12 things to do in Herts in January 2016

The Ultimate Buble Experience is coming to the Watford Colosseum

The Ultimate Buble Experience is coming to the Watford Colosseum - Credit: Archant

The events, exhibitions, shows and spectacles taking place in Hertfordshire this month

The popular Horrible Histories characters have leapt from the screen to the stage

The popular Horrible Histories characters have leapt from the screen to the stage - Credit: Archant


Celtic sport

With its roundhouses, farmyard and surrounding woodland, Celtic Harmony Camp at Brickendon is a fantastic place to learn about the way our Bronze Age ancestors lived. Enlightening, educational and hands-on, the camp has many events throughout the year teaching ancient skills and celebrating Celtic rituals.

This month, visitors can try out an old sport for the new year – archery. The Celtic Harmony Archery club delivers both Olympic style target tuition and traditional archery shooting life-size animal models. Suitable for seven years and up, tuition takes place in a bespoke barn. For full information on January dates, visit celticharmony.org or call 01438 718543.


Memories of courage and kindness

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Memories of Hertfordshire during the First World War are evoked in the Hertford Museum exhibition From Bull Plain to the Battlefields, which runs until January 30. Bull Plain is where the museum is housed and was also the scene of a Zeppelin attack in October 1915.

Ranging from the experiences of the Hertfordshire Regiment to the home front in East Herts, the free-entry exhibition tells the story of the district between 1914-19 with stories of courage, fortitude and kindness brought to life through a collection of objects, images, war diaries and interactive exhibits.

Jonathan Jagot 15-17 Years, Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015.

Jonathan Jagot 15-17 Years, Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015. - Credit: Archant


More panto please

Perhaps things were just too busy to fit in a pantomime in December, if so then Hertford Dramatic and Operatic Society’s production of Beauty and The Beast from January 13-17 at Hertford Theatre will satisfy those who missed out on all the boos, hisses and sing-a-longs.

Performing plays and musicals since 1919, the society entertains audiences of all ages and encourages those wanting to get involved both on and off stage with its Young Idea project for those aged 9-17 and puts on five productions a year at Hertford Theatre as well as hosting Hertford Theatre week.


Groovy Greeks & Incredible Invaders

For the past 20 years The Horrible Histories books have been inspiring youngsters to embrace the past with catchy and inviting titles such as The Terrible Tudors and The Vile Victorians. Now the Horrible Histories have leapt off the page onto the stage, bringing the Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders to theatres. Alongside the actors are 3D special effects of historic figures and events from savage Sparta to angry Athens and ruthless Romans crushing courageous Celts. History has rarely been so alive. January 14-16 at Watford Colosseum.

Comedian Dave Gorman is performing at the Spotlight Theatre in Broxbourne

Comedian Dave Gorman is performing at the Spotlight Theatre in Broxbourne - Credit: Archant


Brassed Off

The 1980s, a village in Yorkshire, and the conductor of a colliery brass band is struggling to keep the spirit of his musicians alive as the economic future of the area is threatened by coal mine closure. A former villager working for British Coal returns to assess the mine and soon finds herself immersed back in the passions of her youth. As the miners worst fears are realised, can their love of music and tradition keep the band and their hopes alive while their village is dying? This passionate and funny play based on the 1996 film Brassed Off, sees the Welwyn Garden City Band join Barn Theatre members to bring this story of the end of the mining industry in Britain to the stage. Barn Theatre, January 15-23.


Ultimate Bublé Experience

Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack certainly started something – a smooth, casual swing style that many have attempted to emulate over the years. One singer to have succeeded in hitting the mark is Canadian Michael Bublé. Home, It’s a Beautiful Day and Haven’t Met You Yet are some of his big-selling originals while he has also covered many of the classics sung by Old Blue Eyes et al. Unsurprisingly Bublé has his own tribute acts including The Ultimate Bublé Experience - the talented Mark Daniels - who performs all the hits with an uncanny likeness. See him perform after a three course lunch at Watford Colosseum on January 17.


Roots of steel

Comedian Mark Steel is known for his dry, acerbic observations on life, people and places. A regular on the comedy circuit he has also appeared on radio in The Mark Steel Lectures, The Mark Steel Solution and Mark Steel’s in Town. He also writes a weekly column for The Independent.

What is less well known about the comedian is that he was adopted as a baby, and in his new show Who Do You Think I Am? Steele tells the story of his attempts to contact his biological mother, something he had resisted until the birth of his own son. Poignant, funny and revealing about identity, beauracracy and love. The show comes to Hertford Theatre on January 22.


Handa’s Hen

Every morning, Handa, a young girl of the Luo tribe in Kenya, feeds breakfast to Mondi, her grandma’s black hen. This morning however, Mondi is nowhere to be seen. Handa gathers her friend Akeyo and the pair set off in search of the bird, coming upon two fluttery butterflies, three stripy mice, four little lizards, five beautiful sunbirds, and many more intriguing creatures on the way. Finally they hear a faint cheeping under a bush - has Mondi have a surprise in store?

Little Angel Theatre Company brings the lovely tale of Handa’s Hen, adapted from the book by Eileen Browne, to the Radlett Centre on January 23 with captivating puppetry – a spellbinding show for little ones (and adults too).


Burns Night Celebrations

Burns Night is being celebrated around the county this month with a variety of traditional Scottish events. Among them is a Highland gathering at the Noke Hotel, St Albans, on January 29 with a traditional Scottish meal, ceilidh band and a tot of whisky. Tickets are £37.50, with all proceeds for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

West Herts Golf Club, Croxley Green, is hosting a Burns dinner dance on January 23, while Watford and West Herts Scottish Society has a similar event on January 30 at the Metropolitan Police Sports Club, Bushey. West Lodge Park Hotel, Hadley Wood, has the traditional dinner celebration on January 29.


The journey of Herts’ birds

Some of Britain’s most iconic birds are in decline. Sparrows, starlings and skylarks have suffered from an alarming drop in numbers in recent years. While others, such as robins, blue tits and blackbirds are holding their own but it is clear to naturalists that maintaining our common species is vital for our eco system and poor management of our environment is likely to be the cause of declines.

On January 26 Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust hosts Ken Smith, chairman of Herts Natural History Society Bird Club, who will give a talk on the changing fortunes of birds in Hertfordshire over the past 50 years. From 8pm, Highlands Baptist Church, Welwyn GC.


Straight to the point

Dave Gorman, the innovative comedy mind behind TV series Modern Life Is Goodish and Googlewhack Adventure, is back with a new live show, Dave Gorman Gets Straight to the Point, at the Spotlight Theatre in Broxbourne on January 27.

As the title suggests, it’s a PowerPoint presentation, but audiences need not worry – you won’t need to take notes and you probably won’t be tested on it later.

Among fans is the Evening Standard, which described the show as ‘a winning mix of inventiveness, charm and jokes... an extremely entertaining evening’.


Bringing the Man in Black back

The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, was born into poverty during the Great Depression and began picking cotton in the fields aged just five where he would sing along with his six siblings. Mixing blues, gospel, blues and rock with his baritone vocals and heartfelt lyrics often based on his own troubled life, his music would go on to sell 50 million records and make him one of the greatest country singer-songwriters of all time,

Paying tribute to the man is Mr Cash - The Johnny Cash Roadshow, starring Clive John and accompanied by a full band. The show includes a narrative and visuals to tell the story of a singing legend. Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, January 30.

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