What’s On: Fri 3 July – Weds 8 July
The Henley Festival, Weds 8 – Sun 12 July
A massive date in the Henley calendar, this five day festival is chocca with live music, contemporary arts, comedy, fireworks, dining and street theatre. Music includes Jessie J, Lionel Ritchie for those of you who want to stay up All Night Long (sorry, is it too early for bad gags?), Spandau (don’t they look good?!!), Gipsy Kings etc plus there’s the massively popular Family Sunday if you can still snaffle tickets. Don’t forget too that the Regatta continues until Saturday – if you’re not invited into the enclosures, meh, who cares – head down the river to Temple Island where you get a great view of the start. It’s a great vibe there with food stalls and music.
Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata and an evening of new ballets, New English Ballet Theatre, Wycombe Swan, 9 July
Ballet lovers ahoy! Following their successful third season in the West End, New English Ballet Theatre presents a programme of ballets from the UK’s top choreographic talents including Dutch National Ballet’s Daniela Cardim Fonteyne, and the Royal Ballet’s Valentino Zucchetti, The evening concludes with a newly commissioned work by rising star Andrew McNicol, based on Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata.
Alice’s Day, Story Museum, Oxford, Sat 4 July
It’s been 150 years since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and still its popularity endures so much there’s a whole day devoted to it in Oxford. This Saturday there’s an extra special Alice’s Day, with loads of cool things going on around the city like playing human croquet, dancing a lobster quadrille (because we’ve all, er, dreamt about doing it) , or spot the 150 Alices roaming around town. Most events are free so check out the full list of what’s going on and off you go down the rabbit hole.
The Story Museum, Oxford, story museum.org.uk
Pantaloons Open Air Theatre: Pride and Prejudice, Woburn Abbey, Sun 5 July
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s romantic will-they-won’t-they is one of the best-loved stories of all time, plus it gave us Colin Firth in that frilly shirt – and a great excuse to post it here – so it’ s thanks all round. The literary classic gets the full Pantaloons treatment in this hilarious and innovative it says here!) new adaptation. All performances are in the open-air and will continue in all weather bar a full-blown tempest. Bring a picnic and something to sit on.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Claydon House, Bucks, Sun 5 July
More outdoor theatre, this time in the lovely grounds of Claydon House, the estate where Florence Nightingale grew up, now looked after by the National Trust. Chapterhouse Theatre Company get to grips with the rhyming couplets on the West Terrace while you eat your picnic and make bad jokes about it being an ass of a production. Oh, just me?
Claydon House, nationaltrust.org.uk
Cowley Road Carnival, Oxford, Sun 5 July
Oxford’s most lively, down to earth carnival, loads on including Cowleyfornia beach (!) with sand, palm trees and deck chairs, gospel choirs, pony rides, DJ sets, dancing, baby boogie disco, kids area and a Body and soul Garden to chill out in.
Cowley Road, Oxford, cowleyroadcarnival.co.uk
Derren Brown: Miracle, Aylesbury Waterside, Mon 6 – Sat 11 July
I’ve never seen Derren Brown live but apparently he’s absolutely incredible – and look, he’s giving it the Hollywood blockbuster treatment with this promo above. The master of psychological illusion is back on tour with a brand new one-man show, Derren Brown: Miracle. Look how he conjures millions of pounds out of thin air and then legs it out of Aylesbury as soon as possible!
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, atgtickets.com
Romeo and Juliet, Oxford Castle Courtyard, now until 18 July
Another outdoor theatre show – because two in one week just isn’t enough. Following their critically acclaimed, sell out productions of Twelfth Night, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tomahawk Theatre returns to the lovely setting of Oxford Castle this summer with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
La Traviata, Winslow Hall, Weds 8 – Sun 19 July
A lovely setting for Verdi’s operatic tragedy. Oliver Gilmour returns to conduct again, with Elena Xanthoudakis singing the role of Violetta and Pablo Bemsch as her lover Alfredo. There’s a 90 minute interval in all evening performances for supper, or a 30 minute interval for Sunday matinees but the gardens will be open from 12pm on Sunday for anyone who wants to bring a picnic before the warbling starts. Don’t forget to check for tickets to Garsington Opera too in Wormsley – there are a couple of performances left a a few tickets if you’re quick.
Winslow Hall, Bucks, winslowhallopera.co.uk
Alex Horne: Monsieur Butterfly, Chipping Norton Theatre, Sun 8 July
In the mood for a laugh? Nominated for Best Show in the 2014 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Alex Horne brings his new show to Chipping Norton Theatre this Sunday, a kind of comedic play on Mousetrap. No, I have no idea either but I dare say it’s very funny.
The Theatre, Chipping Norton, chippingnortontheatre.co.uk
Paloma Faith, Kew the Music, Kew Gardens, Tues 7 & Thurs 9 July
Ah, lovey Paloma. She’s had a great year hasn’t she? Now the chirpy singer/songwriter is a massive star and Kew Gardens must be rubbing their green fingers together in glee that she’s headlining two nights of their annual Kew The Music festival. Also performing over the next week are The Specials, Jools Holland, UB40 and Caro Emerald. Kew Gardens, kewthemusic.org