Enduring portrait of an old Romantic

29th November 2002 at 00:00
Byromaniacs will be fired up by a new exhibition, writes Heather Neill

Byron

Mad, bad and an enduring style icon, the ultimate Romantic poet is the soulful centrepiece of an unusual exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Curated by Fiona MacCarthy, whose biography, Byron: life and legend is published this month, Mad, Bad and Dangerous: the cult of Lord Byron traces Byromania (a word in use in his time) through artefacts, portraits and memorabilia to the present day. Ms MacCarthy sees echoes of his image in portraits of other writers such as Martin Amis and Ted Hughes, and iconic figures from Mick Jagger to Che Guevara. Even if you don't swallow the premise, go to contemplate celebrity and be reminded of the poems. Events include Eileen Atkins and Edward Fox performing extracts from Don Juan on February 9 at 3pm. Information: 020 7306 0055; www.npg.org.uk. Until February 16.

Shakespeare and co

Sean Bean is a two-dimensional Macbeth - earthy and tough enough to be a soldier, but not capable of showing mental anguish as he spirals downwards into the murderous prison of his own making. His marriage to a capable Lady Macbeth (Samantha Bond) is at the centre of Edward Hall's pacy production at the Albery Theatre in London. Aggressively trimmed and bloody, with three sexy siren Weird Sisters, the production, enjoyable to young audiences, leaves much to be discovered. Tickets: 020 7369 1740.

* Prospero's Island is a new play showing what might have happened before The Tempest begins. Written by David Calcutt and featuring an all-black cast, it promises to combine magic, humour and drama with the help of masks, mime and song. The Midland Actors Theatre tour of the Midlands includes associated workshops and a school residency, but there are also public performances at Colmers Farm artSites in Birmingham and the Afro-Caribbean Centre in Leicester. There are plans to publish the text and mount another tour in 2003. Information: 0121 608 7144; www.midlandactorstheatre.co.uk.

All that jazz

Students from four Leicestershire schools will get the chance to dazzle the public with their skills in harmony, rhythm, melody and improvisation at the Richard Attenborough Centre, Leicester University, on December 5. The year-long jazz education project, Time for Jazz, led by Leicester-born pianist and composer Richard Fairhurst, has involved young musicians from Guthlaxton college, John Cleveland college, Burleigh community college and Leicester grammar school. For tickets: 0116 252 2455.

City pictures

Children aged eight and nine from Oswald Road primary school in Manchester have produced paintings and sculptures for A City of Dreams, now showing at Education@cube, the dedicated education space in the Manchester gallery. The dreams are the children's ideals for their city in the wake of the 1996 IRA bomb. The project is linked to another exhibition, A New World Trade Centre: design proposals, for which adult designers have submitted their suggestions in the aftermath of the September 11 disaster. Information: 0161 237 5525; info@cube.org.uk.

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