Cultural events in Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 17:11 05 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:00 08 August 2016
August 2016. Our pick of this month's cultural events in the county
A very hot ticket
One very hot ticket this month is the Benington Chilli Festival. Set in the lake-side grounds of Benington Lordship near Stevenage, this three-day festival held over the bank holiday weekend (August 27-29) celebrates the fiery chilli pepper. Enjoy delicious food from around the world from more than 60 stalls selling everything from chili-infused cheese to chocolate. Sample chilli beer and Scotch Bonnet cider and take a plant or two home to grow your own.
Entertainment includes escapology and juggling, with face-painting and sand art to keep the kids amused. For the daring, there’s the chance to participate in the infamous chilli-eating competition.
The magic of the movies
Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and sit back in some of Herts’ picturesque locations for a film under the stars this month. Hertford Castle is the backdrop to the Blues Brothers on August 26 and Top Gun on August 27 and Luna Cinema comes to Knebworth House on August 5-7 with Spectre, Dirty Dancing and Notting Hill before heading to Hatfield House (right) on August 26-28 with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Grease and Labyrinth.
Sundown Cinema will be returning to the beautiful surroundings of Hitchin Lavender from August 16-21 with Dirty Dancing, The Spy Who Loved Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Force Awakens and The Breakfast Club.
There’s a bar and food at all of them too.
Herts’ hidden heroines
Discover the stories of the county’s brave, innovative and pioneering women in Hertfordshire’s Hidden Heroines.
The free exhibition at St Alban’s Verulamium Museum celebrates 2,000 years of inspirational women who lived and worked in Hertfordshire. Learn about the warrior queen Boudicca, ground-breaking scientist Eleanor Ormerod, the aristocratic Suffragette Constance Lytton and the Atagirls (left), who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes from Hatfield’s De Havilland aerodrome in the Second World War as well as modern-day heroines such as Dr Mary Groves, founder of the Grove House Hospice.
Listen to recorded histories and engage with the interactive exhibits at this celebration of women who helped shape Hertfordshire.
From July 30-August 29.
What will Josh do now?
After success with Channel 4’s The Last Leg, his own sit-com Josh and the BBC5 Live sport show Fighting Talk, Josh Widdicombe is back on the road with his stand-up tour, What Do I Do Now?
Since he’s been away from the stage, he may have been working hard but he’s still found plenty to get annoyed about, say his promotion team.
Catch the wry award-winning comic live at Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar on August 10 and the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, on August 31.
Knebworth’s artful trail
There are surprises of all kinds on the Sculpture Trail in the idyllic setting of Knebworth House gardens.
Turn a corner and see huge giraffes or a girl with her head buried in a book, rocking ducks or a giant bud unfolding.
The pieces are by established craftspeople and professional sculptors as well as talented students in a variety of materials including ceramics, willow, stone and metals. Most of the 13 works on show until the end of August are for sale and the artists are happy to discuss their work and possible commissions. Entry is included in the park and gardens ticket. A map is available from the gift shop.
The Phizz-Whizzing World of Roald Dahl is the inspiration for a summer school at Watford Palace Theatre. The week-long event from August 8 for children aged 7-11 will keep them amused with drama, games and creative activities with a Roald Dahl theme, culminating in a new play inspired by the author’s best-loved stories.
A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest of men...
Nursery’s summer fun
The Dutch Nursery in Brookmans Park is hosting its Summer Event on August 13-14 promising something for all the family with over 35 stalls selling a variety of goodies. Mums will enjoy the spa and beauty therapies and children will love the bouncy obstacle course and slide and bungee run. Look into the future in the Tarot van and come and meet the husky dogs and falconers with their eagles, owls and hawks.
The restaurant and garden centre will be open usual.
Magic & mayhem
There’s a feast for Shakespeare lovers this month with four productions of his plays performed outdoors in stately settings.
In Tring, the long-running Pendley Manor Shakespeare Festival takes place from August 3-14. Laughter, mischief and magic are the theme this year with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest
The Tempest is also on at Wimpole Hall near Royston on August 12, performed by Heartbreak Productions, while the Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s all-male Much Ado About Nothing is in the suitably-Elizabethan setting of Hatfield House on August 14.