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This weekend

FRI 19 - SUN 21 JAN 2018

The Ducasse Trio, SJE Arts, Oxford, Fri 19 Jan

Formed in 2010, this exciting trio – William Slingsby-Duncan on clarinet, Charlotte Maclet on violin and Fiachra Garvey on piano – met at Paris Conservatoire and have gone from strength to strength since. The trio will present forgotten works from Khachaturian, Ives and Stravinsky as well as modern works such as the Charlotte Bray commission. Combined with the grand architecture of SJE Arts, this is set to be an evening of total class.


Speakers, by Nicolas Party, Modern Art Oxford, until 18 Feb 2018 

This exhibition at Modern Art Oxford has been running since late November but if you’re yet to catch it now’s your chance. The Swiss artist Nicolas Party (formerly a graffiti specialist)  has produced Speakers, a theatrical selection of five five foot female heads, complete with two hour looped soundscape that seems to speak to you as you brush past. The work is a response to the masculine architecture and institutions of Oxford, particularly the Emperors’ Heads outside the Sheldonian Theatre. Weird, and kind of wonderful.


Upton House, open on weekends in January

room of paintings, heritage,

Many of the heritage estates are closed at the mo, but Upton House is pluckily resisting the trend, with the house open on weekends all through January. I’m a big fan of this place – the artworks are incredible (think Canaletto) and an inventive, child-friendly way of presenting exhibitions and the house itself. On the border near Warwickshire, dip over The Kitchen in nearby Farnborough for lunch afterwards, you’ll love it.


The Snowman, Milton Keynes Theatre, Weds 17 – Sat 20 Jan

Birmingham Repertory Theatre bring to life the classic Raymond Briggs story in a magical show that’s somehow been going for twenty years! Worth it just for that moment when they sing Walking In The Air’.

Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes,


Viennese New Year Concert, Sheldonian Theatre, Fri 19 Jan

Hold your frame, put on your best rictus grin get ready to be spun around by the 45th Viennese New Year Concert performed by the City of Oxford Orchestra, playing a programme of Mozart, Haydn & Strauss in the stunning Christopher Wren-designed Sheldonian Theatre.

8pm. Tickets £10-35. Website


Daughters, Wives and Sisters, Museum of Natural History, from 8 Jan – 5 March 2018

Inspire your daughters and teach your sons a thing or two! Info on this exhibition is a bit sketchy but I’m liking the principle. This exhibition at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History is all about celebrating the scientific achievements of women in early natural history. Free to enter, and if all the #thisgirlcan feminism gets too much for you, you can go and stare at the dinosaurs for a while.


Early Years Workshops, Modern Art Oxford, 11 Jan – 8 Feb

The brilliant Modern Art Oxford is running Make Play sessions, creating a sensory space for little ones (6 months – 5 yrs) to explore with their parent/carer to explore. To tie in with Hannah Ryggen’s tapestry expo, there’ll be wool, line, colour and more. Sessions run from 11am-12pm.


The Vinyl Frontier 2018 Album Championships, Norden Farm, Sat 20 Jan

Stacks of vinyl records and the headphones

It’s the vinyl countdown: 8 contestants bring their fave LP to battle it out to be crowned 2018 Vinyl Frontier Album Champion. The audience chooses the winner of each round. Last year’s winner was American Idiot by Green Day. Come and have a go if you think you’re muso enough.



Hare and Tortoise, Chipping Norton Theatre, Sat 20 Jan 

A lovely show for your teenies (recommended age is 3 plus) and adapted from one of good old Aesop’s best-know fables with plenty of music and movement thrown in.

The Theatre,, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon,



London Art Fair, Islington, London, Weds 17 – Sun 21 Jan

Image: Rachel Ara, This Much I’m Worth, 2017.

The London Art Fair in my old stomping ground of Islington, North London, offers punters museum-quality Modern British art alongside contemporary work from today’s leading artists, covering the period from the early 20th century to the present day. Besides the main Fair, there’ll be specially curated contemporary spaces which feature the next generation of artists and collectives. A great chance to find something beautiful for your walls that doesn’t cost the earth.

Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street,  London N1,


Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London, now until Sat 27 Jan

Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award.

Sadlers Wells, Rosebery Av, London EC1,


Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until 11 Feb 2018

Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work.


Modigliani, Tate Modern, until 2 April 2018

The Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is quite a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.


Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, until Feb 24 

Dinita Gohil as Viola. Pic credit: Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night is set in Victorian Britain and sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, also stars Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew.

Basquiat: Boom for Real, The Barbican, until Jan 28


The urban brutalism of the Barbican is the perfect setting for Jean-Michael Basquiat’s ground-breaking energetic post-punk street art and stunning paintings. This is the UK’s first large scale exhibition in Britain of the New York-based artist since his tragic death in 1988 of an accidental heroin overdose – and one of 2017’s best. It not only traces the origins as graffiti artist but his love of bebop jazz, particularly Charlie Parker, primitive African art, beat writer William Boroughs and Picasso. Review here. This month it’s open until 10pm, Tues – Sat, until the exhibition closes on Jan 28.

Basquiat: Boom for Real

Amadeus, the National Theatre, London from Thurs Jan 11 – Tue April 24

Following a critically lauded sell-out run in 2016, Michael Longhurst’s production of Peter Shaffer’s play returns with the brilliant Lucian Msamati – who played Iago in the RSC’s 2015 production of Othello – as composer Antonio Salieri, who strikes a deal with God and is overtaken by a jealous vendetta against his musical rival, Mozart.

National Theatre, SE1,

North – Fashioning Identity, Somerset House, now – Feb 4 2018

Alice-Hawkins, LOVE magazine, ‘The Liver Birds’, 2012

Forget the north/south divide, London doffs its hat to Manchester, Newcastle et al in this new exhibition. Social documentary film and photography detailing life in the north of England in the mid-20th century sits alongside works by photographers, designers and artists inspired by the parts of our green and pleasant land beyond the Watford Gap. Contributors include Nottingham’s finest Paul Smith and Manchester’s Factory Records designer Peter Saville. If you visit after 15 Nov,  you can also take a twirl on Somerset House’s gorgeous outdoor ice rink.

Find more ideas here

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