What’s On This Week: Fri 17 – Weds 22 July
GOLive Oxford, Burton Taylor Studios, Oxford, until Sat 18 July
GOlive Oxford is a brand-new dance festival at the teeny tiny powerhouse of the Burton Taylor theatre. Each night 6 different sets of performers dance, with styles from hip hop to Indian dance, modern to ‘action-theatre’ and it’s a minimum age of 12+ which will give you a bit of a hint about its remit for risk.
Burton Taylor Studio, Beaumont St, Oxford, oxfordplayhouse.com
Art in Action, Waterperry Gardens, Thurs 16 – Sun 19 July
Waterperry’s annual art event has been going since 1977 – so, ahem, it’s older than me – and now every July up to 400 artists, craftsmen, performers and musicians gather together to show what they do. so you can watch potters pot, painters paint and the sculptor sculpt, ask them questions and take the practical classes if you’re feeling a creative urge. Throw in The Market, with over 100 designer-makers selling their wares, food on the go and the beautiful gardens themselves and you’ve got yourself an outing.
Waterperry Gardens, artinaction.org.uk
Into the Woods, Jam Theatre, Marlow, from Tues 21 July – Sat 1 Aug
Jam Theatre won the 2015 Muddy Stiletto award for Best Theatre in Bucks/Oxon so now’s your chance to see what the fuss is about. This production of Sondheim’s musical take the audience literally ‘Into The Woods’ with seating limited to 40 seats for each performance. It’s for kids 8+ – apparently the witch is a bit scary!
Jam Theatre Studios, 45a West Street, Marlow, Bucks, jamtheatre.co.uk
Why is it always Shakespeare performed in outdoor theatre? This week’s 16th century offerings include The Taming of the Shrew at the gorgeous Palladian manor and grounds of West Wycombe Park tomorrow (Sat 18 July); Titus Adronicus (Mon 20 – 1 Aug) at the Oxford Castle as part of the inaugural Oxford Shakespeare Festival, and an early heads up on The Globe Theatre’s summer tour which reaches Oxford from next Thurs 21 July to 2 Aug with its production of Much Ado About Nothing (pictured) in the stunning Old Schools Quadrangle at the Bodleian. Dig out your Lett’s notes and swot up in advance.
Jane’s Teas, Kirtlington, Oxon, Sat 18 & Sun 19 July
A reminder if you haven’t already tried out Jane’s Teas to get down there this weekend. The most extrordinarily quirky, lovely, unique cafe in England, it nestles on the Oxford Canal system near Kirtlington, accessible either on foot or by narrow boat. The cafe only opens on the 1st and 3rd weekend of the month and closes by October so your window of opportunity to try something truly different are diminishing week by week! Check out my 2014 review here and go if you get the chance.
Mill Lane, Kirtlington, janes-cream-teas.moonfruit.com
Flute and Harp Recital, The Reading Room, Windmill Hill, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 18 July
Windmill Hill is a stunning architecturally designed building on the Waddesdon Estate that the Waddesdon archives but is also used increasingly for performances. International soloists Anna Noakes (flute) and Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp) present a programme of romantic and dramatic music for flute and harp on Sat 18 July, including much-loved repertoire by Mozart, Piazzolla and Damase. If you’re classically inclined, you’ll love it.
The Reading Rooms, Windmill Hill, Waddesdon Manor, waddesdon.org.uk
New London Openings this month
Fancy heading into the smoke? There are some groovy restaurants that have just opened for your delectation. Granger and Co (pictured) is Aussie chef Bill Granger’s new venture in ever-more-hip King’s Cross, adding to his existing restaurants in Clerkenwell and Notting Hill. Casa Cruz in Notting Hill is a hot ticket from Juan Santa Cruz, the restauranteur and designer behind Buenos Aires’ most fashionable restaurant, now bringing his Argentinian classics like steak and dulce de leche to London palates in a Victorian building with copper bar and heated roof terrace. Finally, Oldroyd has just opened its doors in my former stomping ground of Islington, owned by Tom Oldroyd, the former chef director of the massively successful Polpo group. His first solo venture is bijou – a 40 cover restaurant split across two floors with a cafe feel downstairs and bistro dining upsairs, focusing on small plates of European food. Yum.
Orpheus in the Underworld, Roxburgh Theatre, Stowe, Sat 18 July
Following their huge success with The Daughter of The Regiment, Opera della Luna return to Stowe with a company of multi-talented singers, comedians and dancers to stage Offenbach’s most celebrated work. The performance takes place in the recently restored and renovated Roxburgh Theatre and the beautiful grounds are open for picnics two and a half hours before the performance.
The Roxburgh Theatre, Stowe, Buckingham, chippingnortontheatre.co.uk
Soho Comedy Nights, Oxford Playhouse, Weds 22 – 25 July
Soho Theatre has forged an unrivalled reputation for spotting ground-breaking talent over the last 15 years, and next week sees the first of their Soho in Oxford seasons, presenting previews of the best new comedy shows ahead of the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Should be very funny.
Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, oxfordplayhouse.com
Adam Buck, Artist in the Age of Jane Austen, The Ashmolean, Oxford, until 4 Oct
This celebration of Adam Buck, Regency portrait and miniature painter,opened yesterday (Thurs 18 July) at The Ashmolean Musuem and offers a fascinating insight into the faces and fashions of this time. Buck’s portraits of The Royals, landowners, Serving Officers and society hostesses, dressed in white muslin, seated or standing in fashionable interiors, brings the world of Jane Austen vividly to life. Yeah, but where’s Mr Darcy?
Ashmolean, Oxford, ashmolean.org
Sensory Zone: The Return of the Pods, Banbury Museum, Sat 18 July – 12 Sept
Ooh I’m liking the sound of this. Discover or re-live the enjoyment of international artist Jan Niedojadlo’s giant multi-sensory sculptures back by popular demand at The Banbury Museum from Saturday through until September. His sculptures look like massive inflatables, soft, squishy, touchable, loungeable – and great way to introduce kids to art. There’s also a ‘Pod Party’ on Weds 22 July at 2-4pm where kids (4+) can make their own mini pods with junk modelling.
Banbury Museum, banburymuseum.org
Book them into something!
As someone who only discovered just last night that her son was breaking up today – sadly I’m not kidding – I’m thanking my lucky stars I’ve done a bit of research into where to throw your kids onto courses! Early inspiration for those as disorganised as me includes: Longridge, the outdoor activity centre near Marlow that offers courses in almost every water-based activity imaginable and from next Thursday runs Activity Days each week day for kids from 8.30am to 4pm or 5.30, with lunch thrown in! Willen Lake near Milton Keynes is a massive area for watersports, cycling, mini golf, high ropes, pedalos etc and it runs courses in saling, paddlesports, windsurfing and wakeboarding. Little Masters is running holiday art courses for kids where they can experiment with collage, ceramics, sculpture, casting and moulding, sewing. paper mache, kite making, 3D modelling, bag making, mosaics, puppetry and origami. All workshops starts at 10.00am finish 430pm. Creation Theatre offers six weeks of their weekly Put on a Play in Week workshops running across Oxford. That’s your starter for ten, I’ll suggest more over the coming weeks as I become more desperate…
The Trad Boat Festival, Fawley Meadows, Henley Sat 18 – Sun 19 July
Over 200 boats, 100 vintage cars, flying displays and star attraction Malcolm Campbell’s 1937 Bluebird K3 Water Speed Record Winner making powered runs down the Thames. I think that just about sums it up, don’t you?
Stubbings Opera, Maidenhead, 24 & 25 July 2015
An early heads up on Stubbings Opera, in a new collaboration with respected opera specialists Opera Brava in the lovely grounds of Stubbings Estate in Maidenhead. Choose between TOSCA by Puccini on the Friday and Verdi’s Rigoletto on the Saturday. Gates open at 5.30pm allowing two hours of picnicking on the lawn before the tonsils start wobbling. Buy your hampers there if you can’t be bothered to make your cheese and pickled onion sarnies before you go.