From a celebration of Madonna to a classic ballet, there's a lot to enjoy...
Material Girl, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, April 26
As the Queen of Pop turns 60 this year, new show Material Girl is giving fans in Dunstable the chance to celebrate Madonna.
Audiences are promised a journey through the scandals, the controversy and the music of one of the world’s most iconic figures.
Told through the eyes of the sensational leading lady, portrayed by Jodie Jane Jackson, audiences will hear stories and little-known facts about Madonna as the show follows her career and music through her 35 years at the top. Material Girl features all of her hits, such as Like A Virgin, Papa Don’t Preach, Vogue, Crazy for You, Into the Groove, Like a Prayer, Express Yourself and many more. The show is promoted by Slamdunk Entertainment. Director Duncan Heather said: “Madonna is way more than her music. She is super wealthy and successful, but she is a down-to-earth person that has had hardship and grief like us all. Our show will hopefully show all aspects of her life and the songs will speak for themselves.”
Ampthill Literary Festival, Parkside Hall, Ampthill, April 28
Leading broadcasters and authors are heading to Ampthill this weekend for the town’s annual literary festival. A music extravaganza is promised with Classic FM presenters John Suchet and Tim Lohoreau, who will be discussing their musically-inspired books on a panel chaired by local musician and musicologist, Rob Baker.
Elsewhere at the festival, Secklow FM presenter Nancy Stevens will be interviewing New York Times bestseller Rowan Coleman and local author Ruth Hogan. Ruth’s debut novel, The Keeper of Lost Things, has been a success since its appearance on the Richard and Judy Book Club. The celebration of Bedfordshire authors continues with church minister and horror fanatic, Peter Laws, who has recently published the second novel in the Matt Hunter series.
Luton-born journalist and broadcaster Safraz Manzoor will be sharing his experiences of writing for the Guardian, his documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and the 2007 publication of his memoir. The day will conclude with Joanne Harris and her #Storytime band.
There will be plenty for children too, with acclaimed author Polly Ho Yen running a workshop for young writers, as well as an event for children aged three to eight.
Sleeping Beauty, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, April 29
One of the world’s most popular ballets comes to Dunstable this weekend courtesy of Vienna Festival Ballet. The classic fairytale is set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, with the show promising stunning choreography and beautiful costumes, all combining to portray the struggle between good and evil.
The story tells how the wicked Carbosse casts a spell on Princess Aurora proclaiming that she will one day prick her finger and die. The Lilac Fairy changes the spell and instead, on the fateful day, the princess and the entire palace fall into a deep sleep. A century later Prince Florimund revives the princess with a kiss, the palace awakes and a parade of fairy tale characters attend the wedding. Following the tale of Sleeping Beauty, this ballet will enchant all ages.
The Dublin Legends, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, April 27
Four titans of the Irish folk music scene perform at the Grove this week .Sean Cannon, Eamonn Campbell, Gerry O’Connor and Paul Watchorn are better known as The Dublin Legends and continue a legacy started by The Dubliners in 1962.
They still play the songs loved the world over – Whiskey in The Jar, Dirty Old Town, The Wild Rover, Seven Drunken Nights, The Rare Auld Times, Finnegan’s Wake, Molly Malone, The Monto, Hand Me Down Me Bible, The Irish Rover, Black Velvet Band and many more.
Cheery Lee Mewis, Bear Club, Luton, April 27
Expect dashes of ragtime, country blues, rock ‘n’ roll and a blade of bluegrass, all cemented together with Cherry’s powerhouse, energy-a-plenty, smoky vocals. She’s championed by Imelda May, Seasick Steve and Walter Trout – here’s a chance to find out why.