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What’s on: Nov 2021

There's classic theatre with a twist, tactile art and even santa's making an appearance (yep, already). Here's the lowdown on the autumnal outings to book this November.

EXHIBITION: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum, Tring, from Nov – June 2022

© Stefano Unterthiner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year
© Stefano Unterthiner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Can’t make it to London for the annual exhibition? See the highlights of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition closer to home this month including 34 images demonstrating the fragility and beauty of wildlife, from miniscule insects to mighty beasts.

THEATRE: Hedda Gabler, The Maltings Theatre, St Albans, until 27 Nov

Photo by Elliott Franks

This adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s bleak play follows the irrepressible protagonist, Hedda, bored and trapped in her marriage, as she casts her spell on all those around her with tragic consequences. It might not be cheery but it’ll certainly be powerful and captivating.

WALK: Long leafy walks, Hatfield House, 18-21 and 25-28 Nov

Wrap up nice and warm and venture out to the grounds of Hatfield House this month to enjoy one of the Woodland Walks trails amongst the vibrant autumn colours as the leaves fall. The warm up in the Coach House Kitchen with a free hot drink (with any cake or savoury item purchased) and do a bit of festive shopping in the Stable Yard while you’re there.

COMEDY: Spontaneous Potter, Hat Factory Arts Centre, Luton 20 Nov

Potter fans step this way. This Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show is a totally unique improv play based on the audience’s suggestion of a brand new Harry Potter fanfiction title. Past shows have included Harry Potter and the Chamber of Commerce,  Harry Potter and the Neville Wears Prada, Harry Potter and the Rise of the Planet of the Snapes. Genius! This one’s adults only, but there’s also a kid-friendly matinée on the same day for ages 8+.

KIDS: Santa Spectacular, Willows Activity Farm, 20 Nov – 24 Dec

Ok it’s only November but the jingle bells are ringing already. Book the little ones in for this special festive event and they can meet Santa in his grotto, where he’ll give them a key to his toyshop and they can choose a gift. There’ll also be soft toy making, gingerbread workshops, festive singalongs and films, as well as ice skating on the synthetic rink and magical woodland tractor rides.

KIDS: Meet Santa, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, 20 Nov – 24 Dec

Here’s another chance to meet the man himself (he’s a busy guy, right?!) He’ll be hanging out with the wildlife at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo during the weekends from 20 Nov and every day from 18-24 Dec. Go and grab an early Christmas pressie and enjoy some festive magic!

CHRISTMAS: St Albans Christmas Cracker, 21 Nov

Head to St Albans for the official Christmas lights switch-on and festive Street Festival with family entertainment, rides and stalls from 12-6pm. No excuses not to get into the Christmas spirit now (and err… get started on that shopping!)

FAMILY: Shuttleworth in Lights – a festive special, The Shuttleworth Estate, 25 Nov – 19 Dec

Photo: Darren Harbar

Ooh I love a festive light trail to get me in the mood – this one starts in the famous aircraft hangars, leading you through the pretty Swiss Garden, before you’ll take in a special display, wander round the Shrubbery, past the Summer House and down to the Lakeside Parkland – where you’ll see some lovely reflections. Cameras at the ready!

FAMILY: Christmas photoshoot, The Ashridge Estate, 25 Nov and 11 Dec

Fancy a festive family snap for the Chrissy cards? Book your place and head to the Ashridge Visitor Centre where there’ll be two festive sets designed for little ones to look extra cute and angelic in. Better dig those Christmas jumpers out of the attic then! And saaaaayyy cheeeeeese! £59 for 20-30 minutes including three digital images.

COMEDY: Desert Island Flicks, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 26 Nov

Love your movies? Bet you don’t know them as well as these two ladies, who take on 90 of the most memorable movie moments in just 90 minutes – from blockbusters to romcoms – including stunts and special effects. It’s a mash-up of dance perfomance and sketch show with an awesome soundtrack. Epic or what?

FAMILY: The Wind in the Willows, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 26 Nov

Wizard Theatre bring back their production of Kenneth Grahame’s perennial favourite with well-loved characters Ratty, Badger, Toad and Mole unleashing their animal antics and comic capers.

SHOPPING: Christmas Fair, Knebworth House, 26-28 Nov

Get all your gifts in one fell swoop at this festive fair in the gorgeous Knebworth Park and Barns. There’ll be plenty of food and drink on offer to keep your spirits up if you tire from all that shopping!

FAMILY: Enchanted woodland walk, Ashridge House, 26 Nov – 9 Jan

The gorgeous grounds of this former royal residence will be transformed into a super sparkly winter wonderland this month. Twinlking light installations and a magical musical score will lead visitors through the gardens, via glittering arches and uplit tree-lined avenues to a hidden Christmas scene in the woods. You had me at twinkling lights…

EXHIBITION: Anna Ray: Fibre and Form, St Albans Museum + Gallery, from 27 Nov

Ribbon Chain by Anna Ray

These textile sculptures by Herts-based artist Anna Ray are so appealing aren’t they? I love the colours and tactile nature of her work and her latest exhibition features her large scale pieces from the last 20 years, plus two newly commissioned works, Mesh and Rosette, which she created during lockdown with funding from Arts Council England.

THEATRE: Christmas Gothic, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 26 Nov

Gotta love a good ghost story at this time of year, eh? Get into the spirit with this haunting performance which resurrects the Victorian tradition of telling spooky tales that will send goosebumps down your spine (and not just becuase of the chilly weather!)

EXHIBITION: Our Landscape – My Vision, Courtyard Arts, Hertford, until 27 Nov

If you appreciate landscape photography check out this exhibition of both black and white and colour photos of our local environment by Steve Baldwin – a photographic celebration of the diversity of our UK landscapes.

Oops! Too you’ve missed these…

FIREWORKS: Various locations, 4-6 Nov

fireworks

Bonfire night is back with a bang – Check out our roundup of the best fireworks nights in Herts and Beds, right here!

COMEDY: Nina Conti: The Dating Show, Alban Arena, 2 Nov

Photo credit_Matt Crockett

Queen of the voice, ventriloquist and BAFTA-nominated film maker, Nina Conti takes on the world of dating, with her best Cilla impression – although it won’t be so much of a Blind Date as a re-voiced one. Expect big belly laughs.

MUSICAL: Vinegar Tom, Maltings Theatre, until 6 Nov

Written during the feminist movement of the 70s about the brutal witch trials of the 17th Century, this gritty play written by Caryl Churchill tackles some bold and still relevant topics. Telling painfully moving stories of the women who fell under suspision of witchcraft, with a dash of dark humour, Churchill’s script has been transformed into lyrics to be performed via the medium of err… folk rock music! Imagine Kate Bush, Blondie and Stevie Nicks taking on folklore and you’re just about there…

THEATRE: Dracula: The Untold Story, Watford Palace Theatre, 2-6 Nov

Dracula: The Untold Story

This graphic re-interpretation of the gothic tale transports audiences to New Year’s Eve in 1963, when young woman Mina Harker, confesses to a brutal murder in Marylebone Station. She also claims to be the last living witness to Count Dracula’s destruction – except that it was 65 years ago… and Mina hasn’t been seen since 1905. Spooky… and the projected set looks really cool!

KIDS: Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, 5-6 Nov

Horrible Histories

Just over the border in Bucks, catch the Horrible Histories team with their stage show, Barmy Britain (leaving all the grisly bits in, of course!) ‘Meet’ historical characters including battling Boudicca, horrible Henry VIII, ghastly Guy Fawkes and dastardly Dick Turpin, with super special effects for extra impact.

ART: Winter Weekends, Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, Perry Green, 6 Nov – 12 Dec

Henry Moore, Double Oval 1966. Photo: Alison Parry

The stunning sculpture gardens will open their gates to visitors on weekends this month and into December. Check out the iconic scupltures covered in wintry frost – apparently the bronzes look particularly striking! The café will be open for warm drinks and festive lunches too, when you’re ready to come in from the cold.

FAMILY: The Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 13 Nov

Award-winning comedian, Jarred Christmas (CBBC’s Joke Machine) and champion beatboxer, Hobbit, join forces in this bonkers sounding show, filled with music, laughs and prizes. The kids might even pick up some beatboxing tips to impress their friends in the playground.

THEATRE: The Death of King Arthur, The Place Bedford, 13 Nov

This interactive take on the traditional tales of King Arthur and his knights invites audiences to choose which parts of the story they want to hear… including which version (yes, there are more than one!) of King Arthur’s death. Producer and performer Seth Kriebel challenges us to think about what we want to believe in light of the modern dilemma of ‘fake news.’ Thought provoking stuff.

THEATRE: Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Alban Arena, 16 Nov

This always sounds like so much fun – a totally traditional re-telling of a Shakespeare classic with one entirely sozzled cast member. Yep, they actually select one person at random to down four shots before the show and let the chaos commence! It’s exactly how theatre would have been back in the day – raucous, interactive and with a drink in each hand. Just remember to enjoy responsibly though, ok!

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