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What’s On: Thurs 8 – Weds 14 Oct

Hetty Haxworth Exhibition, O3 Gallery Oxford, 10 Oct- 1 Nov


I love these abstract prints from Hetty Haxworth – born in Oxford, living in rural Aberdeenshire and with possibly the coolest artist name since Pablo Picasso. Her screenprints have been shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, so she is much-admired. Catch some of her more recent work at Oxford Castle’s O3 gallery this week, with a preview event tomorrow (Friday 9 Oct) between 6-8pm if you happen to be passing that way.

The Dreamboys, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Thurs 8 Oct

May at home and Dreamboys 212

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed to do my job *sigh*. Tis true I have form with The Dreamboys, and now you too can enjoy a bit of the action too, for is there any more beautiful tour title than The Dreamboys: Where Dreams Become Reality ?! It can only be bettered by the knowledge that Dan Osborne from The Only Way Is Essex will be joining the oily gyrators on stage. Knickers at the ready ladies – scrunch up, aim, FIRE!

Aylesbury Waterside,

Michael Palin: The Thirty Years Tour, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Fri 9 Oct


Everyone’s favourite person in the world, Michael Palin knows a thing or two about comic timing, self-deprecation and how to tell a ripping yarn. He’s touring a brand new show, The Thirty Years Tour nationwide but it’s a one-night only opportunity at the Ayesbury Waterside if you want to catch him locally.

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

Handmade in Britain, Kew Gardens, Thurs 8 – Sun 11 Oct


Calling the artsy and crafties. Handmade in Britain launches for the first time in a pavilion next to Kew Palace at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with a special craft event showcasing 150 makers of ceramics, glass, jewellery, furniture and fashion. Its £18 for an adult ticket or £44 for a family ticket so it’s quite steep, but does includes ticket into the garden. or

Mushroom Foraging course, Quince Tree, Henley,Thurs 8 Oct


Mushroom foraging seems to be the boom activity for foodies around here, so look no further all you fun-gis – The Quince Tree in Stonor is running its second of three such gastronomic days today (the third is Thurs 5 Nov if you can’t make this one). Learn to identify, preserver and cook a variety of wild mushrooms with Matthew Dorich, who worked with Rick Stein in his seafood restaurant in Cornwall for five years before setting up Matthew’s Kitchen. There’s a morning coffee, forest forage, talk by Matthew and a two course mushroomy lunch. Yum.

The Quince Tree, Henley-on-Thames,

Vinegar Hill, Autumn/Winter Launch Night, Thurs 8 Oct

vinegar hill collageA last minute nudge if you’re Henley way that you can get 10% off your goodies in Vinegar Hill tonight between 6-9pm. The store only arrived in the town a few months ago and is chockful with brilliant gifts for Crimbo (yes, I’m afraid retailers are already thinking 25 Dec). I went into the shop last week and loved it – check out the post here, and if you do make it tonight, don’t forget a little stiletto-shaped stocking filler for your truly!

Vinegar Hill, 37-39 Duke Street, Henley, Oxfordshire, RG9 1UR. Tel: 01491 817998.

Banbury Folk Festival, Fri 9 – Sun 11 Oct


Dig out your fiddle! Hook on your fake beard! It’s the Banbury Folk Festival, chockful of Morris dance troupes (yes, there’s a plural on that), folk music, and my favourite bit of all, the Banbury Hobby Horse Festival, which looks very much to me like an opportunity for men to pretend to ride papier machiere horses. So eccentric it’s inspired. 

The Tempest, Oxford Playhouse, Weds 14-  Sat 24 Oct


A major new production of The Tempest, Shakespeare’s tale of love, revenge and forgiveness is brought to the Oxford Playhouse over 10 days by the Improbable theatre company, whose artistic Director Phelim McDermott has previously crafted inventive productions including Shockheaded Peter and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont St, Oxford,

Doc Brown: The Weird Way Round, Mill Arts Centre, Fri 9 Oct

doc brown
Hip hop and comedy aren’t regular bed fellows, but Doc Brown who is carving a very successful stand up career on the back of his musical background. In he past he’s collaborated with Mark Ronson and Lily Allen among others and as an actor he’s taken a starring role in Law & Order UK, and parts in Rev and The Inbetweeners. He’s also recently completed a sell out UK stand-up tour so a talented guy, and now he’s back with a new show at the Mill Arts Centre in Banbury called Life, Love and Lyricism. The broadsheets love him, and odds are you will too if you see him on Friday.

The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park, Banbury,

 Grass, Kids’ Theatre, Pegasus, Sun 11 Oct


A lovely kids option for Sunday morning at Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre – a quirky dance show for young children called Grass which encourages them to ‘look down, and think about what they’re standing on’. A sweet idea isn’t it? Grass is a full length version of a show from the Dancin Oxford festival in March and uses performance, puppetry and projection and ‘spontaneous outbreaks of ant dancing’. Sounds great.

40 minutes plus 15 minutes after show playtime for kids 4+. Pegasus, Magdalen Road, Oxford,

Artists and Makers Fair, Thame Town Hall, Sat 10 Oct


The Artists and Makers Fair in Thame kind of does what it says on the tin – a whole lot of very well established local craftspeople at their work, and exhibiting their wares in Thame Town Hall (above) between 10am and 4pm today. These fairs are well established locally, moving between Thame, Wendover and in past years Waddesdon Manor and are worth dropping in on – especially with a titchy £1 entry.

Thame Town Hall,

The Importance of Being Earnest, Wycombe Swan, Tues 13 – Sat 17 Oct


A fantastic play brilliantly performed by an all star cast. Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest reaches High Wycombe on its national tour. The cast includes Nigel Havers (and his hair), Martin Jarvis (and his hair), Christine Kavanagh and Siân Phillips who starred in the original West End show. I saw it in Aylesbury a full year ago with the same cast (here’s my review if you can’t remember reading it) and can totally recommend it if you’re in a thespy mood next week.

Wycombe Swan Theatre,

Woburn Estate Wedding Fair, Sunday 11 October

Photo by Paul Wilkinson Photography

Ding dong! If you’re hearing those wedding bells in your head, it’s time to get yourself organised for the big day. The Woburn Estate Wedding Fair takes place in a few weeks in the Antique Quarter of the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey. Loads of pop up wedding shops, wedding planners, fashion shows and all that bridal jazz.

And, er double ding dong! It’s going to be a long day, brides-to-be. After you’ve checked out Woburn, head to Waddesdon Manor for more wedding inspiration in the beautiful surrounds of The Dairy with strolling catwalk, dedicated groom’s room (what, with a telly in it and beers?), bride’s boutique and a chance to look at the gorgeous venues.

Free admission and car parking. Image courtesy of Paul Wilkinson Photography

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon