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Incoming: this week’s hottest events

Yep, restrictions have rocked the social calendar once again, but that doesn't mean you have to stay in just yet. Here's what's still on near you now

THEATRE: Black, Essex and Here 2.0. digital event, 19 October

Following a successful session hosted by Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch, the Mercury Theatre in Colchester is now streaming a digital live-performance of this arts-inflected discussion about Black Essex voices. Join local creatives Danielle Kassaraté (actress), Allyson Ava-Brown (actress and singer), Anne Odeke (actress), Charleen Qwaye (actress), Chileya Mwampulo (director), Leah Kirby (singer and storyteller) for this spoken-word-style conversation about the stories that reflect Black women’s Essex heritage and experiences – and help to lead the charge for positive social change.

EXHIBITION: @background_bob and his amazing friends, Firstsite in Colchester, from 24 October

Firstsite exhibition

Need a bit of a boost? Cue ‘@background_bob and his amazing friends’, a heartwarming project coming to Colchester’s contemporary Firstsite gallery from 24 October to 1 November. Featuring artworks from artists around the world, this thought-provoking project is curated by Noah (aka @background_bob) – a Dedham-based artist who has hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cerebral palsy and decided to reach out with international artists during lockdown to launch a collaborative painting project. Pulling in 220 artists from the world of street art and beyond, the project was an overwhelming hit on Instagram, so now Noah is exhibiting his vibrant collection at Firstsite, for free, to help others process their own lockdown experience – and rediscover a sense of joy through art. Oh, and all pieces will be auctioned off in January to raise money for the NHS. Now, that’s what we call ‘heart’ and design.

CINEMA: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Barleylands in Billericay, 23 October

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Celebrate Halloween in the comfort of your car with this classic drive-in musical offering on Barleyland‘s big screen, complete with popcorn and some seriously scary twists and turns. Let’s just hope you don’t break down on one of the surrounding country lanes afterwards ; ) Gates open at 6pm for a 7pm kick-off; tickets from £25.99.

FAMILY FUN: Shriek Week, Colchester Zoo in Colchester, 24 October-1 November

Colchester Zoo Halloween

Hit the county’s largest zoo for some fang-tastic (and socially distanced) Halloween-themed activities this month – but be sure to stay in your support bubbles/household to adhere to Tier 2 restrictions. From dinosaur dens, and pirate treasure trails to gruesome games your little (and big) ones will love (despite their screams!), they’ve got the holidays covered. Our pick? The pumpkin carving workshop, which starts at a pick-your-own path by spooky All Saints Church and ends (hopefully) in an edible masterpiece. There’s also a witches coven to join, too, which sounds positively spellbinding….

What’s on further afield

KIDS: Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, 15 October–8 November 

I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Lots of spooky(ish) additions to the park, plus new for 2020, there’s a brand new dance extravaganza The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show and a new scary character, Scarecrow.

ART: START Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, 21-25 October

Hey Queenie, nice nose ring! This cool, contemporary art fair, which takes pieces from London’s top galleries, will go ahead this year with social distancing measures and an exceptional line up of artists including  Lincoln Townley,  Erika Navas and Nat Bowen. In addition to START Art Fair, Korean Eye’s 2020 exhibition Creativity and Daydream will be on show having travelled from The State Hermitage in St Petersburg after a six-month stay, featuring a wealth of emerging and established talent from South Korea. 

EXHIBITION: Among The Trees, The Hayward Gallery, Southbank, until 31 October

From Colombian rainforests and remote Japanese islands to olive orchards in Israel and a 9,550-year-old spruce in Sweden, this mixed media exhibition explores trees relationship to humans, featuring work from 37 international artists. You’re right on the Southbank so plenty of foodie options to head to after your culture fix. 

Find more ideas here

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