26th January 2001 at 00:00
British culture has a lot of olden goldies, the most precious of which is the Bard. The new education season at Shakespeare's Globe, on London's Bankside, is called "Shakespeare and Gold" (until April 12) and explores the various ways in which our fascination with gold and love of spectacle have been reflected in the arts.

"The theme of gold refers both to the richness of precious objects from the Renaissance and to the alchemy of language - the way Shakespeare could transform dross into gold," says education co-ordinator Deborah Callan.

A series of play readings on the theme include Ben Jonson's The Alchemist (March 4), John Lyly's Midas (March 11) and Thomas Heywood's The Golden Age (March 25). Lectures feature "All That Glisters Is Not Gold" (February 28) by Lisa Jardine, whose Worldly Goods, a book about the lure of commodities in the Renaissance, was a bestseller. Study days for teachers offer a treasure chest of subjects, from alchemy in Shakespeare's plays to the idea of an Elizabethan golden age. Details from Deborah Callan: 020 7902 1430. Box office: 020 7401 9919. From golden words to golden sounds. Chesa Chesa, a South African Sotho word meaning hot, fiery and liberating, is the title of the latest piece by the Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble (Queen Elizabeth Hall, February 7-10).

Combining dance from Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria and other African countries, the spectacular show has a large cast, choreographed and designed by artistic director George Dzikunu and Geraldine Connor. As well as traditional African drumming, it features the haunting singing of Sonti Mndebele and Joe Mogotsi. Box office: 020 7960 4242. Earlier this month, the McAuley Catholic high school, Doncaster, was the first to host Yamaha-Alive, aimed at encouraging youngsters to take up an instrument. Upcoming rock band Alve made a presentation, which covered questions about how to start a band, the importance of musicianship, and the commercial aspects of the biz. In the evening, the band gave a concert in aid of the school's bid for special arts status. Co-ordinated by Yamaha, the project has inspired many of the school's 1,100 pupils, and should be of interest to other schools. Details from Peter Ross: 0161 280 0908.

Year 9-11 drama students from South London's Woodcote high school are performing Winsome Pinnock's Can You Keep a Secret? on January 31 to February 1. The play is about a racial murder and shows not only how the victim's family copes, but also how the girlfriend of the killer reacts to the incident. Pinnock will discuss the play with its 30-strong cast after the show. Details: 020 8668 6464.

Meanwhile, the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, is staging The Catch, a season of work for children with an international line-up, including the crazy dance show Feathers from Italy, Blau Vier's Lady in the Cupboard (a cartoon-like comedy from Belgium), Tamasha's Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral (Bollywood romance for all the family) and Gaston, the French street artist from Wales. Big names include poet John Hegley (presenting Dog) and Skellig author David Almond, whose new play Wild Girl, Wild Boy will amaze older children. For teenagers, Green Ginger presents Bambi: The Wilderness Years, in which the dewy-eyed deer comes of age in a beastly urban jungle.

Of particular interest is Tall Storeys (until February 3), a site-specific storytelling trail, part sculpture, part art installation, from Spain.

Devised by Jose Antonio Portillo, a teacher who has used it as a visual aid to interest disadvantaged children in books and stories, it is made up of larger-than-life book sculptures. The Catch runs until March . Box office: 020 8741 2311.

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