Luton Central Library is celebrating its half century with a feast of exciting literary events, free exhibitions and a film festival.
Its 50th anniversary starts in style on Saturday (September 1) with a lively afternoon of verse and music – Luton Poetry Festival’s Annual Poetry Slam.
It takes place at 2pm in the Meeting Rooms on the third floor, at the bargain-basement price of £3 a head.
This will be followed on Thursday (September 6) by An Audience with Sophie Hannah.
The popular poet-cum-crime-novelist will be reading her poetry and answering questions.
Meet her in the Lending Library on the first floor at 7.30pm. It costs £3 for concessions and Culture Card members, £5 for everyone else.
The Library Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Film Festival got underway last month and continues at 2pm tomorrow (August 31) with Grease, the happy-go-lucky movie with a selection of songs most of us know by heart.
Starring a (very) young John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, it’s a story about teenage summer passion in California in the late 1950s.
Greaser Danny Zuko (Travolta) and Australian Sandy Olsson (Newton John) fall in love on the beach but when they go back to school at Rydell High, things go awry.
Danny’s the leader of the T-Birds, a group of leather-jacketed greasers, while Sandy teams up with the Pink Ladies.
They clash at Rydell’s first prep rally and it seems their budding romance is doomed.
It’s not of course and there are some pretty snappy dance sequences showcasing the two slinky stars.
At 2pm the following Friday (September 7), another golden oldie hits the screen – Out of Africa.
With its immortal opening line – “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills” – it features Robert Redford and Meryl Streep as star-crossed lovers Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen. Their on-again, off-again affair ends in tragedy when he is killed in a plane crash.
But the sweeping Kenyan landscapes and 1930s costumes continue to convey a timeless elegance.
In addition to this smorgasbord of entertainment, there are several fascinating displays of books and memorabilia depicting the five decades the library has been open for business.
The exhibition on the second floor tracks the history of Luton Central Library from the opening of the first free public library in 1883 to the current building.
> For more information visit www.lutonculture.com