Amy: Beyond the Stage – Discover the magic behind the Grammy-winning singer | Short Breaks & City Breaks | Travel
Based in Kensington, London, the Design Museum is easily accessible to visitors by bus or tube. The nearest tube station is Kensington High Street, just a five to ten minute walk from the museum. Since November last year, the Design Museum has hosted Amy: Beyond the Stage, an incredibly moving collection of the Rehab star’s personal effects, writing and fashion that paint a vivid picture of the British icon.
I quickly arrived at the museum, which is one of the world’s leading institutions dedicated to design in all lifestyles, for a tour of the exhibition.
Our guide was the collection’s curator, Priya Khanchandani, who passionately explained why Amy, with her signature beehive and homages to sixties fashion, was the perfect muse for such an exhibition.
The first part of Amy: Beyond the Stage is dedicated to the singer’s beginnings of Back to Black in Southgate and dreams of becoming a star.
The diary entries are spread across the museum wall, each showcasing her crackling wit and poignant musings, painting a picture of the woman she would one day become.
Many personal items, including Winehouse’s diary entries and fashion items, come from her parents who donated many of the collection’s most fascinating pariphanilia.
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One of the most touching parts of the experience was seeing graffiti on a street sign in Camden with fans’ condolences. Winhouse moved to the area after leaving her family home in Southgate.
Early performances and archival footage of Amy performing for record label executives are included in this part of the exhibit as a stepping stone to the illustrious career.
The following parts of the exhibit chronicle the release of the only two studio albums she released during her lifetime, Frank and Back to Black.
While her debut album paid homage to her jazz idol Frank Sinatra, as well as his outspoken style of humor and perspective, her acclaimed second effort saw Amy embrace the sounds of Motown girl bands.
Handwritten lyrics from these two distinct areas are woven into the overall tapestry of the collection, while past performances by Amy performing hits like Stronger than Me and Tears Dry on Their Own play in the background.
DO NOT MISS
In terms of interactive experiences, my group was able to enjoy a short film detailing Winehouse’s career in a reconstruction of London’s Metropolis studios, where she recorded some of her work.
We got to watch previous performances interspersed with interviews in a recreation of the studio experience, with viewers carrying producers behind the booth watching Amy perform for us in a studio.
But the highlight of the whole exhibit was an immersive concert experience in a darkened room separate from the main collection.
Once inside we were treated to a performance by Amy at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2017. Singing Tears Dry on Their Own, the semi-circular room was transformed into a lively, dreamlike interpretation of Winehouse at its best.
While much of the collection is tinged with melancholy, it’s a must-have for any Amy fan or music lover as it showcases the singer as she should be remembered: an icon.
Where to stay?
For those looking for the perfect place to stay when coming to London for the exhibition, look no further than ibis London City – Shoreditch. Located in the beating heart of London’s increasingly popular West End, the hotel is the perfect choice for those who want to see every nook and cranny of the UK’s capital. Amy fans will be delighted to know that the Design Museum is only 35 minutes away on the District Line from this particular ibis hotel.
Check-in is from 3:00 p.m. on the day of arrival until 12:00 p.m. on the last day of the visit. It is located close to iconic East End sights such as Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane, but is also within walking distance of Tower Bridge and the city’s financial district. After leaving the Design Museum, I arrived at ibis London City – Shoreditch around 6pm and was warmly welcomed by the check-in staff.
I was able to get to my room fairly quickly, and all hotel employees were very careful in adhering to Covid restrictions by wearing face masks and social distancing when possible. The meticulously cleaned bedroom had a large double bed with en-suite bathroom and power shower. In addition to this, the room had a huge flat screen TV and a business desk, which had a USB charging hub.
Also, there was coffee and tea which was readily available for anyone staying at the ibis. Before spending the night, I enjoyed a tasty and affordable pizza at the hotel bar-restaurant, as well as a naughty cocktail.
Amy: Beyond the Stage is open until April 10, 2022. Tickets are priced at £14.50 for adults and £7.25 for children aged 6-15. A concession ticket costs £10.75, while students can go for the same price. Those with a National Art Pass can visit the exhibition for £7.25.