Herts Open Studios, various locations, now until Sep 30
Over 150 artists are displaying their work in 70 venues across the county. Take a peek into private studios, visit galleries and artists’ homes to see painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, glass, photography, ceramics, textiles, jewellery, a blacksmith and more. It’s a great opportunity to chat to the artists and designers, purchase unique works first hand and be inspired by all the creativity our county has to offer.
How to Hide a Lion, Broadway Theatre, Letchworth, Weds 19 Sept
Helen Stephen’s picture book for children about a lion being chased out of town and a little girl’s attempt to hide him has been adapted for stage with superb puppetry, music and singing. The result is an enchanting 30 minutes of theatre that will captivate little ones and impress adults with the multitasking performers. The puppets and staging have an old-fashioned charm and the story ends with the adults admitting they were wrong – kids will love it!
Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, Thurs 20 – Sun 23 Sep
Artistic Director, Guy Johnson, presides over the 7th festival at Hatfield House with Brahms and friends as this year’s theme, with some of the world’s finest chamber music being played over the 4 days culminating in Brahmn’s Requiem as the finale. Acclaimed violist and composer, Brett Dean, the Lendvai String Trio, and Mark Austin and the Faust Chamber Orchestra are all playing for the first time. Plus Hertfordshire Chorus, eminent clarinettist, Julian Bliss, and pianist, Anna Tilbrook return to fill Hatfield House with music.
Help with the harvest, Frithsden Vineyard, throughout Sep
An annual event where you can help the fine folk at Frithsden Vineyard (Natalie and Simon Tooley) to bring in the harvest. Four hours of picking and you get a BBQ and drinks. Follow the link to get in touch and see when you can go along to help during September.
Pop Up Cinema, The Darkest Hour, Tring Cinema and Grease, Tewin Bury Farm Hotel, Fri 21 Sep
The Darkest Hour is a classy film and well worth a watch for Gary Oldman’s performance and his incredible transformation into Churchill. This Friday the film will be shown at Tring Cinema and introduced by the Make Up Artist and Hairstylist, David Malinowski, who won the Oscar for his work on the film, no less. Quite a coup and I’m sure he’ll have lots of interesting insights.
Can you believe it’s 40 years since the release of the movie Grease? Reminsce about your misspent youth or see it for the first time (really??) at the open air cinema at Tewin Bury Farm Hotel. Dressing up, dancing and singing are all encouraged and they’ll be plenty of food and drink options on the night. Get your tickets here.
Chilterns Heritage Festival, Bucks, Sat 22 Sep – Sat 6 Oct
In case you didn’t know, you either live in or very close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. No, not Aylesbury rather the gorgeous Chilterns and for the first time there’s a festival to celebrate the diverse heritage of our region. The Chiltern Society has organised 25 special events which include an Iron Age weekend at Wendover Woods (where families will have the opportunity to meet the Iron Age inhabitants of Boddington Hillfort, and help them with their everyday jobs like grinding grain, making butter and cooking stew), pop-up cinema screenings at the National History Museum in Tring and the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, a Roald Dahl guided trail and afternoon tea in Great Missenden, an afternoon at the Wormsley Estate owned by the famous Getty family and history walks around some of the area’s market towns including Berkhamsted and High Wycombe. That little lot should keep you busy. If you’ve always meant to visit some local attractions but never got round to it now’s your chance.
Help Me! Marianne Power, David’s Bookshop, Mon 24 Sept
London journalist Marianne Power had a life that looked glossy on the outside, while the reality was rather lacklustre. Her solution? She decided to road test self-help books and read a different one each year. And then of course she wrote a book about her experiences. If you want to find out how she got on, this is guaranteed to be a fun evening although serious in parts – and it’s a Monday, so we’ll need a bit of light relief. Marianne will be at David’s Bookshop in Letchworth at 7.30pm.
Harriet Kelsall’s book launch, Waterstones St Albans, Thurs 27 Sept
Harriet Kelsall is a self-taught, bespoke jewellery designer who did a degree in engineering and is now a spokesperson for ethical jewellery design. She has three shops: one in Weston, near Hitchin, Hertfordshire, one in Cambridge and a brand new one in London’s Primrose Hill. She has just written a book about how to start a creative business. I’ve just started reading it and I’m gripped. 7pm.
Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre, London, Tues 18 Sep – Wed 19 Jan 2019
Super thesps Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, star in Shakespeare’s tale of ill-fated lovers in war torn Ancient Rome and Egypt. With celebrated director Simon Goodwin in charge (who even took a trip to Egypt to consider how the country might differ in our imaginations from that of Shakespeare’s day) and award-winning designer Hildegard Bechtler, it’s shaping up to be a special theatrical event.
London Design Festival, various London locations, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Sep
Celebrating London as a powerhouse of design, loads of events are on offer across the capital including workshops, demonstrations and launches. As always, the V&A will be at the forefront with show-stopping installations and across the city, there are 5 major trade shows, the commercial pillars of the festival, where you can meet designers, buyers, sellers and manufacturers and discover new products and design trends.
London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri 14 – Sun 23 Sep
If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festival with designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.
Pinter at The Pinter, London, now – 23 Feb 2019
Never before have all twenty of Pinter’s short plays been performed together in one season. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death, this gathering of stellar actors (many of whom worked with Pinter) looks like a humdinger. Famous names include Martin Freeman, Jane Horrocks, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Sir Anthony Sher, Mark Rylance, John Simm, Penelope Wilton and – alright, love – Danny Dyer! And if that’s not enough, they’ll even be some surprise guest stars. This is gonna be big, people, so get booking. Bonus: one act plays mean you’ll still have some evening left for dinner and drinkies in the Big Smoke
Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World, The British Museum of Food, London, until 30 Sep
Finally! A valid excuse to stuff my face. The British Museum of Food returns with its first major exhibition Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World. Dedicated entirely to the frozen treat, explore memorabilia from the world’s largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia, discover the neuroscience behind it and try scoops of bygone eras, from daffodil to all-day-breakfast flavour (hmm). Other highlights include ice cream-flavoured weather (vanilla fog!) and a glow-in-the-dark concoction that you can eat in a futuristic luminescent cave. Pass the ladle, I’m going in…
British Gin Festival, Watford Colloseum, 6 Oct
This gin festivals are exceedingly popular – can’t imagine why. That’s why you need to be quick and get booking for this one.
ALREADY GONE THIS MONTH:
Henry Fraser, Hand to Mouth II, The Grove, Chandler’s Cross, Sat 15 & Sun 16 Sept
Henry Fraser has a huge talent for drawing and painting and for inspiring others. His work is being exhibited at The Grove in Chandlers Cross this month, and I recommend a visit to see his paintings. An accident when Henry was 17 meant that he was paralysed from the shoulders down, but he taught himself to draw and now paints by attaching brushes to a mouth stick. I met Henry a few years ago to interview him for Hertfordshire Life magazine and he is a lovely and completely amazing man.
Hitchin Food Festival, Sat 8 – Sun 9 Sept
This festival gets better each year. A huge variety of food stalls and local producers. Music and entertainment. 10am-4pm each day.
The March, various locations, starting at Hertford Theatre, Thurs 6 – Sat 8 September
This promises to be an interesting and entertaining night out. Kate Miller is a gifted Hertford playwright. The March is going to several venues so wherever you are in Herts, there’ll be a location that suits you down to the ground. The drama focuses on the Great Pilgrimage of July 1913 and features Hertfordshire women who were active suffragists and suffragettes, including Lady Constance Lytton of Knebworth. Look out for performances in Welwyn, Digswell, Datchworth and Letchworth, Knebworth House and Hitchin.
Julie, Vyne Theatre, Berkhamsted, Sun 9 Sept
This looks good. Vanessa Kirby (The Crown, NT Live: A Streetcar Named Desire) and Eric Kofi Abrefa (The Amen Corner) feature in the cast of this brand new production, directed by Carrie Cracknell (NT Live: The Deep Blue Sea) and broadcast live from the National Theatre to the Vyne in Berko. Wild and newly single, Julie throws a late night party. In the kitchen, Jean and Kristina clean up as the celebration heaves above them. Crossing the threshold, Julie initiates a power game with Jean – which rapidly descends into a savage fight for survival. 6pm.