Fri 3 - Sun 5 May
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.
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.
COMEDY: Radio Active – Angus Deayton, Rhodes Arts Complex, Bishop’s Stortford, 3 May
This tour marks 40 years since this hilarious sketch show (created by Angus Deayton, Geoffrey Perkins, Michael Fenton Stevens, Helen Atkinson-Wood and Philip Pope), was first performed live at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, before it became a popular BBC4 Radio show in the 80s. The cast reunite, bringing with them all the classic characters and musical parodies from the original.
FAMILY: Build a LEGO Universe, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 4 May
Physicist Dr Ben Still explains the building blocks of particle physics, from the Big Bang to the Periodic Table, using… you guessed it, LEGO – now there’s something that everyone can relate to, from the scientifically challenged to budding Stephen Hawkings. After listening to ‘the science bit’ everyone can have a go at building their own LEGO universe. There’ll also be a chance to pick up a signed copy or Dr Still’s book, Particle Physics Brick By Brick, after the show. Minds will be blown! For age 7+.
THEATRE: The Amazing Adventures of Pinocchio, Broadway Theatre, Letchworth, 4 May
Everyone’s favourite ‘real boy’ comes to Letchworth courtesy of Immersion Theatre. This musical adaptation promises to be a vibrant and lively show, and there are some new songs as well as comedy and audience participation. Sounds like a great afternoon out for the whole family… no strings attached (*gets coat*).
OPERA: artsLive Screening of the The Royal Opera’s Faust, Berkhamsted Arts Centre, 5 May
Thanks to technology, you don’t have to travel far to get your fill of culture. Screened live from London’s Royal Opera House, Gounod’s gritty opera promises to plunges audiences into 1870s Paris, where, (if you’re not familiar with the story) Michael Fabiano, as philosopher Faust, strikes up a deal with the devil in return for youth and power. Expect knock-out virtuoso performances, stunning sets and there’s even a bit of ballet thrown in, all backed up by the epic Royal Opera Chorus.
MARKET: Hertford Castle Craft Market and Open Day, 5 May
Shop from over 40 stalls sprawled across the castle lawn selling handmade everything, from jewellery and homeware to food and clothing. Kids can create their own crowns (very on-theme!) and take part in giant art workshops. Plus there’ll be a chance to venture inside the castle itself where families can explore the dungeon, Victorian Kitchen and court room and pick up some local historical trivia from the volunteers who will be primed to answer your burning questions.
AIRSHOW: Season Premiere Airshow, Shuttleworth, Old Warden Aerodrome, 5 May
Those into vintage feats of engineering won’t want to miss the first of the 2019 airshows at the Shuttleworth Estate, as some glorious flying machines come out of hibernation for the season. Marvel at them doing there thing up in the air, whilst enjoying the entertainment on the ground, including live music and stalls. There will also be the chance to board a Dakota and Cataline aircraft and have a go on a gliding simulator, if you’re looking to whet your apetite for flying, as well as a pilot chat, vehicle parade and a chance to hop on a vintage bus and tour the estate – don’t miss the gorgeous Swiss Gardens.
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.
KIDS: British Dinosaurs: From Fossils to Feathers, Natural History Museum, Tring, 5 April – 11 October
Dino-crazy kids will love getting their teeth into some fun facts at this special exhibition which celebrates Britain as the birthplace of dinosaur studies (bet you didn’t know that…) There’ll be lots to look at too, including casts and specimens of prehistoric skeletons, skulls and teeth (eww!), which have all been discovered around the British Isles. A wannabe paleontologist’s dream!
EXHIBITION: Humphry Repton: Art and Nature for the Duke of Bedford, Woburn Abbey, 5 April – 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.
FESTIVAL: Hertford Arts Festival, various locations, 5 April – 5 May
Come and check out some local talent (not that kind, naughty!) at this month-long extravaganza of arts and culture. Unfortunately the art exhibition on the 5th has already sold out, but there’s still masses to see and do including a free Arts Trail with 30 pop-up exhibitions throughout the town where artists will be demonstrating and selling their work (there’ll be all kinds, from watercolour to scupture – a great chance to bag yourself a unique locally produced piece) – as well as a craft market at Hertford Castle on 5 May.
EXHIBITION: Henry Moore Drawings: The Art of Seeing, Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, Perry Green, 3 April – 27 October
Coinciding with the re-opening of the studio and gallery for the season, this exhibition of Moore’s drawings is the biggest of its kind in over 40 years. Most of us know him for his iconic sculptures of course, but it was actually an exhibition of his drawings in 1942 which triggered his rise to fame. On show will be 150 pieces dating back to the 1920s including life studies, drawings of animals, landscapes and portraits, as well as sketches of his sculptures, textile designs and a series chronicling wartime Britain. Fascinating stuff.
POP-UP: Creative Living, Christopher Place, St Albans, 3 April – 12 May
We’re all in favour of supporting local small businesses, especially if it means we get a chance to snap up some some gorgeous handmade goodies. This six-week long pop-up brings together 14 local business (nearly all run by women, I might add) selling unique furniture, home accessories, skin care, jewellery, art, stationery and more. There will also be demonstrations including cushion making and furniture making.
ACTIVITY: Free street table tennis, Hertford, April onwards
Can’t resist a challenge? Then you won’t be able to pass by the new ping pong table in Hertford without having a quick knockabout. Find it in Dophin Yard in the town centre, pop into the library to collect a bat and ball (for a £5 deposit) and enjoy a free 15-minute session. If the idea proves to be a hit, the council might add a few more tables around the town, too, so watch this space.
KIDS: Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, 6 April – 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!
EXHIBITION: Beasts of London, Museum of London, Fri 5 – Sun 5 Jan
This looks amazing- a fully immersive, digital installation (here’s 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 animals, 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, Joe Pasquale and more voicing the beasts.
EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Sat 6 Apr
This is going to be awesome! The iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant, gets her own exhibit at the V&A with over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.
EXHIBITION: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain, London, until Tues 27 Aug
This new major exhibition will be the first to explore the artist’s relationship with Britain and the literature, art and culture that inspired his work. Over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg.
EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July
This exhibition, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, has been HUGE- it is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am (from the Grand Entrance) and it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibit by purchasing a membership for the V&A (plus you get loads of added extras like sneak previews, a magazine subscription and access to the members room). Tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him, it’s based on the a Parisian exhibition but with a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.
FESTIVAL: Chilterns Live, Pendley Meadow, Tring, Sat 29 June
Oooh, new and shiny! There’s a brand new festival near our ‘hood! Chilterns Live will be popping up in Tring with a stellar pop line-up of Busted (this got a few squeals in Muddy HQ), Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Feeling.