What’s on February 2017


It’s February – officially the month of love and romance. What’s more, whether you’re happily coupled or successfully single, there’s plenty going on where you live which is guaranteed to get your pulse racing and your heart beating fast. For inspiration on where to go and what’s happening across the UK in February 2017, check out our Futon Company blog…

Set in the East Village of New York City, Rent is about falling in love, finding your voice and living for today. Rent has become a pop cultural phenomenon with songs that rock and a story that suits audiences of all ages. Showing at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre from 14th to 18th February 2017.

Nordic Modernist Exhibition
Modernist design emerged in the 20th century as a response to social and technological changes.  Design became simplified, clean lines replaced ornamentation, and new materials were embraced.  This small display at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Old Town, running from now until 12th February, showcases an outstanding collection of Nordic Modernist design donated to the museum, featuring works in ceramics, glass and jewellery.  Assembled over the past 50 years, the collection features leading designers from Scandinavia and Britain, including Kaj Franck, Timo Sarpaneva and Henning Koppel.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year
The world-renowned exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum, features 100 awe-inspiring images, from fascinating animal behaviour to breathtaking wild landscapes.  Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that showcases the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights for over 50 years.  Launched in 1965, today the competition receives over 42,000 entries from 96 countries, highlighting its enduring appeal.  This year’s 100 award-winning images will embark on an international tour that allows them to be seen by millions of people across six continents.  From now until 19th February 2017 at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Old Town.

Magical Lantern Festival
Celebrate the turn of Chinese New Year by exploring an immersive garden of lights and lanterns.  Wander through a garden of magical lights and follow a magical lantern adventure through Europe, Egypt, Persia, India and China as you retrace the ancient Silk Road, this year’s special theme.  See spectacular light installations and hand-made lanterns in the shape of animals and plants.  Meet illuminated sphinx and camels on the way, and see a magnificent lantern rendition of the Coliseum and a life-size replica of the ship that Chinese Admiral Zheng used on his expeditions.  At Chiswick House and Gardens from now until 26th February.

Fantastic Mr Fox
Roald Dahl’s tale of the three greedy, smelly, horrid farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean and their battle with Fantastic Mr Fox and his family.  Brand new musical adaptation by Sam Holcroft.  At the Lyric Theatre from now until 19th February.

Chiswick Food Market
Open every Sunday come rain or shine from 10am to midday at Dukes Meadows Trust Pavilion Car Park W4 2RX, the market is a social enterprise and proceeds made from running it are used to improve and maintain both the local meadows and the surrounding riverside area.  Features around 25 top producers from around the country.

Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour
BBC One’s hugely popular entertainment show is celebrating 10 fab-u-lous years and the Live Tour will come to Manchester arena for two wonderful days only on February 4th and 5th.

The Best in Stand Up
The Best in Stand Up delivers five world class comedians.  You will laugh out loud for over two hours.  Avoid tears on arrival by booking in advance for these sell out shows.  At Manchester Comedy store on February 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th 24th and 25th.

Andy Warhol at The Whitworth
Andy Warhol’s work will be showing at The Whitworth as part of its Artists Room exhibitions which will show the sharp, critical opinions of an artist known to many primarily as an art salesman, purveyor of product and celebrant of capitalism.  Supported by Arts Council, Art Fund and Creative Scotland, the exhibition is drawn from Artists Rooms, a collection of international modern and contemporary art owned by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the public.  From now until 16th April at Whitworth Art Gallery.

Brendan Cole
New Zealand-born ballroom dancer specialising in American and Latin dancing, Brendan is a regular on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing as well as NZ’s Dancing With The Stars and Just The Two of Us.  His touring show Brendan Cole:  All Night Long comes to the New Theatre on Sunday 26th February for one night only.

Cameras in the Sky
Aerial photography of Oxfordshire from a unique Aerofilms collection cared for by Historic English Archive at Oxford Museum.  Free entry.  From now until 26th March.

Bodleian Library Tour
A visit to Oxford is incomplete without a guided tour behind the scenes at the Bodleian Library, situated in the heart of the city.  The Bodleian is steeped in history and is the heart of the University, dating back to 1488.  Between now and February 28th, the Library is offering special winter discounts on its Standard and Extended Tour when tickets are purchased online.

IBT17: Bristol International Festival
In Between Time is an international production company creating extraordinary art works.  They encourage artists and audiences to think, to dream, to do things they have not yet imagined.  Every two years, In Between Time produces Bristol International Festival.  They commission new work, present in unusual spaces and leading venues, and invite extraordinary artists to Bristol.  Some events are free and some will be priced and ticketed.  From 8th-19th February.

Lubaina Himid:  Navigation Charts at Spike Island
Spike Island presents the first major survey of British artist Lubaina Himid, a pioneer of the Black Arts Movement in Britain in the 1980s.   Known primarily as a painter, Himid has also made significant contributions as a curator, archivist and writer focused on the experience of the black diaspora in Britain over the past 30 years.  To accompany Himid’s exhibition at Spike Island, an extended public programme of symposia, screenings, artists’ talks and workshops engage with topics of labour, migration and black identity.  From now until 26th March.

Warrior Treasures:  Saxon Gold from the Staffordshire Hoard at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Set within a mysterious forest enter Warrior Treasures to be captivated by a dazzling collection of gold, silver and semi-precious gems from Anglo-Saxon weaponry.  Damaged and fragmentary, these superbly crafted fittings were discarded, but who buried them?  And did they intend to come back for them?  The collection is part of the Staffordshire Hoard, considered one of the most significant Anglo-Saxon finds.  It almost certainly represents the spoils of war, fought in an ancient kingdom during the 7th century AD.  On show now until 23rd April 2017

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Year of the Rooster
As part of Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Rooster, check out Nottingham’s Confucious Institute’s China Ethnic Song and Dance Ensemble at Theatre Royal, 7pm on Thursday 9th February 2017.  A unique opportunity to see the only national-level performance group representing Chinese people.  Founded in September 1952 by Premier Zhou Enial, the company has over 300 members representing 36 ethnic groups, and has performed in over 70 countries.

Shifting Sands:  Lawrence of Arabia and the Great Arab Revolt
The mud and blood of the First World War’s Western Front scarred a weary British nation.  So when an American reporter stumbled upon a dashing British soldier in Arab dress in distant Jerusalem, the publicity machine went into overdrive.  Soon the glamorous story of Lawrence of Arabia and his dazzling exploits spread across the world.  But who was this larger-than-life character who fought with the desert tribes during the Great Arab Revolt to help topple the Turkish Ottoman Empire?  How much of Lawrence’s story is true?  How did the events he took part in shape today’s war-torn Middle East?  Discover the extraordinary tale through artefacts, testimony and the results of years of research by a team of intrepid archaeologists in Jordon at the National Civil War Centre between now and March 31st.

Cave Tours
Take a tour to experience the caves at Nottingham Castle for yourself, learning on the way the gruesome tales of Roger Mortimer, King David II of Scotland or you may be able to take a tour with Robin Hood himself…With some of the caves dating back to medieval times, the tour is strenuous with LOTS of steep steps.  However, for those who wish to descend through hundreds of years the tour is a must.  Tours last approximately 30-40 minutes.  Costs £5 per person plus normal castle entry.  Tours run all year round.

Cold Places:  Pictures from the Poles by Sue Flood
Images taken in the Arctic and Antarctic by one of the world’s only women to specialise in Polar photography – Hawarden-born Sue Flood – are on show in her home city’s Grosvenor Museum alongside items from her Inuit arts and crafts collection as well as examples of her sub zero survival gear.  From now until February 22nd.

Light Trails and Night Time Photography Course
Would you love to learn to do light trails and also shoot night time photos with atmosphere?  Light Trails and Night Time Photography Courses offer amateur photographers the chance to spend the evening in Chester looking at the theory and settings needed to create photos then we go onto the streets to capture photos you will be proud of.  £50 per person.  Next course on February 24th 2017.

Mindfulness Meditation
Relax every Monday at Mindfulness Meditation classes from 6.45pm at Beehive Healthcare, Chester.  Meet like-minded people in comfortable surroundings.  Minimum age 14.  Entry price £7.  6.45pm for one hour.  Every Monday.

Secret Cinema:  Moulin Rouge
Opening on Valentine’s Day, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge will be the first film of 2017 to be given the secret cinema treatment.  Guests will be invited to step back in time to an all-dancing, all-singing 1899 Paris to lose themselves in the sexy, disreputable Belle Epoque.  As ever, the full details are under wraps but, true to Secret Cinema form it’s sure to be one hell of an experience.  Secret Cinema takes place in Central London from now until 30th April 2017.

South Africa:  The Art of a Nation
The British Museum examines South Africa’s art history – from cave paintings to contemporary works.  From now until February 26th 2017.

Flamenco Festival
The foot-stamping Flamenco Festival London, an annual festival at Sadler’s Wells, includes a gala performance by legendary Gypsy dancer Juana Amaya, Olga Pericet, Jesus Carmona, and more.  Opening this year’s festival, which runs from February 15th to 26th, is the UK premiere of FLA.CO.MEN by the role-breaking Israel Galvan.

David Hockney at The Tate
In the footfall of his 80th Birthday, Britain’s most stylish man and our finest living art export, David Hockney, is getting the no-holds-barred greatest hits treatment, says  His forthcoming retrospective is promising an all killer, no filler, a circumspect summation of his genius with painting, photography, film and print.  For beginners, this is entry-level materials for the story of modern art.  For diehards, it’ll be just amazing to see it all in one place.  At Tate Britain from 9th February until 29th May.

Mardi Gras Special
Louisiana-born and raised Sarah Savoy fronts musicians David Rolland, Marius Piabarot and Manolo Gonzales as if it were any group of similarly passionate musicians playing in the Cajun heartland of Lafayette, Louisiana, where Sarah got her start playing music with her brother, Wilson.  Let the good times commence – and in Cajun.  It’s all about having a good time, and that’s guaranteed when Sarah and her band hit the stage. Saturday 25th February at King Charles Church Hall from 7.30pm.

Winter Lantern Parade
The Winter Lantern Parade is an annual event organised by CREATE.  Thousands of people take part in the free community event every year to make lanterns and parade through the streets of Tunbridge Wells.  It will this year take place from 5.15pm on Sunday 4th February. 

Hilarious Hats at Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery
Friday Fun is the Gallery’s free drop in art, craft and storytelling sessions for 2-5 year olds (with an accompanying adult).  They’re a great opportunity to get little ones interested in arts and culture from a young age and make them museum goers for life.  Free!  10.30-11.30am every Friday until 24th February.

Plymouth Society of Artists:  Land and Water
Come and see an exhibition of works by selected members of the Plymouth Society of Artists (PSA), all of which have been inspired by the sea.  The PSA was established in early 1944 to encourage and foster a professional outlook in the fine arts of painting, sculpture and printmaking for the benefit of Plymouth.  Seven decades have passed since then and the group has become extremely well established with many successful exhibitions and a membership drawn from throughout the region and beyond.  The Council House, Armada Way showing from now until 4th March.

Valentine’s Breadmaking Course
Column Bakehouse is bringing back its popular breadmaking courses – commencing with a special Valentine’s Day one!  Taking place on February 14th from 5.30-8.30pm, participants will receive expert tuition from the Bakehouse’s Artisan Baker who is expert in making a range of tasty loaves.  You’ll learn basic bread making skills in this small group and take home your own handcrafted loaf at the end of the session.  £75 per person.  Tickets available from Devonport Guildhall, email or call 01752 395 028.

Mamma Mia
Join the ultimate feel-good party at Mamma Mia, the world’s sunniest and most exhilarating smash-hit musical!  Set on a Greek island paradise, a story of love, friendship and identity is cleverly told through the timeless songs of Abba.  Sophie’s quest to discover the father she’s never known brings her mother face to face with three men from her distant romantic past on the eve of a wedding they’ll never forget.  At Theatre Royal from now until 25th February 2017.

The Comedy Club
A night of rib-tickling comedy awaits on Thursday 23rd February 2017 at The Lion Inn in Chelmsford from 9pm.

Robin Bibi Band
A top session player and scintillating slide guitarist, Robin Bibi is a charismatic and versatile performer who never fails to engage his audience.  This is evident whether he’s performing as a solo artist, as a duo or with his full band.  The Robin Bibi Band have become one of Britain’s busiest bands and have successfully broken onto the festival scene.  Experience the magic at New Crawdaddy Blues Club in Billericary on Friday 24th February 2017 from 8pm.

Farmers & Crafts Market
Set in the beautiful surroundings of the Stables Visitor Centre at Hylands House, the wonderful Farmers & Crafts Market features a growing number of craft stalls and local farmers who are passionate about food.  They sell a range of specialist foods including organic, locally grown seasonal vegetables, fine sausages and bacon, homemade cakes, fudge and pastries, pies and fantastic cheeses, homemade Indian foods and spices, locally grown plants and sweets and candyfloss for children.  Held the first Sunday of every month from now until December, from 10am-4pm.

e-Luminate Festival
The e-Luminate Cambridge is the city’s most innovative arts festival showcasing breathtaking light installations created by artists, designers and technologists.  The event offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to discover the richness and diversity of Cambridge’s iconic buildings and public spaces in a new light.  Taking place February 10th-15th 2017, this year’s event comprises spectacular installations, events and a series of talks.

Twilight at the Museums
It’s amazing what you can discover when the sun goes down…this February 15th why not set out on a quest for adventure and discovery?  Experience museums and collections in a completely different way, discover somewhere new and unearth some remarkable treasures.  Twilight at the Museums is a FREE after-hours event for families where museums and collections across the city open their doors for a variety of torch-lit and illuminated adventures.  With free, drop-in activities and themed trails across 13 locations, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.

City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra
A Valentine’s day-themed concert in mid-February has become something of a tradition with CCSO and 2017 will be no exception, though it should be said that the course of true love does not run smooth with the works selected, including:  Samson and Dalilah – Bacchanal:  Saint-Saens, Violin Concerto:  Mendelssohn, Spartacus, Suite No. 2:  Khachaturian, Francesca di Rimini:  Tchaikovsky.  12th February at West Road Concert Hall.

Cardboard Carnival
Trunk, tail, ears or wings?  Carnival creates itself from all sorts of things!  This is Carnival of the Animals but not as we know it.  The organisers take inspiration from the music by Camille Saint-Saens, a little help from Darwin and a whole lot of cardboard to mash up a show full of puppet possibility. 11th February at

Talking Textiles:  Brief Encounter
Corsets, crinolines and combinations:  discover the fascinating history of underwear through the centuries and explore the relationship between dress, the shaping of the body to fashionable ideals, and personal garments in our wardrobes.  February 16th at Norwich Castle Study Centre.  Booking essential 01603 495 897.

Fiji:  Art and Life
The most comprehensive exhibition about Fiji and Fijian art ever assembled, Fiji:  Art and Life in the Pacific will highlight the exceptional collections from the UK and elsewhere, including the Fiji Museum.  The exhibition will bring together beautiful historic objects such as wood sculpture, bowls, canoes, weapons, large painted barkcloths and finely crafted objects made of shell and whale ivory, as well as examples of contemporary art.  Open now until 12th February.

Wolf Hall Comes to York
Barley Hall’s Power and Glory exhibition is now home to some of the most beautiful costumes from the smash hit series Wolf Hall.  Adapted from the international bestseller by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall chronicles the rise of Thomas Cromwell, son of a humble blacksmith, who becomes the right hand of the most powerful man in England, Henry VIII.  Explore the complex relationships of court life in Tudor England, where love, lust and politics mixed together creating chaos for the nation.  Discover how Cromwell’s machinations allowed for the annulment of one of Henry’s marriages, leading to the English church’s divorce from Rome.  Exhibition open now until 31st March at Barley Hall.

Jorvik:  Viking Festival
Working in partnership with York Museums Trust, The Jorvik Group invites you to discover the hustle and bustle of Viking York in this special exhibition devoted to the lifeblood of the city of Jorvik; international trade.  There is also the chance to see a replica Viking-Age ship, used as a trading vessel, and the opportunity to get an up close look at precious artefacts from the Jorvik collection.  Open from now until 28th February 2017.

York Famers Market
York’s monthly Famers Market celebrates the best of local produce, including meat, eggs, bread and oils as well as selling non-food gifts including pottery and woollen goodies.  The Farmers Market joins the city’s regular market at the Shambles on the last Friday of every month.  Fresh goods sold here are grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed by the stallholders within a 40-mile radius of York.

Diana:  Her Fashion Story
The cultural tributes to Princess Diana have often felt overshadowed by the sound of the queen of our hearts turning in her grave (let us run swiftly past the paddling pool in Hyde Park and fast forward through the ghastly Naomi Watts biopic, says  So respect, as they say, is due, and that respect is forthcoming this spring with an exhibition at Kensington Palace.  Twenty years on from her death, Diana: Her Fashion Story, will walk through her wardrobe as a starting point for analysing the arresting grip the princess held on popular culture.  Few knew so instinctively how to harness the power of visual image.  Diana made stars of her wedding dress designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, then her favourite portraitist, Mario Testino, and hairdresser Sam Knight.  No one has used power dressing as quite the armour Diana did.  So an exhibition of her clothes is not really about fashion at all.  It’s about a very specific female energy and power to connect on every level, channelled through one woman.  The Exhibition opens at Kensington Palace on February 24th.

Cash, Capitalism and Corporations
A specially curated season of provocative and inspiring shows that tackle some of the most urgent issues facing Britain today.  From dynamic physical theatre to beat box and comedy, Cash, Capitalism and Corporations celebrates the spirit of coming together in the face of adversity and the courage to imagine the alternatives.  At Battersea Arts Centre from now until April 1st.

Coping Strategies for Contemporary Living (Part One):  Scratch
Is time really money?  Is money really time?  What actually is the ‘neoliberal agenda’ – and why don’t I have a copy?  Join ‘Receptionist of the Year’ and professional time waster Madi Maxwell-Libby on a journey to better understand our economic system.  It’s the funniest capitalism will ever be.  At Battersea Arts Centre 17th February .

Adult Craft Workshops
Join Hove Museum’s experienced craft maker Nadya for a different workshop each month.  With Nadya’s guidance work with felt, printed material and jewellery.  £10 per person, per workshop (discount if multiple workshops are booked).  The next workshop will take place on February 6th.

Acclaimed TV and West End Star Kara Tointon (of BBC1’s Strictly and Eastenders and ITV’s The Halcyon) takes centre stage in Theatre Royal’s major new production of Patrick Hamilton’s Gaslight. Directed by Anthony Banks.  6th-11th February.

Art Group for Adults
Pick up some tips on drawing and painting at Hove Museum’s relaxed and friendly workshops.  Just £3 per person, drop-in (basic drawing materials provided).  7th and 21st February.

Anton & Erin Swing Time
Join the nation’s favourite ballroom couple when they return to G Live with an exciting new show for 2017!  They will be accompanied by six world-class ensemble dancers and the full 25-piece London Concert Orchestra.  Featuring dazzling new choreography, sparkling costumes and a sensational show band performing timeless music.  18th February.

Lord of the Dance
Following the phenomenal success of the 2015 run of shows, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance:  Dangerous Games is returning to G Live from 20th-22nd February.  Fresh from hugely successful runs in the West End, Broadway, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere, this show continues to thrill audiences around the globe with its intoxicating mix of dance and music that fuses the traditional with the contemporary in a classic tale that showcases the exceptional talent of the cast.

Guildford Farmers Market
Held on the first Tuesday of every month.  While the High Street Setts are being repaired, the Farmers Market will relocate to the Leapale Road Surface Car Park.  Buy high quality, fresh, local produce directly from over 50 local farmers and producers.  Try the best seasonal produce and ask questions about growing, rearing, manufacture and cooking methods.  Enjoy the freshest meat, fish, cheese, eggs, fruit and vegetables and breads.

Laugh Out Loud Festival
Laugh Out Loud Festival (LOL) brings you an array of comedians from all over the country for a city-wide comedy festival.  Expect plenty of stand-up, sketch comedy and open mic sessions.  Back for another groundbreaking, outstanding, hilariously funny, unbelievably side splitting, non-stop chortling and descriptively extravagant comedy filled time!  The festival takes place from 22nd February to 5th March across a multitude of venues in the city of Exeter and features top-billing, award-winning comedy acts.

The Brexit Club
A tale of intolerance, alienation and Findus Crispy Pancakes!  After their recent nomination as finalists in the Devon Performance Awards, Substance and Shadow Theatre return to Barnfield Theatre.  It’s 23rd June 2016 – the day of the Euro Referendum and just an ordinary lunchtime in the works canteen for cousins Les, Melvyn and their workmates, but beneath their love of haute cuisine and jovial banter there’s trouble brewing.  In the cold light of the referendum hangover, whether leave or remain, will lunchtimes ever be the same again?  6th February.

Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures
Matthew Bourne is hailed as the UK’s most popular and successful Choreographer/Director.  He returns to his roots in Early Adventures, a programme of hit pieces that launched the career of ‘Britain’s favourite choreographer’ and saw the birth of the style, wit and sheer entertainment that his company, New Adventures, brought to Swan Lake, The Car Man, Edward Scissorhands and Sleeping Beauty.  Exeter Northcott from 9th-11th February.

Creative Writes Weekend Workshop
Creative Writes runs weekend writing creative workshops at regular intervals throughout the year at £100 per person.  Structured yet free-flowing, the weekends are run without critique to allow your inner-writer to create freely.  Small groups of up to 10 are led by Nichola Charalambou to cover different subjects, ranging from the every-day to the unexpected.  Writing focuses around objects, pictures, stories and observations, with Creative Writes giving a starting point for participants.  The next Workshops are set to take place on Saturday 25th at 2-6pm and Sunday 26th February at 3-5pm.

7 The Grove – Open Garden for NGS
¼ acre garden designed for year round interest making a tapestry of greens and yellows.  A wild garden with mature trees giving a woodland feel.  Brilliant for hide and seek and young explorers.  Water garden, 19 paths, vistas and views galore.  Snowdrops in February.  Exceptional camellias and magnolia in the spring.  Open 12th and 19th February.  7 The Grove, N6 6JU.

Feeling Gloomy Present Pulp on Ice
Come along to Alexander palace on February 5th for a Pulp night like no other as we put on our skates and get ready to waggle our fingers like Jarvis whilst whizzing round on ice.  Entry ticket £9 or £8 with your own skates.

My Brilliant Friend at Rose Theatre
The world premiere of a two-part dramatisation of Elena Ferrante’s celebrated Neapolitan quartet of novels, adapted for the stage by April De Angelis and directed by Melly Still.  Showing at Rose Theatre from 25th February to 2nd April 2017.

Quiz & Curry
The Environment Trust is hosting a Quiz & Curry night on 4th February 2017 at All Saints Church, Market Place, KT1 1JP with special guest Alan Connor.  Tickets £12 or £10 to members, with teams of 6 £60.  Book online at

Adult Ghost Tours at Hampton Court Palace
Join us for a 1 3/4 -2 hours evening walking tour hearing stories of ghostly apparitions and paranormal activity at Hampton Court Palace on February 5th, 11th, 12th, 25th and 26th.  Meeting point The Clore Learning Centre, minimum age 15.  Please dress appropriately as the Palace can be cold and draughty at night, and wear suitable footwear as part of the tour is outdoors with uneven surfaces.  Tickets £27.50 per person.