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This week

MON 29 JAN - SUN 4 FEB 2018

Tim Whitehead, Spin Jazz, The Wheatsheaf, Oxford, Thurs 1 Feb

Former Artist in Residence at Tate Britain no less – the first musicians to be given the honour – Tim Whitehead sure knows one end of a saxophone from the other. He joined Loose Tubes in the late 80s, the British big band that forged a new path in British jazz with their blend of impro and composition and he visits Spin Jazz at the Wheatsheaf Pub, Oxford, on Thursday. Gigs start around 9pm so you’ve plenty of time to check out the new restaurants at Westgate – try Pizza Pilgrims and Cinnamon Kitchen for size.


Hip hop karoake, Terrace Bar, Tate Modern, Fri 2 – Sat 3 Feb

I feel cool just writing this. How about an evening of hip hop at Tate Modern’s Terrace Bar? Join DJ Rob Pursey and the Hip Hop Karaoke team as they lead the party, with craft beer from Brooklyn Brewery and old school gems from the 80s, 90s and 00s so you can still feel you know where it’s at. Add your stick on tooth diamond and remember not to talk about property prices.


Percussion Cushion Concerts, Jdp Music Building, Oxford, Sun 4 Feb

I’m always banging on about these Cushion Concerts at the stunning Jaqueline du Pré building in St Hilda’s College Oxford, because they’re such a fantastic way for young kids to explore music. Musicians Rozzy or Tom introduce different instruments each week, with performanace suitable to 5+ and under fives. Bring cushions (ear plugs optional depending on your patience levels) and watch the craziness unfurl.


David Walliams’ Awful Auntie, Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe, Thurs 1 Feb – Sun 4 Feb

Another month, another David Walliams book transformed for the stage, but who cares when the kids love them so much? From the award-winning producers of Gangsta Granny comes the world premiere of Awful Auntie with its tiny ghost, huge owl and little person-pleasing humour.


Family Film Favourites – FUNomusica Family Concert, Oxford Philarmonic Orchestra, Oxford Town Hall, OX, Sun 4 Feb

Ever wanted to spend the day in the world of Elsa from Frozen, Woody from Toy Story or Sully from Monsters Inc? (er, no!) FUNomusica is one for the midgets in your life – the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra with Alasdair Molloy ham it up with all the theme tunes they’ll know, in a relaxed concert at the Oxford Town Hall. There’s dancing in the aisles and everything – but make sure you give your kids a chance too.


George’s Marvellous Medicine, Aylesbury Waterside, Tues 30 Jan – Sat 3 Feb

A Roald Dahl adaptation that’s perfect for kids ages 5 plus, as George tries to cure his rather mean Grandmother of her nastiness with a special potion that sets him off on a big adventure.


Julius Caesar: First Encounters, RSC, Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Fri 2 Feb – Sat 3 Feb

Great idea this. A new version of Julius Caesar for 8 -13 year olds. Part of the RSC’s First Encounters with Shakespeare series, these engaging adaptations are 90 minutes long, use Shakespeare’s original language and ask audiences to participate in the story. Beats Lett’s Notes any day (come on admit it, you used them too!).


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

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.


Shappi Khorsandi: Misstress & Missfi, The Stables, Milton Keynes, Fri 2 Feb 

An interesting premise for Shappi Khorsandi‘s stand up gig at The Stables on Friday. She presents England’s unsung heroine and Nelson’s mistress, Emma Hamilton the scullery maid who finally made it to become Lady Hamilton. Not sure how far Khorsandi is planning to stray from the subject, I imagine it’s a clever framework from which to improv, but in a sea of stand up comics, it piques the curiosity (and she totally rocks that hat).


A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now – Feb 4 2018 


Bah humbug! Are we still thinking Christmas in February?! The RSC’s stage adaptation by David Edgar of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic stars the excellent PoldarkSherlock and Quadrophenia actor Phil Davis as Scrooge. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, who brought The Wind in the Willows to the London Palladium earlier this year, starring the brilliant Rufus Hound as Toad. Review here.


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.


Imagining the Divine – Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, until 18 Feb 2018

This major exhibition is the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed…


Last week to see Hogwarts in the Snow! Harry Potter Studios, until 4 Feb

You’ll have decent elbow room to see Hogwarts in the Snow post-Christmas if you’re still in the mood to indulge your children (er, NO).  Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room is dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors can touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden,


Hannah Ryggen, Modern Art Oxford, until 18 Feb 

Another corker of an expo from Modern Art, Oxford. Hannah Ryggen was one of Scandinavia’s most outstanding artistic figures of the 20th century, an impassioned artist responding to the socio-political events of her time, from the the rise of fascism and the Nazi occupation of Norway, to nuclear power and media coverage of the Vietnam War. This is the first major presentation of the artist’s work in the UK and surveys her career from early portraiture through to the intricate tapestries that characterised her career from the 1920s onward. Don’t forget that Modern Art Oxford is free entry, and there’s a brill café on site too.


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.

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