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The cool stuff to do (Thurs 13 – Weds 20 Oct)

More and more going on in Bucks, Oxon and beyond the nights get darker and colder and we all need cheering up!  Out you go, Cinders, and have some fun.

Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, Sat 15 Oct – Jan 2017


Matisse in Henley – I kid you not. Bravo to the River & Rowing Museum in Henley – hot on the heels of its small but perfectly formed David Hockney exhibition comes Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, featuring 35 lithographic prints of the famous cut-outs, produced in the last four years of his life and including many of his iconic images including The Snail and the Blue Nudes.  Wowsa.

River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames,

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 18 – Fri 28 Oct


It’s amazing to think that Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned from publication in the UK until 1960, but no such prudishness these days from the Oxford Playhouse which is going big on a brand new production of Lady Constance and Mellors’ woodshack romance by English Touring Theatre, whom I last saw in a slick performance of Arcadia. Don’t take your kids or your parents unless you want to blush your way through the show.

Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont St,

Thame Literary Festival, Weds 12 – Sun 16 Oct


Last few days to catch Thame’s small but perfectly formed literary festival. Headliner Roger McGough has already been and gone but there’s plenty else to excite, including a talk by Anne Fine (above), the former Children’s Laureate and writer of Madame Doubtfire (which became the Robin Williams Hollywood hit Mrs Doubtfire), and Kev F Sutherland’s Comic Art Masterclass, with the Beano and Marvel writer and artist teaching kids 7+ all there is to know about making comic strips.

Oxford Food and Drink Festival, Sun 16 Oct

Gluttons unite! The very first Oxford Food & Drink Festival arrives this weekend, a collaboration between Bitten Oxford and Oxfordshire council. It showcases the usuals as you’d expect, but what I like about this festival is that the 50+ stallholders are all based in businesses within an hour’s drive of Oxford, so there’s none of that faux farmers’s market malarkey where a ‘local’ trader might be from Sussex or Norfolk! You can expect four hours worth of  cookery demos, talks and performances on the Gloucester Green stage; a ‘Brew Alley’ with bars and brewers, plus a coffee lab hosting experiments and tastings.

Free entry.

Wonder Woods at Stonor Park, extended opening until end of Oct


Last couple of weeks to to try out this fab woodland play park at Stonor Park which pulls off the miracle of catering to children from 0 – 15, so ideal for parents like me who have kids with a frustratingly wide age range. Younger kids have the usual sand, playhouse, seasaws and slides, but the larger, lumpier ones can throw their energy into climbing the Wonder Wood pile and twisty rope tangle, trying the wavy slide, tunnels and 50 metre zip wire. There’s the Visitor Centre next door too, if you want to facilitate your little darlings’ happiness from the warmth of the cafe (just saying).

Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon,

Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature, Film and Music, Thurs 13 – Sun 16 Oct


The big beast, chomping up words, celluloid and, er, quavers for the next few days. It’s a total celeb fest here, with Darcy Bussell, Maureen Lipman, Ken Hom, Jo Malone and, my favourite, Nicholas Parsons all involved. The gala dinner on the Saturday features cooking from the brilliant Kate and Giancarlo Caldesi, whose Bray restaurant I reviewed this summer.


Liu Dan, Ashmolean, Oxford, Tues 18 Oct  – 26 Feb 2017


Two great artists for the price of one. Liu Dan is one of China’s leading artists, at the forefront of the generation of painters who have been working in radically new ways in ink. This exhibition at The Ashmolean includes two of Liu Dan’s new ink paintings, presented alongside Raphael drawings from the Ashmolean’s collection.


Oxford Lieder Festival, The Schumann Project, opening night 14 Oct – runs to 29 Oct



The fifteenth Oxford Lieder Festival starts today and hits the high notes for the next two weeks (oh come on, that was brilliant).  This is your chance to hear Schumann’s complete songs – yes, you can tick that one off your bucket list – but the Festival also features many works by his friends and contemporaries, including Mendelssohn and Brahms, plus those of Schumann’s accomplished wife Clara whose 29 songs will also be included in the Festival.

Staging History, Weston Gallery, Bodliean Library, Fri 14 Oct – 8 Jan 2017


This exhibition sounds pretty esoteric but I think it will be really interesting. Staging History explores how history was told on stage in Regency-era Britain (hey, wake up). and examines the influence of history and historical events in the writing and staging of theatre, opera and drama from 1780-1840. Expect beautiful set designs, theatrical documents and illustrations from the Bod collections.

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined, Barbican Art Gallery, London, Thurs 13 Oct – 5 Feb 2017


Vulgar, you say? I’m so there. The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined questions notions of vulgarity in fashion while revelling in its excesses, inviting the visitor to think about exactly what makes something vulgar and why it is such a sensitive and contested term. Drawn from major public and private collections worldwide, with contributions from leading modern and contemporary designers such as Christian Dior, Iris van Herpen, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Stephen Jones, Christian Lacroix, Prada, Jeremy Scott for Moschino, Philip Treacy, Viktor & Rolf and Vivienne Westwood, it has Muddy Stilettos written all over it.

Free Family Fun Day, Oxford New Theatre, Sat 15 Oct


The New Theatre in Oxford is putting on its first ever free family fun day, and is pulling out the stops. There’s theatrical face-painting and balloon modelling, the chance to meet Peppa Pig, there’s stay-and-play time with The Story Museum in the Ambassador’s Lounge for kids 0-3, there’s live acoustic music and perhaps most impressive, there’s a chance to take part in a National Theatre puppeteering workshop where you’ll learn how the puppetters work together in War Horse. The fun day is free, so just drop in if you’re Oxford way between 10-1pm.

Oxford New Theatre,

Bossaphonik, The Cellar, Oxford, Fri 14 Oct

fbc3-credit-debra-cain-back-cover-ehLoving the sound of The Baghdaddies, the self-styled Tyneside legends of Balkan music, now on their 20th anniversary tour. Their sound is described as an exhilarating cocktail of Balkan melodies, ska and Latin grooves with sizzling brass. Go on, put the bedsocks back in the drawer, and give it a go!

The Cellar, Frewin Ct, Oxford,

Magical Museum Sleepover, V & A Museum of Childhood, London, Sat 15 – Sun 16 Oct


This sounds awesome. A sleepover at the V&A Museum of Childhood, where kids get to cast spells, follow a twilight museum trail, listen to stories and sleep in the company of  fairies, puppets, dolls and trains. Breakfast is on the Marble Floor of the Museum before it opens to the public the following morning. I’m sure it’s hygienic, but hey, you can check that out for yourself  – kids have to be accompanied by an adult!

£45 per person, Ages 7-12. V & A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2,



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