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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 6-12 Oct 2016

Had a mad weekend last weekend — and I’m chomping at the bit to get out and about again this weekend.  Plenty going on to keep us all amused and delighted.  See you out there!

World Mental Health Day 2016, Hertford Theatre, 9 Oct, 10.30am – 4pm


Hertford Theatre are celebrating Mental Health and Wellbeing with free workshops on mindfulness and relaxation, taster sessions of massage and reflexology and opportunities to connect with local organisations. It’s very much a drop-in kinda day – just pop down and see what takes your fancy. There’s also face-painting for the kiddies and family film screenings, including a Relaxed Screening of Finding Dory.

Janet Cawthorne: Solo Exhibition, Nude Tin Can Gallery, 11 – 22 Oct


And talking of mindfulness (see what I did there?), you can go to Nude Tin Can Gallery and check out their new exhibition of Janet Cawthorne’s work. She is inspired by the psychology of the mind, and the brain itself, using screen printing, photography, ink and traditional printmaking processes that produce striking imagery.

Tim Moore: The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold, David’s Bookshop, Letchworth, 6 Oct, 7.30pm


Tim Moore loves a challenge – how about a 9000km bike ride along the old Iron Curtain, on a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike? No thanks! After three months, 20 countries and a 58-degree jaunt up the centigrade scale, man and bike finally wobble up to a Black Sea beach in Bulgaria, older and wiser, but mainly older. Head to David’s Bookshop to hear all about it in his lovely new book.

Steeleye Span, Hertford Theatre, 7 Oct, 7.45pm


Ok, so maybe Steeleye Span is one of the bands that you might not immediately admit to liking, but if you do…  I won’t tell anyone… they’re in Hertford this week.  They’ve had a few changes in the line-up — Peter Knight’s departure heralded the arrival of young talent Jessie May Smart — and they’ve been making new music as well as revelling in their back catalogue.  And Maddy Prior’s still got the kind of voice that can get the hairs on the back of your neck prickling.

Bookshop Day, David’s Bookshop, Letchworth, 8-9 Oct


Celebrate Bookshop Day — my favourite day of the year, now that I know it’s a thing — with David’s Bookshop in Letchworth.  Michelle Paver will be there on Saturday, introducing and signing her book Thin Air,  and the next day they’ll be hosting Anthony Horowitz talking about his book Magpie Murders.  Always great to have an excuse to browse at David’s.

Jo Harman, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 7 Oct, 8pm


Award-winning Jo Harman is hitting The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead, after having performed at some of Europe’s most prestigious venues – oo-er. She has a whole host of admirers in the industry, and is hailed as one of the finest vocalist and writers to emerge over recent years. Think soul, a bit of rock, and heart-warming ballads. Sounds like a corker!

Fairtrade Festival, Harriet Kelsall Jewellery, Halls Green, 7-8 Oct


Aside from the absolutely stunning craftsmanship at HK Jewellery, they pride themselves as being one of the first twenty jewellers worldwide to launch certified Fairtrade Gold. And to celebrate all things Fairtrade (their café is to die for too), they are hosting a Fairtrade Festival, with a very special guest. For one night only, you can hear the story of a Peruvian Gold Miner talking about his experiences of mining for gold and the difference that Fairtrade has made to the lives of miners, their families and communities. Don’t miss it! And make sure you check out their gorgeous pieces while you’re there.  My fave is the ‘Starry Night’-inspired ring.

Nina Conti: In Your Face, Alban Arena, St Albans, 10 Oct, 7.30pm


Nina Conti brings Monkey to St Albans, working her way through her bag of tricks and improvising a hilarious adventure. She is such a huge ball of energy on stage and her ventriloquism is just amazing! Expect the unexpected: Monkey can be a little unruly…

Lucy Porter: Consequences, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 8 Oct, 8pm


Georgie, the intrepid Muddy editorial assistant, went to see Lucy Porter’s preview of this show at the Tringe and it had her in stitches! And that was just her throwing around some ideas – so I bet the finished product is fab. She reveals some personal heart-felt revelations (no, Georgie’s not telling) and her general cultural observations about topics such as generational conflict are spot-on witty. Definitely a feel-good show.

Miles Jupp, Alban Arena, St Albans, 11 Oct, 8pm


Bless Miles, he just looks so hopeless. He’s hitting the road in a dapper shirt and tie, singing songs of freedom. Well, not literally singing. You get my drift. He’s talking hipsters, social media, the sexes and identity.  Don’t you just want to take him home?  (Oh… just me?)

Hertford Food and Drink Festival, 7-9 Oct


Sound the alarm! Hertford are hosting a Food and Drink Festival this weekend – hurrah! Head to Hertford on Friday evening and check out the pop-up restaurants. On Saturday, the town will come alive with a farmer’s market, free tasters (nom!) and even the odd celebrity chef floating around. The festivities move to the Castle on Sunday with a multitude of world food stalls and a beer festival. AND there’s live music. Oh, and did I mention it’s free to get in? See you there…

The Dream Factory, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 8 Oct, 2.30pm


I love a puppet show, and this looks like a total delight for the senses. Be enchanted by the music and enchanting storytelling as you are immersed into a dream world. Perfect for little ones – and bigg’uns too for that matter. You’re never too old for a dream factory.

Heritage Opera: Rigoletto, Hatfield House, 12 Oct, 7.30pm


No secret that I love a spot of opera.  The towering tragedy, the pulsating passion, the intrigue, the debauchery…  er, wait, what were we talking about?  Rigoletto has it all.  And Heritage Opera is on the road with a new production of this wickedly dark and deliciously wicked opera, with some of Verdi’s most recognisable tunes in there for good measure.  Love it.

Celebrate Black History Month, Watford Palace Theatre, 9 Oct, 5pm


A great big celebration of Black History Month this weekend.  Dance, live music and gospel singing — all organised by volunteers and performed by inspiring artists hailing from Watford and beyond.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, University of Hertfordshire, 6 Oct, 7.30pm


The university’s Film Series: Bloodlust, Vampires on Screen is kicking off with Bram Stoker’s Dracula — Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 classic.  There are three more to come — so grab your garlic and get down there.


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