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This week

Mon 11 - Sun 17 Feb 2019


COMEDY: A Comedy Night in a Bookshop, Blackwell’s Bookshop Westgate, Fri 15 Feb

Literature meets laugh out loud at the iconic Oxford bookshop’s first stand-up evening in their Westgate venue. Headlining the Stand-Up Literature event, the sister of Ox’s comedy club stalwart  Jericho Comedy, is Aaron Simmonds (BBC New Comedy Award Finalist, Jewish Comedian of the Year) who’ll be offering up his thoughts on all things love and Harry Potter.

Get tickets here


EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum, Fri 1 Feb – Sun 14 July

Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Wandle furnishing fabric, by William Morris. England, late 19th Century

I have great memories of taking my family to William Morris’s house in Gloucestershire and having them all sit outside glumly for an hour proclaiming it the most boring thing ever while I drooled over the textiles and furniture. Ah, happy days! Anyway, this exhibition focuses on how the Thames influenced Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxfordshire, where he loved to boat and fish, ergo the influence of the river in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics.


MUSIC: Chiltern Arts Festival, various locations, until Sat 16 Feb

World class musicians are descending on various venues in Bucks and Herts with a series of concerts to delight music lovers. The programme includes renowned pianist Steven Osborne playing Prokofiev, Debussy and Schubert, celebrated baritone Roderick Williams in a performance of Hugo Wolf’s Italian Songbook, and an opening programme by the City of London Sinfonia inspired by the orchestra’s London series, entitled Bach and the Cosmos.


EXHIBITION: Antinous: Boy Made God, The Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 24 Feb

Last two weeks to catch boy favourite of Emperor Hadrian Antinous. He drowned in the Nile in AD 130 and so began his elevation to god-like status. Hadrian created a city in his name, Antinoopolis, in Egypt and busts and statues were made and spread throughout the empire. More than 80 survive to this day and you can view some of them at this fascinating exhibition ending later this month.


TALK: Trust, Fast, Healthy with Michael Moseley, Milton Keynes Theatre, Bucks, Mon 11 Feb

The doctor behind the 5:2 diet and a regular on health programmes on the telly, Dr Michael Moseley will be discussing common health myths and teaching the audience about the best ways to lose weight (yes please), get fit (yes please) and reduce stress (YES ALRIGHT!).


SCIENCE: FameLab Oxford, Science Oxford, St Aldates Tavern, Oxford, Tues 12 & Wed 13 Feb

Heat one of this competition to find a science, tech, maths or engineering star takes place at St Aldates Tavern with the regional finals on 8th March at The Wig and Pen, George Street. Entrants need to surprise and fascinate the general public with unbelievable facts and compelling performances. They only have three minutes to impress the judges and no notes or boring Power Point slides are allowed. It’s hurting my head even thinking what might be revealed but it all sounds like good egghead fun.


ART: Jeff Koons at The Ashmolean, Oxford, Thurs 7 Feb – Sun 9 Jun & Gin Tasting with Private View, Wed 13 Feb

Behemoth of the contemporary art world, Jeff Koons is curating his own exhibition in collaboration with Norman Rosenthal. Spanning Koons’ entire career and showcasing seventeen works, most of which have never been shown in the UK before, the show will include his popular series Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings. This is going to be a popular exhibition but you can see it without the crowds at the Love Your Gin event on Wed 13 Feb. Enjoy guided tastings of Ashmolean gin, tapas and live music after a wander around the exhibition. Tickets are on sale now.


SUPER CLUB: Anti-Valentine’s Tapas, Claytons Marlow, Thurs 14 Feb

Native Feasts and XECO wines collab on a supper club at Muddy favourite Clayton’s Marlow; a tapas style dinner prepared by Chris Godfrey, Michelin star holder and former head chef of Ox’s Sir Charles Napier Inn. There’ll be cocktails and live music to accompany. Who needs romance when you’ve got food and booze, right?



THEATRE: The Boy and the Mermaid, Pegasus  Theatre,  Sat 16 Feb 

Paper Balloon theatre company perform the first date of their UK tour, The Boy and the Mermaid, at Pegasus Theatre. The company put on quirky, original productions, with this show using live music, puppetry and even a rapping octopus to tell the tale of three shanty-singing fishermen. 5+


LAUNCH PARTY: Library of Things launch party, Makespace Oxford, nr Jerhico,  Sat 16 Feb 

I think this is such a great idea! Created by initiative SHARE Oxford, this new library contains borrowable things, from little used household items to entertainment.  The aim is to reduce waste and save dosh-  win, win! At the launch you can see how the library works, what you can borrow, become a member and learn more about the benefits of a circular economy. 2pm-  4pm.


THEATRE:  The Giant Jam Sandwich, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot,  Sun 17 Feb 

Showing for one day only, Dicot’s purpose built arts hub put on this comical play, for kids aged 3-8. Based on the beloved book, Itching Down residents hatch a giant sandwich-making plan to defeat millions of wasps that have invaded their village, 11.30am and 2.30pm.


SHOPPING: Celebrating China pop-up boutique, Bicester Village, until Sun 17 Feb

Popped up to this the other day and it’s well cool. Curated by hot-to-trot fashion influencer Susie Bubble, this pop-up boutique of ten cutting-edge Chinese designers is opening to celebrate Chinese New Year. It includes rising stars Ryan Lo, Mukzin and I Am Chen and with Chinese designers starting to make their mark on catwalks around the world.


WALK: Snowdrop Weekend, various locations, Sat 16 – Sun 17 Feb

Gawd bless the little fellas! With over 60 different varieties of snowdrop carpeting Waterperry’s ornamental gardens, spring is now around the corner. There are free guided walks (although winter garden entrance applies) at 11am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm so you can learn all about this petite flower and the cafe is open too. From Sat 16 until Thurs 21 Feb, you can also play I Spy in the Gardens. Task your kids with finding every letter of the alphabet hidden in the gardens for a small prize. It’s very low tech stuff at Waterperry but my children always loved it, so it’ll be a gentle way to spend an hour or so. Or, for a lesser known hotspot, snowdrops spring up around St. Botolph Church’s 1000 year old grounds in Swyncombe. Snowdrop weekends run on Sat 16  – Sun 17 and Sat 23 – Sun 24 with refreshments in the Church and potted snowdrops available to buy. There’s some great walks around there too if you fancy it.


FILM: Romeo and Juliet, The Assembly Rooms, Marlow, Sat 16 Feb

Firefly events’ indoor cinema pops up in Marlow with Leonardo DiCaprio *cue screams*. Sorry guys, its only on film but a great one at that, Baz Luhrmann’s brilliant adaptation of Romeo + Juliet. A ticket also includes an Indian meal, veggie options available, access to the bar and table service.

Get tickets here.


KIDS: Half-term at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Sat 16 – Sun 24 Feb

As always Waddesdon is on it for half term with one day family cookery lessons (lunch and sweet/savoury treats to take home); Orienteering  challenges round the grounds – with medals! Plus guided tours of the gardens (that one’s for you, the kids won’t give a chuff).


EXHIBITION: Turner, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sat 16 Feb – Mon 22 Apr

The Young Turner: Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective takes place in Blenheim’s Gallery with works from The Ashmolean, The Tate and private collections. The exhibition celebrates some of his earliest commissions and shows his progress in depicting architecture and perspective in drawings, paintings and engravings from the 1780s – 1810s. You can also see one of Turner’s sketchbooks and some diagrams from a lecture he gave to the Royal Academy on perspective, which have rarely been exhibited before. Between Thurs 21 – Sun 24 Feb, the Cotswolds Art and Antique Dealers Association Fair also rocks up with over 30 dealers selling the very best furniture, pictures, silver, sculpture, carpets, jewellery. Prices start around £100 and you can imagine where they’ll end up!



EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Sat 2 Feb

Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri (b. 1964), Éventail de vos hasards, Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2018. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and there’s a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.


EXHIBITION: Don McCullin Photography, Tate Britain, Sun 3 Feb – Mon 6 May 

Over 250 photographs spanning Don McCullin’s 6o year career are on display at Tate Britain and include his iconic war images, including Vietnam, Northern Island and Syria, as well as some of his work focussing on poverty in England.


THEATRE: The Winter’s Tale for Young Audiences, National Theatre, London, until Thurs 21 Feb

This is a great way to introduce primary-age children to Shakespeare (and it’s only an hour long). The Winter’s Tale, the story of Perdita, the girl who was once lost but is found, returns to the National Theatre in February 2019, following a sell-out run at the Dorfman Theatre last year.  Adapted by Justin Audibert and directed by Ruth Mary Johnson, the show is also touring round primary schools in Greater London.



THEATRE: Blood Brothers, Wycombe Swan, Tues 19 – Sat 23 Feb

A stalwart of the touring musicals scene, and still going after 30 years, Blood Brothers clearly has something going very right for it. The show tells the story of twins separated at birth and brought up on different sides of the tracks.When they eventually meet, the consequences are far-reaching. What, is Mr Tickle in the play too? (*I’ll get my coat*).


KIDS: AniMalcolm, Aylesbury Waterside, Wed 6 – Thurs 7 Mar 

Get booking now for Story Pocket Theatre’s dramatisation of Brit comic and award winning children’s author David Baddiel’s AniMalcolm. The show uses physical theatre and live puppetry to tell the comical tale of Malcolm, a boy who hates animals, as he inhabits the bodies of several farm creatures on a school trip.


THEATRE: Rain Man, Wycombe Swan, Tue 19 – Sat 23 Mar

Based on the Oscar winning blockbuster, Paul Nicholls (Eastenders) and Chris Fountain (Hollyoaks) star as the road-tripping brothers in acclaimed theatre producer Bill Kenwright’s show.


Find more ideas here

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