MON 2 - SUN 8 APRIL 2018
Operation Earth, Natural History Museum, Oxford, Weds 4 April
A family science show exploring the amazing stories and science of the environment. Earthy is feeling a little under the weather and is going to the doctors for a check-up – cue investigations into what’s bothering Earthy’s land, air and oceans to find solutions. Sweeeet.
Weds 4 April: 2pm & 3; Fri 13 April: 2pm & 3pm. Tokens for the show are available at the front desk on the day of each show (you must have a token to attend). To book in advance contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Shazia Mirza, Old Fire station, Oxford, Fri 6 April
Anyone who saw Shazia Murza on Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls will have a massive respect for the get-on-with it survivalist, tougher, smarter and a hell of a lot funnier than all the muscle men who fell by the wayside. With Love From Saint Tropez is her new touring show so if you missed it in Banbury a few weeks back, see it in Oxford instead! £10-12
Rhythms at the Yurt, Swing Fromage, Wittenham Clumps, Fri 6 April
Every six weeks or so this Mongolian yurt at the foot of Wittenham Clumps host two evenings of live music – mainly jazz but including other forms of mainly acoustic music too. There are only 26 seats available so it’s super-intimate and you can have drinkies there too. Kicking off the 2018 season is some gypsy jazz with Tom Weetman and Lewis Dickenson on guitars and Annalise Lam on violin.
‘Dracula’, Creation Theatre, Blackwells Bookshop, Oxford, Tues 3 – Sat 14 April
Well this is a bit different! A play for two, performed in the basement of Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford, featuring some bloke from Transylvania and his hapless victim. It promises innovative audio-visuals to conjure up the phantoms, and at 12+ it’s clearly not for the faint-hearted. Bring your garlic and for heaven’s sake remember to wear a polo neck.
Book tickets £22- £27
Kids Club at Curzon, Westgate, Sat 7 – Sun 8 April
Tempting though it is to keep the Curzon for adults, I feel the little people should also get to enjoy the reclining seats. There are Kids Club performances of new Pixar animation Coco on Sat and Sun mornings of 7-8 April and 13-14 April but with those rooftop restaurants and shops let’s face it – you’ll be there all day!
One Small Step, Oxford Playhouse, Thurs 5 – Sun 8 April
Recounting the great race between the United States and the Soviet Union to send the first man to the moon, One Small Step crams 50 years of history into 60 minutes! With rave reviews from Time Out, the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times, this inventive, funny and action-packed show is fun for the whole family.
Birds of Prey Family Fun Day, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, Thurs 5 April
Free with entry into the museum, here’s an awesome chance to meet the magnificent birds from Millets Farm Falconry with the Birds of Prey Family Fun Dayand get up close to hawks, eagles and owls. There’ll also be the chance for kids to get arts and crafty too. Also worth keeping an eye out for the Easter Egg Hunt (daily, 29 March – 15 April), and Easter afternoon tea (Mon 2 April 2-4 with Muddy favourite Time For Tea Vintage, £27.50 adults, £9.50 kids). Grown ups can escape for some peace in the small Barbara Hepworth or permanent John Piper exhibitions.
Alchymy 2018, The North Wall, Summertown, Oxford 6-8 April 2018
The second year of the Alchymy Festival, designed to showcase the skills of early-career theatre-makers will see a programme of 12 new plays premiere alongside masterclasses and panel discussions. Most writers, directors and actors involved in the festival were trained at The North Wall on the organisation’s ArtsLab programme so it’s very much about supporting home-grown talent.
It’s Always Tea Time, Story Museum, Oxford, until July 7
Journey down the rabbit hole and discover It’s Always Tea Time, a fab new Alice-themed exhibit at Oxford’s Story Museum. Visiting the UK for the first time ever, this award-winning collection celebrates the world’s most famous tea party from Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 72 Artists from 19 countries including Iran, Russia, Spain, Hungary and the Baltic States explore the theme with interactive picture trails, dress-up stations and artwork displays which appeal to the WHOLE family *thud*.
Easter Family Festival, The Cornerstone Theatre, Didcot, Sun 8 – Sun 15 April
The Cornerstone manages to combine a strong community feel with some excellent family programming. This month they’re running a special Easter Family Festival (Sun 8 April – Sun 15 April) for all ages from 3+, including The Nose That Nobody Picked (surely the best title for a kids play ever) for ages 5-11 years, the Pantaloons The War of the Worlds on Thursday 12 April for 12+ with musical instruments and puppetry and Innocence, a beautiful piece of interactive dance performance theatre for children 3 years over and their adults.
Other family theatricals worthy of your consideration include my modern clown crush Tweedy, of Gifford’s Circus fame, at Chipping Norton theatre (Sat 6 April) with a new family theatre show Symphony – he’s absolutely brilliant, and it’s bound to be very funny.
Victorian Passions and Pursuits, Blenheim Palace, until 16 April
The period of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837 – 1901) saw five Dukes of Marlborough living at Blenheim Palace. Some of their Passions and Pursuits are represented in the Palace itself and highlights and include the Saloon restored to its Victorian heyday and costumes and sketches from The Young Victoria, from the personal archive of Academy award winning designer Sandy Powell. Particularly worthwhile are the Romance & Rebellion collection of paintings featuring 40 works by artists including Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James McNeill Whistler, Richard Dadd and Aubrey Beardsley, plus vintage cars and and fire engines from the era.
Justin’s Band, New Theatre Oxford, 3 April
Is this the most famous man in the UK? There can’t be a parent in the land who hasn’t weeped in gratitude to Justin Fletcher and his children’s TV shows over years. Fletcher is a dab hand at live performance too – he was in Reading over Christmas for the panto – and he’s rocking up at the New Theatre Oxford with a brand new show, Musical Adventure. Expect lots of singing and learning about musical instruments along the way, and possibly some requests to play the tuba. Tickets
Coraline, The Barbican, 29 Mar – Sat 7 April 2018
Just a few days left to catch Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel Coraline turned operatic stage adaptation that London’s been buzzing about. Recommended for ages 8+. Tickets: £10–£40.
Now Play This, Somerset House, London, Fri 6 – Sun 8 Apr
I’m feeling a bit anti screen at the mo (anyone else struggling to get young people to look up and out rather than down?) but even I have to admit this three day games festival sounds intriguing. Players can experience dozens of diverse games – many of which premiere at the festival. The focus this year is on the idea of place, and visitors can explore different countries and cultures, and critical issues specific to these places ranging from international borders to identity. Drop-in workshops throughout the popular weekender will also enable players to explore the patterns, processes and particularities of game making.