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What’s on this week in Bucks & Oxon

There's fun to be had indoors and out with open air comedy nights, luxe picnics, exhibitions and new online theatre from local venues. Let's go!


DRIVE-IN CINEMA: Chilfest Cinema, Tring, 31 Jul – 2 Aug (and throughout Aug)

With Chilfest festival postponed until 2021 (*sob*) the organisers are instead putting on a drive-in cinema to keep us entertained, just a hop, skip over the border in Tring, Herts. After parking up, you’ll be given top quality wireless headphones so you can adjust the sound as you like (plus you won’t be able to hear the kids chamming on popcorn in the back seat – result!). This week you can watch Ghost, Quadrophenia, Toy Story and Joker with new films added to the line up each week.

EAT: Jericho Kitchen’s Raclette Evening, Will’s Deli, Oxford, 31 Jul

If you’re a keen skier, you’re probably salivating just from the mention of the word Raclette. If sliding down steep ice on two sticks is your idea of insanity, let us explain: Raclette is an Alpine cheese, which is melted and used to smother cured meats, potatoes and any other highly calorific item that can be found a few thousands feet above sea level. And now it’s descended to Oxford (which, geography fans, has a 60m elevation). For the city’s first ever Raclette evening, hosted by Jericho Kitchen, ingredients are all sourced from Oxon suppliers (Oxford Cheese Company, Medley Manor Farm, Cranston Pickles) so you’re doing your bit to support local too. Tickets here.

COMEDY: Open Air Comedy, The Oxford Artisan Distillery, Oxford, 1 Aug

Jericho Comedy are supplying some much-needed laughs (and much-needed gin!) this weekend with an open-air gig at The Oxford Artisan Distillery, overlooking South Parks and the (hopefully glorious) sunset over Oxford’s spires. There’ll be an award-winning comedy line-up, plus locally made cocktails, Tap Social beer and oven-baked pizza.

EAT: Picnic at the Palace, Blenheim Palace, until 16 Aug

Live music, comedy and cocktails, anyone? Blenheim has transformed its grounds into a al fresco dining space with socially distanced deck chairs and pergolas (you can book a space for two to six people) overlooking the lake. From Tuesday to Thursday, you can choose from a lunchtime hamper or indulgent afternoon tea, and on weekends you can pick up a graze box to nibble on as you watch the entertainment.

WELLBEING: ParkFit, Stonor Park, nr Henley, 29 Jul 

Stonor ParkFit

Stonor’s new ParkFit programme is made up of post-lockdown, socially-distanced fitness classes aimed at cardiovascular health and overall strength, run by Cynergy personal trainers and set in the beautiful gardens and deer park. Beats staring at an unflatteringly-lit gym mirror, doesn’t it? Kick off for the one-hour sessions starts at 9.15am every Wednesday and all abilities are welcome. Each session costs £15 or you can block book 10 sessions for £120. Plus, £1 from every session goes to Patagonia Action Works, so it’s a feel-good workout in more ways than one. Book here

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. Muddy review coming soon!

EXHIBITION: International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until 19 Aug 

Wanna see some pretty pictures? This outdoor exhibition features unusual earthy shots of gardens, flowers, plants and botanicals printed on large display boards next to the Rose Garden. The palace, park and gardens are now all open for visitors.

EAT: Giffords Circus Sauce Restaurant pop-up, Stonor Park, nr Henley, until 2 Aug 

While magical travelling show Giffords Circus may not be throwing up its big top any time soon, its famous Circus Sauce restaurant is setting up home at Stonor this summer. It will serve up rustically extravagant three-course feasts on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, with adults costing £35 and kids £25. If you can’t make the evening, the vintage pizza van will be slinging freshly-cooked ‘za from midday to 4pm on Thursday to Sunday, and until closing time on Wednesdays.


THEATRE: Alice: A Virtual Themepark, Creation Theatre, 1 – 30 Aug

The brilliant Creation Theatre deserves a medal for keeping us entertained in lockdown with its inventive Zoom shows. This week you can watch its quirky interpretation of Alice in Wonderland led by award-winning writer and director Zoe Seaton. The new online show, in partnership with Big Telly and Charisma A.I., is digital theatre at it’s finest with A.I. characters, magic and mind-blowing virtual tricks. The shows run at 4pm and 7pm, Wednesdays to Sundays. Book your ticket here.

MUSIC: Making Tracks Digital Tour, The North Wall, Oxford, until 10 Sept

Making Tracks brings together early career artists from the UK and around the world to showcase diverse music. Events will be streamed on Facebook Live from Tuesday to Thursday (7pm) and on the Making Tracks website.

THEATRE: Loss and Hope: A trilogy of Audio Plays, The North Wall, 27 Jul – 30 Sept

Inspired by The North Wall’s annual Alchymy Festival these three mini-plays explore the themes of creativity and connection. Listen to The Gift, about a chance meeting, This is a Man, a powerful investigation of masculinity and grief, We Have Sinned, about the relationships of a Catholic school girl.

EXHIBITION: Young Rembrandt, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

If you didn’t get the chance to scope out the Ashmolean’s major newYoung Rembrandt exhibition before lockdown hit, you can access the exhibit online – there’s an introductory video by the museum’s curator, plus a step-by-step visual tour. But still hankering to see the exhibition in person? Good news: the Ashmolean will be open from 10 August.

THEATRE: The Contagion Cabaret, The Theatre Chipping Norton

Three cheers for Chippy’s brilliant local theatre for giving us a few laughs during this stressful time! A collaboration between The Theatre Chipping Norton and the Diseases of Modern Life team at University of Oxford, this pre-recorded show is an irreverent historical look at lockdowns, plagues and pandemics featuring extracts from plays, poems, journalism and music throughout history. You can also watch a Q&A with the creative team here.

MUSIC: Garsington Opera online

The bucolic Wormsley Estate (home to Garsington Opera) may be closed for now but you can still get your opera fix online with three of the iconic opera company’s full length shows: Les nozze di Figaro, The Turn of the Screw (above) and opera on ice (yep, really!), The Skating Rink. There’s also a brand new documentary series on YouTube which explores opera’s connection to art and literature, presented by Garsington’s Johnny Langridge and art historian Dr Imogen Tedbury.

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