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This week

Mon 18 - Sun 24 Feb 2019


THEATRE: Blood Brothers, Wycombe Swan, Tues 19 – Sat 23 Feb

A stalwart of the touring musicals scene, and still going after 30 years, Blood Brothers clearly has something going very right for it. The show tells the story of twins separated at birth and brought up on different sides of the tracks.When they eventually meet, the consequences are far-reaching. What, is Mr Tickle in the play too? (*I’ll get my coat*).


THEATRE: Chinese New Year Circus, Oxford Playhouse, Mon 18 Feb

If you’ve never seen Chinese acrobats, then this is a must-see. They are A-MA-ZING! This colourful show with daring stunts and an 18 metre long dragon dance will see you celebrating Chinese New Year in style.


EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum, until Sun 14 July

I have great memories of taking my family to William Morris’s house in Gloucestershire and having them all sit outside glumly for an hour proclaiming it the most boring thing ever while I drooled over the textiles and furniture. Ah, happy days! Anyway, this exhibition focuses on how the Thames influenced Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxfordshire, where he loved to boat and fish, ergo the influence of the river in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics.


KIDS: Power to Your Mobile, Film Oxford, Mon 18 – Wed 20 Feb 

Fledgling tween and teen Tarantinos or Bigelows can put their mobiles to good use (instead of that Snapchat malarkey) in this three day workshop where they’ll shoot and edit their own film from their phones. They’ll learn about creating storylines, shot types, editing, sound effects and more.


KIDS: The Pasty Pirate Puppet Show, Bucks County Museum, Mon 18 – Wed 20  Feb 

Puppets ahoy! Rattlebox Theatre Company bring pirates, monsters, mermaids and nuns (eh?) to Bucks with its family puppet show, Mon 18 and Tues 19. Kids can also make their own puppets in drop in workshops running until Wed. And if puppets aren’t pulling any strings (sorry) then there’s a new interactive exhibit on Victorians running until Sat 27 April.


ART: Jeff Koons, The Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 9 Jun

Behemoth of the contemporary art world, Jeff Koons is curating his own exhibition in collaboration with Norman Rosenthal. Spanning Koons’ entire career and showcasing seventeen works, most of which have never been shown in the UK before, the show will include his popular series Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings.


WORKSHOP: Family Cookery School, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, until Sun 24 Feb

As always Waddesdon is on it for half term with one day family cookery lessons where you and the kids can make a delicious lunch in the Manor Restaurant, as well as sweet and savoury treats to take home; plus there’s pirate-themed orienteering challenges round the grounds with a medal for those who succeed. The adventure playground and stables cafe and shops are also a big draw. You can tire them out, feed them up and catch the bus back to your car with a parenting gold star for healthy outdoorsy fun.


EXHIBITION: Young Turner, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until Mon 22 Apr

The Young Turner: Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective takes place in Blenheim’s Gallery with works from The Ashmolean, The Tate and private collections. The exhibition celebrates some of his earliest commissions and shows his progress in depicting architecture and perspective in drawings, paintings and engravings from the 1780s – 1810s. You can also see one of Turner’s sketchbooks and some diagrams from a lecture he gave to the Royal Academy on perspective, which have rarely been exhibited before. Between Thurs 21 – Sun 24 Feb, the Cotswolds Art and Antique Dealers Association Fair also rocks up with over 30 dealers selling the very best furniture, pictures, silver, sculpture, carpets, jewellery. Prices start around £100 and you can imagine where they’ll end up!


KIDS: West End Musical Theatre Course, Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 18 – Fri 22 Feb

The Leading Edge Arts Project, that runs events across several Muddy counties (and New York for that matter) returns to MK with an empowering new theatre workshop, for kids aged 11-16, exploring the school playground and the importance of being yourself through West End hit Heathers The Musical, and the new Broadway show, Mean Girls the Musical. There’ll be a performance at the end of the week for parents and family.


THEATRE: To Kill a Mocking Bird, Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 18 – Sat 23 Feb

This production by Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has been sold out wherever it goes so grab tickets while you can. Described as charming, warm and heartfelt, this stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic tale of southern US racial injustice is still as poignant today as it ever was.


KIDS: Science Oxford Workshops, Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, Mon 18 – Sun 24 Feb

Science Oxford is hosting sessions at this charming Great Missenden-based museum on designing and building your own car and your own marble maze. Award-winning children’s poet Neal Zetter is coming in to read his poems. Kids can make a clay badge, design tuck boxes and chocolate wrappers. Plus it’s your kids’ last chance to take a selfie with Donald Trump – the statue, that is. To celebrate the 30th birthday of Matilda, a life-size statue of her standing up to Trump has been in the museum’s courtyard since Oct but will be moving on to pastures new soon.


EXHIBITION: Last week to see Antinous: Boy Made God, The Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 24 Feb

Last week to catch boy favourite of Emperor Hadrian, Antinous. He drowned in the Nile in AD 130 and so began his elevation to god-like status. Hadrian created a city in his name, Antinoopolis, in Egypt and busts and statues were made and spread throughout the empire. More than 80 survive to this day and you can view some of them at this fascinating exhibition ending later this month.


KIDS: Rumsey’s Chocolaterie Workshop, Thame, Tues 19 & Wendover, Wed 20 Feb

Sugar rush alert! My kids did this last year and still rave about it. Lucky would-be Willy Wonka’s can make their own chocolate bar and wrapper, with Rumsey’s patient chocolatiers guiding them through the whole process. Not enough chocolate? Your sugar-frenzied kids will get a hot chocolate too. Watch them bounce off the walls for the rest of the day!

More info here 


THEATRE: The Cat in the Hat, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 19 – Sat 23 Feb

Dr Seuss’ much-loved book The Cat in the Hat gets a live action remake at the Oxford Playhouse, with riotous rhymes, acrobatics and a whole lot of mischief. The play was originally produced by the National Theatre and looks puuuurfect for young families and kids 3+.


MUSIC: Oxford Philharmonic, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, Thurs 21 Feb

Photo credit: John Cairns, Sheldonian Theatre ceiling

Mozart, Oxford Phil, Sheldonian Theatre – perfection right there. Vilde Frang plays the violin and Lawrence Power on the viola in a range of compositions from his Symphony No. 35  and 41, plus Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E flat major.


WORKSHOP: Spring Gardening, Harcourt Arboretum, Sat 23 Feb

Every year I pledge to spruce up my garden- you can guess how that goes! If you’re a little more dedicated than I am Ox’s Arboretum hosts a workshop on how to prepare your garden for summer, taught by gardening expert Alison Quantrell.


KIDS: Illusion Confusion, Pegasus Theatre, Oxford, Sat 23 Feb

I’m totally obsessed with Tweedy the clown, Gifford’s Circus’ undoubted talisman. Here he is in his own hilarious show at the charming Pegasus Theatre. Having been a magician’s assistant in the past, Tweedy decides he wants to be the main man but his attempts at magic go horribly wrong. Bound to be brilliant.



KIDS: Vets in Action at Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, until Sun 24 Feb 

Photo: Whipsnade Zoo

Got a little animal lover on your hands? Youngsters can experience first-hand the life of a vet in the Animal Hospital at the UK’s largest zoo. Budding vets will learn how to examine, x-ray and perform treatments on different animals and practice on soft toys. Activities are included in the entrance price and there’s sooo much to see and do but a word to the wise, wrap up warm as the zoo’s hilltop location can be a bit nippy at this time of year.


RUN: Muddy Mayhem, Knebworth House, Sat 23 Feb

This is all about getting muddy, so naturally our ears pricked up! Knebworth’s annual fundraising event is a 5K run, jog, clamber, crawl, and climb around the grounds. Profits go to local charity Garden House Hospice.


EXHIBITION: Don McCullin, Tate Britain, until Mon 6 May

Seaside pier on the south coast by Don McCullin

Over 250 photographs spanning Don McCullin’s 6o year career are on display at Tate Britain and include his iconic war images, including Vietnam, Northern Island and Syria, as well as some of his work focussing on poverty in England. There’s also a Tate Late session at the Tate Modern on Fri 22 Feb when you can wander the galleries after hours and listen to talks, music and workshops.


THEATRE: The Winter’s Tale for Young Audiences, National Theatre, London, until Thurs 21 Feb

This is a great way to introduce primary-age children to Shakespeare (and it’s only an hour long). The Winter’s Tale, the story of Perdita, the girl who was once lost but is found, returns to the National Theatre in February 2019, following a sell-out run at the Dorfman Theatre last year.  Adapted by Justin Audibert and directed by Ruth Mary Johnson, the show is also touring round primary schools in Greater London.


EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July

The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and there’s a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.



KIDS: AniMalcolm, Aylesbury Waterside, Wed 6 – Thurs 7 Mar 

Get booking now for Story Pocket Theatre’s dramatisation of Brit comic and award winning children’s author David Baddiel’s AniMalcolm. The show uses physical theatre and live puppetry to tell the comical tale of Malcolm, a boy who hates animals, as he inhabits the bodies of several farm creatures on a school trip.


THEATRE: Rain Man, Wycombe Swan, Tue 19 – Sat 23 Mar

Based on the Oscar winning blockbuster, Paul Nicholls (Eastenders) and Chris Fountain (Hollyoaks) star as the road-tripping brothers in acclaimed theatre producer Bill Kenwright’s show.

Find more ideas here

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