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Your unmissable 2022 culture planner

Your Muddy cultural concierge reporting for duty with Platinum Jubilee celebrations, cool exhibitions, live music, top theatre, and other first classfun to be had in 2022.

MUDDY EVENT OF THE YEAR

Platinum Jubilee, Windsor and across the UK, 12-15 May

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation crown and sceptre

Bring out the bunting and perfect your Coronation Chicken, whether you’re a royalist or not, you have to give props to the Queen for her 70 years on the throne. At the very least, you’ll be giddy AT the extra bank holiday. There are loads of events to dip your toe in the pomp and pageantry.

Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor Castle, 12-15 May

Giddiup! The Royal Windsor Horse Show’s one of the hottest horsey events in the UK – and this year forms part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The royal family always make an appearance. Her Maj making an appearance for the first time without her beloved Philip by her side. Expect to see top flight show jumping, dressage, fun kids events, with a lots of pomp and ceremony from the Household Cavalry. It’s a fun, family affair, so trot on and grab a ticket.

The Queen’s Coronation Exhibition, Windsor Castle, 7 Jul – 26 Sep

queens-coronation-exhibition-robe windsor castle

Seventy years in the job is an extraordinary feat. But for many of us we will never have seen a Coronation, so this is your chance to see The Queen’s exquisite Norman Hartnell Coronation Dress and purple silk velvet Robe of Estate from that extraordinary event in 1953 is a little bit spesh. It took 12 embroiderers, using 18 different types of gold thread, more than 3,500 hours to complete the work on the robe between March and May 1953.  

Jubilee Party in the Park, Long Walk Windsor, 4 – 5 Jun

Union Jack flag triangular bunting hanging in a street, a festive decorations England UK

Pack your Coronation chicken sarnies, Victoria Sponge and lashing of fizz for a totally free event. Jubilee Party in the Park will take place down the Long Walk where there will be cars, music and sport from across the decades of Her Majesty’s reign. Bring your own picnic, find your spot or grab a bite to eat and make sure your Union Jack flag waving game is strong. On Sunday 5 June, is Big Lunch day in Windsor. The aim is to create the longest picnic table ever – one very long table running from Cambridge Gate, down the Long Walk towards the Copper.

ART/EXHIBITIONS

National Portrait Gallery: Coming Home, Berkshire, tbc

Duchess of Cambridge at 40 National Portrait Gallery Paolo Riveri

My 40th was not so glamorous, but the Duchess of Cambridge’s involved a photoshoot with Italian photographer Paolo Roversi at Kew Gardens. The stunning images will be heading to Berkshire this year as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s roving exhibition Coming Home. It’s a bit of a teaser as, the location and dates are yet to be released. But it’s likely to be somewhere near to Bucklebury. Watch this space. Eventually, the portraits will form part of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection in London.

Exhibition: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, The Base Gallery, Greenham Common, 3 Feb- 3 Apr

Storm Fox_jonny-armstrong-wpy(1)
Image: Storm Fox by Jonny Armstrong

Wildlife photography requires patience, lightning reactions and a little bit of luck. But when they get the money shot… POW! the results are extraordinary. This year’s world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum, comes to The Base at Greenham Common. The competition receives over 49,000 entries from all over the world. This year’s award-winning images will embark on an international tour that will allow them to be seen by over a million people – and Newbury is one of the first stops.

Contemporary Art Fairs, Newbury Racecourse, 22-24 Apr; Windsor Racecourse, tbc

How cool is this? It makes a bold statement but perhaps not one for the kids’ bedrooms. Sculptor Steve Yeates’ fabulous figurative works has popped up at The Contemporary Art Fairs alongside more than 160 artists, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists and independent galleries from all over the UK and Europe. Have a mooch, chat to artists and, if you find something you love, prices start at just 40 quid.

The World of Peter Rabbit Storytime Trail, The Base Greenham, 30 July – 25 Sept

Peter Rabbit illustration Kew Gardens

Bounce down to The Base in Greenham for its kid-friendly attraction – The World of Peter Rabbit Storytime Trail. Since the books were first published 1902, this exhibition will be celebrating 120 years of mischief throughout 2022. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Dress up (probably best to save your bunny girl outfit for another day), crawl under the garden gate, hide in a watering can and see their reflection in a mirror pool, just like Peter Rabbit.

The Half, The Base Greenham, 7 Oct – 25 Nov

Daniel-Craig-in-A-Number-at-the-Royal-Court-Theatre-1999-C-Simon-Annand
Image: Simon Annand/ V&A

Gratuitous shot of a half naked Daniel Craig? You betcha. Don’t worry your ogling is art. Photographer Simon Annand shot actors preparing for the stage over a 30-year period and includes Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren and the very talented Daniel preparing to go on stage at the Royal Court Theatre. This is a touring exhibition from the V&A Museum curated by Kate Bailey of the V&A in collaboration with Simon Annand.

COMEDY

Scummy Mummies, Corn Exchange Newbury, 27 April

Scummy-Mummies shiny pink unitards and feather boas

Comedians Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson are bringing bonkers comedy show to the Corn Exchange in Newbury. Based on the UK’s No1 kids and family podcast, the Scummy Mummies celebrate everything from drinking wine at teatime to hiding from the PTA (standard Muddy behaviour). It will sell out fast so snag your tickets pronto.

Alan Carr, The Hexagon Reading, 17-18 Jun

alan carr

Alan Carr’s finally back on the road with his new show Regional Trinket. A lot has changed since his last tour five years ago, from the highs of his wedding day to the lows of spending lockdown stuck on a farm. Are you ready to activate your comedy release valve? Carr will cause a Mexican wave of belly laughter. Bring it on.

Lucy Porter, Arlington Arts Centre Newbury, 26 Feb

Lucy Porter Be Prepared comedian wearing a brownie uniform

Dig out our Brownie uniform, Lucy Porter returns with her latest stand up show and we reckon your tea making badge may come in handy. Despite what Brown Owl told you, an emergency 10p for the phone box and a competent knot, cannot solve everything. Life’s slightly more complicated than that.

Chris Ramsey, The Hexagon Reading, 10 Mar

Chris-Ramsey-comedian

Geordie comedian Chris Ramsay is more than a gag machine. He’s also the superstar podcast cohost with his wife Rosie of Shagged, Married, Annoyed (downloaded 60million times and counting) and knows his way round a fake tan booth and sea of sequins courtesy of Strictly Come Dancing. Now he’s finally back on tour after multiple pandemic postponements. It’s his biggest ever tour to date and includes a stop in Reading in March. 

THEATRE

We Will Rock You, The Hexagon Reading, 26-30 April

We Will Rock YOu stage show

If Bohemian Rhapsody, unleashed a Queen obsession that you’re struggling to shake off, We Will Rock You, should will that itch. This worldwide hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton returns to the UK and it’s rocking up in Reading, with 24 of Queen’s biggest hits delivered in a show that boasts the scale and spectacle that marked the bands’ legendary live performances.

A Thousand Clowns, Theatre Royal Windsor, 29 March – 2 April

Will_Young

Will Young’s theatrical homecoming. The Olivier-award nominated and multi-platinum singer will star in A Thousand Clowns – making his debut at the Theatre Royal Windsor. The production is a comedy-drama set in 1960s New York City. The film’s hilarious so high hopes for this.

Our Man In Havana, The Watermill Theatre Bagnor, 7 April – 21 May

Our Man In Havana

Roll out the red carpet slip into your mothballed gown for a World Premiere. Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana will open at The Watermill Theatre in Bagnor. It’s a rollercoaster comedy full of colourful characters and uplifting Cuban inspired songs. This new musical is based on Graham Greene’s iconic novel that cleverly satirises the fine line between truth and lies. 

Madama Butterfly, Theatre Royal Windsor, 8 Mar

Turn up the drama and the volume. If you love opera, the Russian State Opera’s production of Puccini’s Japanese tragedy is on to pop on your cultural shortlist. This touching tale of innocent love crushed between two utterly different cultures resonates as strongly as ever in today’s world.

FAMILY FUN

Gifford’s Circus, Stonor Park, Henley, 14 – 18 Jul

Giffords Circus

Arrrriba! Gifford’s Circus is back in town with brand new show ¡Carpa!. A fiesta for your eyes, you’ll be immersed in the sights and sounds of rural Mexico – inspired by its incredible art, music, history, and people. Mexican performers will be joining the troupe for the 2022 season. As well as Stonor Park, you can see it at Bowood House in Calne (28 Apr – 3 May), Marlborough Common (25 Aug – 5 Sep) and Blenheim Palace (2-6 Jun). Adult tickets £25, Kids £15.

The Little Welly, Henley Showground, 11-12 Jun

Release the children! Little Welly specialises in obstacle courses for kids and returns for its sixth year in Henley with a new location at the Showground, new obstacles, entertainment and a longer course. The course is a hop, skip, jump and dash through loads of challenges, taking in streams, trails, mud and woodland. Oh, and did I mention it’s the biggest obstacle course for kids in the UK? If that doesn’t tire out the little blighters, what will? Then there’s the accompanying festival with – deep breath – kart racing, rope climbing, circus skills workshops, live music, helter skelter, laser tag, climbing wall, pony rides and loads of family activities.

Shlomo Beat Box Adventure for Kids, South Street Arts Reading, 22 Feb

Image: Nathan Gallagher

Psst here’s something for kids that adults can also enjoy – I know, I’ve seen the show myself. Beatboxer extraordinaire SK Shlomo gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics. In this show he gets children involved and teaches them some tricks. I took my youngest last year and they produced their own impromptu mini iPhone beatbox video afterwards.

Shrek The Musical, South Hill Park Bracknell, 11-18 April

After the success of Shrek on screen I can only imagine what Shrek must be like in real life… Pretty big and green I suspect. Join Shrek and Donkey as they set off on a quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona. Based on the story and characters from the DreamWorks Animation film, this hilarious and spectacular production intertwines magical fairy-tale and irresistible adventure for endless romance and laughs.

Spontaneous Potter, Corn Exchange Newbury, 5 Mar

Spontaneous Potter

Pure theatrical fun that’s more exciting than a Quidditch final. The smash hit Spontaneous Potter is an entirely improvised Harry Potter comedy play, based on an audience suggestion of a fan fiction title. It’s hilarious and an entirely new Potter adventure is magically improvised on the spot – with live musical accompaniment! Wave your storytelling wand and see what chaos ensues.

Dinosaur World Live, Corn Exchange Newbury 12-14 April

giant dinosaur puppet of a t rex stage show Dinosaur World Live

Why can little kids reel off the names of flesh eating giants like T rex, Triceratops, Styracasaurus and Baryonyx but can’t say the word gloves? It’s a mystery, but there is no doubt they’ll LOVE the jaw dropping puppetry of these pre-historic superstars as theythud, stomp and roaaaaar onto the Newbury stage. 

FESTIVALS

RunFestRun, Englefield Estate Theale, 20-22 May

RunFestRun

RunFestRun is Chris Evans’s baby – a man who loves to run and party (just not at the same time). The festival has a new home this year at the stunning Englefield Estate. We love the sound of the 3K Sunset Shuffle, but there’s also a family fun run and a 2.5K family road race, as well as more traditional 5K/10K and Half Marathons for the keen. Your reward? Join the kids rave, silent disco and live music while sinking your gnashers into a gourmet burger and drinking a G&T. 

Heritage Live, Englefield House Theale, 23-24 Jul

Singer boy george in black and white spotted suit and hat

The 80s called they want their music back. Well they can’t have it. The retro revival continues in 2022 with Boy George headlining a summer outdoor gig in the grounds of Englefield House on 23 July. Part of the Heritage Live Concert series, BoyGeorge and Culture Club will take to the stage at this impressive stately home in Theale supported by , Lulu, Kim Wilde and Gabrielle. Russell Watson performs the following night for Last Night Of The Heritage Proms. Tickets from £61.90pp.

Pub in the Park, Higginson Park Marlow, 12-15 May

McFly Pub In The Park Marlow

Tom Kerridge has Marlow residents eating out of the palm of his hand (not literally, that would be disgusting). Pub In the Park is back with bells on. The food and music festival will see performances from the likes of McFly, Rag N Bone Man and Faithless, alongside the UK’s sizzling stars of the kitchen.

Let’s Rock The Moor, Marsh Meadow Cookham, 22 May

Stage and lighting Rock The Moor retro festival cookham berkshire

Blue mascara? Check. Yellow eyeshadow? Check. Hair backcombed to the max? Check. (and that’s just the boys). Then you’re ready to hit the 80s love fest that is Let’s Rock the Moor in Cookham. This year’s line up includes Wet Wet Wet, Squeeze, Sonique, Jason Donovan and more… why on why would you ever miss it?

Reading Festival, Richfield Ave Reading, 25-27 Aug

Arctic Monkeys Reading Festival
 Arctic Monkeys at Royal Albert Hall in aid of War Child UK. Image: Aaron Parsons Photography

If there’s one thing that’ll clear a field full of teenagers, it’s their parents living it up like it’s 1996. Reading Festival has announced that Liam Gallagher is headlining this year’s festival in August, so expect more middle-aged, parka-wearing Britpoppers than usual.

Cliveden Literary Festival, Cliveden House Taplow, TBC

Cliveden Literary Festival

Politics, scandal and intelligent literary chat – kept civilised with an abundance of bubbles. Not a Boris  Johnson house party but the Cliveden Literary Festival. Nothing has been announced yet but Famous names from previous years include Oscar winning screen writer Emerald Fennell, Brett Easton Ellis, broadcaster Emma Maitlis, David Baddiel, Michael Gove and many more. With the sumptuous hotel as the backdrop, it is always a fabulous affair.

SOCIAL SCENERY

SPORT: Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse, 14-18 Jun

Royal Ascot fashion

Ah, the familiar sound of hooves rumbling across Ascot Racecourse, and that’a just the women in the heels they’ve not worn for over a year. Fingers crossed normal service will resume at Royal Ascot this year. So grab your hat, keep the hemlines long, the fake tan light and enjoy a day of celeb spotting and apparently there are few horses running too. It’s the perfect place to people watch, just don’t overdo the bubbles for fear of making it on the Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame.

Royal Henley Regatta, Henley, 29 Jun – 4 Jul 

Rowing ragatta

Straw boaters on, eyes on the lunch box (sarnies or Lycra bulges… they’re not mutually exclusive) and watch the rowing brawn from the riverbank. There’s over 200 races to watch the smoking–hot rowers and enjoy your Champagne picnic.

Lapland UK, Ascot, 13 Nov – 24 Dec

LAPLAND UK

Good news, kids, the big man’s had his Covid vaccine and is setting up shop in Ascot for another year. It’s a four-hour immersive experience that sprinkles magic all over Christmas. Journey through snowy enchanted forests, to Santa’s chalet, where he and his elves need a little assistance in preparing for the 24 Dec. Tickets go on sale on early Feb, from £69pp.

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