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This week

MON 2 - SUN 8 JULY 2018


THEATRE: Brave New World, Westgate Centre, Oxford, Mon 2 July –  Sat 11 Aug

Aldous Huxley with your H&M? You’ve finished your shopping, had a drink and dined on the roof terrace, but still don’t want to leave Westgate. How about a trip to the theatre? With the brand new shopping centre as the backdrop to Creation Theatre’s version of Auldous Huxley’s Brave New World, this vision of future consumerism is scary, pertinent and thought-provoking.


ARTS & CULTURE: Family Museum, Libraries and Gardens Trawl, Oxford, starts Sun 1 July 

skull with horns and rope part of museum exhibition

Want to encourage your kids to visit all the great museums, libraries and gardens in Oxford this summer? If they’re of an age where stickers and prizes are enough to get them through the door then take part in this family campaign. Grab a passport from the information desk at The Ashmolean, Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers, Museum of the History of Science, Harcourt Arboretum, Bodleian Library or Botanic Garden and each time you visit get a sticker. Three stickers equals prizes equals happy kids equals smug parents.


EVENT: Oxford Festival of the Arts, various locations, now until Sat 7 Jul

oxford festival arts punting people river

Finishing this weekend, this festival of arts and culture is a whooper and well worth checking out. Highlights for the last few days include the Cambridge Footlights on Wednesday, Daniel Sandford talking about his career as BBC Home Correspondent on Thursday, Emilia Fox in conversation on Friday plus the magical Madrigals on the River, and Peter Pan at the Oxford Playhouse on Friday and Saturday.



COMEDY: Oxford Comedy Festival, The Jam Factory, Oxford, now until Thurs 26 Jul

No need to schlep to Edinburgh for the Fringe, some of the finest comedy shows are being performed in Oxford now. A huge choice of shows with 2 on each night, I’m liking the sound of It’s Debatable! on 2 Jul in which some of the greatest minds in Oxford debate topics such as sitting versus standing, cupcakes versus muffins and the future versus the past. Or how about BBC New Comedy Finalist 2017, Jacob Hawley, in his witty political off beat show Howl on July 19? Grab your chance to see our up and coming comic stars without the ridiculous price tag (only £5 a ticket or 2 for £8 if you book in advance). Bargain!


THEATRE: Jersey Boys, Aylesbury Waterside, Tues 3 – Sat 14 July

the jersey boys

The West End phenomenon hits Aylesbury Waterside and Muddy can’t wait. The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons who came from the wrong side of New Jersey but rose to become one of the biggest bands on the planet has won a whopping 57 awards. The show’s packed full of hits like Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back To You, and Big Girls Don’t Cry plus, see that guy on the right of the photo? I’ve seen him in Legally Blonde and Dirty Dancing (just by chance, I’m not a stalker!) and he’s brilliant, so I can vouch for at least a quarter of the cast personally.


DRINKIES: Ashmolean Museum Pop-up Bar, Weds 4 – Mon 30 July

ashmolean museum oxford sunny

Whoo-hoo! For 3 weeks only, you can bask in the sunshine in a deck chair on the gorgeous Ashmolean roof top lawn and enjoy a drink or two (or if you’re me, three) from the summer pop-up bar. No need to dine, just wine! Or try the new Ashmolean gin before wobbling down the stairs to America’s Cool Modernism exhibition (ends July 22).


THEATRE: Handlebards, Stowe, Bucks, Weds 4 Jul

Stowe’s South Lawn plays host to the world’s first cycling theatre company, The Handlebards. Touring round the UK on their bikes, this energetic theatre company present their seriously silly production of Romeo & Juliet on Wed 4 July. Adult tickets £15, children £8.


EVENT: Henley Royal Regatta, Henley, Weds 4 Jul – Sun 8 Jul

The steamiest regatta in existence. Straw boaters on, eyes on the lunch box (sarnies or Lycra bulges… they’re not mutually exclusive); and watch the rowing brawn from the riverbank – Henley Royal Regatta is on. There’s over 200 races to watch the smokinghot rowers and enjoy your Champagne picnic. Even better, Chinawhite is descending on proceedings for the sixth consecutive year on Friday and Saturday, so expect Moet in droves and internationally acclaimed DJs keeping the party thumping.


MUSIC: The Skating Rink, Garsington Opera, Thurs 5 & Sun 8 Jul

Calling all culture vultures, Garsington Opera continues with a gripping new work, written by leading British composer David Sawer with award-winning playwright Rory Mullarkey, and based on the novel by Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. Murder on the ice is the centre of this story of a beautiful skating champion and her obsessed admirer. There’s a pre-performance talk on Sun 8 Jul at 5pm, then crack open the champers and enjoy!


MUSIC: Opera Anywhere at Waterperry Gardens, from Fri 6 Jul

For a less expensive operatic experience, the beautiful amphitheatre at Waterperry Gardens is the setting for Opera Anywhere’s offerings. The Magic Flute (with live illustrator on stage), Puccini’s Heroines, NMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and Patience are performed throughout the first half of July. Take a picnic and enjoy opera that’s accessible, fun and won’t break the bank.


FILM: Ashmolean Museum Open Air Cinema, Fri 6 – Sun 8 Jul

A Muddy favourite, this city centre museum is hot on events and making the most of its stunning architecture. Complementing its America’s Cool Modernism exhibition and its Oxford-wide festival, the forecourt will be showing Bugsy Malone on Fri 6, Top Gun on Sat 7 and The Wizard of Oz on Sun 8 July.


FOOD: Dinner at The Shed, Fri 6 Jul

This pop-up supper club is hosting a Levantine feast with food from Israel, Syria and Lebanon with a twist. Chef Albi Ison hails from Ottolenghi so he knows what he’s doing. He has a passion for global cuisine but his heart lies in the Eastern Med so expect vibrant, spicy, citrus-y flavours and plenty of bonhomie. The multi-dish sharing meal is £40 per head with a thirst-quencher on arrival but you’ll also need to bring your own bottle of your favourite tipple.

The Shed is on Nine Acres Lane, Charlbury, Oxon. Email to book.


Alice’s Day, Oxford, Sat 7 Jul

Alice in wonderland drawing

This is a really fantastic day in Oxford, celebrating the first telling, in Oxford, of Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland. It’s a massive event, with more than 20 historic locations and world class venues taking part, including the Ashmolean, the Bodleian Christ Church and The Story Museum, including immersive street theatre from Curious Company, jaw dropping performances from The Grand Indian Circus, a city wide trail for families, Mad Hatter tea parties and flamingo croquet at the Oxford Castle Quarter’s Queen of Hearts Day.


MUSIC: National Youth Choir Fellowship Octet, Windmill Hill, Waddesdon, Sat 7 Jul

Eight talented singers perform music by female composers to celebrate 100 years of female suffrage. The recital includes works by the medieval mystic Hildegard von Bingen to contemporary composers Roxanna Panufnik and Kerry Andrew, plus more well-known pieces in the beautiful setting of Windmill Hill. This old dairy farm was transformed into an architectural show stopper and houses art, sculptures, the Waddesdon archive, offices and a performance space. It’s worth a visit in its own right and an inspiring place to hear beautiful music.


EVENT: Summer concert and BBQ Bletchley Park, Bucks, Sun 8 Jul

If you fancy hamburgers with your history then you’re in luck. Bletchley Park, home to the Enigma codebreakers, are cooking up a storm with a BBQ and jazz concert on their oval lawn. Singer Alison Carter will entertain as you relax in a deck chair, having had your mind blown by what was achieved there during the War.


MUSIC: Opera Anywhere at The Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford, Sun 8 Jul

Come and enjoy this free event as a precursor to Opera Anywhere’s performances on punts that will take place throughout the summer (details tba) between 6 and 7pm. The Tea Hut will be open for drinks and nibbles or book a table in the restaurant and enjoy the uplifting music.


ART: On Form Sculpture Exhibition, Asthall Manor, Burford, until 8 Jul

Held every two years at Asthall Manor in the Cotswolds, On Form is the only exhibition in the UK dedicated to stone sculptures and this year they have 31 sculptors from around the UK and 9 from abroad. The beautiful grounds allow these contemporary artworks to be appreciated at their best with plenty of space and the lovely backdrop of the 17th century manor overlooking the Windrush Valley.


MUSIC & COMEDY: The Stables, Milton Keynes, Bucks, various dates this week

This intimate venue punches above its weight on the arts and culture scene and always has tons of interesting events scheduled. Highlights this week include The Milton Keynes & Bedford Rock Choir on Mon and Tues; comedy from the Scrummy Mummies on Wed; and Nick Heyward, 80’s heartthrob, on Fri 6 with his jaunty feel-good pop. If you’re shopping in Centre MK on Sun 8, you can enjoy singers from MK Community Choir, other local choirs and pupils from 4 primary schools performing DiverCity, written by Craig McLeish to celebrate 50 years of Milton Keynes and commissioned by The Stables.



THEATRE: Awful Auntie, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Wed 18 – Sun 22 Jul

auntie owl cakes

David Walliams’ seventh children’s book is another winner and tells the story of a rich orphan whose aunt tries to swizzle her out of her inheritance. Great staging, a truly inventive set design with gothic turrets, hidden drawbridges and chimmeys, plus puppetry and energetic performances combine to bring a stage show that should delight Walliams’ many fans.



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