Get a load of gumboots, bats and books

Entertainment from around the world will keep you in Jubilee spirit, writes Heather Neill


* If multicultural open-air festivities are becoming a habit since the Jubilee weekend, there is a chance to indulge in some more music and art from all over the world in Diaspora Music Village. Between June 26 and July 14 there will be three free festival weekends at Kew Gardens, Regent's Park and Greenwich Park, as well as more than 100 events in 16 venues around London. Among highlights will be the St Paul Community Baptist Church Gospel Choir from New York, The Warriors, gumboot dancers from Soweto, South Africa, Orquesta Originel de Cartagena from Colombia, playing salsa rhythms, and Skiffle Bunch, a champion steel band from Trinidad, as well as contributions from Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines and groups based in the capital. Information: www.culturalco-operation.orglondondiasporacapital.

* The Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts is halfway through, but there is still plenty of time to celebrate the music of Britten and other composers, and even to attend a lecture by the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, on culture and politics (June 21). Tickets: 01728 687110. Information:

Junk art

Paul Matosic makes artworks out of "found" objects - in other words, rubbish - in a project called Reclaim. He will be based at the Galley Hill Arts Workshop, Milton Keynes, until October and is hoping for contributions from local people with which to make structures, including a map of Milton Keynes. He will also be introducing the idea of creating art from scrap to school students, taking part in fun days and running recycling activities at the Great Linford Waterside Festival on June 22 and 23.

Gothic theatre

The Mystery of Irma Vep has all the ingredients for a spine-tingling treat. Based on the "Penny dreadful" books of Victorian England, it delights in foggy moors, an isolated mansion complete with bats and werewolves - oh, and an Egyptian mummy. At Northcott Theatre, Exeter, until June 22. Tickets: 01392 493493.


Anglo-Belgian Retina Dance Company present their new work, X, at The Place in central London. Four dancer-contestants are trapped in a game of survival, surrendering to the physical and mental tasks required for success. June 21 and 22. Tickets and information: 020 7387 0031.

Children's books

The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh is celebrating children's books and toys in an exhibition, This Book Belongs to Me: Tom Thumb to Harry Potter. Here are JK Rowling's hand-written manuscript for the first book of the Potter saga, original drawings and paintings by, among others, Quentin Blake and Mairi Hedderwick, toys from the city's Museum of Childhood and rare books, including a 1571 edition of Aesop's Fables and a Tom Thumb from 1682. Attractions include a reading corner, storytelling tent, talks and a roadshow where experts comment on visitors'

own much-treasured books. Until October 31. Information: www.nls.uktomthumb.

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