What’s on in February… Futon Company presents ideas from across the UK


We’re deep into winter and it’s one of the dreariest months of the year. But fear not! There’s plenty happening across the country to brighten up your month. What’s more, it’s the month where love and romance is on the agenda as well as Chinese New Year! Let Futon Company show you some of the exciting things happening in London and the rest of the UK throughout February…

Hairspray the Musical
Hairspray is back, with a brand new production of the smash hit musical comedy. It’s Baltimore 1962 where Tracy Tumblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heart-throb Link Larking along the way. Hairspray is the irresistible feel-good show that is guaranteed to have you dancing the night away. Let your hair down and book now. Edinburgh Playhouse 22nd-27th February 2016.

Manipulate Festival
Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival is produced by Puppet Animation in Scotland. One of Scotland’s most interesting festivals, Manipulate has developed a reputation for showcasing innovative work from around the world in visual theatre and animation. It casts its net far wider than traditional puppetry to bring in the best work from overseas in genres ranging from contemporary puppetry and animation to physical and aerial theatre. From now until 6th February 2016.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition
The world-renowned exhibition from the Natural History Museum returns to M Shed with 100 breath-taking images. 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 when it attracted 361 entries, 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. At Bristol’s M Shed from now until 10th April 2016.

Record Fair
Record and CD fair from 10am-4pm on Saturday 6th February at Colston Hall with free entry, laid-back atmosphere, decks to check out tunes, bar and cafe. Free entry all day, lots of dealers and casual sellers, with everything from folk to funk, on LP, 12’ & 7’, plus several CD dealers selling hard-to-find and discounted titles. Music genres spanning 60s, 70s, 80s, acid house, acoustic, African, alternative, big band, blues, breaks, cheesy, dance, country/ Americana, dancehall, disco, drum n base, folk, funk, hip hop and indie. Minimum age 18.

Buddhist Basics
A chance to get authentic training in Buddhist meditation and to learn about Buddhism from the Sakya tradition. Led by experienced Buddhist practitioners. Minimum age 16. Sakya Buddhist Centre in Bristol. Tuesday 23rd February 2016 from 8-9pm.

Hidden Beauties Installation
Experience the fantastic work of Central College BTEC Level 1 Art & Design Students in The Wedge (opposite the Tunnel Vision Digital Art Gallery, Playworks, Alfred Street, Nottingham, NG3 1AE) on February 5th 2016 from 7am. Free entry – just turn up!

Trash to Treasure Exhibition
This exciting unique exhibition celebrates creative recycling and challenges the way we look at waste. Everything in the collection was once something else. Waste paper, metal, glass, plastic, textiles and rubber have been remade into sustainable, useful, and often beautiful objects. You’ll be amazed at what can be made from rubbish; jewellery, rugs, bags, utensils and much more! Join us as Trash to Treasure launches across the City on 5th February. The exhibition has been curated by knowtrash – Neil Thomson, film editor and photographer, and Ruth Thomson, educational author. This exhibition is open within Library opening times. Please check for times on 0115 915 2828.

Light Night: Luminous at Debbie Bryan
Debbie Bryan open their doors until late once again for a wonderful, luminous evening with lace and light inspired project. Enjoy hearty ales, chilled wines and champagne from the Brew Room drinks menu and delicious treats from the Tea Room. For one night only, nationally-acclaimed local author Deborah Tyler-Bennett will be on the guest-list for St Mary’s Gate spotlight readings on the doorstep of Debbie Bryan. Her full range of prose and poetry signed books will be available to purchase on the night. With every tea room purchase, enjoy a self-led paper-folding Craft-Along and enjoy a free intimate reading at your table from Deborah Tyler-Bennett herself. 5th February 2016 from 4pm at Debbie Bryan, 18 St Mary’s Gate, The Lace Market, NG1 1PF.

Chester Cathedral at Height Tour
Take on the Chester Cathedral at Height Tour and experience public access levels like never before. On the tour you will go behind the scenes of 1000s of years of history within the walls of the Cathedral. You’ll explore the bell-ringing chamber, get up close to the images on the stained glass windows, peer down the fourteenth century quire stalls and Victorian organ and stroll along the galleries. What’s more, you’ll climb the 200 plus steps up the tower and take in the panoramic view of the city and beyond. A truly memorable experience. Tours are 60 or 30 minutes.

Minis and More Exhibition
Minis and More: Female Fashion from the Swinging Sixties is a small exhibition which shows day and evening dresses, holiday and wedding dresses by, among others, Christian Dior of London and Nola Gowns of Chester, Susan Small and the boutique labels Dollyrockers and Kweens. Ranging from seriously short minis to full-length creations, in fabrics varying between understated elegance and psychedelic exuberance, we celebrate the extraordinary diversity of female fashion in the 1960s. From now until July 1st 2017 at Grosvenor Museum, Chester.


L’Etoile at the Royal Opera House
Catch the madcap comic opera L’Etoile as it makes its debut in the splendour of the Royal Opera House. Mixing a farcical storyline and dark comedy with a sophisticated score and moving lyrical moments, Chabrier’s 19th-century French opera has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity among performers and audiences alike. Director Mariame Clement’s fresh take on the opera sees British comedian and actor Chris Addison star as Smith, a newly-created role for an added comic twist.

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse
The Royal Academy’s spring blockbuster will appeal to the green finger in all of us, whether it’s tending to your windowsill box, mini London plot or weekend allotment. Blooming with over 120 works by Monet and his contemporaries, it’ll bring a welcome blast of colour to dreary January. From January 30th until April 20th 2016.

Stewart Lee – A Room With A Stew
A new live show with fresh material in preparation for Stewart’s next BBC2 series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. See it live at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells on Friday 5th February 2016 at 8pm. Running time approximately 90 minutes plus interval. Age guidance 14+.

Valentine’s Day Luncheon
Treat your loved one to a delicious Sunday lunch on board the High Weald Belle from Tunbridge Wells West on Valentine’s Day. The steam train will depart from Tunbridge Wells at 12.30 for two return journeys to Groombridge. A delicious lunch including Italian cheeses and meats, chicken supreme, chocolate brownie and cheese and biscuits will be served with fine wines, champagne, real ale and cider.

Comedy Cafe at Trinity Theatre
Leave behind the woes of the working week with Trinity’s monthly comedy night, where some of the country’s best comedians are showcased, from more established acts to the latest in emerging talent. Each month the intimate auditorium gets the full Comedy Cafe treatment with beers, wines and soft drinks from the generously-stocked bar. Next performances February 5th, 13th and 19th.

War Games
War Games (6th February-19th June 2016), a V&A Museum of Childhood Touring Exhibition, explores the fascinating relationship between conflict and children’s play, providing an insight into the ways toys have been influenced by warfare from 1800 to the present day. With toys and games including Risk, GI Joe and classic Britain’s toy soldiers, as well as photographs and archive documents, War Games represents differing sides of conflicts from around the world. This thought-provoking exhibition reveals the sometimes surprising links between play and wider attitudes towards warfare, and delves into the secret history of toys as tools of propaganda and espionage. Plymouth City Museum & Gallery.

Snowflake Run
Cancer Research UK Snowflake Run Plymouth is a new charity run that challenges people to keep running through the winter by taking on a 10km run, while raising vital funds to help beat cancer sooner. Whether you are able to raise £50, £100 or £1,000 for cancer research UK, every pound is enormously important. The 10km winter-themed routes will take in a ‘snow zone’, and hugs from polar bears will provide an added incentive to conquer the cold in aid of cancer research UK. 21st February.

The Great British Sell Off
Over 30 stands selling off goods at rock-bottom prices. Includes vintage clothes, gifts and much more. Entry £1.50. 27th February 2016 at Plymouth Guildhall from 10am-4pm.

The First Humans
The First Humans looks at contemporary art with a prehistoric feel. Often incorporating synthetic colours or materials and a sci-fi aesthetic, much of it is spoof or tongue in cheek. This exhibition identifies and questions a trend among artists to evoke the very distant past. Could dramatic new archaeological findings explain it? Is society suffering an identity crisis? The First Humans is curated by Angela Kingston and supported by Arts Council England. Running from now until 2nd April 2016 at Plymouth Arts Centre.

40 Years, 40 Objects Exhibition
An exhibition of forty objects selected by the local community to tell the story of their city. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Museum of Oxford has been working with local people and community groups to bring together objects which reflect their experiences and memories of Oxford over the past four decades. Visitors will be able to explore Oxford’s recent history through everyday objects, historic artefacts and personal mementoes. 40 years, 40 Objects will also feature an exciting spotlight loan from a national museum and artwork and digital stories created especially for the exhibition. Free entry. Museum of Oxford from now until February 20th 2016.

Winter Exhibition at Bodleian Libraries
Armenia: Masterpieces from an Enduring Culture celebrates over 2,500 years of Armenia history, from its first mention, carved into stone, in the reign of King Darius to the modern Republic of Armenia. 2015 marked the centenary of the genocide against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire by the Young Turk government during World War 1. 100 items are displayed from coins minted in the 1st Century BCE to the treasured objects of survivors of the 1915 genocide. From now until 28th February.

Philharmonia Brass
Showcasing three iconic works, arranged especially for large-scale brass forces, the Philharmonia Brass perform an arrangement of J.S Bach’s virtuosic Toccata and Fugue alongside a highly evocative suite from West Side Story, famous for its brassy, jass-infused joie de vivre. Originally written for piano and later transcribed by Ravel for orchestra, Picture At An Exhibition was composed by Mussorgsky after visiting his friend’s memorial exhibition at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in St Petersburg, with each piece depicting a different painting. Saturday 6th February 2016, 7.30pm at Chelmsford Civic Theatre.

Family Scarecrow Making Weekend
Armed with some old clothing and a bit of creativity, come and make a scarecrow to decorate Hyde Hall’s fields. Large scarecrow kit £8 and £6 for a small kit. Booking essential on 020 3176 5830 plus normal garden admission applies. Scarecrow session times 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.15pm. Please state which time when booking.

The Secret Life of Insects
Half term fun: the secret life of insects at RHS Gardens Hyde Hall, near Chelmsford from Monday 15th February-Friday 19th February 2016. Bring the kids along for fun, insect-themed art and craft activities. Workshops are bookable on arrival and cost £2 per child. On Wednesday, build a bug hotel (£5 booking essential) and on Friday there’s face painting at £3.

Brian Conley: Alive and Dangerous
The multi-talented and irrepressible Brian Conley returns to the stage in this all-new show. Showcasing his many talents, there’ll be singing, laughs and much, much more in this latest variety show from one of Britain’s best-loved performers. Saturday 27th February at Civic Theatre.


2016 CCSA Chinese New Year Gala
The 2016 CCSA CNY Gala is an entertainment show organised by Cambridge Chinese students and Scholars Association and a special event to celebrate the Chinese New Year with overseas students and all the international friends in Cambridge. The 2015 edition of the Gala attracted an estimated 1000-strong audience and received an overwhelmingly favourable response. 2016’s year of the Monkey with its Golden Era theme will feature magic, acrobatics, modern dances, traditional Chinese dances, a choir, singing and talking. 800 lucky bags will be provided for the audience, containing traditional Chinese crafts, snacks, papercuts, bookmarks, hand drawn postcards and a Chinese knot. 6th February at Cambridge Corn Exchange.

Frankie Boyle
Frankie has written this new set not to tour, but as a response to Kendrick Lamar’s last album. After these stand-up performances the ball will very much be in Kendrick’s court. Come witness this harrowing on-stage breakdown. “Black-hearted brilliance…the chance to see him at close quarters is not to be missed, The Guardian.” Wednesday 24th February.

The ELO Experience
The legacy left by Jeff Lynne & The Electric Light Orchestra barely needs any introduction – suffice to say that between 1972 and 1986 they achieved more combined UK and US Top 40 hits than any other band on the planet. 10538 Overture, Evil Woman, Living Thin, Diary of Horace Wimp, Don’t Bring Me Down and Mr Blue Sky went on to become classics. Blending rock rhythms with classical influences, ELO also released many other classic albums such as A New World Record, Discover and Out Of The Blue. The ELO Experience is the world’s foremost tribute to the ELO. With a sensational strong section, a stunning light show and large screen projection to further enhance the experience, why not come along and enjoy this incredible show, which accurately reproduces the songs and sounds and takes you on a magical musical journey through time. Thursday 25th February at Cambridge Corn Exchange.

Brancaster Mussels
Embrace 2016 with a tasty treat – fresh, locally sourced mussels from Brancaster Staithe Harbour. Available from all along the Norfolk coast but best enjoyed locally in Deepdale Cafe, The Jolly Sailors or the White Horse, Norfolk PE31 8FB. From now until Saturday 27th February 2016. Contact telephone 01485 210 200.

Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty
Czech-born Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) is one of the most celebrated artists of the fin-de-siecle. Rising to international fame with his elegant designs for decorative panels, and stunning advertising posters, ‘le style Mucha’ became synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement. Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty explores the work of the artist, around the theme of beauty – the core principle underlying his artistic philosophy. The show will include over 60 works. From now until March 20th 2016 at The Sainsbury Centre.

York Viking Festival
Recognised as the largest Viking Festival in Europe, the annual Jorvik Viking Festival is a city-wide celebration of York’s Viking heritage. Taking place every February half-term, the festival’s programme of family-friendly events, lectures, guided walks and battle re-enactments attracts over 40,000 visitors each year from across the globe, with many returning year after year to take part and enjoy the atmosphere. 15th-21st February in venues across York.

Wozzon Comedy Club
Wozzon Comedy Club is an evening of stand-up comedy presenting you with fresh new acts from across the UK at The Basement, York. Thursday 25th February 2016 from 7.30pm. Tickets £5.

Les Miserables School Edition
Now in its 30th year in London the show that consistently comes out on top in polls to find ‘the nation’s favourite musical’, Les Miserables has broken box office records around the world. All the more remarkable for a show that was actually panned by most critics when it first opened at the Barbican in 1985. Pick Me Up are staging a youth production of the show that will give York audiences the chance to see some fantastic musical stars of the future in action. From 17th-27th February 2016 at 7.30pm and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee at Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Tickets £16. Suitable for age 7+. Box office 01904 623 568.


Brunel’s Underground
Explore the historic destination that’s being transformed beneath Londoner’s feet, says February 2016. This subterranean exhibition space for the Brunel Museum is set to be the capital’s most exciting new arts venture. It will be located in the Thames Tunnel, one of the first projects worked on by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the master engineer responsible for some of the 19th century’s most recognisable architecture – Paddington Station and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, to name just two of his projects. Originally designed for horse-drawn carriages, the structure was the first underwater tunnel in the world, and later became part of the London Underground rail system that we know today. Its Grade II listed Grand Entrance Hall, however, has remained hidden until now. East London-based architectural practice Tate Harmer plans to completely transform the space, adding a freestanding cantilevered staircase. The firm has likened the new design to a ‘ship in a bottle,’ with the stairs being the modern gem enclosed in the original Victorian setting. Opening February.

Sri Lankan Hopper
The Sri Lankan hopper is the culinary passion of chef Emily Dobbs, as chronicled through the Instagram account @Weligama_LDN, says February 2016, named after her pop-up restaurant. Traditionally eaten as a snack or for breakfast, hoppers are small pancakes made from a fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk and yeast, cooked until firm in a bowl-like hopper pan and filled with curries, pickles and chutneys (sometimes an egg is cooked on top, too). Once they’re done, you just roll them up with your hands and tuck in. Healthy, gluten-free and dairy-free, they’re perfectly suited to the current clean eating boom. Dobbs has a weekly residency at London’s Druid Street Market (Saturdays 10am-4pm; 126 Druid Street, SE1)

Chinese New Year Celebrations
Chinese festival food stalls, lion dance, singing, traditional instruments and dancing to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Brighton and Hove 2016, the year of the monkey. This year the theme is “happier and healthier – a better future for all.” Saturday 6th February 2016 from midday-6pm at Clarendon Centre.

Learn to Play Harmonica Day
The 6th annual ‘Harpin’ by the Sea Winter Festival and Learn to Play Harmonica Day takes place at The Brunswick, Hove, East Sussex on Saturday 6th February 2016. A day to brighten up mid-winter and to celebrate that versatile little instrument the Harmonica, with a full day of workshops at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Levels and a fantastic evening concerns. All abilities and musical preferences are welcome.

Alice in Pantoland
So the Cult Brighton Original Alternative Pantomime is cast and on sale. Showing from 27th January until 7th February at Brighton Dome Studio, New Road, this promises to brighten up your New Year. Tickets £20 or £24 with a meal deal.

Ballet 4 Life Classes
Improve your overall fitness and your posture all in one go with Ballet 4 Life Classes for beginners or improvers. From 7.15-8.30pm 11th January to 21st March at Arts Ed School, Studio 110, Bath Road, W14 1LY. Prices £15.

Chiswick Food Market
Open every Sunday come rain or shine from 10am to 4pm, 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.

Hats Off To Led Zeppelin
The official UK No.1 tribute to the gods of Rock and Roll are coming back to G Live! Having played with Queen, Ray Davies, Edwin Starr, Iron Maiden, Gerry & The Pacemakers, PJ Proby, Shaun Ryder & The Seahorses as well as appearing in a plethora of London Shows including We Will Rock You, Tommy, Thriller Live, Wicked, Dancing in the Streets and more, these guys are a truly professional outfit guaranteed to give you a night that you won’t forget in a hurry! Managed by Warren Grant – his father Peter was Led Zeppelin’s manager – and with glowing endorsements, this is not a show to be missed. Thursday 4th February, 8pm at G Live, Guildford.

Animation Nation
Get animated with this exciting stop-motion animation workshop from Animation Nation…Working in groups and using Apple MacBooks, stop-motion software, cameras, lights, tripods, backgrounds, modelling clay and lots of imagination you will create an animated film complete with titles, credits and music, which will then be uploaded to Animation Nation’s YouTube Channel. Ages 12-17. Course fee £35. Monday 15th February 10am-4pm.

Fantastic Food Family Day
Let’s eat, drink and be merry as we make food fantastic at our G Live Family Day! With stories, workshops, activities and shows, many of which are completely free, do something together and have a delicious time. Saturday 20th February 2016 from 10am-4pm.


Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival
Exeter’s premiere annual Comedy Festival 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 is on from now until February 12th 2016 across a multitude of venues in the city of Exeter including Exeter Phoenix (Gandy Street), Exeter Corn Exchange (Market Street) and the Bike Shed Theatre (Fore Street). Due to the adult nature of the shows most performances are only suitable for those over 16.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Hear Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra play orchestral classics at Stocker Road, Exeter on February 18th 2016. The progamme includes Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Schumann.

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is a perennial favourite of violinists and audiences. Vibrant and confident, ironically, it dates from a crisis-laden two years in his life after the breakdown of his disastrous marriage.

Folk music and French chanson merge with dazzling fireworks in this marvellous showpiece. When the Spring Symphony burst forth in a torrent of confidence and creativity in those famous four days of “symphonic fire…sleepless nights”, Schumann was still a newcomer to orchestral music; yet it possesses the most successful use of orchestral colour that he ever obtained.

Stravinsky’s concerto for orchestra derives inspiration not only from Bach but also from musical ideas across the entire 18th century, giving it a particularly eclectic air – a blend of traditional counterpoint and fugal writing with Stravinsky’s spiky melodic lines and syncopated rhythms.

Life On Mars: A Tribute to David Bowie On Ice
Celebrate the life of David Bowie at Alexandra Palace Ice Rink on 5th February 2016, in an event run by Legendary DJs Feeling Gloomy. Skate the night away to Bowie’s greatest hits and back catalogue. 50% of Feeling Gloomy proceeds will go to Cancer Research. Doors open at 8pm, the event starts at 8.30pm and finishes at 11pm. Standard admission £9.40.

Antiques & Collectors Fair
Enjoy the antiques and vintage pop-up fair at Ally Pally with lots of hidden gems to be found! The fair is full of hand-picked, quality, vintage traders who offer a wide range of genuine, vintage and antique goods. 7th February 2016 at The Great Hall via The Palm Court Entrance. Doors open to trade buyers at 8am and the general public at 9.30am. Trade admission £12, public admission £6.

Art Show
Prints, oils, pastels, photography and more…the talents of Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution member are on show. Including professional artists and accomplished amateurs, the show will run from February 5th-18th at the Highgate Gallery. Previous exhibitions, starting in 1996, were indicative of Highgate’s vibrant artistic life; the 2016 show will again demonstrate the many and varied talent of the members.


Snapdragon Productions presents Toast…Another Sunday night shift. The smell of bread baking. The industrial thump, thump, thump of the machines that never stop. The ovens are cranked up to full blast, the factory is humming, and everyone wants to be somewhere else. But this shift is going to be different. Because when a crisis hits the factory, the men have more to lose than just their wages…From Thursday 4th-Saturday 13th February at Kingston’s Rose Theatre.

The Mayor’s Big Sing
A two-hour singing workshop led by a team of experienced vocal leaders will have you singing in glorious 4-part harmony in no time. With a guest appearance and opening performance from the South London Military Wives Choir. The evening will be a great opportunity to hear some beautiful singing from the ladies as well as learning some fun, uplifting cappella songs from scratch and experiencing the joy that being part of a choir can bring. Open to all ages regardless of experience. Sunday 21st February from 6.30pm at Kingston’s Rose Theatre.

The Jungle Body KONGA Class
This new and exciting program from Australia is brought to you by Calasara Fitness. Join us every Thursday from 5.45pm at The Kingfisher Leisure Centre, KT1 2PY to experience this full body work out. Switching between all Jungle Body programs each week you will get to experience Tyga, Konga, Jagua and Vypa. £2.50 for the first class and £5 each subsequent week.