Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

Chris Wood

Chris Wood - Credit: Archant

A performance by a two-time Strictly Come Dancing champion, singing by BBC Folk Singer of the Year and a talk on Benjamin Britten by music critic Michael White are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.


Music critic and broadcaster Michael White looks at the life and work of British classical composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten and his links to Hampstead.

Born in Suffolk in 1913, Britten’s best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

Over the next 28 years he establishing himself as one of the leading 20th century composers. The talk should be a fascinating look at the influence the Hampstead area had on Britten’s work.

The talk starts at 7.30pm, at Burgh House, in New End Square. Tickets are £9 and can be bought at


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Chris Wood, the BBC Folk Singer of the Year for 2011, will be entertaining fans at Cecil Sharp House, Regent’s Park Road, Primrose Hill, with his legendary skills on the fiddle, viola and guitar.

A leading light of contemporary folk, he has worked with legend Billy Bragg, three-time Grammy award nominee Joan Armatrading MBE and rapper Dizraeli.

With a background in English church music, his songs are described as being deeply rooted in the English tradition and heritage but rich with striking contemporary themes.

At the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2006 he won the Best Original Song for One in a Million, a modern retelling of a widespread traditional tale in which a lost ring is rediscovered in the stomach of a fish, and was also nominated for Best Album (for The Lark Descending) and Best Traditional Track.

His repertoire also includes much French folk and traditional Québécois music.

His performance runs from 7.30pm to 10pm. Tickets cost £14 and can be bought by phoning 0844 888 9991.


The annual Christmas Craft Fair at Henrietta Barnett School, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, will be selling a wide range of unusual and affordable goods in aid of charity.

More than 30 stalls will offer bargain hunters their pick of clothes, jewellery, natural skin products, Jeremy Leach pottery, homemade cards, books, home-ware, food sauces and locally made honey.

The fundraiser is in aid of the Family Holiday Association, which was set up over 35 years ago in Hampstead Garden Suburb by Joan and Patrick Laurance. The organisation sends over 2,000 disadvantage families a year on short breaks.

The fair will run from 11am to 5pm. Entrance is just £2 for adults (under-12s are free).


Based on the much-loved book by Adrian Mitchell, Nobody Rides the Unicorn is a stunning puppet show for the whole family.

Superbly crafted puppets, original live music, sound effects and moments of unexpected magic all blend together to tell this touching tale of an evil king, a beggar girl and a magical unicorn.

Performing at Jacksons Lane, Archway Road, Highgate, and ideal for ages four and above, tickets cost £8.95. The show starts at 3pm. Visit for more information.


Two-time winner of BBC hit show Strictly Come Dancing Darren Bennett and Tap Dancer of the Year Alan Burkitt present an energetic show paying tribute to many of their Hollywood heroes.

Rekindling their love for the children book Song and Dance Man, the duo will be singing an array of numbers from shows such as Singin’ in the Rain and Top Hat.

Performing at Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park, Highgate, they will be supported by Fenella Lee, who was a founder member of the harmony group Simply Vocal and toured the UK with cabaret act The Checkmates.

The show starts at 4.30pm. Tickets costing £13 (£11 concs) can be bought by phoning 020 8348 8716.