Mon 13 - Fri 19 May
SCREENING: National Theatre Live: All My Sons, Welwyn Garden City Cinema, Campus West, 14 May
This National Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s blistering drama stars Academy Award-winner Sally Field (Steel Magnolias, Brothers & Sisters), Bill Pullman (The Sinner, Independence Day) and Jenna Coleman (Victoria, Doctor Who). It hits screens live across the UK from The Old Vic in London, including Welwyn’s Campus West.
THEATRE: Les Misérables, Milton Keynes Theatre, 14 May – 8 June
Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production (which broke box office records when it premiered in 2009), comes to Milton Keynes Theatre on its major UK tour. One of the longest running West End shows, this production featuring new staging and scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. No Hugh Jackman (sorry), but a great cast of established actors including Olivier Award nominated Killian Donnelly (The Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots) as Jean Valjean.
COMEDY: The Guilty Feminist: Live, Aylesbury Waterside, 17 May
Host of the hit comedy podcast, The Guilty Feminist, and author of the book of the same name, Deborah Frances-White, tackles the state of 21st century feminism in her touring version of the show. We’ve got the inside scoop from Debs herself – check out our interview here.
DRINK: Gin-Tology Experience, Bletchley Park, 17 – 18 May
If you’re partial to a G&T (who isn’t?) you can learn more about this popular tipple as part of the nationwide Museums at Night Festival, with an after hours guided tour of Bletchley Park, live music, a history lesson on gin. And you’ll get to create a bespoke G&T from a selection of 40 gins. Ice and a slice, please!
FESTIVAL: World Food Festival, Welwyn Garden City town centre, 18 May
Experience flavours from all over the globe as Welwyn Garden City comes alive with the smells, sights and sizzles of all sorts of international dishes at this special foodie festival. Over 30 stalls will be cooking up a storm, where you can try everything from South African to Caribbean cuisine. You can also pick up some tips at The Cookery Academy and buy your own ingredients at the market. Plus there will be music and kids activities too – look out for the bonkers Fairly Fresh Fish Company, who will be wandering around Howardsgate with their dancing prawns and lively octopus!
THEATRE: The Glass Menagerie, Watford Palace Theatre, 2-18 May
The play which propelled Tennessee Williams to fame is returning to the stage with a new ‘radical’ interpretation by director, Femi Elufowoju jr. Following the story of the impoverished Wingfield family in Depression-wrought St Louis, it might not tackle the cheeriest of subjects, but we reckon it’ll take you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster if you’re up for a weepy.
FESTIVAL: SustFest, various locations, St Albans, 11 May – 1 June
We all know that we could probably do a bit more to help our planet so this three-week-long festival dedicated to sustainability is a good way to learn how, plus have some fun too. There are over 100 events taking place in St Albans, Harpenden and the surrounding villages, from nature walks and allotment days to Make do and Mend workshops, cycle rides and clothes swaps. Then on 19 May there’s the St Albans #SustFest19 Market Takeover, where you’ll find stalls focused on sustainable living, such as plastic-free shopping, local nature groups, electric cars and bikes, as well as live music all day and tasty meat-free food. So make like Mr Attenborough and do your bit for the environment.
EXHIBITION: Hertford Art Society Open Exhibition, The Cowbridge Halls, Hertford, 5 – 18 May
Whether you’re a dab hand with a paint brush yourself or just have an eye for talent, you’ll enjoy perusing the works on display at this open exhibition for amateurs and pros alike. Artist are invited to submit works, in any media except photograhy – from ceramics and sculpture to pastels and prints – to be judged by a panel of experts. There were around 600 works submitted last year, with 300 selected to exhibit.
FESTIVAL: Greensand Country Festival, various locations, 1 – 31 May
In its second year, this annual festival celebrates our surrounding countryside, namely the 40 mile strip of scenic landscape, stretching from Cambridge to Bucks all across Bedfordshire, which is known as Greensand Country. It contains all of Bedfordshire’s remaining heathland, half its woodland and more historic parkland than anywhere else in the country! There’s masses going on throughout the month to encourage you to explore the area, including guided walks, bike rides, bushcraft, country crafts, fun runs, cookery workshops, yoga, local exhibitions, foraging and more.
EXHIBITION: Humphry Repton: Art and Nature for the Duke of Bedford, Woburn Abbey, until 1 Sept
This year marks the bicentary of the landscape gardener responsible for designing the grounds and Gardens at Woburn Abbey. The exhibition features his famous Red Book, which is packed with detailed plans and ideas for the planting schemes, lakes and parklands, as well examples of his other work for the 6th Duke of Bedford’s Devon and London homes. Step outside to see Repton’s work in its full glory, including his trademark features like the grotto, Chinese-style pavillion and aviary.
KIDS: Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, until 2 June
If you’ve got a LEGO fan on your hands, this is an absolute must-visit! Imagine their little faces at spotting a life-size gorilla made entirely from their favourite building blocks, or an elephant that literally weighs a tonne of bricks! There’s also going to be a pit full of LEGO for kids to build their own animal creations. Sounds epic!
FLOWERS: Covent Garden In Bloom, Covent Garden, London, Wed 15 May – Sat 15 Jun
Following their London debut in Covent Garden’s iconic Central Avenue last year, floral artists Fleurs de Villes will return to showcase the best floral designs in the Big Smoke and return Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. Covent Garden retailers and restaurants are all mucking in with botanical window displays, exclusive products and spring collections, bespoke cocktails and dishes made with herbs and ingredients from Covent Garden’s veggie garden. coventgarden.london
NEW EXHIBITION: Beasts of London, Museum of London, Fri 5 May – Sun 5 Jan
This looks amazing- a fully immersive, digital installation (see above for a sneak preview) exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London. There are some major British celebs involved too, with Kate Moss, Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris and more voicing the beasts. museumoflondon.org.uk
Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include the V&A‘s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive (until Sun 16 Feb 2020); also at the V&A is this year’s biggie, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, which traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him (until Sun 1 Sept). It is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance – it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A. Also worth checking out is the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg (until Sun 11 Aug).