A fortnight into Y2K, hangovers a painful memory,"What did you do for the Millennium?" no longer the first question on people's lips, no bugs, no apocalypse - perhaps the world doesn't look so very different after all. Nevertheless, the M word (now almost universally correctly spelt, which for teachers is one benefit of the hysteria) is still cropping up in the titles of "now" events.
New Generation - New Millennium! is a series of photographic and design exhibitions for "excluded and disaffected young people" in Manchester. Community arts organisation, Class Street Outreach, run by Eric Latham, helped by youth workers and students from Manchester Metropolitan University, has provided facilities, including film stock and access to computers, for groups of youngsters, more than 50 individuals in all, to express themselves visually.
They have taken photographs and designed posters about subjects such as love, friendship, bullying, exclusion, fashion and football. The first exhibition is at the Velodrome National Cycling Centre until January 30. Other venues around Manchester will follow. Information: 0161 355 5178 Thousands of young people will be gearing themselves up for Artworks, the National Children's Art Awards announced last term. The Vivien Duffield Foundation, which is funding the awards, has now announced a grants programme to be managed by engage, the national association for gallery education. Galleries are being invited to apply for funds to help schools or groups which have never visited a gallery or museum. The closing date for grant applications is January 28. Details: 0171 278 8574. Schools wanting details of the Artworks Awards Scheme (closing date March 17) should phone 01634 291122 or visit the Artworks website (www.art-works.org.uk).
Drama-minded students who received the Christmas present of an Oxford acceptance will be pleased with another piece of good news. Nicholas Hytner, the director responsible for Miss Saigon, numerous Shakespeare productions and the film, The Madness of King George, has been appointed this year's Cameron Mackintosh Professor of Contemporary Theatre at St Catherine's College. The involvement of working theatre professionals in Oxford student theatre has had a significant effect on university life since the scheme began 11 years ago. Arthur Miller, Alan Ayckbourne, Diana Rigg and the producer Thelma Holt are previous holders of the title who have delivered lectures, held workshops and provided careers advice.
The Man of the Millennium will be celebrated throughout the year - but then, he gets plenty of attention whatever the date. The Shakespeare Centre Millennium ink Project does look like something rather unusual, however. Applications to take part in their own locality have been coming in from schools in 22 countries and there will be special events, mainly in April, involving hundreds of schools in this country. Eight high-profile projects all over the UK from Yorkshire (workshops and masterclasses for teachers and students at the West Yorkshire Playhouse) to Belfast (performances of Julius Caesar by Queen's University students and sixth-formers) and Cardiff (a Sherman Youth Theatre millennium year version of The Tempest) are already underway. For more information or last-minute applications contact Teresa O'Connor at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon (01789 201 805) or visit the Centre's website: www.shakespeare.org.uk But if you would like to concentrate on professional performances of the Complete Works, you could do worse than listen to Arkangel Shakespeare audiobooks. American academic Tom Treadwell and experienced BBC producer Clive Brill undertook to record all Shakespeare's plays by 2000. It has taken three years, but the end is in sight - soon all 37 plays will be available.
The recording sessions are a model of painstaking direction and up-to-the-minute technical excellence - which doesn't mean that the proceedings are solemn. When I dropped in on the recording of King Lear recently, Rob Edwards was taking time off from being the wicked uncle in The Lion King to play another villain, Cornwall, and Samantha Bond was recovering simultaneously from a cold and from being Miss Moneypenny in the latest Bond film while tackling Regan. Anton Lesser (having recently starred in Private Lives at the National Theatre) had to "ride" in as Kent. There was so much discussion about whether or not he should say his first line on horseback that the "horse" became a presence even in the studio. Clive Brill announced: "Its name is Shergar, by the way; notice it works iambically."
Starry casts, beautifully spoken texts - the Arkangel set may well become a collector's item. To start you off, here is a special offer for TES readers: any of the following audiobooks for pound;7.99 each, a reduction of pound;1. Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Henry IV part one, Henry IV part two or Titus Andronicus. Send your name and address with a cheque or postal order, made payable to "Book Offer", to Arkangel Shakespeare Offer, PO Box 6161, Kettering, Northants NN14 4ZG, or phone 01832 733 497 for credit card orders. Open to residents of theUK only. Allow 28 daysfor delivery. Offer closes March 31.