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What’s on near you this week?

There are spooks, scares and ghoulish happenings aplenty this week with ghost hunts, Macbeth and pumpkin picking, plus it's last call to catch a whole raft of excellent local exhibitions.

EVENT: Ghost Fest, Oxford Castle and Prison, every Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun, 16 Oct – 1 Nov 

Oxford Castle’s spook-tacular Halloween event returns with some socially distanced scaring, including tours (in pods of four) around the castle and crypts. 

THEATRE: Macbeth, Creation Theatre online, 21 – 31 Oct 

Not your average Zoom call! An imaginative reboot of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, this new show promises to take the audience on a virtual and immersive blood-soaked tale of murder, lust and power. Just in time for Halloween spookieness. 

EXHIBITION: MK Calling, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, until 1 Nov

MK Gallery reopened its doors on 11 September and will be extending its pre-lockdown exhibition MK Calling. The show features work from over 130 contemporary artists, both established and up-and-coming, with one third of the pieces produced by local talent.

THEATRE: Kuumba Nia Arts: Black Theatre Symposium, The North Wall, Oxford, 22 Oct

Kuumba Nia Arts believes that Black Theatre should be recognised not just in terms of the colour of those that produce, direct, write and perform it, but that Black theatre has its own identity reflected in history of British theatre and its early pioneers such as Derek Walcott and Mustapha Mathura. The first of its kind in Oxford, this symposium aims to raise awareness of of the unique history of Black Theatre and address its lack of coverage in academia. Expect a day of insights, discussion, sharing, creativity, performance and a brilliant line up of speakers including acclaimed actor Patrice Naiambana.

EXHIBITION: Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden, Waddesdon Manor, until 25 Oct 

Isn’t this just beautiful? The image was taken by legendary fashion (Jil Sander) and celebrity (The Queen, Lady Gaga) photographer Nick Knight. He’s coming up roses with an exhibition at Waddesdon Manor, which features manipulated photographs of roses inspired by the work of 16th- and 17th-century still life painters like Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Huysum. Read our interview with Nick here.

KIDS: PYO Pumpkins, various locations and dates 

It’s time to let the kids loose on a poor old pumpkin with a very sharp knife (supervised, of course). Head to Peterley Manor Farm, Bucks, for a bumper crop and lunch in the sweet Wild Strawberry Café (17, 18, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Oct); look out for the giant spider sculpture towering over the orange globes at Millets Farm, near Abingdon (weekends and daily from 17 – 31 Oct); for littlies, drive over to the mini pumpkin patch garden at Odds Park Farm, in High Wycombe (24 Oct – 1 Nov). 

EXHIBITION: Young Rembrandt, Ashmolean museum, Oxford, until 1 Nov 

I’ve missed our brilliant museums, haven’t you? The Ashmolean has opened its doors once again to show it’s major exhibition Young Rembrandt, a chronological journey through the artist’s early career beginning in his native Leiden with paintings, prints and drawings and ending in Amsterdam when his career rocketed to stardom. You’ll get to see 34 paintings by Rembrandt, along with a further 90 drawings and prints including the newly discovered Let the Little Children Come to Me, which is making its public debut at the exhibition.

KIDS: Halloween at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, 24 Oct – 1 Nov 

The National Trust site is piling on the activities for autumn half term including a ghostly trail around the grounds, pumpkin carving in The Stables and – our personal favourite – a spooky-themed Halloween afternoon tea (how cute is that little ghost meringue?!). Booking essential. 

EVENT:  IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, online, until 17 Nov 

The city’s annual science and tech fest is taking everything online this year with loads of digital events across the month including virtual tours of Oxford’s museums, activities for kids, talks and at-home pub quizzes.

EXHIBITION: Mariana Castillo Deball: Between making and knowing something, Modern Art Oxford, until 3 Jan 2012 

Rejoice! Oxford’s coolest gallery is reopening its doors this month and with a brand new exhibition to explore. Through a collage-like installation featuring pottery, photography and textiles, Mexican-born artist Mariana Castillo Deball works to uncover stories and individuals often hidden in traditional museum displays. In particular, the exhibition delves into objects and archives held in Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum and the Smithsonian Museum National Collections in Washington D.C. Booking essential. 

COMEDY: Jericho Comedy, various locations, 24 & 31 Oct

With Covid restrictions in place for at least six months, it can be hard to see the funny side of life – luckily, Jericho Comedy are on hand with a series of live events to get us all laughing through lockdown #2. Find the full line up here. 

FILM: Boutique Cinema, Clayton’s Marlow, 20 & 27 Oct 

Pass the popcorn – but only to someone in your social bubble! Clayton’s is transforming its bar area into a boutique cinema with a brilliant roster of films including Oscar-winning Parasite, the fantastic Little Women starring Saoirse Ronan and Oxford schools alumni Emma Watson and Florence Pugh, Joker and Ford vs Ferrari – a great call for petrol heads and fans of Christian Bale and Matt Damon (that’ll be all of us then). 

EXHIBITION: 100 Women of Oxford, The North Wall, North Oxford, 14 – 24 Oct 

I love the idea behind this project! Passionate to connect with women in her community, Oxford-based photographer Philippa James visited 100 women in their homes, and listened to experiences of love, loss, motherhood and more to create a stunning collection of portraits. The exhibition is only running for 10 days so book tickets pronto if you want to go. There’s also a private view with the photographer on 16 Oct. 

EXHIBITION: Never Alone, Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, until 2 Feb 2021

Did you know there are now more devices connected to the internet than there are people on the planet? This exhibition in Hut 12 investigates the stories behind the rapidly expanding ‘Internet of Things’ and invites visitors to think about the choices they make while connected to the internet.


KIDS: Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, 15 Oct – 8 Nov 

I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Lots of spooky(ish) additions to the park, plus new for 2020, there’s a brand new dance extravaganza The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show and a new scary character, Scarecrow.

ART: START Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, 21-25 Oct

Hey Queenie, nice nose ring! This cool, contemporary art fair, which takes pieces from London’s top galleries, will go ahead this year with social distancing measures and an exceptional line up of artists including  Lincoln Townley,  Erika Navas and Nat Bowen. In addition to START Art Fair, Korean Eye’s 2020 exhibition Creativity and Daydream will be on show having travelled from The State Hermitage in St Petersburg after a six-month stay, featuring a wealth of emerging and established talent from South Korea. 

EXHIBITION: Among The Trees, The Hayward Gallery, Southbank, until 31 Oct 

From Colombian rainforests and remote Japanese islands to olive orchards in Israel and a 9,550-year-old spruce in Sweden, this mixed media exhibition explores trees relationship to humans, featuring work from 37 international artists. You’re right on the Southbank so plenty of foodie options to head to after your culture fix.

Find more ideas here

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