MON 10 - SUN 16 SEP 2018
MUSIC: Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Young Women’s Music Project, Oxford, Wed 12 Sep
The hugely talented cellist and singer, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, is performing at the Young Women’s Music Project HQ launch party. This Oxford based charity provides a platform for young women to make music and get their voices heard. Recent fundraising has resulted in them establishing an headquarters in Jericho where girls and young women can come and learn news skills, express themselves, feel safe and gain confidence. Ayanna Witter-Johnson will be unveiling the space and giving a special performance to celebrate the achievements of the YWMP. Ayanna has been nominated for a MOBO, is championed by Radio 1 and Radio 1 Extra and can usually been seen at the likes of the Royal Albert Hall and Snape Maltings so it’s a great opportunity to hear her perform locally.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Workshop, Cliveden, Wed 12 Sep
Fancy learning some of the basics of photography in the stunning grounds of Cliveden? Ray Higginbottom has exhibited his work at Cliveden in the past and can teach you creative and technical skills in this one-off workshop with oodles of wonderful vistas to choose from.
COMEDY: Sara Pascoe, Court Theatre, Tring, Thurs 13 Sep
If you can’t wait until November when Sara Pascoe’s tour reaches Oxford, her sell-out West End comedy show LadsLadsLads is over the border in Tring this week. Referred to as the thinking person’s stag do, Sara’s show takes in her adventures of the last year and given her appearances on Mock the Week, QI and Live at the Apollo she’s bound to be hilarious.
EXHIBITION: RRM Turns 20, River and Rowing Museum, Henley, now – Sun 28 Oct and last chance to see Nick Sharratt: Pirates, Pants & Wellyphants
This weekend is the last chance to visit the River & Rowing Museum’s Nick Sharratt: Pirates, Pants & Wellyphants interactive exhibition (if you’ve got kids, you’ll have a book somewhere in your house with Nick Sharrat’s fabulous illustrations) plus they’ve just opened a new exhibition to celebrate 20 years of its existence. It charts the history of the museum plus there’s a timeline containing photographs and other memories donated by the public. The museum is a lovely place to mooch about with a stylish cafe and easy access to the river and delights of Henley so if you’ve yet to go, now is a great time to learn all about it.
SPORT: Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, Thurs 13 – Sun 16 Sep
Tally-ho! The 28th annual Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials return this week, a three day event over four days (maths isn’t my strong point but um?) featuring dressage, cross country and show-jumping. It’s very horsey as you can imagine – the trade stands are rammed with tweed, leather boots and strange equine fashion, but you get great views of the competition (nearly so close you can touch in some instances), and it’s a slickly run event in stunning surrounds. Displays, demonstrations, children’s activities, shopping, food, bars and entertainment. Horsey heaven.
ART: Sculpture in the Vineyard, Bothy Vineyard, Oxon, now – Sun 23 Sep
Walk amongst the vines of Oxfordshire’s oldest vineyard near Abingdon and enjoy over 200 sculptures by more than 50 artists in this stunning setting. The art is available for purchase as is the wine, plus there’s food and drink with BBQs on the weekends. Kids can be entertained with an art-hunt round the vineyard and there will be sensory workshops and performances.
ART: Spellbound Exhibition, on now, and Baby Asmoles, Fri 14 Sep at The Ashmolean
The spine-tingling exhibition Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft (see our review here) is on now and is a real must-see. It’s creepy, fascinating and surprisingly moving, especially the exhibits about witchcraft. Not really one for kids so if you have a little one, you could pop along to one of their Baby Ashmoles events. The next one’s this Friday where you can visit the galleries to learn all about 18th Century art with sensory play and singing for the babies. Let’s face it, it’s a heck of a lot more civilized than a the soft play centre.
MUSIC: Molotov Jukebox, 02 Academy, Oxford, Fri 14 Sep
Kick start your weekend with this high-octane band mixing Latin beats with European melodies. Actress Natalia Tena and her partner Sam started off as a duo playing accordion and Balkan fiddle but now there’s 6 of them with bass, guitar, drums and trumpet. Your mission – get dancing to their bi-lingual floor fillers.
FAMILY FUN: Gravity, Xscape, Milton Keynes, opens Sat 15 Sep
Apparently NASA believes trampolining to be the most effective and efficient means of exercise so as long as my pelvic floor holds, I’ll be heading to the Gravity trampoline park opening at Xscape MK on Sat 15 Sep. Kids love it and it’s a sure fire hit for parties, plus there’s a range of exercise classes for adults, baby and toddler sessions, dedicated disability sessions, a climbing wall, dodgeball court and slam dunk areas to choose from.
FOOD & DRINK: MK Food Festival, Milton Keynes, Sat 15 Sep
If you’re serious about locally sourced food, then the MK Food Fest only allows producers within a 20 mile radius of Linford Manor Park to have a stall. You can sample artisan nibbles and drinks to your heart’s content, watch some demos and feel mighty smug about your grub’s food miles in this celebration of MK’s thriving local food scene.
FAMILY FUN: 1940s Weekend, Hughenden Manor, Bucks, Sat 15 & Sun 16 Sep
If you’ve ever been to Hughenden Manor, home to Disraeli, you may have explored its basement where a secret map making operation took place during the war. This weekend, you can step back in time to relive the 1940s with music from the era, military re-enactments (loving Dad’s Army above), food, drinks and a flypast by a Hurricane and Spit Fire. Fun for the grandparents, the kids and maybe you too.
BOOKS: Roald Dahl Day and Cressida Cowell Book Signing, Blackwell’s, Oxford, Sat 15 Sep
Go along to Blackwell’s on Broad Street dressed as your favourite character (kids can do so too) for a chance to win a prize in this belated celebration of Mr Dahl’s birthday with book readings and activity workshops. If you haven’t had enough literary love, head to their Westgate branch at 3pm to meet Cressida Cowell and get a signed copy of her latest book Wizards of Once:Twice Magic before publication.
FAMILY FUN: Kop Hill Climb, Princes Risborough, Bucks, Sat 15 & Sun 16 Sep
Calling all Penelope Pitstops! Get yourselves down to Bucks’ answer to Wacky Races, featuring 800 vintage, classic cars, motorbikes and hand-built karts. You can check out the vehicles – once they’ve come to a stop of course, health & safety fans – with many this year from the First World War era and chat to their owners. There’s a real festival feel to the whole thing with kids funfair, music, food and stalls selling everything from vintage clothing to car memorabilia. Plus the Antiques Roadshow massive will be there to give free valuations on any items you find in the attic that fit into a large carrier bag. The mind boggles….
FAMILY FUN: Marlow Carnival, Marlow, Sat 15 Sep
It’s carnival time! Parade down the High Street to Marlow’s Higginson Park (this year’s theme is reduce, reuse, recycle) for fair rides, live music, BBQ food, lashings of booze and a tea tent.
MUSIC: Piano recital and Coffee Concert, Holywell Music Room, Oxford, Sat 15 Sep & Sun 16 Sep
Settle down on Sat afternoon for a recital that includes Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata by celebrated Japanese pianist Junko Kobayashi, then return on Sun morning for coffee and the sublime Trio Spa (newly-appointed Cavatina Trio-in-Residence at the Royal Academy of Music, no less) who’ll also be playing Beethoven, plus Mendelssohn.
SHOPPING: The Great Antique & Vintage Car Boot Fair, Stonor Park, Sun 16 Sep
I’m not sure how Stonor Park polices what qualifies as vintage and antique but this sounds like the kind of event where you could find a real bargain or two. Tickets are £7 between 9am and 10am and only £3 from 10am onwards, so if you’re serious about snaffling that masterpiece, get there early! Otherwise meander around until 4pm at your leisure.
JAZZ: Spin Jazz, The Abingdon Arms, Beckley, Oxford, Sun 16 Sep
End your weekend with a relaxing evening of live jazz, food and drinks at lovely gastropub The Abingdon Arms. This Sunday you can catch acclaimed jazz pianist, Frank Harrison, with Mark Hodgson on bass and Mark Hoffman on drums. And drum-roll please, entrance is free.
EXHIBITION: Settlers, Natural History Museum, Oxford – ends Sun 16
This timely exhibition is all about where the people of Britain have come from. First settled about 12,000 years ago, new arrivals have been mixing with existing residents ever since. We used to have to rely on archaeological finds and written accounts to piece together are history but now DNA studies and gene technology have revealed where we all come from. There’s lots on migration and emigration with maps of kingdoms and tribes and photos taking us through history to the present day and explaining the science of genetics. Fascinating stuff!
HERITAGE DAYS OUT: Heritage Open Days, across Bucks & Oxon, Thurs 13 – Sun 16 Sep
Walking shoes at the ready for this annual immersion in our local cultural heritage. Check out a Georgian chapel in Waddesdon, a medieval merchants house in Abingdon and a 15th century pub in Aylesbury with royal and civil war connections where you can sample the food and drink of the day.
THEATRE: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Tues 9 – Sat 13 Oct, and Evita, Tues 23 – 27 Oct, Wycombe Swan
Matthew Bourne’s menacing, witty and unique production of Swan Lake has won tons of awards and rightly so. It’s best known for the all male corps-de-ballet – unheard of in the ballet world before – but it’s an all-round winner even if you’re not a ballet fan. Another West End colossus arrives later in the month with Bill Kenright’s production of Evita, starring Lucy O’Bryne (who has the Sound of Music and Les Mis on her CV). Both productions are bound to be sell-outs so get booking here.
FESTIVAL: Feast on the Farm, Peterley Manor Farm, Bucks, Sat 6 – Sun 7 Oct
Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu team will be taking over The Yurt for Peterley Manor Farm’s Feast at the Farm Festival, 6 and 7 Oct in Prestwood, Great Missenden. His pop-up restaurant will combine the cuisines of the Sindhu and Hawkyns (Old Amersham) in the form of small plates and he’s hosting a supper club on the Friday evening of the festival weekend. Feast at the Farm looks like it’s notching up a gear this year too – three times the workshops (including how to photograph food for Instagram by @olie_eats, tutored English wine tastings, a new children’s mini ‘Feastival’, a new area called The Garden Pergola with a Seedlip botanical bar, Harrow & Hope bubbles bar and a Campfire Gin cocktail bar. Wonder where the Muddy crew will be? Tickets are on sale now!
TOUR: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep
To the tower! On this occasion you’ll keep your head. The iconic Round Tower dominates the Windsor skyline, and now you can take the 200 steps (wheeze… one too many ice creams this summer) to check out the epic view from the top. While the Queen’s holidaying in Balmoral, poke around her gaff and see St George’s Chapel, Long Walk, Windsor Great Park and the London skyline.
THEATRE: Pinter at The Pinter, London, now – 23 Feb 2019
Never before have all twenty of Pinter’s short plays been performed together in one season. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death, this gathering of stellar actors (many of whom worked with Pinter) looks like a humdinger. Famous names include Martin Freeman, Jane Horrocks, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Sir Anthony Sher, Mark Rylance, John Simm, Penelope Wilton and – alright, love – Danny Dyer! And if that’s not enough, they’ll even be some surprise guest stars. This is gonna be big, people, so get booking. Bonus: one act plays mean you’ll still have some evening left for dinner and drinkies in the Big Smoke
THEATRE: Sylvia the Musical, The Old Vic, London, now – Sat 22 Sep
Nowadays it seems that any topic can be given the musical theatre treatment and this time, one hundred years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote, it’s Sylvia Pankhurst’s turn. This modern musical combines dance, hip hop, soul and funk to shed new light on her remarkable story and how her passion for equality tore her family apart. It’s even got Beverley Knight playing Sylivia’s mum, Emmeline Pankhurst, no less. Go sister!
ART: Aftermath, Tate Britain, London, Mon 10 – Sun 23 Sep
A short but fascinating, haunting and moving exhibition on how artists reacted to the aftermath of World War One, recording its scars but also looking to the future and the birth of new movements such as dadaism and surrealism.
THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now – 22 Sep
Fiona Laird, who has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dame Judi Dench, not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled RSC production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it (yes, really). It’s a glam suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over-inflated egos, with a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison and Charlotte Josephine. The performance on Sep 12 will be broadcast live in cinemas nationwide.
ARTS & CRAFTS: The Handmade Fair, Hampton Court, Fri 14 – Sun 16 Sep
I can’t even sew labels onto school clothes so this kind of event is way out of my comfort zone. However, you may be au fait with a with needle and thread, sewing machine, knitters and fabric scissors, in which case fill your boots at this slick annual offering from Kirstie Allsopp. There’s the chance to try something new in the interactive workshops – from calligraphy to wirework, machine sewing to screen printing – with experts in their fields such as Annie Sloan. Since no respecting event is complete without food these days, the expert cooks from Olive Magazine will be on hand to let you in on the latest foodie trends plus there will be plenty of stalls to buy arts, crafts, materials for crafting and bespoke products.
DESIGN: London Design Festival, various London locations, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Sep
Celebrating London as a powerhouse of design, loads of events are on offer across the capital including workshops, demonstrations and launches. As always, the V&A will be at the forefront with show-stopping installations and across the city, there are 5 major trade shows, the commercial pillars of the festival, where you can meet designers, buyers, sellers and manufacturers and discover new products and design trends.
FASHION: London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri 14 – Sun 23 Sep
If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festival with designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.