Bask in the sunshine as the summer festival season gets going. Heather Neill looks at what's on offer this week
Summer on Thames
Strawberries and cream, picnics in the park, arts in the open air - it's festival time. The Henley Festival (July 9-13) is as well established as the local boat-fest and involves the whole community as well as top-line stars such as Bryn Terfel, Lesley Garrett, Bob Geldof and Tony Buzan.
OUTreach (SHOUT!) touches 16 local schools and youth organisations that have been working on sessions in various dance styles with the Dance Movement, artists-in-residence to the festival since September 2002. At Valley Road school, for instance, a mixed Year 6 class has been enthusiastically learning Afro-Caribbean steps in preparation for their part in the Family Fiesta on July 13. Five schools will demonstrate South Asian, jazz and street dance styles, as well as Afro-Caribbean on the floating stage in front of an audience of some 3,000 people. The Dance Movement will perform each night, including at the Family Fiesta.
Information: 01491 843404; www.henley-festival.co.uk.
Tate St Ives is the fitting venue for Barbara Hepworth: centenary, the largest exhibition in Britain to mark the 100th anniversary of the sculptor's birth, in the Cornish town where she spent most of her working life. Works have been brought from all over the world and arranged in seven themes including Single Form, focusing on wood carvings inspired by the human figure, Maternity, Landscape (among these are Oval Sculpture 1943 and Pelagos 1946), Scented Guarea, a group of sculptures carved from huge logs in the 1950s, and displays of works in coloured stones and white marble as well as drawings and studies. Information: 01736 796226; www.tate.org.uk.
The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester will be buzzing with young people on July 8 and 9. Student performers and artists from all over north-west England will be showing what they can do in a range of creative disciplines. Tickets: 0161 434 1302.
The National Theatre continues under its new director, Nicholas Hytner, with tremendous panache. His Girl Friday is a version, by John Guare, of The Front Page. A farcical-satirical look at the hard-boiled world of 1930s American journalism, set in a black-and-white pseudo-film set, it features deliciously wisecracking performances by Alex Jennings and Zo Wanamaker as romantically sparring editor Walter Burns and star reporter Hildy Johnson. This is part of the Travelex pound;10 season at the Olivier.
Meanwhile, a revival of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers at the Lyttelton looks almost as fresh as it did 30 years ago, despite its being set against the background of the moon landing. The existence of God, moral relativism and an unlikely marriage between philosopher George Moore, played by Simon Russell Beale, and showgirl Dottie (Essie Davis) come under farcical (and sometimes gymnastic) scrutiny. Tickets: 020 7452 3000. September tour: Milton Keynes, Plymouth and Sheffield.