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The Comedy of Errors

10 Reasons to Visit the Nottingham Spiegeltent This Year

2 October 17 words: Emily Thursfield

In October, Old Market Square once again plays host to the magnificent Spiegeltent for a festival full of merriment. These glitzy pavilions were a popular haunt during the twenties to help people forget all the doom and gloom brought by the war, and now it’s returning to Nottingham to brighten up our dull and dreary October days. Here are ten reasons you should get yersen down to the tent as soon as possible.

As there are only a few left in the world, us Nottingham folk really are in for a treat when the Spiegeltent comes to town. The first ones were built in Belgium in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and were the perfect place for people looking to let their hair down. These venues were home to acrobatics, burlesque and other good-time activities, and their popularity lasted for decades. Even Hollywood greats such as Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe were seen having it out in them from time to time. And now, this is your opportunity to revel in the glitz and glamour of ye old days.

There are lotsa events throughout the month and £1 from every ticket sold will be put towards the Nottingham Pride 2018 fund. Along with all the fun stuff listed below, there’ll be additional free events like yoga and mindfulness sessions, as well as lunchtime performances by the Nottingham Youth Orchestra.


There’s no better way to spend a Friday night than watching the best in international burlesque and cabaret acts shimmy and strut their stuff. The Guilded Merkin, Nottingham’s biggest burlesque show, will provide an evening of electrifying performances, including a set by Scarlett Daggers herself, the redhead lady behind the ravishing group.
Friday 29 September, 7pm, £16.50 - £18


Some of the best funnymen around are coming to town to provide you with some good gags. On Saturday 30 September, Just The Tonic are bringing along Reginald D Hunter and his pals for some unassuming, provocative and downright hilarious Saturday night entertainment. However, if yer after something a little more unusual to tickle those funnybones, Royal Vauxhall’s music comedy involving a true story with Kenny Everett, Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana is one not to be missed.
Just the Tonic Saturday night comedy with Reginald D Hunter and guests, Saturday 30 September, 7pm, £18.50 - £20
Royal Vauxhall, Tuesday 3 October, 7.30pm, £13.50 - £15

Kids Stuff

Bring the kiddies along to enjoy some of the family entertainment the Spiegeltent has to offer. Get down at a gig for all the cool kids with Johnny and the Raindrops or catch a special performance of The Uke Box by The Beanbag Music Club.
Johnny and the Raindrops
Saturday 30 September, 11:30am, £7.50 for one adult and one child. Additional children and adults £1 on the door.
The Beanbag Music Club presents The Uke Box
Sunday 1 October, 10:30am, £7.50


This city’s got soul, and it’s hard to resist busting a smile on your face when the greatest Motown hits are being blasted through Market Square. Get down and dirty to the sounds of Angelo Starr and the Team Edwin Starr Band when they take the stage to give Notts the best in classic Northern soul.
Sunday 1 October, 4pm, £20


Prepare to have your minds boggled by the Nottingham Guild of Magicians. There’ll be just enough magical experiences, manipulations and card tricks to help you forget how bitter you are that you still haven’t received your Hogwarts acceptance letter yet.
Monday 2 October, 7pm, £13.50 - £15


We’ve all had one of those nights. A night where you thought you were only going for one drink with yer pals, but then suddenly it’s 3am and you’re in a random bar singing along to the Grease megamix at the top of yer lungs. But now’s your chance to live your secret rockstar dream for an entire night alongside Rockaoke, the ultimate live band karaoke experience.
Thursday 5 October, 7pm, £8.50 - £10


It’s the end of a long, hard week and all you wanna do is get a drink in hand and sip those troubles away. At Gin Swing you can sample some fine cocktails made using Hoodtown’s own Redsmith gin while tapping your toes to the sound of one of the city’s finest jazz ensembles, Schmorgan. Spiffing.
Friday 6 October, 6.30pm, £15


If yer dream is to dance with your Prince Charming at a ball fit only for the likes of the Downton Abbey cast, this’ll be right up your street. The Magnificent Tea Dance Band will have you foxtrotting, waltzing and swinging through the afternoon, and the ticket even includes a serving of tea and cake. So whack out your best vintage clobber and stick those pinkies in the air.
Saturday 7 October, 12.30pm, £13.50 - £15

Hockley Hustle

This year, the 'Hustle is spreading its wings and taking a walk down Thurland Street, finishing up smack bang in the centre of Market Square, in the Spiegeltent no less. And they haven't half got a cracking line up in store for you. Get down from 1pm to catch Nottingham's best-loved cellist, Shekku Kanneh-Mason, stick around for Nina Smith's comeback set at 2pm, and round off the afternoon with a spot of the Hackney Colliery Band at 3pm. The venue is open to both grown and young hustler's alike. Buy your tickets, rapid.
Sunday 8 October, from 1pm in the Spiegeltent, tickets available online now

The Gaff

If all that excitement doesn’t leave you desperate to join in, what about the actual venue? Created originally in Belgium, its name translates to “tent of mirrors”. But these are nowt like those creepy maze rides you find down the circus or Goose Fair. They look wild and decadent, dripping in stained glass and velvet. Belting.

The Nottingham Speigeltent runs in Nottingham’s Old Market Square until Sunday 8 October 2017

October in Nottingham website

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