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Here’s what’s happening in October

Hello October, old friend. On the roster this month we have cultural debates, big-screen blockbusters, spook-tacular Halloween hits and a string of uplifting exhibitions. Ready? Let’s go!

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

Rocky Horror Show Barleylands

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. 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….

CRAFTS: Beginners’ Stained Glass Workshop at Hylands Estate in Chelmsford, 17 October

Highlands House Estate Chelmsford

Fancy turning your hand to something creative? Head down to the Hylands Estate one day workshop to learn the art of stained glass crafts with the House’s resident glass artist Mona Marnell. Taking place from 10am-4pm, the class will teach you to cut and shape glass, applying copper foil and lead soldering, before picking out a Tiffany pattern to base your stained glass sun catcher on. All materials and tuition are included in the £90 price tag, as well as light refreshments throughout the day. Just make sure you wear old clothes or bring an apron to limit your staining to the glass! Check out hylandsestate.co.uk for full deets. 

CULTURE: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet World Premiere Screening with Q&A featuring Michael Palin, Colchester, 1 & 3 October

David Attenborough A Life On Our Planet

If you missed Sir David Attenborough’s recent leap into Instagram to promote his forthcoming film A Life On Our Planet (seriously though, where have you been?), then leave space in the diary for Firstsite’s series of premiere screenings this week. Showing on two dates (1 and 3 October from 7pm), this critical watch will walk us through some of the extraordinary experiences Sir David has enjoyed in the wild – and expose both the defining moments of his lifetime as a naturalist, and the devastating changes he has seen as a result of climate crisis. It’s a thought-provoking must-see; tickets cost from £10.

EVENT: Wedding Open Day, Hedingham Castle, Halstead, 3 October

Coveting a fairy tale castle to say ‘I do’ in before the second lockdown hits? Get yourself down to Hedingham Castle for a nose round the historical venue’s romance-filled turrets and towers. Opening up its doors for soon-to-be brides and grooms from 9.30am tip 12.30pm, you’ll get the chance to ask the venue about exclusive hire, recommended suppliers and those all-important centrepiece plans. Hello, vow factor! Just make sure you book your slot first to comply with social distancing.

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. 

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