What’s on in Hertfordshire in June

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:35 01 June 2020

National Theatre Live - One Man and Two Guvnors starring James Corden

National Theatre Live - One Man and Two Guvnors starring James Corden

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Our pick of the best cultural (and socially-distanced) events across the county this month.

National at home

If you love theatre and miss live performances, the National Theatre is streaming some of its best known adaptations for us to enjoy for free every Thursday. Plays so far on the National Theatre at Home YouTube channel have included One Man, Two Guvnors with James Corden, Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller and Twelfth Night featuring Tamsin Greig. 

There’s also the chance to go behind the scenes to see how sets and props were put together and hear talks with actors and directors about the plays, plus a catalogue of National Theatre talks. A fabulous resource. 

nationaltheatre.org.uk

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Storytime sessions

Snuggle up with the little’uns and enjoy listening to a tale. New stories are presented on Facebook by Hitchin Library staff (along with various toys) each Tuesday at 2pm while the library is closed. The virtual storytime sessions replace Toddler Tales, a mix of stories and rhymes hosted for free in libraries across Herts. 

facebook.com/hitchinlibrary

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Wonderful walks

Those able to get out and exercise can make use of the free-to-download rambles on Hertfordshire Walker.

Walked several times by Ellie and Dave Brewer before being written up and mapped out,

there are currently 97 varied Herts routes on the site, all with special characteristics, such as wildlife, woods, rivers or historical sites – sometimes all of these. You may find ones near you that you haven’t tried, from a half hour wander to a more energetic few miles. 

hertfordshirewalker.org 

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Art in lockdown 

Although in-person exhibitions and classes have been put on hold, there’s still plenty to inspire your creativity. Three Rivers District Council leisure team has created a lockdown creativity page with links, ideas and activities from local artists. We liked abstract artist Anna Schofield’s Zentangle – creating structured patterns with curves and lines, all with just a pen; and the photo tips and tricks from professional Pete Stevens who runs photography walks and painting sessions with artist Gaye Daniels. 

threeriversleisure.co.uk/lockdownyourcreativity 

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Gruffalo author’s free book 

Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo and Room on a Broom, has illustrated a digital book for primary school children about Covid-19. Written by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts, Coronavirus – a book for children explains the virus and measures taken to control it. The book had input from Prof Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, two headteachers and a child psychologist. Published by Nosy Crow, it’s free to download and print. 

axelscheffler.com/books-for-older-children/coronavirus 

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We’re going on a bug hunt

Our gardens and green spaces are as wild as tropical rainforests – on the micro level of minibeasts. National Insect Week from June 22-28 is great incentive to get children learning about nature under their noses. The Woodland Trust has compiled a spotter sheet to help identify species and there’s tips on where to find them, such as looking closely at leaves for caterpillars and ladybirds and peering into tree bark for beetles, plus everyday household items to help you in your search. Forget the bear hunt, let’s all go on a bug hunt. 

woodlandtrust.org.uk 

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Bravo for books

Many of us have taken the opportunity to get lost in a book over the past few weeks and perhaps joined an online book club. If you’d like to set up your own group, Hertfordshire County Council is offering a reading group subscription service where you can access titles, reserve books and borrow multiple copies for an extended loan period of six weeks. The reading group subscription costs £27.50 a year and there are tips online on getting started. 

hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-archives/books-and-reading

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Sing a song

Do you exercise your vocal cords in the shower or try to outdo Whitney in the car? Of course you do, and Rock Choir is determined to keep us singing in these challenging times. The hugely popular contemporary choir which has branches in Hitchin, Cheshunt, Berkhamsted, Welwyn GC, Borehamwood, Rickmansworth, Hertford, St Albans, Watford and Bishop’s Stortford, has gone virtual with its #KeepBritainSinging project. 

The live performances of a feel-good favourite are led by choir leaders on its Facebook page at 3pm each day. Lyrics are also posted so there’s no need to make up the words. 

facebook.com/TheRockChoir

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Time for tea

This month sees the return of the Willow Foundation Take Time for Tea event. The Welwyn-based charity, which provides special days out for seriously ill young adults, is asking us all to host a tea party to help create more special days. In all likelihood this will be virtual with friends and extended family, but cakes can be posted or dropped off and a party held over Zoom – as many of us have discovered, online parties are actually a lot of fun.

Many of us have honed our baking skills during the past couple of months, so let’s show them off. For free recipes and a fundraising pack, go to willowfoundation.org.uk/tea

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Zoos to you

While restrictions remain in place ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is bringing the zoo to us. Webcams and live streams give insights behind the scenes, such as in the butterfly house, or watch Elizabeth the elephant splash around with a barrel, or the antics of baby rhino Zhiwa. 

Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne is hosting virtual meet-and-greets with its animals and keepers. Say hi to Jessie the snow leopard, Amur tigers Aleena and Siberia, and Tornado the striped skunk. Keep an eye out on social media for video and photos from the zoo team too. To support the park while it is closed, there is an emergency fundraising page, justgiving.com/campaign/animalsupportfund

zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/whipsnade-zoo-webcam facebook.com/pwlpk

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Virtual Verulamium

Explore the fascinating collections at Verulamium Museum and St Albans Museum + Gallery virtually. The St Albans museum team has created new online exhibitions, produced educational resources and virtual tours, all for free. There’s an eyewatering 51,689 objects to discover, from watercolour paintings to Roman jewellery and mosaics. Online exhibitions include A brief history of the Radlett Aerodrome and Talking Buildings: Hidden histories of St Albans. There’s also children’s activity sheets to download.

Fascinating stuff.

stalbansmuseums.org.uk

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Festival of Ideas

June 28

2020 is Herts Year of Culture and the theme for June is big ideas. Although gatherings have had to be cancelled, we are a creative county and organisations have found other ways to celebrate. The University of Hertfordshire is marking the theme with a virtual Festival of Ideas on June 28. Key speakers will debate and discuss a range of subjects including the arts, politics, heritage, literature and science, with an overarching theme of ‘belonging’. A pertinent theme in the current climate. Alongside the scheduled programme, digital exhibitions, creative workshops, film screenings and music performances are planned. 

herts.ac.uk/about-us/ideas  

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Design a town flag

By June 30 

Flags have been around for centuries and you have probably been guessing which are which in lockdown quizzes. In many parts of the world there are town flags, but not many in Britain. The Flag Institute (yes, there is such a thing) promotes the study and use of flags and is hoping to remedy the lack of town flags. As part of Herts Year of Culture, and in response to the institute’s call, Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council is running a competition to design a flag that reflects the area. Anyone of any age can submit a design by June 30. For the entry pack, go to: 

elstreeborehamwood-tc.gov.uk 

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