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Reader Treats Just For You!

Mon 19 – Sun 25 Feb 2018

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, National Theatre Live, Broadway Cinema, Thurs 22 Feb

Photo: Johan Persson

It’s Big Daddy’s birthday. Will the evening go as planned? Unlikely. And it’s hot. It may be February in Letchworth Garden City, but once you’re inside the art deco interior of the Broadway Cinema, you’ll be immersed in the steamy heat of Mississippi. Sienna Miller, Jack O’Connell and Colm Meaney star in the Young Vic production of Tennessee Williams’ famous play. 6.45pm.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof   Broadway Cinema, Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DD


Christine St John: Bette Davis On The Edge, Fireside Festival, Baldock Arts & Heritage Centre, Thurs 22 Feb

The Fireside Festival has to be one of the most exciting events in north Herts. It’s on until Sat 3 March. I went along last year and was blown away by the quality of the performances. On Thursday evening, Christine St John’s one woman show is about the life of Bette Davis. The story starts in 1962 in the early hours of the morning, when Bette Davis is waiting (with a great deal of anxiety) for the reviews of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. This sounds great and has had brilliant reviews. Here’s the rest of the festival programme. 7.45pm. 70mins.

Fireside Festival Baldock Arts & Heritage Centre (Old Town Hall), High Street, Baldock SG7 6AR


Kate Terry, A System of Parallels, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, until Sun 22 April

This is a wonderful new exhibition by British artist Kate Terry and I urge everyone to go and see this. Kate Terry lives in London and she has created a thread installation for the gallery, that has to be experienced. There are also drawings and sculptures and lots of Farrow and Ball paint. Uplifting and colourful.

Broadway Gallery The Arcade, Letchworth, SG6 3EW


Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, until 11 March

Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.


Meet Fabulous Finn, St Francis’ College, Letchworth, Sun 25 Feb

Look at those ears! Finn is a super star dog who was stabbed in the line of duty, saved the life of his owner Dave Wardell, who then managed to save Finn’s life. It’s a book; Finn has been on television and on the radio, and now he is stepping into the theatre at St Francis’ College at an event organised by David’s Bookshop. If you want to meet Finn, the event starts at 3.30pm. Finn is top dog on Sunday, so unfortunately you can’t bring your own dog along to meet him. Everyone else is welcome. It goes without saying that cats are not welcome.

Fabulous Finn, St Francis’ College, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3PJ


Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V & A Museum, London, until July 2018

I went to see this exhibition last week and it is glorious! It’s also totally immersive. One minute you’re sipping a cocktail on deck as you power through the waves to New York in the 50s, the next, you’re wondering whether you could ever squeeze into the Dior suit worn by Marlene Dietrich on a transatlantic crossing. Kate Winslett and Leonardo DiCaprio even make an appearance. For a truly elegant and glamorous experience, this is recommended.

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V & A Museum.


Ellie Taylor: This Guy, The Old Town Hall, Sat 24 Feb

The Old Town Hall in Hemel attracts the brightest stars in comedy. Ellie Taylor has appeared on BBC’s Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week and The John Bishop Show. Her shows sold out at Edinburgh. Don’t miss her at The Old Town Hall! 8pm.

Ellie Taylor, The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE



Fara, Vyne Theatre, Berkhamsted, Fri 23 Feb

Three fiddles and a piano. These bright young things are full of talent and life and they’re a big part of the Scottish folk scene. They have been described as ‘Sickeningly talented and mad as brushes.’ 8pm.

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


James Mayhew, A Carnival of the Animals, St Mary’s Church, Hitchin, Sat 24 Feb

James Mayhew is amazing. Amazing! I’ve watched him paint live illustrations to live music and it’s absolutely brilliant. He paints at quite a lick and it’s an inspiring spectacle. He’ll be joining the St Mary’s Ensemble Orchestra in Hitchin and introducing Saint-Saen’s ‘Carnival of the Animals’. Anyone would enjoy this but of course, being the creator of the Ella Bella and Katie books, this is a wonderful concert for families. Two performances: 2.3opm and 4.3opm. When I saw James, there was a charity auction straight after the concert, but on this occasion, if you buy a raffle ticket before the show, you win one of the paintings. In addition to all this crazy carnival activity, there will be refreshments and face painting. You’ll also be able to buy James’s books.

Carnival of the Animals, St Mary’s Church, Hitchin, SG5 1HP


Votes for Women, Museum of London

Emmeline Pankhurt’s hunger strike medal and many other objects from the Museum’s Suffragette collection are on display as part of the commemorations marking the centenary of the 1918 Act that gave some women the right to vote for the first time. There is also a newly commissioned film about the campaign. This exhibition runs until next year and it’s worth looking at the website for lots of special events this year.

Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN


 Benington Lordship Gardens, near Stevenage, until Sun 4 March

The Big One. It’s impossible to talk snowdrops without naming Benington. Close to Walkern and Stevenage, Benington has got the lot and it’s often cited as one of the best snowdrop sites in the country. Possibly the world. There are over 200 named varieties of snowdrop in the gardens and around the Norman castle and moat. The most familiar and abundant are the single and double Galanthus nivalis, both of which are on sale. While stocks last! Catch a snowdrop concert in St Peter’s Church. Cream teas and soup. Sadly no dogs.

Benington Lordship Gardens Stevenage SG2 7BS



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