10 amazing things to do in April 2016 in Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 10:20 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:20 05 April 2016
From Shakespeare celebrations to standup and Strictly stars, here’s the best of the events in Herts this April
Folk singer Kate Rusby has been entertaining fans for 20 years, earning critical acclaim for her soulful vocals, engaging Yorkshire wit, and her ability to create modern folk music while remaining true to its traditions.
Her latest UK tour stops at Watford Colosseum on April 7, where she will perform much-loved classics from her back catalogue as well as a selection of songs from her latest album, Ghost.
Accompanied by her band of talented folk musicians, new fans and old can expect Rusby’s lyrical conviction and an entrancing and emotional performance.
Muddy Mucker challenge
Fancy getting down and dirty for a great cause? Then sign up for one of the biggest obstacle courses in the area – the Chiswell Green Muddy Mucker on Sunday, April 10.
The five-mile event is in aid of Rennie Grove Hospice Care in St Albans and will see participants take on more than 30 obstacles including tunnels, mud crawls, monkey bars, rope swings and a tyre wall.
The challenge is not a timed race, more a test of strength, stamina and teamwork – promising to be tough but brilliant fun to help those in need.
See renniegrove.org to sign up.
Right on Q
Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q is best described as a very naughty Sesame Street – and Hoddesdon-based Mayhem Productions is bringing its mayhem to Hertford Theatre from April 14-16.
The show’s main characters are puppets – animated by visible puppeteers – alongside human actors, all of whom live on a run-down road in New York and sing hilarious and fearlessly politically-incorrect songs about self-discovery, careers and relationships, such as I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today, Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist and What Do You Do with a BA In English?/It Sucks To Be Me. Expect outrageous themes and lots of laughs.
It’s all about you
Strictly Come Dancing performer (and winner in 2014) Pasha Kovalev is touring his fifth UK show, It’s All About You. With the Strictly bandwagon showing no signs of slowing up, Pasha promises another exciting dance spectacular accompanied by hit music and sparkling costumes (of course). The show guest-stars fellow Strictly favourite Anya Garnis.
Catch it at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre on April 15 and 16.
Best food in the east
For mouth-watering food and top tips from TV chefs look no further than Knebworth House this month.
The East of England Food Festival will see Food Unwrapped’s Matt Tebbut, Hertfordshire’s own Jean-Christophe Novelli (right), Aldeburgh chef James Barber and MasterChef’s Ondine Hartgroves all sharing their skills and knowledge. Now in its sixth year, the festival also showcases some of the best food in the region including artisan cheeses, cured and fresh meat, confectionary, bakery, wine and beer as well as cookware.
The show attracted around 7,500 people last year and this year takes place on April 16-17 from 10am-5pm.
Laugh with Lock
Sean Lock is embarking on a new UK tour with his latest standup show Keep it Light, which visits Alban Arena on April 18.
The uber-quick witted comic with a penchant for the fantastical is one of the stars of Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and has also headlined the BBC’s Live at the Apollo. His latest tour has been a sell-out at previous venues and is getting glowing reviews. Early booking is advisable.
Nigel Kennedy at Colosseum
Grab the chance to experience star violinist Nigel Kennedy at Watford Colosseum this month as part of the venue’s world-class Classical Series supported by Hertfordshire Life.
Expect the unexpected as the musician renowned for his flare, dynamism and improvisation presents a transformation of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and his dedications supported by the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra.
The concert takes place on Tuesday, April 19 from 7.30pm. Call the box office on 01923 571102 to book (quick!).
Some of playwright Alan Bennett’s best known and most beloved characters will come to the stage at Welwyn’s Barn Theatre in its latest production, Talking Heads. The show will feature three of the playwrights monologues: A Cream Cracker Under the Settee (made famous by Dame Thora Hird), Her Big Chance (one of Julie Walter’s early performances) and A Chip in the Sugar, first performed by Bennett himself. The show runs from April 20-23.
400 years of Shakespeare
Friends, lend me your ears. April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and there are events taking place across the county to celebrate his works.
The occasion will be celebrated in the Elizabethan setting of Hatfield House with a spring day event to make the most of ‘the sweet o’ the year’, as the Bard described the season.
Make like the 16th century and stroll through the estate’s gardens and meadows as Tudor singers find harmonies with the songbirds, and enjoy performances by actors and poets reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets while you explore.
Shakespeare in the City will see the OVO theatre company perform some of the playwright’s most famous scenes in the streets of St Albans, while the English Celebration Festival in Hertford town centre includes live music, theatre and storytelling to celebrate both The Bard and St George’s Day. St Nicholas Church in Harpenden is hosting Shakespeare’s World in Concert, an evening of music inspired by the man and his creations. At Hatfield House actors and musicians will lead walks around the Elizabethan estate (see Diary Highlights for more) and a selection of Herts cinemas (see rsc.org.uk for full details) will screen Shakespeare Live! From the RSC, featuring music, comedy and theatre from stars including David Tennant.
Marathon day bike ride
It may be too late to start training for the London Marathon but with spring in the air why not get your bike out of the shed and join a charity bike ride?
The Michael Sobell Hospice On Your Bike 33-mile ride takes place on Sunday, April 24 – the same day as the London Marathon – offering cyclists a countryside course. Entrants will wheel their way through scenic country lanes to Amersham, Bovingdon and Hemel Hempstead, with marshals directing riders. There will be a water and comfort stop at the Boot Tavern in Chipperfield.
Participants are asked to raise £50 sponsorship with registration opening at 7.30am for an 8am start from the Michael Sobell Hospice in Northwood.