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Shocking jokes and spectacular demonstrations of the "Plasma Ball" and other effects, combined with a theatrical reconstruction of the history of electrical science, at Birmingham Hippodrome, 10am and 2 pm. The show is written and directed by Johnny Ball (from television's PlayAway) and aimed at nine to 14-year-olds. Admission: Pounds 2.50 (free to teachers accompanying groups). Details: 021 622 7486.

NOVEMBER 10 - DECEMBER 3 THE MOSQUITO COAST The David Glass Ensemble's production of Paul Theroux's novel, in which Charlie movingly chronicles the descent of his father, Allie Fox, into madness and death, starts at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, and then tours England until April 22. Details: 0703 671771.

FROM NOVEMBER 11 FREE WEEKENDS FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED CHILDREN Organised by Royal National Institute for the Blind and sponsored by BT Community Programme. There will be workshops and discussions on mobility and independence skills and hands-on experience of music and technology, Braille and visual stimulation. Venues include: the Trefiddian Hotel, Aberdovey, Wales, and the Friendly Hotels in Walsall and Milton Keynes. Accompanying adults are charged Pounds 35. Details: 071 636 1153.

NOVEMBER 12 AND 19 JAPANESE BRUSH-STROKE PAINTING WORKSHOPS At the London Ecology Centre Gallery, 45 Shelton Street, London WC2. Students will learn basic brush control using the fundamental techniques of Japanese calligraphy, bamboo, flowers, animals and more. Brushes can be purchased on the day. Fee: Pounds 25. Details: Leom Woodal, Japan Suiboku Centre, 071 373 9177 or LEC, 071 379 43241.

NOVEMBER 12 HUMAN VALUES IN THE CLASSROOM: THE POWER OF THE INDIVIDUAL TEACHER Meeting organised by SGI-UK (Buddhist Society for the Creation of Value) at Jeffrey Hall, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1. Speaker: Dr Eva Gamarnikow, London University Institute of Education, on human rights in education. The event is inspired by Buddhist values but has no specific religious content. Admission: Pounds 3. Details: Tony Loynes, 081 881 5181.

NOVEMBER 13 DISCOVERIES Writing workshop at the Drill Hall Art Centre, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1, led by Carol Burnes, writer, consultant in creative writing, and performer of her own poetry and story. It is aimed at anyone who uses writing whether for reports, proposals, poetry, fiction, love letters or ransom notes. Fee: Pounds 28, Pounds 17.50 concessions. Booking: 071 631 5107.

NOVEMBER 16 EDUCATION AND PERSONAL WELL-BEING IN A SECULAR UNIVERSE Inaugural lecture by John White, professor of philosophy of education, at Jeffery Hall, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1, 6pm, admission free. Details: Cathy Bird, 071 612 6017.

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