A Massive Alice In Wonderland Exhibit Has Arrived In London

Fall down the rabbit hole at Alice in Wonderland at the V&A.

“There’s plenty of things to look forward to in 2020: the Tokyo Olympics, Jake Gyllenhaal in a London musical, and hopefully possibly a new US president”. Well, I guess one out of three ain’t bad, given there’s no way we could have predicted a pandemic when we first wrote those words. Anyway, though Tokyo and Jake are both up in the air for 2021, there’s one very exciting arrival that has already reached London. Now in place at the V&A Museum is a major exhibition dedicated to Alice in Wonderland that’s ready to dazzle Londoners.

SEE ALSO: The London Bookshop Dedicated Entirely To Alice In Wonderland

Alice at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, by John Tenniel, 1865. Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Yes, there’s been an extra long lead-in to this one (dubbed Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, it was originally scheduled for June 2020), but it looks to be well worth the wait. The museum has promised “theatrical staging” that provides “an immersive and mind-bending journey down the rabbit hole”. Which sounds pretty special, to be honest. The exhibition moves from the early origins of the Alice in Wonderland story to the myriad adaptations and interpretations the world has seen in the 150 years since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published.

Spanning art, film, performance, fashion, and photography, the exhibit is nothing if not ambitious. You’ll see the likes of John Tenniel’s original Alice sketches and early artwork for the 1951 Disney adaptation, along with more out-there fare like Salvador Dali’s surrealist sketches of the characters.

Zenaida Yanowsky as the Red Queen in the The Royal Ballet production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Credit: Royal Opera House / ArenaPAL

Meanwhile, they’ve also collaborated with The Australian Centre for the Moving Image – who mounted their own Wonderland exhibit a couple of years ago – to focus on Alice in film. The original ACMI exhibition featured more that 40 arthouse and blockbuster films, yet the V&A are presenting an expanded riff on it, which shows the scope of their ambition.

Indeed, Alice in Wonderland is promising to be “the most comprehensive exhibition” ever mounted on the subject. Tickets are on sale now, and I reckon it’ll have you grinning like a Cheshire Cat!

Practical information

£20, but V&A members go free.

Also published on Medium.

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