Mon 9 Sept - Sun 15 Sep
ART: Herts Open Studios, various locations, 7-29 Sept
Check out what a creative bunch we are in Hertfordshire at this annual celebration of local art, where masses of artists studios, events and exhibitions will open their doors to the public for free. There’ll be all forms of art on show, from clay and sculpture to glass and jewellery to painting, printing, textiles and photography. It launches on 7-8 September with a special open event at St Albans Museum + Gallery to whet your appetite.
THEATRE: The Tempest, Rhodes Arts Complex, Bishop’s Stortford, 10 September
Nothing like a bit of Will Shakes to make you feel like you’re getting a culture fix. This production by quirky cycling theatre co, The Handlebards, looks like a right giggle. An all-female cast (sounds great already!), will re-tell the tale of the sruvivors of a shipwreck marooned on a mysterious desert island inhabited by magicians and monsters. Expect plenty of music, madness and mayhem.
BOOKS: Born Lippy with Jo Brand, St Clement Danes School, Chorleywood, 10 Sept
Lippy? Jo Brand? Ha! Meet the comic genius herself as she discusses the inspiration behind her new book Born Lippy: How To Do Female which is filled with hilarious and close to the bone anecdotes about her life, from not living up to society’s expectations to be thin, demure and feminine, to leaving home at 16 and various other mess ups along the way. Who wouldn’t want a bit of cynicism-fuelled wordly advise from Jo Brand?
FILM: NTLive: Fleabag, Hertford Theatre, 12 September
Did you <heart> Fleabag on tv? Or did you miss is completely – in which case, where have you beeeen? Writer, actor and well, all-round awesome woman, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (did you know she also helped write Killing Eve and the new Bond movie?), will perform her one-woman show that inspired the hit series live at the National Theatre. And it’s being transmitted directly to us here in Herts. Prudes need not apply.
FOOD: Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park, Verulamium Park, St Albans, 13-15 September
He’s the don of pub grub and a jolly nice chap with it, so we were chuffed to hear that Tom Kerridge is bringing his foodie fiesta to Herts again this month. Naturally his own two Michelin starred pub The Hand and Flowers will make an appearance, along with other top notch pubs and restaurants serving signature dishes. There’ll also be chef demos, not to mention a really decent music line-up including Tom Odell, Razorlight, Toploader and Will Young throughout the weekend. Bring on the craft beer and triple cooked chips…
POETRY: The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, Hertford Theatre, 14 September
It’s hard to believe that this lyrical wordsmith was illiterate at school and left formal education at 13. Today Benjamin Zephaniah is considered one of Britain’s most influencial writers, thanks to his revolutionary rhymes that brought Dub Poetry into our cultural awareness. A radical campaigner, he knew Mandela, recorded reggae with Bob Marley’s band, and fought in the 1980s race riots. Now he’s brought out an autobiography about his incredible life and is taking it on tour, next stop Hertford. Inspiring stuff.
DRINK: St Albans gin and Prosecco festival, Alban Arena, 14 September
Gin, gin, glorious gin… and Prosecco! Gallons of the stuff in fact to try, buy and swig at this dedicated festival in St Albans. Sample different varieties and flavours from a wide range of local to international distillers and producers, and dance the night away to the live music if you book the evening session.
HISTORY: Hertford Heritage Weekend,various venues in Hertford, 14-15 Sept
Fancy yourself a bit of a local history buff? Brush up on your knowledge during this weekend-long celebration as part of National Heritage Open Days (in fact, there’s masses going on all over the counties, so check out the site). Back to Hertford though, there’ll be an Open Day at the Seed Warehouse and a farmer’s market on 14th, then on 15th Hertford Castle will be free to visit and the grounds transformed into a Medieval encampment with Vikings, battles, fire breathing, falconry, archery and more. Plus look for free openings of local heritage sites throughout, as well as trails and walks to discover more.
KIDS: Hey Diddle Diddle, Luton Libraries, 15 September
Need to get the little ones out of the house? Goblin Theatre perform their take on the classic nursery rhyme, with puppetry, music and plenty of imagination. So why did the dish run away with the spoon? And how did the cow jump over the moon? All will be revealed in this cute production for ages 2+.
NEW EXHIBITION: William Blake, Tate Britain, London, 11 Sept – 2 Feb 2020
Poet, painter and printmaker William Blake has created some of the most iconic images in British art. This new exhibition, the largest of Blake’s work for almost 20 years, will feature over 300 original works, as well as an immersive recreation of the small domestic room in which Blake showed his art in 1809. Other pieces will be digitally recreated on an enormous scale. tate.org.uk
FESTIVAL: Emerge Festival, various London locations, 27 – 28 Sept
Dubbed as ‘Night at the Museum meets Glastonbury’ this new arts festival, hosted in venues across London, features 30 ‘late’ events from music, performance, poets, DJs and cocktails. The aim of the game? To visit as many as you can – a ticket gets you a wristband that gives you entry to every single event on the night. See the full line up here. emergefestival.co.uk
NEW EXHIBITION: Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, V&A Museum, London, from 21 Sept
MUSICAL: Madagascar The Musical, Aylesbury Waterside, Aylesbury, 19 – 22 Sept
Alex the lion (played by X Factor winner Matt Terry), Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo and a troupe of pesky penguins explode onto the Aylesbury Waterside’s stage in Madagascar The Musical next month, a guaranteed hit with kids (and adults for that matter) who like to move it move it (sorry). Tickets here.
CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival – featuring Muddy Stilettos Book Club Live, Phyllis Court, Henley, Sat 5 Oct
It’s back, baby! We’re returning to Henley Lit Fest (28 Sept – 6 Oct) this year with lashings of wine, plenty of pizzazz and a panel of brilliant authors: actor, Celebrity Master Chef winner and Meant to Be author Lisa Faulkner, former deputy editor of ELLE and How to be a Gentlewoman author Lotte Jeffs, and Five Steps to Happy debut novelist Ella Dove. More info here. Get your tickets pronto, last year was a sell out. henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk