What’s on in Herts this month

PUBLISHED: 11:19 06 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:19 06 September 2016

St Albans and Harpenden Food Festival (Photo: Ren Behan)

St Albans and Harpenden Food Festival (Photo: Ren Behan)

Ren Behan

Diary highlights for September 2016. Our pick of cultural events in the county

Tim Garland QuartetTim Garland Quartet

Treasure your treasures

Historic sites in the county will be opening their doors for free this month for Heritage Open Days, the UK’s biggest annual celebration of cultural heritage.

Between September 8-11 visitors can see inside a wide range of buildings, some of which are rarely open to the public, to discover Hertfordshire’s diverse heritage. Costumed interpreters will bring history to life, stories will be shared, and doors to hidden places unbolted.

There’s a chance to climb the Bridgewater Monument at the Ashridge Estate, take a tour of Mill Green Museum and see very rare and fine examples of 15th century wall paintings in Piccotts End.

Patron Loyd Grossman says, ‘Don’t miss this once-a-year chance to be a tourist in your own town and treasure the treasures on your doorstep.’

Go to heritageopendays.org.uk for the full list of events in Herts.

Calendar girl lunch

One of the originals in the Rylstone and District WI nude calendar will bare all about the remarkable, funny and heartwarming story of the fundraising effort that inspired a hugely successful film.

Tricia Stewart, who was played by Dame Helen Mirren in the film, will be guest speaker at a charity ladies lunch at St Michaels Manor, St Albans in aid of Rennie Grove Hospice Care. Tricia was the driving force behind the calendar that raised thousands for charity and inspired many more to do similar calendars.

The lunch is on September 22 from midday-3pm.

Quirky quality at BerkoFest

BerkoFest will return for its fourth year on September 10. Set in a natural amphitheatre, this family-friendly music festival in Berkhamsted has become synonymous with showcasing both established and emerging talent.

There will be plenty of activities for those that are young and young at heart to enjoy including drum workshops, face painting and sand art. The festival also celebrates the best of local food and drink with stands from Porters and Cinnamon Travelling Cafe and craft beer supplied by Haresfoot Brewery.

Festival founder Charlie Hussey says it is all about quality and quirky music at affordable prices, ‘I think with this year’s amazing eclectic line we have achieved that,’

James Walsh and Republica are two of the acts headlining.

Tanks and Tommies

A century ago, as the First World War raged, the first military tank known as Mother arrived at Hatfield House for top secret testing on the estate’s grounds.

To mark the anniversary Hatfield House is hosting a Centenary Tanks and Tommies event on September 10-11. Elements of the trials will be recreated while there will be Great War displays and performances throughout the day. See replica tanks and crews, acrobatic aircraft dog fighting, British, French and German infantry, military padre, medical displays and 18-pounder field artillery and machine guns. There will also be an assault course for the family to take on.

Love tangle

A new interpreation of Mozart’s opera Cosi Fan Tutte, sung in English and set during the Great War, will be performed at Hatfield House on September 8.

When two young men place a bet that their respective fiancées will remain faithful if they are called up to fight, they come up with a ruse that sees them leave for battle and two handsome, strangely familiar, officers arrive at a country manor house treating wounded soldiers - an event that threatens to jeopardise the ardent promises of their partners.

This satirical tale of love is performed by Opera Loki. The company was established in 2001 to promote the genre and bring it to a wider audience.

Food for thought

Foodies are in for a treat this month when St Albans hosts the ninth St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival showcasing the fantastic range available in the district. Over 12 days from September 25 there will be demonstrations and tasting sessions, cocktail classes and even a pop up village green. A highlight of the event is when St Peter’s Street is closed off to become a gastronomic wonderland.

With restaurants as diverse as Lussmanns, The Foragers, Tabure and Dylan’s at the Kings Arms, who won best newcomer last year, this is a great opportunity to try something new.

Jazz it up

Big names in the jazz world will descend on the Hawthorne Theatre in Welwyn GC for the sixth annual Herts Jazz Festival. Tim Garland’s Quartet, Gilad with Strings and the Mingus/Monk Big Band tribute are headliners, joined by Julian Joseph, Keith Tippett, The Printmakers, Gerd Dudek, Laurie Cottle and Derek Nash’s Picante, among others on the bill from September 16-18.

The festival will have a similar format to previous years with free sessions in the theatre foyer during lunch and dinner intervals and after hours.

Enjoy top-class music from the Friday evening and throughout the day and evening on the Saturday and Sunday.

Tring Heritage Weekend

Explore the Rothschild family history and their influence on Tring during the Tring Heritage Weekend on September 10-11. A talk about Lord Walter Rothschild, his family story and how he created his remarkable animal collection takes place at the town’s Natural History Museum he created, Then join one of two tours with the Woodland Trust or the Local History Museum. The Woodland Trust tour will take you on a two hour walk around Tring Park, Walter’s childhood garden when the family lived at Tring Park Mansion. The mansion, built by Christopher Wren in 1685, was bought in 1872 by the Rothschild family as a summer residence. The Local History Museum tour will highlight key points in the town relevant to the family.

Meet the ancestors

Mull over the mysteries of our ancestors at Humans in Ancient Britain, a free exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Tring.

The displays explore the changing faces and spaces of a world inhabited by early humans stretching back tens of thousands of years. Discover some of the creatures that lived alongside early humans on these shores, including the remains of a rhino, the tooth of a sabre-tooth cat, and the leg bone of a woolly mammoth. Visitors can also see the skull of the earliest known Neanderthal in Britain (left), and handle replicas of tools used by early hunter-gatherers. Specimens discovered near Tring are also on display. Until November 6.

Literary Lunch

GCelebrity gardener, and presenter and author Alan Titchmarsh will be at a be visiting Chenies Manor near Chorleywood for a literary lunch on September 12, to discussing his new novellove story Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour.

Timothy Gandy has kept his lifetime’s ambition secret for 40forty years. Now, suddenly released from his ordinary existence he is unexpectedly free to realise his dream –s, a grand tour of Europe. He anticipates high art, culture and balmypleasant weather, but . He never expectsed to findencounter new friendships – and possibly even love – along the way.

The eventLiterary Lunch organised by the Chorleywood Bookshop includes a pre-drinks on the lawn and a, a two-course lunch as well asfollowed by tea and coffee and a copy of the book.

For more, information go to chilternbookshops.co.uk/events

Royston Arts Fest

Carnival! is the theme for this year’s Royston Arts Festival, which kicks off on September 23.

Over the three days, there will be Abigail’s Party, performed by the Corvus Amateur Dramatic Society, exhibitions by Royston Arts Society and Royston Photographic Society, and music, art and dance. Children will love the family storytelling at Royston Library, while the Royston Choral Society is welcoming all to sing Messiah choruses.

The festival also incorporates Royston MusicFest, a day of free music in venues around the town.

Artists at work

There’s a chance to see artists at work and buy original pieces this month with Herts Open Studios. The free event, organised by Herts Visual Arts from September 3-25, began in 1991 to make the arts more accessible to the public.

Each year around 200 artists of all kinds open up their studios around the county, with many taking the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity.

Military Wives at Brocket

A dinner-concert by a Military Wives Choir will take place at Brocket Hall in aid of the oldest military charity.

The evening event at the Welwyn stately home aims to raise money for SSAFA, which gives vital support to those who have served in the armed forces, both past and present.

A champagne reception followed by a performance by the North London Military Wives Choir and three-course meal with wine in the grand ballroom (above) is £95 per head or £900 for a table of 10. Call 01707 368700 to book.

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