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Mon 26 Feb – Sun 4 March 2018

Live screening: The Winter’s Tale, Royal Opera House, Weds 28 Feb 

© ROH/Johan Persson, 2014

This week could turn into our very own winter’s tale. This is a live screening from the Royal Opera House and it’s Christopher Wheeldon’s production of Shakespeare’s tale of love and loss that wowed critics and audiences. Wrap up warm and head for Broadway Cinema, Letchworth, on Weds 28 Feb, 7pm.

Broadway, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DD


Ella Berthoud, How to read a life-changing book, David’s Bookshop, Weds 28 Feb

Ella Berthoud is an artist and bibliotherapist and she will be holding a clinic at David’s Bookshop in Letchworth on Wednesday evening as part of the Fireside Festival. Ella has spent the last six years exploring the benefits of reading fiction. She argues that we can be transformed by the power of stories, that by walking for a while in someone else’s  shoes – seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, loving what they love – we come away changed ourselves. She and fellow writer Susan Elderkin set up the bibliotherapy service at Alain de Botton’s School of Life, and have together written two books, The Novel Cure and The Story Cure, that identify novels – for adults and children respectively – which can cure a wide range of human ills and anxieties, as well as provide an occasional kick up the backside. Ella Berthoud will share some of the stories which have the capacity to generate self-knowledge and make us the sort of people who can better withstand the challenges and confusions of existence and she asks how, as readers, we can maximise the potential for our encounters with books to be transformative. 6.30pm.

Tickets David’s Bookshop, Eastcheap, Letchworth, SG6 3DE


Griff Rhys Jones: Where am I? Broadway, Letchworth, Sat 3 March

It’s Griff. Comedian, actor, writer and President of the Victorian Society. He’ll be riffing in Letchworth. Can we call him a National Treasure? I think we probably can. 40 years of adventures guarantees a lifetime of anecdotes and yarns. Should be good. 7.30pm

Broadway Theatre Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DD


Ethyl Smyth: Grasp The Nettle, Old Town Hall, Sat 3 March

Now this looks good. It’s a brand new play with music performed by contralto Lucy Stevens and pianist Elizabeth Marcus. Dame Ethel Smyth was a composer, writer and suffragette. As an activist, she was imprisoned in Holloway Prison with Mrs Pankhurst. As a composer, she wrote the anthem for the suffrage movement, ‘The March of the Women’ as well as six operas and many chamber, orchestral, and vocal works. As an author she published ten books. Sounds amazing. 8pm.

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


Nell Phoenix presents: Truth or Lie?? Red Lion Pub, Weston, Thurs 1 March

Nell Phoenix is a storyteller extraodinaire who I have had the pleasure of seeing in action. She is tremendous. This storytelling event is part of the Fireside Festival and is at the Red Lion Pub in Weston, near Hitchin. Nell will host the evening and 7 people will be selected to tell 7 minute tales. But which are true and which are fabulous fabrication?? The ticket price (£15) includes sharing plates of food. 7.30pm.

Truth or Lie? Damask Green Rd, Weston, Hitchin SG4 7AU


Siblings, Fireside Festival, Baldock, Sat 3 March

Maddy and Marina Bye just happen to be the daughters of Ruby Wax. This evening is a raucous journey of sketch, clowning, serious acting and dance. This one hour show should be great fun. Jennifer Saunders says, ‘Watch out for these gals’ and Miranda Saunders likes them too. 8pm.

Siblings  Baldock Arts & Heritage Centre, Old Town Hall, High Street, SG7 6AR


Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until 3 June

Now you can see Barbara Hepworth’s work without making a trip to Cornwall. Although I did to St Ives last October and sitting in Barbara Hepworth’s garden in the sun was complete bliss. This retrospective at the Rowing Museum covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see.


Fly the Link trainer, De Havilland Museum, London Colney

You’ve always wanted to do this, haven’t you? Get into the LINK cockpit and fly? Produced to help to train pilots, it was used extensively during World War Two. You’ll have an instructor by your side who will guide you through the trainee pilot test.

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum Salisbury Hall, London Colney, AL2 1BU



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