

Gaga’s rescinded run of summer 2020 shows should have been the zenith of her cyber-pop comeback. But even after the Chromatica ball-ache of lockdown, there’s an exciting “Let’s pick up where we left off” energy to her sole UK date being rescheduled to exactly a year later (30 July).

Friends: The Reunion

Previously May 2020
Now May 2021 (US) / tbc (UK)
Equivalent to Stanley Kubrick’s painstaking shoot for The Shining

Pivot! Last spring, all six Friends were poised to film a one-off reunion for the launch of US streamer HBO Max. That plan was torpedoed, but the official Friends Insta account recently confirmed the special is now in the can. Time to #ReleaseTheSchwimmerCut.

Hamlet at the Young Vic

Previously July 2020
Now September 2021
Equivalent to The world record for the longest single human stay in space

Theatre’s most famous prevaricator might have enjoyed a prolonged period of stasis but The Good Fight star Cush Jumbo is all about making things happen. Her delayed debut as the Dane comes at a time when many other starry theatre productions remain TBC.

Raphael at the National Gallery

Previously October 2020
Now Spring 2022
Equivalent to Consecutive weeks that Lewis Capaldi’s debut album was in the Top 10

Arguably the most influential Renaissance artist – and definitely the angriest ninja turtle – Raphael achieved a lot in his 37 years. This pushed-back National Gallery retrospective will examine his entire career, with loans from the Louvre, the Vatican and more.

No Time to Die

Previously April 2020
Now September 2021

Equivalent to Steve McLaren’s ill-fated reign as England manager

“You expect me to talk?” No, Mr Bond, we have all learned to manage our expectations. It has been a punishingly long road, but the stop-start scheduling of Daniel Craig’s double-O swansong has at least overshadowed its turbulent production history: remember when Danny Boyle was directing?


Previously June 2020
June 2022
Equivalent to The time it took Holst to compose The Planets suite

While other festivals have time-shifted to later in the year, Glasto is cosmically locked to the summer solstice. The logistical efforts required to mount the hippy hoopla meant that a 2021 edition always felt unlikely. So after a livestreamed mini-bash next week, the fest will return in 2022.

Guns N’ Roses’ UK shows

Previously May 2020
July 2022
Equivalent to The construction of the Eiffel Tower

For years, Axl Rose and GNR were notorious for turning up late and delivering ropey sets. So it seems almost karmic that, just as the revivified rockers were rehabilitating their live reputation, lockdown banjaxed their 2020 world tour. It’s like the wait for Chinese Democracy all over again.

Marina Abramović at the Royal Academy

Previously September 2020
Equivalent to Average lifespan of a hamster

It can be hard to separate art and the artist – particularly if the work involves physical encounters with the public. So it is unsurprising that this major show for the performance artist, featuring live re-performances of her celebrated canon of close encounters, has been deferred for a good long while.


Graeme Virtue

The GuardianTramp

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