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Going out

Heather Neill puts Italy's favourite dish at the top of this week's menu of events

Food culture

* The aesthetic and culinary delights of pasta are celebrated in Pasta: Italian culture on a plate at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in north London. Its history, period photographs, pasta-making tools, menu cards, advertisements and the first pasta recipe published in England are found alongside homages to the dish, from the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (who believed spaghetti made his countrymen lethargic) to cookery guru Elizabeth David, who was passionate about the stuff. On July 8, food writer Valentina Harris will be talking about recipes, and on September 12, Gastronomia Italiana will provide the opportunity to eat as well as look. Until September 15. Information: 020 7704 9522.

Children's opera

* Norfolk children from eight schools will come to sing and play music to launch a new opera, "The Sailor's Tale" (music by Rupert Bawden, libretto by Kevin Crossley-Holland), in Trafalgar Square, central London, on Sunday. They have taken part in workshops, contributing to the music and story of this new piece about Nelson, commissioned by the Yorke Trust as a companion to Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale". The complete work, which has optional children's choruses, will be premiered at Houghton Hall on July 20 and tours the area for 15 performances. Information:

Garden art

* The Museum of Garden History in Lambeth Palace Road, London, has inspired 23 artists to respond to its contents and location with new work. David Cotterrell will install his video Shangrila, celebrating 1930s suburban housing, Emma Woffenden is to hang glass ringing bells and Finlay Taylor has been coaxing snails into making silvery patterns on paper. Tel: 020 7401 8865; Jane Austen

* Janeites will be planning for the Bath Jane Austen Festival between September 21 and 29. There will be films, talks, discussions, walks and performances, including Darcy's Dilemma, a one-man show featuring Tony Head (aka Giles the Watcher, Buffy's mentor). Tel: 01225 463362;


* The Poetry Society's free, anti-racist festival, Respect, will take place in Victoria Park, London E2, on July 20. Popular poet Benjamin Zephaniah says the poetry "slams" and final showcase of young winners of the festival poetry competition will give "people a voice politically, artistically and spiritually". Information about this and other Poetry Society activities: 020 7420 9895;


* The Irwell Sculpture Trail presents major commissions from 35 international artists along the route of the River Irwell, Greater Manchester. A new piece, Arena, a sculptural amphitheatre, 22 tiers and five metres high, by American artist Rita McBride, is inaugurated this month in time for the Commonwealth Games. People can visit the structure to view activities in the playing fields.Tel: 0161 876 2000;

Music festival

* Presteigne in Powys will ring to sounds of concerts and associated activities - talks, exhibitions, children's events and poetry readings - between August 22 and 27. This being the festival's 20th year, there are 20 events. Information:

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