The Muddy Guide: Thurs 28 Jan – Weds 3 Feb
Late Night LiveFriday: Heroes and Villains, Ashmolean, Fri 29 Jan
Whoo-hoo! The first LiveFriday of 2016 at The Ashmolean, when the venerable institution opens its doors at night and everything gets a bit groovy, with theatrical performances, creative workshops, music, drinks and dinner in the rooftop dining room. This month’s theme is Heroe and Villains – so you can go and discover your secret superpower while you wander around the museum feeling hip and cool.
7-10.30pm, free entry. Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont St, Oxford, ashomolean.org
The Ruff Guide to Shakespeare, Cornerstone Arts Didcot, Sat 30 Jan
The life, the times and every single Shakespeare play – all in one hour! Time for your kids to put down their Letts revision books (do these even exist?!) and have a crash course in the bard at The Cornerstone in Didcot on Saturday. The show is performed by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School with dance routines, songs, sketches and the kitchen sink thrown in to make that iambic pentameter as engaging as possible.
For 5+ Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, cornerstone-arts.org
Graffiti Classics, The Theatre Chipping Norton, Thurs 28 Jan
Is the Suzuki method not engaging your children in classical music? Go low brow my friends! This sounds like a great show, a string quartet who sing, dance, do stand-up and also happen to play a mean instrument. They promise everything from Strauss to Saturday Night Fever so it will probably inspiring and a bit bonkers in equal measures.
Adults £14, Concessions £12. The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring St, Chipping Norton, chippingnortontheatre.co.uk
Rambert – The 3 Dancers, plus other works, Aylesbury Waterside, Thurs 11- Sat 13 Feb
An early heads up on this show from the brilliant British dance company Rambert, as it’s likely to sell out early. Love, desire and betrayal are the ingredients of the shocking true story which inspired Picasso’s masterpiece, The Three Dancers, and Rambert springs Picasso’s painting from the canvas to the stage, to create a portrait of doomed passion. The 3 Dancers forms the centrepiece of a triple bill which also includes the atmospheric Terra Incognita, plus a new work from company dancer Patricia Okenwa. Dead cert brilliant.
Aylesbury Waterside, atgtickets.com
Moscow State Circus, New Theatre Oxford. Mon 1 – Tues 2 Feb
The Moscow State Circus is touring Europe and hits Oxford next Monday with its biggest production to date. A bit like the Cotswolds-based Giffords Circus in the sense that it has a loose theme or story to hinge its production on, this show is based on the Russian folklore story of The Flower with Seven Colours where each petal represents a wish. Meh, who cares about that? Basically there’s a whole lot of flying, back flipping, juggling and wire walking. Particularly liking the sound of the ballerina en pointe on the high wire. Holy pirouhettes!
New Theatre Oxford, atgtickets.com
FUNomusica Family Concert: From Hamelin to Hogwarts, Oxford Town Hall, Sun 31 Jan
Another classical concert made friendly for little ones. I’ve been to these before and they’re really lovely concerts, held in the gorgeous Oxford Town Hall, and surprisingly relaxed, with kids able to sit at the front on the floor and The Oxford Philomusica clearly enjoying the performance.
As usual Alasdair Malloy conducts and hosts this year’s concert, a celebration of children’s literature matched to the classical music – so you can expect everything from the Harry Potter theme tune to the score from Lord of the Rings, plus music inspired by the Arabian Nights and Alice in Wonderland. The concert is ‘most suitable for 8-12 year olds’ on the blurb but I took my kids when they were much smaller and they were fine, so just make a judgement call based on how feral your children are likely to be in company.
Concert 3- 4pm. Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford, oxfordphil.com
Priscilla Queen of the Desert with Jason Donovan, Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 1 – Sat 6 Feb
Priscilla wasn’t quite my cup of char (read my review here), but there’s obviously still a massive market for the musical – 6 days at MK Theatre is not to be sniffed at. Jason Donovan has been doing the show for so long he can virtually sleep walk it, and if you get excited by the story of three drag queens on a roadtrip in the Australian outback, belting out Boogie Wonderland and I Will Survive you’ll love it.
Age guidance: 15+ Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Bucks, atgtickets.com
J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Hairstyles and Headdresses, River and Rowing Museum, now to 10 April
A bijou exhibition from the Hayward Touring is at the River & Rowing Museum showcasing the stunning work of J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, shot over more than 40 years. A bit random I grant you, but the River & Rowing is seriously upping its art and adult offering (David Hockney is there next month – seriously!) and this exhibition, documenting the cultural phenomenon of Nigerian hairstyles and headdresses is really interesting. The incredible designs symbolise key life events such as weddings or birthdays, and often denote social status (I had no idea, did you?) with unique family hairstyles being passed down through generations.
River and Rowing Museum, Henley, rrm.co.uk
Fancy a jaunt into London? The VAULT Festival is getting quite the reputation and this year’s offering sounds amazing – more than 100 different shows, at 8 venues and 3 bars all hidden beneath Waterloo. From 6pm every night for six weeks, you can expect comedy and cabaret to theatre and dance in a diverse and eclectic line up. Check it out.
Vault Festival, Waterloo, London SE1, vaultfestival.com
ROH Inspiration in Purfleet, Essex
If you or yours are interested in behind the scenes staging and costume, this one’s for you. Painters, carpenters and metalworkers ply their trade at the Royal Opera House’s new production workshop in Purfleet and from Friday you can go behind the scenes too with a series of Inspiration Days, themed around stage make-up, costume and staging. All three dates include a tour, workshop and lunch
ROH Production Workshop, Vellacott Close, Purfleet, Essex RM19. 9+ Visit website