Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

Kevin Spacey CBE and Alan Yentob

Kevin Spacey CBE and Alan Yentob - Credit: Archant

A chat with hollywood legend Kevin Spacey and BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob, an interview between philosopher Alain de Botton and author Adelle Waldman, and the annual Hampstead Christmas Festival are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.


Philosopher and TV presenter Alain de Botton speaks to author Adelle Waldman about her debut novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

Brooklyn-based former reporter Ms Waldman writes about love, romance and the coming-of-age of a brilliant young writer – Nate Piven.

Full of observations about city life and modern dating, it has received some rave reviews and has been described by Mr de Botton as being this year’s “must read”.

The pair will be in discussion at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in North End Road, Golders Green. The talk starts at 8pm. Tickets are £10 (£12 on the door). Visit for bookings.


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Providing the emotion of an entire opera in little over an hour, Villa InCanto bring their alternative to staged operas from Verona, Italy, to Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park, Highgate.

This is a powerful but intimate show by an excellent cast of singers who have sung across Europe, including in the world-renowned La Scala opera house in Milan.

This time performing Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, the group will rework the well-known operatic masterpiece set in ancient Egypt.

After the show, the audience will also be invited to join performers for a glass of Italian wine.

Tickets are £20 (£15 concs). To book call 07580 742 494.


Hampstead artist Malvina Cheek kicks off her three month exhibition at Burgh House in New End Square, Hampstead, this weekend.

A resident for over 60 years, it has been Hampstead’s combination of country and city that has provided a constant source of inspiration for her work.

Apart from early studies while a student at the Royal College of Art, this exhibition represents her development as a painter from the dark blues and greens of Belsize Avenue paintings, through to the rich red palette of her most recent works completed in 2005.

The exhibition will run until March. Visit for more information.


Legendary Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey CBE and BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob join on stage in what has to be one of the highlights of the opening season for newly opened JW3 in Finchley Road.

The world-renowned pair will be discussing “The Power of Arts in the Community and the Place of Community in the Arts”.

Already famous for his performances in American Beauty, The Usual Suspects and now recent hit US TV political drama House of Cards, Mr Spacey’s role as artistic director of the Old Vic has also earned him a reputation as one of the leading figures in London theatre.

With some 45 years working for the BBC, Mr Yentob has been a powerful figure in the broadcaster’s cultural output and is most famous as presenter and producer of its arts series Imagine.

The talk promises to give audience members a rare insight into the minds of two of the world’s leading arts figures.

Starting at 7.30pm, tickets will be selected by a ballot. You can apply by visiting


It’s that time of year again - Hampstead families will be looking forward to the traditional Christmas Festival which will be held on Sunday in and around Hampstead High Street from midday to 5pm, when the Christmas lights will be switched on by TV presenter Gok Wan and soul singer Mica Paris.

The chosen charity for the event is The Amy Winehouse Foundation, which educates young people on the dangers of drink and drugs.

The festive fun kicks off with a free screening at the Hampstead Everyman cinema of Pixar’s popular film Up at 11am. There are no reservations so come early to avoid disappointment.

As well as the fantastic musical acts on the main stage, including Mica Paris, Mitch Winehouse, Culture Club’s John Moss, Abba tribute band Björn Again and the Rock Choir, there will be a second stage, sponsored by The Amy Winehouse Foundation, to showcase up-and-coming young talent.

There will also be fire-eaters and circus acts performing near the main stage, fairground attractions including a new Big Wheel, a raffle, a treasure hunt, Santa’s grotto, live reindeer, birds of prey, street music, face painting and hot and cold international food and stalls offering all sorts of Christmas delights.

More than 30,000 people of all ages enjoyed the 2012 event and an even bigger crowd is expected this year.

See this week’s supplement for more information.