The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.


Curve: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (11 - 26 February)
Creating a theatrical confection of romance, heartbreak and surprise, innovative company Kneehigh present a new adaptation of the cult French musical film.


Tate Britain: Watercolour (16 February - 21 August)
A celebration of the huge variety of ways that watercolour has been used, ranging from the works of Turner to Anish Kapoor.


ICA: Novel Women (16 February)
A discussion of gender politics in publishing and the literary world, with panelists including Arts Council Literature Director Antonia Byatt and Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC.


Barbican: The Blue Dragon (17 - 26 February)
Master choreographer and theatre-maker Robert Lepage returns to the stage with the tale of an artist in modern China.


Southbank Centre: London Philharmonic Ochestra (13 February)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a programme of sweeping classics by French composers Ravel and Berlioz, including Mother Goose and Symphonie Fantastique.

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Karen Bradley as Culture Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The most politically charged of the culture minister's responsibilities is overseeing the BBC, and to anyone who works for - or simply loves - the national broadcaster, Karen Bradley has one big point in her favour. She is not John Whittingdale. Her predecessor as culture secretary was notorious for his belief that the BBC was a wasteful, over-mighty organisation which needed to be curbed. And he would have had ample opportunity to do this: the BBC's Charter is due for renewal next year, and the licence fee is only fixed until 2017. 

In her previous job at the Home Office, Karen Bradley gained a reputation as a calm, low-key minister. It now seems likely that the charter renewal will be accomplished with fewer frothing editorials about "BBC bias" and more attention to the challenges facing the organisation as viewing patterns fragment and increasing numbers of viewers move online.

Of the rest of the job, the tourism part just got easier: with the pound so weak, it will be easier to attract visitors to Britain from abroad. And as for press regulation, there is no word strong enough to describe how long the grass is into which it has been kicked.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.