School’s out for summer and there is so much to do, writes George Ryan

Captain Chicken’s Egg Dodge at Willows Farm

Fun at Butterfly World

Dotty the Dragon is at Harpenden Public Halls

High School Musical is at the Alban Arena

Take part in craft activities at Ashridge

First published in News
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THEATRE

High School Musical

Rare Productions Youth Theatre Group brings to life the Disney Channel’s smash hit musical.

On the front steps of East High school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it’s the first day after winter break. The Jocks, Brainiacs, Thespians and Skater Dudes find their cliques, recount their vacations, and look forward to the new. In Ms. Darbus’ homeroom, basketball team captain Troy discovers that Gabriella, a girl he met singing karaoke on his ski trip, has just enrolled at East High. Come and see this US musical extravaganza in St Albans.

  • The Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans on Thursday, July 18 until Saturday, July 20. Details: 01727 844488, alban-arena.co.uk

Finding Alice

Wonderland is just moments away when you imagine, imagine, imagine... And if you've forgotten how to, this superb reworking of Lewis Carroll's fairytale will have that sorted in no time. After all, a little imagination goes a long way in Wonderland. DOT Productions brings a fun-packed family show to the Maltings Arts Theatre. Based on the Lewis Carroll books, you're in for a treat with characters we all know and love, music and sing-a-long-songs!

Join Miriam on her quest to get her book back as she enters Wonderland and meets the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and more. And, most importantly, will she ever find Alice?

  • Maltings Art Theatre, The Maltings, St Albans Sunday, August 18 at 3pm. Details: 07807 8700 887, maltingsartstheatre.co.uk

Dotty the Dragon

Blunderbus children’s theatre company presentS an enchanting fairytale adventure. This clever new show comes to life with an irresistible blend of live music, puppets and high energy storytelling. Dotty is a baby fire dragon who lives at the top of a mountain with her grumpy dad, Mr Dragon. In the village below, everyone fears for their lives, for dragons eat children, don’t they? Little people aged three to seven will love this funny, heart warming tale and so will the whole family.

  • Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road, Harpenden on Saturday, July 20 at 11am and 2.30pm. Details: 01582 767525, harpendenpublichalls.co.uk

Beauty and the Beast

This tale as old as time is performed by the very talented, award-winning Empire Theatre Arts.

Belle, a local girl who is smart and sassy, longs for adventure. Little does she know that in a castle not far away lives a hideous beast looking for love and someone who can see the real him – but who could ever learn to love a beast?

  • Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road, Harpenden on August 23 and 24 at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm matinee on August 24. Details: 01582 767525, harpendenpublichalls.co.uk

CRAFTS

Summer Fun Tuesdays 

Every Tuesday in August you can enjoy a different fun crafty activity, Whether that’s taking part in a scavenger hunt, making your own bag to collect lots of natural bits and pieces outside then using them to help decorate our big collage.

  • Ashridge Estate Visitors Centre, Moneybury Hill, Berkhamsted on Tuesdays in August. Details: 01442 851227, nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate

DAYS OUT

Battle Proms

Spitfire, Blades acrobatic team, cannons, cavalry and fireworks will all be on show to celebrate the 13th annual Battle Proms event at Hatfield House. Relax and enjoy the show with food, drink friends and music and be wowed by the wonderful air display.

  • Hatfield House, Hatfield, Saturday, July 20, 7.15pm. Details: hatfield-house.co.uk

Summer Spectacular

There are acres of fun to be had at Willows Farm Village this summer. The Summer Spectacular includes rabbit racers, bird displays, meeting shire horses, a puzzle hunt, goat racing, sports day races, story time, and a children’s disco. You can also take part in chicken egg dodging, enjoy the country fun fair, Frisbee golf, the indoor play barn, lakeside walks, and meet Daisy the milking cow.

  • Willows Farm Village, Coursers Road, London Colney, St Albans until September 1 from 10am to 5pm. Details: 0870 129 9718, willowsfarmvillage.com

Summer activities at Butterfly World

Stuck for something to do over Summer? Why not head down to Butterfly World which has boredom relieving activities through the whole of the holidays. Every day you can join in with insect handling, Ant World Talks and face painting, as well as exploring the wonderful site and beautiful butterflies. Other fun-filled activities that take place throughout the summer include storytelling sessions, bug hunts and arts and crafts sessions.

  • Butterfly World Project, Miriam Lane, Chiswell Green. Throughout July and August Details: 01727 869203, butterflyworldproject.com

Wildlife fun at Tring Natural History Museum

Throughout August you can get involved with all sorts of wildlife activities from making fossil leaf prints out of clay; you can take inspiration from the Blooming Marvellous exhibition and make your own tissue-paper flower. You could make an amazing insect sundial or a caterpillar that turns into a beautiful butterfly. How about some moth trapping at the museum where you can learn how to safely set a trap to catch moths and then come back the following day to find out what's been caught and then hunt for your own minibeasts in the woodland.

  • Natural History Museum at Tring, Akeman Street, Tring on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout August. Details: 020 7942 6171, nhm.ac.uk/tring

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Attractions include a show by children’s entertainer Smartie Artie, face painting, a bouncy castle and games.

  • Lydekker Park, Sun Lane, Harpenden on Saturday, August 17 from 11am to 2pm. Details: 01582 463668, Harpenden.gov.uk/town-events

Heartwood Summer Festival

An outdoor family day to celebrate trees and woodland through art. The Teddy Bears’ Picnic theme is nature detectives, so dress your bears accordingly! There will also be a sleepover in the woods and bushcraft – booking for this is essential.

  • Heartwood Forest, Sandridge, St Albans on Saturday, August 24 from 11am to 4pm. Details: 07909 893545, woodlandtrust.org.uk/heartwood

BOOKS

Creepy House Summer Reading Challenge 2013

The summer holidays are coming and so is the Creepy House Summer Reading Challenge. Open to children of all ages, Hertfordshire Libraries will once again be taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge which starts this year on Saturday, July 13.

The challenge encourages children to read six books over the summer holidays and is free to enter. Children who complete the challenge will be invited to a special awards ceremony, where they will receive a certificate and a medal. They will also be entered into a prize draw with a chance to win a Golden Ticket for an exclusive author event on 1 November. One lucky golden ticket holder will also win a family ticket to Warner Bros Studios. There will be creepy-crawly events at St Albans Library on Friday, July 26.

  • St Albans Library, The Maltings, St Albans on Friday, July 26. Details: 0300 123 4049

HISTORY

Family Discovery Morning

There is a series of Family Discovery Mornings at the cathedral throughout August, which combine an exciting trail and a fun craft activity.

The theme of the first morning, on August, 1, is the Magna Carta, to celebrate the first meeting about the Magna Carta that took place at the cathedral 800 years ago. On the trail, you can explore marks made by people around the building through the centuries – even drawings of knights and snakes! Suitable for ages three to 11.

  • St Albans Cathedral, Sumpter Yard, St Albans on Thursdays in August. Meet in the north transept. Details: stalbanscathedral.org

Young Archaeologists' Club

The Young Archaeologists' Club (YAC) is a national organisation run from York by the Council for British Archaeology. Its programme includes courses and holidays plus a lively magazine, for anyone aged 8-16 interested in archaeology. St. Albans has a local group based at Verulamium Museum. Meetings are held every third Saturday in the month, except in August.

Topics include identifying bones, looking at the evidence for animals from excavations, or hands-on events like how to make soap in medieval times. There are also special archaeological open days and day visits.

  • Verulamium Museum, St Michael's Street, St Albans, throughout summer. Details: 01727 751810, stalbansmuseums.org.uk

Outrageous Outlaws

The Museum of St Albans Holiday Club heads back in time to the late 12th Century to discover what life was like for those outside of the law. Go along for one day or for the whole week. Events include a scavenger hunt around the museum and gardens, archery skills at Outlaw Camp, designing and making board games and wanted posters, and designing an outdoor exhibition.

  • Museum of St Albans, Hatfield Road, St Albans from Monday, July 29 to Friday, August 2 from 10.30am to 12.30am. Details: 01727 819340, stalbansmuseums.org.uk

FILM

Epic

From the creators of Ice Age and Rio, Epic tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. When a teenage girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she teams up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures to save their world – and ours. Starring Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Christopher Waltz and Amanda Seyfried.

  • Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street, St Albans on Saturday, July 27 at 11am. Details: 01727 844488, alban-arena.co.uk

Despicable Me 2

Gru, the girls, Dr Nefario and the unpredictably hilarious minions return, along with a whole host of new characters. Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.

  • Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street, St Albans on Saturday, August 31 at 11am. Details: 01727 844488, alban-arena.co.uk

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