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This weekend

Fri 17 - Sun 19 Jan



THEATRE: The SnowmanMK Theatre, Milton Keynes, 15 – 19 Jan

I can do that, easy! This enchanting stage adaptation of Raymond Brigg’s heart-warming family book features awesome costume and Howard Blake’s classic song Walking In The Air.


EXHIBITION: Operation Hillside, Hughenden Manor, Bucks, until 24 Jan

This new exhibition explores Hughenden Manor’s secret World War II map-making history. The exhibition will be held in rooms that have never previously been open to the public (oooh exclusive!).


COMEDY: Oxfordshire Mind Gala, Oxford Playhouse, 18 Jan 

Mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind is taking over the Oxford Playhouse for an afternoon and evening fundraising comedy gala. The 2.30pm performance includes gags from Hal Cruttenden, Ahir Shah, Nigel Ng and more, whilst the 7.30pm line up has TBC special guest.


EVENT: Fragrance launch, Jo Malone, Westgate Oxford, 18 – 19 & 24 – 25 Jan

Take a whiff of Jo Malone’s brand new scent Vetiver & Golden Vanilla, plus there’ll be British wine and stylists on hand to help you find your perfect scent with the brand’s Scent For You service.


KIDS: The Snowman exhibition, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, 19 Jan 

Quick! It’s your last chance to check out this sweet interactive exhibit at Henley-based River & Rowing Museum with over 40 original illustrations from the charming film, plus behind-the-scenes drawings, preparatory sketches and artwork.


LAST CHANCE: Kiki Smith: I Am Wanderer, Modern Art Oxford, until 19 Jan 

Kiki Smith, Sky, 2012. Jacquard tapestry ©Kiki Smith. Courtesy Timothy Taylor, London/New York and Magnolia Editions

It’s last call for this major exhibition of Kiki Smith’s enchanting work which  promises to take visitors on a mythological journey via her huge tapestries to exquisitely fashioned gold shells.


CULTURE: Restoration and conservation tours, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until 9 Feb 

Every year the conservation team at the World Heritage Site conduct a six-week deep clean of the palace to keep it ship-shape, with every part of the Blenheim Palace collection meticulously cleaned and maintained using both modern and traditional methods. If you fancy taking a look at the process then you can book onto a tour to see the team in action and pick up some A+ cleaning tips (eat your heart out Mrs Hinch!).


AFTERNOON TEA: 1620 Afternoon tea, Hartwell House, Jan – Feb 

Pinkies poised? Hartwell House marks the beginning of 2020 and commemorates the Mayflower’s pilgrim voyage with afternoon teas sittings in the magnificent drawing rooms. You’ll also get a complimentary Mayflower Martini with your cakes and crustless sandwiches.


KIDS: Narnia, Dorchester Abbey, Oxon, 11 Jan – 7 Mar

The stunning abbey will be transformed into CS Lewis’ snowy fantasy land with arts and crafts for children including shield and crown making. Inside there’ll be the White Witch’s sleigh and throne, characters from the series, plus you’ll enter through a wardrobe.



In Oxford, there’s an exhibition on the development of 3D over the last 500 years in fields of anatomy, architecture, astrology and art. The exhibition, which coincides with the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, explores the artist’s depiction of realistic 3D forms and how photography and modelling has developed into the present day. Thinking 3D: Leonardo to the present (above) is showing at the Bodleain Library (until 9 Feb).

Lots of exhibitions are ending this month too, so get a shift on if you fancy taking a look at the following: a solo exhibition of up-and-coming East London artist Tommy Fiendish – expect mythology, street art, ’50s tattoos and the Gothic – at cool Dantzig gallery in Woodstock (until 27 Jan); George Stubbs: ‘all done from Nature’ at MK Gallery, the first overview of the British artist’s work in the UK for over 30 years (until 26 Jan).



BOOK NOW: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, 13 Feb – 11 May 

I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a SlaveSteve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty above. The show also coincides with McQueen’s latest artwork Year 3on show at Tate Britain until 3 May.




Another newbie is Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery. One of the biggest cultural events in the winter calendar, the exhibit features 150+ original artefacts found in the Pharaoh’s tomb that was unearthed in 1922 (until 3 May).

Mama Mia! A brand new (and, quite frankly, must-see) exhibition is coming to The O2, London this month – ABBA: Super Troupers is a journey through the Swedish band’s career and will feature personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (until 21 Aug 2020).

Other exhibitions worth a snoop are Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane collection of work at the V&A (until 8 March); William Blake at Tate Britain, with the visionary painter and poets work blown up to enormous scale using digital technology (until 2 Feb 2020); Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican  – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s (until 19 Jan).



MUSIC: Bombay Bicycle Club, O2 Academy Oxford, 18 Jan 

Returning to the music scene this year with a brand new album Everything Else Has Gone Wrong (released 17 Jan) is indie-rock band Bombay Bicycle Club. Lucky for us they’re performing in Oxford the day after so the show should be a biggie!

THEATRE:  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour DreamcoatAylesbury Waterside Theatre, 14 – 18 Jan

Britain’s Got Talent finalist Mark McMullan stars in this Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph.

MUSIC: Oxford Beethoven Festival, various venues, 17 Jan

The biggie for classical buffs this month is the beginning of Oxford Beethoven Festival, a year-long venture that celebrates the famous composer’s work with 38 performances from top notch musicians. (Is it weird that I used to fancy Beethoven as a young teen? Hey, he was very broody in some of those illustrations!). This week you can see violinist Lisa Batiashvili.


KIDS: The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse, North Wall Theatre, Oxford, 17 – 18 Jan

Direct from London’ Unicorn Theatre, this family-friendly show is a dead cert for entertaining the kids aged 3 – 8 on a dreary Jan afternoon. Based on Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s picture book the story follows animals who find joy and friendship in the darkest and most unusual of places.


MUSIC: The White Lakes, O2 Academy Oxford, 18 Jan

Energetic Oxford-based indie-rock outfit, The White Lakes, return to our ‘hood this week for a homecoming gig with support from Crystal Tides, Waterfools and Danny Mellin.


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