Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

09:47 03 February 2014

Jane Harris

Jane Harris' The Waiting Room charts the last four years of her father's life as he suffered dementia


A workshop where you can “upcycle” old clothes, an improvised Jane Austen play and a free lunchtime concert are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.

1. Friday - Dementia films

Three short films explore dementia from the perspective of carers, relatives and sufferers.

Introduced and discussed by their creators, the films cover the impact of an illness that currently affects 800,000 people in the UK (predicted to rise to over a million by 2021) and which costs the UK economy over £23billion each year.

There are currently 670,000 carers of people with dementia, saving the country a further £8billion each year.

Jane Harris’ The Waiting Room charts the last four years of her father’s life, spent on a psychiatric ward in his home town of Ayr, and illustrates the continual battles with a system of treatment that “fails to make sense of the patient’s experience”.

Ex Memoria takes the audience into a day in the life of living withEva, putting them face-to-face with one person’s experience of old age and dementia as she moves in and out of “the momentary, the half-remembered and the partly imagined”.

The last film, - Keeping Mum, - sees James Murray-White track his mother’s five year struggle with memory loss and dementia.

Held at the Freud Museum, Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, on Friday.

Runs 7-pm to 8.30pm. Tickets £10 (£7 concs).

Visit to book.

2. Friday - Austen Imrov

Austentatious: An Improvised Novel is an hour-long comedy play performed in period costume with live cello accompaniment and spun in the inimitable style of Jane Austen.

Audience participation sees improvisation taken to a new level as the play is concocted on the spot.

It has enjoyed a sell-out run in Edinburgh and was showcased at the Hay Festival – earning four- and five-star reviews.

Held at the British Library, Euston Road. Starts at 7pm. Tickets £10.

Call 01937 546546 or email

3. Tuesday - Lunchtime Concert

The Billroth Quartet will be performing a free lunchtime concert at Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park, Highgate.

The first resident string quartet at the House, they enjoy playing an eclectic range of music from different periods and genres including jazz, tango and world music.

They will be performing the only piece of surviving chamber music written by Verdi – his String Quartet in E minor.

The show begins at 1.15pm. To book a free ticket, call 020 8348 8716.

4. Wednesday - ‘Secret War’ talk

Writer and journalist for The Guardian Melanie McFadyean speaks with historian Dr Helen Fry about her parents’ “secret war”.

Her father was a British naval intelligence officer who interrogated German naval commander Admiral Karl Doenitz (a key architect of the U-Boat “wolfpack” tactic).

Her mother was a German-Jewish refugee artist who forged documents for the British Secret Service.

Dr Fry is the author of The M Room – Secret Listeners Who Bugged the Nazis and is a specialist on the Second World War.

The pair will be in conversation at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in North End Road, Golders Green.

Starts at 2pm. Tickets £20.

Visit to book.

5. Sunday - Fabric Class

The London Jewish Cultural Centre, in Golders Green, invites those aged 12 to 16 to join their “up-cycling clothing workshop”. Transform clothes that you used to love, but are now too small, too boring or just look tired and out of date. Youngsters will be able to use a collection of fabric samples, accessories and decorations.Professional costumier Lorna Watts will be on hand to help. 2pm-4pm. Tickets £20. Contact or 020 8511 7901 to book.


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