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Jan 2018

Jonathan Pie: Work in Progress, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, Tues 30 & Weds 31 Jan

Political satire from Jonathan Pie in a brand new live show following a sell-out tour that ended at the London Palladium. Rory Bremner has described him as ‘the most exciting satirical creation since Partridge’. 7.30.

Old Town Hall High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE

Rhythm & Reaction, The Age of Jazz in Britain – until Sun 22 April 

This new exhibition brings together painting, cartoons, film, instruments and sound to examine the influence of jazz on British art and design. It’s in the neo-Gothic mansion that was built for William Waldorf Astor in 1895 as his London Estate Office.

Two Temple Place London WC2R 3BD

James Mayhew, Bishop’s Stortford College Festival of Literature, Fri 2 Feb

Many of the events at this festival have already sold out so be quick! James Mayhew is the creator of the Ella Bella and Katie books and he also does the most amazing performances when he paints with an orchestra. On Fri 2 Feb he’ll be painting live to music performed by the Bishop’s Stortford College Orchestra and Choirs.  7pm.

Festival of Literature 10 Maze Green Rd, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 2PJ

Hazel Askew, Benslow Music, Hitchin, Tues 30 Jan

Hazel Askew is a singer and she also plays several instruments. On Tuesday she’ll be singing and playing the melodeon, together with fiddle players Laurel Swift and Ben Moss. You can book to eat before the concert. 8pm.

Benslow Music, Benslow Lane, Hitchin, SG4 9RB

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Broadway Theatre, Sat 3 Feb

A classic. Love, betrayal, murder and fog. The Broadway Theatre programme looks thrilling this season, and this adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s fantasy looks perfectly chilling. 7.30pm.

Broadway Theatre, Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DD

Sophie Tea, Marks & Tilt, St Albans – until Sun 25 Feb

Sophie Tea studied business and management but then turned to art a couple of years ago. Her work is FULL of colour and promises to be uplifting and just what’s needed in January and February.

Marks & Tilt 18 London Road, St Albans  AL1 1NG

Gyles Brandreth, Bishop’s Stortford College Festival of Literature, Sat 3 Feb

Well, hello! Gyles Brandreth pops up in all kinds of unexpected places, and this time he’s at a school. This is the immensely popular Festival of Literature at Bishop’s Stortford College where many of the events sold out as soon as the tickets went on sale. This is Gyles Brandreth’s new show based on his new book, Word Play. 7.30pm.

Festival of Literature 10 Maze Green Rd, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 2PJ

The Lady of the Camellias, Vyne Theatre, Sun 4 Feb

A live recording from the Bolshoi Ballet at Berkhamsted’s Vyne Theatre. The Lady of the Camellias is the story of Marguerite Gautier, the most beautiful courtesan in Paris. She is never seen without her favourite flowers. She meets a man from a – whisper it – lower social class. Hello, Armand Duval. 2pm.

Vyne Theatre, Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted. HP4 1EH

Open Evening, Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s, Bedford, Tues 16 Jan

Open evening – with a free drink! – at this wonderful theatre in Bedford. You can have a snoop around backstage, ask tricky questions, and if you book tickets for upcoming shows, you’ll get a discount. I visited this theatre recently when I went to Bedford School and I was impressed. Amazingly, Dean Friedman is going to be playing here, someone who I haven’t thought about since I was at school. Free. 6.30pm.

Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s 26 St Peter’s Street, Bedford, MK40 2NN

Sculpture Trail, Uni of Herts, Mon 1 Jan and first Monday of the month until end Feb


The University of Hertfordshire has 500 artworks across its campuses. Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore’s assistant John Farnham and Andy Goldsworthy are just some of the artists whose work is displayed in Hatfield. Meet at reception at 1pm on the first Monday of every month until 28 Feb and enjoy a guided walk taking in the 12 outdoor sculptures on College Lane campus. There are two walks: 1k and 5k. Perfect if you work in the area and want to up your steps this month and next.

Guided sculpture walk University of Hertfordshire, College Lane campus, Hatfield, AL10 9AB


Bride: The Wedding Show, Knebworth Barns, Sat 6 – Sun 7 Jan

What’s on trend this year? Prosecco plunge pools? Selfies with alpacas? Lace stitched by unicorns? All will be unveiled this weekend at Knebworth Barns.

Wedding Show, Knebworth Barns, Knebworth House, SG1 2AX


The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet live screening, Vyne Theatre, Sun 7 Jan

I’m really looking forward to visiting the Vyne Theatre in Berko this month where you can enjoy a wonderful array of live screenings this year. The Nutracker is perfect Sunday afternoon splurge. Do some stretches before it starts and then enjoy watching others being magnificent in movement as you get cosy. 2pm

The Nutcracker  Vyne Theatre, Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted HP4 1EH


The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter Theatre, opens 9 Jan

One for Pinter fans if you want to pop to London town. The location is a rundown seaside boarding house. There’s a party. The novelty of new people loses its initial attraction as they start to feel menacing. What a line up! This should be great.

The Birthday Party  Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN

Helen Lack, Trestle Arts Base, St Albans, opens Sat 13 Jan

Inspired by Jackson Pollock, Helen Lack is a local artist with a global reach. Some of the issues that Helen explores in her work include population, pollution, ocean bleaching and chaos in the universe. You can see her work in the Trestle gallery cafe from Saturday.

Helen Lack Trestle Arts Base, Russet Drive, St Albans AL4 0JQ

Gordon House, Curator’s Tour, Broadway Gallery, Sun 14 Jan

woman short auburn hair crossed arms painting purple black blue orange squares triangle white wall

I loved the Gordon House exhibition and will definitely be going again before it finishes at the end of Jan. Gordon House was a fine artist and commercial designer who lived in Letchworth and studied at Luton and St Albans art schools. He was part of the London 60s art scene. It’s an uplifting exhibition and full of colour. House also designed album covers including the Beatles’ White Album. This is a tour with curator Laura Dennis who is brilliant. Recommended. 2pm.

Broadway Gallery

Blow-Up, Broadway Cinema, Thurs 18 Jan

Part of the swinging London scene at Broadway Gallery, there will be a screening of Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-Up at Broadway cinema. David Hemmings is a fashion photographer who captures a death on film after following two lovers in a park. 7.45pm.


84 Charing Cross Road, Barn Theatre, Fri 19 – 27 Jan

I loved this book and the film with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins is a classic. I can’t wait to see what the Barn Theatre does with the story and how it brings to life the story of a New York writer and a London antiquarian bookseller.

84 Charing Cross Road  Barn Theatre, Barn Close, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6ST.

Moroccan Saturday, Frithsden Vineyard, Sat 20 Jan

Frithsden Vineyard has created a fine programme of delights for 2018 with supper clubs galore. The first is Moroccan. Time for tagine.

Moroccan supper club  Frithsden Vineyard Hemel Hempstead HP1 3DD

International Organ Festival Concert, St Albans Cathedral, Sat 20 Jan

Listen and look up. It’s the Choir of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, directed by David Skinner. And it’s free! 5.30pm.

International Organ Festival Concert, St Albans Cathedral, Sumpter Yard, AL1 1BY

Chilean Supper Club, The White Hart, Welwyn, Thurs 25 Jan

This is the bar at the wonderful White Hart, but the supper clubs take place in the function room, the old courthouse. James Dowling from Wine2Trade will be leading the tasting of six Chilean wines and the chef will be rustling up three courses. I love this family run pub. There’s a wonderfully warm and welcoming atmosphere and the food is delicious.

Chilean Supper White Hart, 2 Prospect Place, Welwyn AL6 9EN

Burns Night Supper, Thompson St Albans, Thurs 25 Jan

Phil Thompson has 3 AA Rosettes and these evenings always sell out, so be quick. He’s a perfectionist and extremely talented. This is the first Burns Night Supper at Thompson St Albans and it’s very much a family affair. At first glance the menu might look traditional, but prepare yourself for a night of contemporary twists and turns. As for the entertainment: commis chef Stephen Mcilvenny from Aberfoyle will be playing the pipes (he competed at national level), and James Renfrew, assistant restaurant manager from Linlithgow will be ready to address the haggis.

Burns Night Supper, Thompson St Albans, 2 Hatfield Road, AL1 3RP

Jenny Eclair, Hertford Theatre, Fri 26 Jan

No need to introduce Jenny Eclair and you can probably imagine some of the topics in her live show. Aimed at an adult audience so you have been warned. Middle age under the microscope. 8pm.

Jenny Eclair Hertford Theatre, The Wash, The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS

Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, now until 4 Feb

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden,

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London, now until Sat 27 Jan

Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award.

Sadlers Wells, Rosebery Av, London EC1,

Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, now – 11 Feb 2018

Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work.

Modigliani, Tate Modern, now – 2 April 2018

Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is quite a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.

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