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This week

MON 19 - SUN 25 FEB 2018

Richard Alston Dance Co, New Theatre Oxford, Tues 20 Feb

The brilliant Richard Alston returns to Oxford with a full dance programme exploring Electric Gypsyland. Featuring the celebrated ‘Gypsy Mixture’, newly revived for the first time in a decade, this alternative show puts a 21st century twist on traditional Balkan folk music.


Choose Your Own Adventure – World Book Day Creative Computing Club Special, Oxford Centre For Innovation, Sat 24 Feb

Crank up your sewing machine and dig out the spandex – it’s World Book Day! From heroes and villains to monsters and magic, this workshop will give kids the chance to write and programme their own adventure. Using Python they will learn to code a computer-based book that changes every time it’s read. All abilities welcome and costumes are encouraged: 10am – 11.30am (ages 9-12), 12.30pm – 2pm (ages 9-12) & 2.30 – 4pm (ages 12+) £8 per child.


Philip Pullman and Katherine Rundell: Daemon Voices, Sheldonian Theatre, OX, Thurs 22 Feb

I love reading Phillip Pullman novels to my children so I am super-excited that the brilliant author is coming to our small corner of the world. With the Sheldonain Theatre as a backdrop, Pullman will be in conversation with Katherine Rundell about his collection of essays ‘Daemon Voices’ which explores the power of story-telling. The talk will run for an hour, followed by a book signing.


Oxford International Art Festival, Oxford Town Hall, Fri 23 – Sun 25 Feb

An annual event now in Oxford, this accessible art fair runs over three halls, showing a wide variety of artworks by exhibitors from 26 countries. The big calling card here is that you can buy direct from the artist, so you can chat about the work, cut out the dealer costs and find yourself an authentic painting, sculpture, photography, art, illustration or piece of jewellery that you love.

£10 for launch party on Friday night, but free for Sat and Sun.


Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Milton Keynes Theatre, MK, Tues 20 Feb – Sat 24 Feb

Largely positive reviews of this touring production of Beautiful, the musical about chart-topping Carole King, who wrote countless classics including  (You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman, Take Good Care of my Baby, You’ve Got a Friend and You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. Expect a chronological trawl through pop icons of the late 20th century as the cast impersonate groups like the Drifters etc. Ideal for Sixties music lovers. Book tickets


Whaam! Pop art at Dantzig Gallery, Woodstock, until Sun 25 Feb 2018

Not often you get to see original screenprints and lithographs by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Blake and other superstar pop artists in rural Oxfordshire, but whaddya know, they’ve popped up in the sedate surroundings of Woodstock! Dantzig is a commercial gallery but even if you don’t have a spare mill or two knocking around to hang a can of Campbell’s tomato soup in your lounge, you’ll have the pleasure of looking at them in intimate surroundings for free.Prodigy collaborator K-Guy and Peter Stark, and Tahos Frederic Camilleri, whose Million Dollar Baby offers a striking retake on Warhol’s classic 1960s Marilyn Monroe portraits.


Sunday coffee concerts at Holywell Music Room, Oxford, 4, 11, 18 and 25 Feb 

It’s chamber music a go-go this month in the oldest purpose built music room in Europe. Winners of international competitions, the Anglo-Irish Carducci string Quartet play Haydn and Bartok this Sun. Bravo!


Party at the Pitt, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Sat 24 Feb

skull with horns and rope part of museum exhibition

A night celebrating LGBTQ+ histories from Oxfordshire and beyond. Expect live performances, pop-up exhibitions, micro-talks and interactive activities with the galleries transformed to celebrate queer culture.


Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, 9 Feb – 3 June

I love Barbara Hepworth’s work – if you’re ever in St Ives, be sure to visit her gorgeous house/studio, with its striking sculptures dotted all around the pretty garden. So I’m very excited about this – and what a coup for Henley’s little museum. This retrospective covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see.


Snowdrop Time, Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, OX, Thurs 1 Feb – Weds 28 Feb

snowdrop flowers field

It’s snowdrop time! Choose a dry day (there must be one coming soon, surely?) and wander through drifts of snowdrops, aconites, crocuses and hellebores in the arboretum. Batsford are predicting this as the time to see the snowdrops, but advise calling first on 01386 701441 in case the weather has put the snowdrops in a grump and they’re late flowering.


A lovely idea this. Part of a series of Playable Cities all over the world, where various artistic projects help you see your city differently. The Star Light, Star Bright installation is a set of seven step-activated lights representing different constellations, including Cassiopeia and Orion – constellations that are normally visible in the winter skies above Oxford. You can get each constellation to light up, but you need to work as a group to press the buttons that light up the constellation  – so it’s a way to meet new people, have fun with mates, or just bounce around for a bit playing with lights!



Autism: Window on a Musical Mind, Queen Anne’s School Caversham, Thurs 22 Feb

Transparent skull model showing how the brain is wired

Life can be a struggle for kids with autism, but there are moments of brilliance too. As part of Queen Anne’s School in Caversham’s BrainCanDo  research and development, Professor Adam Ockelford and world-renowned musical savant Derek Paravicini, examine the impact of autism on musical development. Derek is blind and severely autistic. But he has the gift if perfect pitch and is able to play any piece of music after hearing it only once. A rare and fascinating FREE event not to be missed. Book now.


National Theatre Posters, National Theatre, South Bank, London,  until 31 March 2018

Theatre posters advertising National Theatre productions from 1963 to the present day are on display in a free exhibition at the building until March. Curated by Rick Poynor, professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading. it explores changing promotional styles and features some famous productions.


National Theatre Live: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, Thu 22 Feb

Sienna Miller Jack O'Donnell

Directed by Benedict Andrews, this sizzling version of Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece sees Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell play out the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage.


The Doodle Dance Show, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Feb 23 – Sun Feb 25

This playful, interactive show by Anatomical sounds absolutely brilliant especially if your kids love drawing! Grab some pens, kick off your shoes and let your family’s imagination run wild as you all dance, draw and create a world of crazy birds, dancing pirates and strange underworld creatures on a huge piece of paper!


Winnie-The-Pooh: Exploring A Classic, V&A Museum, until Sun 25 Feb

Winnie The Pooh Exhibition V&A Museum London

You loved the Balenciaga exhibition. We all adored the Bowie one. Now take the kids to see Winnie-The-Pooh – a show that invites you into the world created by AA Milne and EH Shepard, in which a tubby teddy and his friends stumble over life lessons. It’s multi sensory and playful exhibition that adds to the magic of this timeless classic.


Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, 10 Feb – 11 March

Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.

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