26 things to do locally this bank holiday
Three day weekend incoming! Find the fun with our curated guide to the coolest local events from big-hitter theatre and super-cool exhibitions to family festivals and stand-up comedy.
THEATRE: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, New Theatre, Oxford, until 28 Aug
Dig out your silliest heels and slap on the glitter, because Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is in town, produced by none other than Jason Donovan. Marking the venue’s first time reopening since March 2020 (welcome back, friend), it promises a dazzling array of stunning costumes, feathers and (of course) a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, I Love The Nightlife, and Finally. Read our opening night review here.
KIDS: Sparkle Bright Festival of Fun, Stonor Park, Henley, until 2 Sept
Little ones won’t want to miss this sweet festival at Stonor Park‘s Tumblestone Hollow. The giant Sparkle Bright Flowers will be blooming, so to celebrate there will be activities like face paint, bubble-blowing, and story-telling galore
THEATRE: Ripping Yarns, The Arches Theatre, nr Olney, 26 – 28 Aug
Catch a trio of daft tales at this quirky venue made out of four disused railway arches. On the bill is Tomkinson’s Schooldays: new boy Tomkinson struggles to adjust to the horrors of boarding school and dreams of escape back to his family; Golden Gordon: Barestoneworth United FC’s greatest fan, Gordon Ottershaw comes to the rescue of the failing club in a crucial match against Denley Moor FC; Escape from Stalag Luft 112B: Major Phipps, celebrated WWI escaper, attempts to break out of the infamous German POW camp.
FESTIVAL: The Big Feastival, Kingham, 27 – 29 Aug
A posh nosh extravaganza, and an unbeatable excuse to eat yourself silly. Hosted on the farm of cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James, The Big Feastival promises top notch chefs, family fun and chart-topping artists: good food, and great music. The line-up this year includes DJ Sigala, Rag’n’Bone Man, Zara Larsson, and Tom Walker plus others. Adult day tickets from £82.
COMEDY: Comedy Festival, The Potters Arms, Amersham, 27 – 29 Aug
Right, who fancies a laugh? The Potters Arms (a pub well-established in the A lister comedy circuit and much loved by Muddy) is putting on a three-day Comedy Festival for the bank holiday weekend. The line up includes Russell Hicks, Lily Phillips, and Dom Holland who is really funny. — and, bizarrely, just happens to be Tom Holland’s – AKA literal Spiderman’s dad – who we interviewed here.
EVENT: Henley Country Craft Show, Stonor Park, Henley, 27 – 30 Aug
Marquees and stalls bursting with handmade jewellery, homewares, clothes, and more, as well as a wide selection of artisan food and drink, all in picturesque landscaped surroundings. Sounds like a pretty solid day out to us.
KIDS: Summer Pony Day Experience, Horseywyse equine riding and learning centre, Long Crendon, until 3 Sept
Win your child’s heart by booking them into a Summer Pony Day Experience at Horseywyse equine riding and learning centre, Long Crendon. Happening on various dates up until 3 Sept, this involves catching a pony in a field, learning to groom them and manage the stable, and learning to train and bond with the pony. If your kid likes horses, it’s a guaranteed success.
THEATRE: SIX the Musical, The Oxford Playhouse, until 5 Sept
Divorced, beheaded, LIVE! Musical smash hit SIX tells the story of Henry VIII’s wives in an explosion of 21st century girl-power pop, and it’s coming to Oxford this month after selling out its previous UK tour (and the West End, and Sydney, and soon Chicago and Broadway…no big deal). Strap in for a fiercely good time.
Catch some outdoor cinema at a wide range of venues across the month, including Summer Screens Open Air Cinema (25-28 Aug) at Millets Farm Centre: The Greatest Showman (27 Aug), and In The Heights (28 Aug). And finally, pop corn addicts, Peterley Manor Farm is offering its Film on the Farm Nights, with Rocketman on 28 Aug and Pretty Woman on 29 Aug.
MUSIC: Paradise & Pandemonium, The Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, 28 Aug
If you’re hankering after high culture, the Vache Baroque Festival is putting on Paradise & Pandemonium, which involves dramatic readings from Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, woven into three Bach cantatas. Cultural boasting rights guaranteed.
MUSIC: BAR-BADOS, Clayton’s Marlow, Marlow, 29 Aug
Clayton’s is bringing a slice of Caribbean flavour to Marlow for its annual all-day BAR-BADOS event (see what they did there?). By day DJs Toney White and Antosh will be spinning soul, funk, reggae hip hop and tropical beats on the terrace (heavy on the rum punch) and by night the party will move inside with The House Rules DJs blasting house bangers until the wee hours. The dress code is ‘tropical’ so we’re thinking coconut bra and grass skirt, who’s with us?
For major cool-creds, head to the Dantzig gallery of modern art in Woodstock to catch their exhibition of works by The Connor Brothers, above. Not your average coupl’a blokes, The Connor Brothers are actually a persona of two fictional characters, blending truth and lies to disorientate the viewer in a vintage style. Honestly, you’ve sort of lost us there — but that’s obviously why it’s so cool. And aren’t the artworks gorgeous? Psst: you can also buy them, but be quick! They’re being snapped up fast.
Over at the Banbury Museum, meanwhile, it’s all Rubik’s Cubes and Chopper bikes (I had both – and I was Rubiks cube champ at school, just saying) with its exhibition I Grew Up in the 80s, on until 3 October. A veritable explosion of childhood nostalgia, this memory-fest (complete with beloved but discontinued chocolate bars, gone but never forgotten) is a non-negotiable for anyone decrepid enough to remember the era.
Elsewhere, at Cloisters Gallery SJE on Iffley Road, there’s a new Open Exhibition from Oxford Art Society (until 5 Sept). The exhibition was opened by renowned artist and Oxford academic Dr Samson Kambalu (currently exhibiting New Liberia at Modern Art Oxford) and features work from an array of established and new young artists in the city – many available to purchase – including the winner of this year’s OAS Open prize ‘Virago’ by Carrie Stanley. See the full catalogue here.
It’s also worth noting a whole raft of cracking exhibitions that are still on show. MK Gallery‘s modernist architecture exhibition Memphis: Plastic Field (above, until Sept) and Gustave Moreau: the fables at Waddesdon Manor (until 17 Oct). Waddesdon will also be showing its popular exhibition Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden until 31 Oct, while Imagining Fantastic Mr Fox at the Roald Dahl Museum is on until mid Sept. Whipsnade Zoo‘s immersive exhibition of life-size animatronic dinosaurs continues until 25 Sept, and the Ashmolean is showing its Tokyo: Art and Photography exhibit until 3 Jan. The Oxford Natural History Museum‘s ‘Meat The Future’ exhibit is also available to catch until 16 Jan.
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