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


It’s the start of a brand New Year and there’s plenty happening across the country to make it a good one. Check out what’s happening in January 2016 in your neck of the woods with Futon Company

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 29th January until 6th February 2016.

25 Year of Reeves and Mortimer
25 Years of Reeves and Mortimer: The Poignant Moments will be a celebration of the first 25 years of their professional collaboration from Vic Reeves Big Night Out through Smell of Reeves & Mortimer Shooting Stars. On at the Playhouse for one night only on Sunday 31st January 2016.

Nigel Kennedy
Award-winning English violinist Nigel Kennedy, famed for his interpretation of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons back in the late 1980s comes to Usher Hall on Wednesday 27th January 2016. More recently his work has included performances and collaborations with a huge range of artists from genres spanning classical, jazz and contemporary.


Slapstick Festival
The event that always makes Bristol seem brighter and sunnier in dark wintry January – the Silent Comedy Film Gala held annually at Colston Hall to celebrate the start of the city’s internationally popular Slapstick Festival. From 21st until 24th January 2016 across venues in Bristol.

Acoustic Music Festival
The 12th annual Bristol Acoustic Music Festival, presented by Jelli Records, features local and national music acts, both acoustic and very-much plugged in. January 23rd 2016 at Colston Hall.


Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Get ready for the ride of your life as the ultimate party – Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical – returns to Nottingham, due to overwhelming popular demand, starring Jason Donovan as Tick. Based on the smash-hit movie, the feel-good international hit sensation Priscilla is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could ever dream of. Showing at Theatre Royal Concert Hall from 18th to 23rd January 2016.

Lara Downes
Enjoy an hour of great music in the company of some of the most exciting stars of the piano. Theatre Royal Concert Hall’s Sunday Morning Series offers a rich mix of classic works and rare gems, from Chopin to Ireland. After the concert you can chat with the performers over tea, coffee and some enticing cake – and you’ll still have time to get home for Sunday lunch! Sunday 24th January 2016 with Lara Downes.


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.

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.


Lumiere London
More than 20 artists have been enlisted to light up the streets of the capital with new commissions and site-specific work for Lumiere London in 2016. Artichoke, a creative trust which produces magical, large-scale events across the globe, are behind the project, and the likes of Julian Opie and Janet Echelman have created work for the nocturnal art trail. Neons, projections, and performances are set to sparkle across the West End and King’s Cross providing relief from the winter blues and new ways of viewing the city. From January 14th-17th 2016.

London Art Fair
The celebrated fair dedicated to Modern British and contemporary art returns to the Business Design Centre for its 28th edition. Continuing with their museum partnership, this year’s fair partner, the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, will show important works from their collection in a specially curated show, ‘Coast’. ‘Dialogues’, a collaborative initiative bringing together invited galleries and their emerging artists, will be curated by Natasha Hoare. January 20th to 24th 2016.

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.


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 performance January 16th at 8pm showcasing Steve Gribbon, Ellie Taylor and Rhys James.

ENO Cinema
Recorded live from the London Coliseum in stunning HD, The Barber of Seville will have you smiling form the moment it begins. Filled with fun and farce, English National Opera’s classic staging of this sunny adventure follows the escapades of the barber Figaro as he assists Count Almaviva to prise the beautiful yet feisty Rosina away from her lecherous guardian Dr Bartolo. 22nd January from 7.3pm at Trinity Theatre.


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.

Ensemble Baklava
Russell Harris, Nick Millington, Howard Frey and Julia Thomas perform Turkish, rembetiko, Shepardic, medieval and traditional music melded with improvisation and original materials for a memorable performance of timeless music. 15th January 2016 at Castle Street, The Barbican.

Sewing Machine Workshop
The Get to Know Your Sewing Machine Workshop aims to help you get to know your sewing machine! It introduces the fundamental parts of your machine and its standard settings plus tips on basic maintenance and needle types. You will learn and practice stitch length and width, sewing a hem, finishing raw edges, gathering, darts and button holes. 21st January for 1.5 hours at Make at 140 Vauxhall Street from 7.30pm.


Ruby Wax
On 13th January 2016 at 1pm , Blackwells will welcome Ruby Wax back to talk about her latest book A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled. She says: 500 years ago no-one died of stress. We invented this concept and now we let it rule us. This book shows you a scientific solution to these modern problems. Ruby Wax will talk about how ordinary people should change for good. The talk is free and will take place in the Norringdon Room at Blackwells. Register at

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.


Searchroom Tour Talk
Tuesday 12th January 2016 will see a talk from Alan Cox of the Copped Hall Trust for the Essex History Group at the Essex Records Office. Taking place from 10.30am until midday, entry is £1 including a cup of tea of coffee. No need to book.

Annual Legends Evening
January 22nd will mark the Clarets’ second Annual Legends Evening with a number of former Chelmsford City Football Club stars turning out for a nostalgic evening following the great success of last year’s event. A Welcome Home montage DVD will be shown to celebrate past players, with various speeches taking place as fans are treated to a trip down memory lane. Tickets are priced at £13, payable in advance. Legends set to attend include Dean Wells, Eddie Dillsworth, Steve Ward, Colin Norman and Garry Cross.

Comedy 4 Kids
Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children and their families…but without the ride bits! It’s just like a normal comedy club, but it’s on in the day, kids are allowed in, and thus there is a higher than usual chance of heckles like “why is that your face?” Line up for January 16th 2016 includes Ben Van Der Velde (MC), Jay Foreman and Howard Read.


Evensong at St John’s
St John’s College is one of the oldest and largest colleges in Cambridge. Former students include famous business and political leaders and artists. It’s an inspiring place to study, or even just to visit, and the Choral Evensong services are a spectacle to behold. Taking place on January 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th from 6pm.

Ruby Wax
On 11th January 2016 at 12.30pm, Heffers Bookshop will welcome Ruby Wax to talk about her latest book A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled. She says: 500 years ago no-one died of stress. We invented this concept and now we let it rule us. This book shows you a scientific solution to these modern problems. Ruby Wax will talk about how ordinary people should change for good. The talk is free.


Miss Nightengale: The Musical
Sex, scandal and showbiz 1940s style. Two men struggle in the shadows to thrust an outrageous new star into the spotlight. In times of war people will do anything to survive. The Landed Gentry rub shoulders with black market spivs, songwriters take to the streets and working class girls want to change the world. Bootleg booze, blackmail and bombshells are a dangerous combination. And some secrets are more explosive than the Blitz…Miss Nightengale: The Musical brings the on-stage glamour and off-stage affairs of war-torn London thrillingly to life. On at Norwich Playhouse on January 23rd and 24th. Box office 01603 598 598.

Baaba Maal at Waterfront
Senegalese singer, guitarist and percussionist Baaba Maal comes to Waterfront on Tuesday 19th January. His first studio album was 1989’s Djam Leelii (with Mansour Seck) and his solo debut was the album Lam Toro, released in 1992. In 2003, Maal was made a Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Programme. Tickets £20.

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.


Brass Monkey Half Marathon
Whether you’re a keen club runner, doing your first half marathon or just running for fun, this is the race for you. Famed for its friendly, warm atmosphere, encouraging marshals, efficient organisation and now in its 34th year. The date for the 2016 race is Sunday 17th January 2016.

Outside, Looking In: Ed Byrne
That bloke. You know. The Irish guy. No, not the bald one. The other one. You know him. The one Carol from work really likes. Wait, that might be Jason Byrne. Anyway. Funny chap, he has a new show! ‘A masterful display of the comics art…’This is a seamless and perfectly timed show that could stand proudly next to any Izzard, Bailey, Carr or Skinner stadium-filled’ (The Sunday Times). On at Grand Opera House, York on Sunday 24th January 2016 at 8pm.

Dick Whittington and his Meerkat
Join us at The Signal Box Theatre at the National Railway Museum from now until 24th January for a once in a lifetime panto! Expect fabulous costumes, stunning sets, toe-tapping music, breath-taking transformations and magical spectacle. The script will remain the same old rubbish but this year sees a change of venue (while York Theatre Royal undergoes a £4.1 million refurbishment) – why break the habit of a lifetime!


The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair
The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fairs are the UK’s most eye-catching and unusual interior design events. Held three times a year in January, April and early October. Much loved by the trade and discerning private buyers. From 19th to 24th January 2016 at The Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park.

Musical Theatre Vocal Cabaret
Year 3 BA Honours Musical Theatre Colchester Institute perform a selection of songs from musical theatre in their vocal cabaret. From 6th to 14th January at The Battersea Barge.


Emporium Panto 2015
The Brighton Emporium’s annual Panto is still here! Expect boo-able villains, toe-tapping numbers, loveable heroes, jaw-dropping sets and stunning costumes. Emporium’s Aladdin is an exotic cavalcade of dance, laughs, thrills and romance. And the occasional song. Torn lightly from the pages of the 1001 Nights, this will be the brightest, bounciest, bazaar-est tale ever told, guaranteed to tease and transport anyone who has ever believed in magic. From now until 9th January 2016.

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.

London Gay Symphony Orchestra & Actually Gay Men’s Chorus
A Carnival of Music sets sail at Brighton Dome on Sunday 10th January 2016. A menagerie of lions, elephants and kangaroos will be let loose at Brighton Dome with cabaret star Miss Jason taking the reigns. London Gay Symphony Orchestra and pianists will be bringing these beasts and many others to life in a performance of Saint-Saens’ grand zoological fantasy, Carnival of the Animals.


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 even Sunday come rain or shine from 10am to 4pm, the market is a social enterprise and proceeds made from running the market are used to improve and maintain both the local meadows and the surrounding riverside area. Features around 25 top producers from around the country.


Anton & Erin…Just Gotta Dance
Join the nation’s favourite ballroom couple when they return to G Live, to dazzle Guildford with a thrilling new show for 2016. Featuring sensational new choreography, sparkling costumes and timeless music from the golden age performed live by the 25 piece London Concert Orchestra. 23rd January at 3pm and 6.30pm.

Tropicana Nights
If you are looking for a fun filled evening of pure 80s music and dancing for the over 25s, then look no further…Come and join us and indulge yourselves in pure 80s heaven. Specialising in good old-fashioned party nights, we guarantee fun. Entry £9. G Live, Guildford Friday 22nd January 2016 from 8pm.


Aled Jones Cathedral Tour
Welsh singer Aled Jones MBE is set to wow audiences across the UK in 2016 as he embarks on a 22-date Cathedral Tour which will include Exeter Cathedral. The household name will visit cathedrals in England, Scotland and his home country of Wales, on a series of dates throughout May and June. Tickets for the tour are on sale now at

Eddie Izzard
Surreal and incisive wit from the cross-dressing stand-up, actor and marathon runner on Monday 11th January 2016 at Exeter Northcott, 8pm.

Hole Lot of Jazz
One of the UK’s most talented jazz pianists, Craig Milverton, takes residency at Hole in the Wall, Exeter on Thursday 21st January from 7pm until midnight.


Club De Fromage on Ice
Commencing every 4th Friday of the month, legendary London DJs Club de Fromage will be hosting a night at Alexandra Palace Ice Skating rink. Come and skate to all your fave pop hits, expect to hear the likes of Katy Perry, Bon Jovi, The Jam, Elvis, One Direction, Frankie Valli and The Smiths. For the first time a bar will be open for a bit of Dutch courage before you hit the ice. Don’t miss this fun and unique night on 29th January 2016.


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.

A Gift of Happiness
This short practical philosophy course is based on self-knowledge and draws on timeless wisdom common to East and West. It explores how to live a true, happy and harmonious life. Through mindfulness it reveals how wisdom can lead to happiness. It explores how we can feel connected rather than disconnected and separate. It considers awareness, the power of attention and consciousness. It can delight you and make you think but above help you to discover who you really are. Starts 23rd January 2016.