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What’s on this week in Bucks & Oxon?

Super-cool exhibitions, live comedy and a book reading from Russell Brand - it's all going on this week as we hurtle towards October.

EVENT:  IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, online, 1 Oct – 17 Nov 

The city’s annual science and tech fest is take 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: Cecily Brown, Blenheim Palace, until 3 Jan

Part of the Blenheim’s Art Foundation programme, this exhibition by celebrated Brit artist Cecily Brown, is the first to be shown at the Palace to be composed of entirely new work. The series references masterpieces by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Anthony Van Dyck on view at the Palace, as well as family heraldry, armorial banners and the martial scenes of the Blenheim Tapestries that line the State Rooms.

COMEDY: Jericho comedy, various locations, 3, 10, 17, 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. Find the full line up here. 

EXHIBITION: Mariana Castillo Deball: Between making and knowing something, Modern Art Oxford, 2 Oct – 3 Jan 2012 

Rejoice! Oxford’s coolest gallery is reopening its doors 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. The exhibition particularly explores objects and archives held in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Smithsonian Museum National Collections in Washington D.C. Booking essential. 

THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Whatsaap, Creation Theatre online, 3 – 4 Oct

Firstly, LOVE the tile. Second, the show is being put on by Creation Theatre so it’s a dead cert that it’s going to be brilliant. Written and adapted by Olivia Mace (the brains behind Bleak House) and Lizzie Hopley (CV: Royal Shakespeare Company, writer of Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio plays), this modern re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor promises to have you in hysterics. 

CULTURE: Henley Literature Festival, online, until 4 Oct 

Bookworms, rejoice! Henley Literary Festival is still going ahead online and the line-up is still as hot as ever. We’ll be streaming author, podcaster, Instagrammer and campaigner Giovanna Fletcher’s talk on her new, candid book on motherhood Letters on Motherhood (2 Oct). Other talks include Graham Norton (4 Oct), comedian David Baddiel (3 Oct) and Russell Brand who’ll be reading childhood favourite The Tiger Who Came To Tea as part of the free children’s and schools program (3 Oct). Who would’ve thought, eh?

EXHIBITION: Contemplation: Snow into Water, The North Wall, North Oxford, until 10 Oct 

Inspired by the slower pace of lockdown life, this exhibition from artists Chloe Fremantle (painting), and Cassandra Wall (textiles), explores the calming effect of nature on the mind through beautiful patterns. There will also be two after hours showings with wine and a bite-size talk from curator Jenny Blyth on 3 & 10 Oct (bookings must be with members of your household).

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

MK Gallery’s whacky exhibition (seriously, whats going on here?!) features work from over 130 contemporary artists, both established and up-and-coming, with one third of the pieces produced by local talent. Muddy approves.

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

I’ve missed our brilliant museums, haven’t you? The Ashmolean has opened it’s 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.

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.

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.


ART: Arrivals + Departures by YARA + DAVINA (Somerset House, until 10 October)

A particularly poignant outdoor installation, considering the year we’ve all had, this open air interactive piece at Somerset House invites visitors to add names of those they’ve lost (or gained!) in 2020 in the form of an airport arrivals and departures board. Every Wednesday until 10 October, artist duo YARA + DAVINA will be inviting specialist speakers to take over the installation, with talks on the subject of lockdown births, grief, and race and social justice.

EXHIBITION: Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until 14 Feb

From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages. 

EXHIBITION: Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, until 24 May 2021

Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.   

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