Mon 17 - Sun 23 Feb
FAMILY: Suitcase Shakespeare, The Place Bedford, 18 Feb
Take two actors and one suitcase filled with random props, and what do you get? Well, a boiled down family friendly version of Shakespeare in just 45 minutes. Combining original songs and humour to help young audiences get to grips with complex characters and plots.
KIDS: Lily and Bear, Hertford Theatre, 18-19 Feb
This sweet family musical is all about give and take in friendships, as a little girl’s drawing of a bear comes to life. Lily and her new friend play all sorts of games and learn how to share along the way while inviting the audience to join in with the songs and action, too.
THEATRE: Play in a Day, Rhodes Arts Complex, 19 Feb
You could have a say in who’s going to be the next big name in theatre… come along and enjoy a series of short plays written by amateurs as part of the ‘Write Here, Write Now’ festival, before you, the audience members, get to choose your favourite of the night to go to the finals at Hertford Theatre – the overall winner will have their script made into a full-length play.
COMEDY: Adam Kay: This is Going to Hurt, Alban Arena, 19 Feb
The multi-talented doc-turned-author is back with his musical stand-up show about the gritty truth behind hospital front lines. Prepare to laugh, cry and be horrified in equal measure.
SCREENING: NT Live: Cyrano De Bergerac, Quarry Theatre, Bedford, 20 Feb
Just check out that brooding James McAvoy (calm down, ladies!) – he’s playing the eponymous lead in Edmond’s Rostand’s play about narcissism, language and love, which will be broadcast live from London’s West End.
KIDS: Big Book Tall Tales, The Sandpit Theatre, St Albans, 20 Feb
The cutely named Booster Cushion Theatre Company performs this tale about a library caretaker who discovers a 6ft-tall book. But there’s just one problem – he can’t read it because the words have been washed away. Little audiences will be drawn into his magical adventure to search for the hidden words and the story they tell.
SCREENING: Matthew Bourne’s Romeo & Juliet Encore, Rhodes Arts Complex, 20 Feb
Can Matthew Bourne do no wrong? His team of talented creatives and dancers bring together thisfresh re-telling of the tragic love story. It was one of the most hotly anticipated live dance shows of last year, but if you missed it on stage, here’s another chance to catch it – this time on the big screen, but filmed live at London’s Sadler’s Wells.
KIDS: Little Grimm Tales, Hertford Theatre, 20 Feb
A magical adaptation featuring all of the Grimm characters from Hansel & Gretel to the Elves and the Shoemaker and the Frog Prince, aimed at ages 3+. Throw in some colourful puppets, clever theatrics and spellbinding music for a fairytale experience that little ones won’t forget.
COMEDY: Lucy Porter: Be Prepared, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 21 Feb
Remember learning the motto ‘Always be Prepared’ back at Brownies? Well as we all know, life’s ups and downs can’t be solved quiiiite that easily… TV and Radio comedian Lucy’s new stand-up show takes a hilarious look back at the days when she thought an emergency 10p an knowing how to tie a fisherman’s knot would solve anything.
COMEDY: Menopause the Musical 2, The Bedford Corn Exchange, 21 Feb
Join four familiar faces (did you ever see the first installment? If not, you’ll recognise them off the telly!) as they cruise on through the joyous journey of hot flushes, mood swings, memory lapses and weight gain. Luckily they’ve got their friends and their sense of humour to pull them through!
KIDS: Oglee Poglee Holiday Craft Workshops, Berkhamsted, 21 Feb
Oglee Poglee’s cute crafty workshops are total lifesavers for frazzled parents. This Half Term they’re doing one themed around a big birthday tea – imagine one great big messy party where they can make a giant cake, wrap the presents, create a menu and decorate the room (with none of the mess in your own house – win!). It’s suitable for 18 months to 10 years.
KIDS: Shark in the Park, Watford Palace Theatre, 21-22 Feb
My daughter loved these books about a little boy called Timothy Pope who can’t stop seeing strange finned creatures in odd places. This musical show comines all three books in the series, by genius kids’ illustrator and author Nick Sharratt, in a creative and colourful performance.
WEDDINGS: The Hertfordshire Wedding Fair, Alban Arena, 23 Feb
Love is in the air! Well it is at the county’s premier wedding fair anyway – come and meet over 70 exhibitors from the region (from venues to suppliers) ogle some gawwgeous dresses on the catwalks and enjoy some live entertainment, from string quartets to comedians to fuel you with loads of inspo for your Big Day. Plus entry is free!
KIDS: Vets in Action, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, 15-23 Feb
Got a budding vet on your hands? Bring them along to the specially created animal hospital at Whipsnade Zoo this Half Term for a hands-on experience carrying out treatments on soft toys, from checking chimps’ heartbeats to helping stranded seals from the real zookeepers. And it’s all included in your zoo entry price (suitable for ages 5-11).
FESTIVAL: Feb Fest, various locations 15-21 Feb
This arts festival dedicated to kids or all ages sounds just fab – organised by Full House Theatre, it’s jam packed with storytelling, shows, dance and workshops throughout Half Term week happening across Luton’s Culture Trust venues. Plus there’s a free creative space called The Imagination Station that you can pop in to throughout.
EXHIBITION: Paint Park, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 8 Feb – 1 Mar
Who would have thought it was the year of ‘phygital’ painting (a combination of physical and digital, keep up!)? Alison Goodyear’s Paint Park exhibition at MK Gallery’s Project Space involves donning a VR headset, leaving you feeling like you just jumped into a painting à la Mary Poppins. A great one to take your kids to – just make sure you let them have a turn with the headset.