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Shining shows meet some daring displays

It's polished performances all the way in this week's highlights from Heather Neill

Silver show

The Whiteley Silver Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum, newly restored and decorated, gleam with the largest collection of silver in the United Kingdom. More than 3,500 objects, dating from 1400 to the present, chart shifts in international taste and include such rare items as the 15th-century Merode Cup, the earliest known example of plique ... jour, a kind of translucent enamel-work. Household and ecclesiastical items, from reliquaries to teapots, reveal the importance of this metal in the decorative arts. Tel: 020 7942 2000.


Cirque du Soleil, the world-famous Canadian company, has become a regular feature of the London new year. From January 7, the Royal Albert Hall will be the setting for Saltimbanco, a spectacular mixture of acrobatics, juggling, clowning, aerial artistry and magical effects performed by a cast from 55 countries and aged from six to 48. Tickets: 020 7957 4090.

Contemporary art

Tracey Emin's new solo exhibition, This Is Another Place, is at Modern Art Oxford. As ever, her work is closely related to her personal life.

Exhibits include a reconstruction of Margate pier - she spent her teenage years in the town - and objects married to words (sometimes strangely spelt) in a variety of media, from neon to applique fabric. Until January 19. Tel: 01865 722733;

Tracey Emin is one of 29 artists featured in the touring exhibition, organised by the Hayward Gallery, Words from the Arts Council Collection, which focuses on the role of language in art. Exhibits include Ian Hamilton Finlay's neon poem "Strawberry Camouflage" and Turner Prize shortlisted Fiona Banner's "The Desert", which transcribes the events of the film Lawrence of Arabia on to a huge length of wall. Until January 5 at York Art Gallery, then Preston Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Gallery Oldham and Leicester City Gallery.


Gillian Anderson, best known as Dana Scully from the X-Files television series, makes a competent West End debut opposite classical actor Roger Allam in What the Night is For, a slight two-hander by Michael Weller at the Comedy Theatre. Two lovers meet again after a decade and contemplate infidelity, their families and the future in a hotel room in the American mid-West. The mood is mostly light-hearted, but Scully's fans will not be disappointed. Tickets: 020 7369 1731.

* Moira Buffini's Dinner in the National Theatre's Loft (an experimental space, with cheap tickets, designed to attract young people) is a brittle black comedy of manners, with Harriet Walter as a gloriously bitchy hostess attempting to teach her sparring guests moral manners while inwardly shrieking for help. Tickets: 020 7452 3333.


The orchestra OSJ will perform two festive Music for Autism concerts on the afternoon of Sunday, December 8, at JP Morgan, Carpenter Sreet, London EC4. These are designed for families affected by autism and will feature OSJ brass with mezzo-soprano Christine Cairns and autistic pianist Derek Paravicini. Tel: 020 8857 8679;

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