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Birthday bonanza of treats in store

The British Museum's 250th, and an exhibition of Sainsbury Centre artworks top this week's highlights from Heather Neill

Celebration day

The British Museum is 250 years old on June 7 and, to mark the occasion, will host readings by Alan Bennett, Vikram Seth and Sandi Toksvig in the Round Reading Room, and music, dance and stories from Africa and the Middle East all over the museum. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Indian and Japanese musicians will perform, while children and adults from the Place Theatre will dance - avoiding the horde of Vikings expected to invade the forecourt. Further celebrations will continue throughout the year. For more information, see the website:

Sainsbury collection

It is 25 years since the then relatively unknown architect Norman Foster designed a building at the University of East Anglia to house the art collection of Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury. A special celebratory exhibition displays rarely seen works and recent acquisitions, including photographs by Andy Goldsworthy, Amish quilts and recent ceramics by Rupert Spira. Veronica Sekules, head of education at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, says its challenge is to introduce art from many cultures in an area which is not culturally diverse. "It is," she says, "important that the centre stirs up debate, and is sometimes controversial and critical."

Plans include a new education studio to enhance opportunities for practical work. For information, tel: 01603 593199.

Set in stone

What is left-wing sculpture? The Henry Moore Foundation's exhibition, A Fine Tomorrow, at the Leeds City Art Gallery attempts to answer this question by bringing together pieces from collections in Leeds museums and galleries. Between the founding of the Artists' International Association in 1933 and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, attitudes changed towards the Soviet Union while the need to be popular and accessible saw a shift from abstraction to realism alongside a move from individualism to collectivism. Artists include Eric Gill, Peter Peri, Felicia Browne and Betty Rea. Until August 31. For information, tel: 0113 246 9469.

Almeida awash

The favourite north London theatre has reopened after a two-year refurbishment with Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea. A mixture of feyness and naturalism, social comedy and debate, this disquisition on the nature of freedom provides plenty of scope for director Trevor Nunn and Natasha Richardson in the title role. If Ms Richardson's Ellida, caught between safe marriage to older Dr Wangel and a fascinatingly wild seafarer, is smilingly distracted to the point of irritation, she bravely combines small-town boredom and fairytale mystery. Tickets: 020 7359 4404.

Dream venue

Trucco's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream will be performed outside Truro Cathedral on June 6 and 7 before the company, made up of final year BTec students at Truro college, leave for Cadiz to perform at the cathedral there.The production includes salsa and welly dancing.


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