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It’s April! What’s on in Berkshire?

The social calendar's chocker and celebrating spring! From singing puppets and Easter fun to a global hit musical, here's what's on.

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH

National Portrait Gallery: Coming Home, St James The Less Pangbourne, now – 5 April and Reading Museum 7 April – 4 June

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 can be seen at St James The Less church in Pangbourne, before being exhibited at Reading Museum June. The touring portraits are part of the National Portrait Gallery’s roving exhibition Coming Home. Eventually, the images will form part of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection in London.

The Lips, Market Place Newbury, 23 April

The Lips Puppet and Gut Theatre Co

Giant lips singing It’s Raining MenI’m So ExcitedSingle Ladies and Spice Up Your Life, where do we sign up? Creative theatre company Puppets With Guts will bring that magical big mouth mix tape to this Easter. In case you’re sitting on the fence, they’ve performed at the 2012 Olympics, a gig for Sir Paul McCartney, the theatre adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, and the Harry Potter film series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Starry.  

EASTER FUN

Basildon Park house and grounds

Every venue across Berkshire is going chocolate crazy but my top tips include Easter Adventures in Nature at Basildon Park (8-25 Apr) and Cliveden (9-24 Apr) where you can explore these stunning estates in spring with a choccie egg at the end. Head to Highclere Castle‘s annual Easter Egg Trail and Bonnet Parade (16 April), and waft around Downton’s exquisite Capability Brown gardens and woodland in aid of The Murray Parish Trust.

Beale Wildlife Park’s Easter Egg Trail (an extra £1 on the entrance fee) is an egg hunt around the park with a chocolatey reward. Bucklebury Farm Park‘s Easter Eggstravaganza (16-18 April) has a giant egg hunt, plus art activities, games and storytelling. Wellington Country Park‘s Mega Egg Hunt (15-18 April) – just a great excuse to enjoy the grounds. Make them work for their egg at Cobbs Farm Hungerford‘s I-Spy Easter Trail (4-18 April. Follow the clues to get your egg.

Alice-and-Hatter Easter fun Newbury

Newbury town centre is hopping mad for Easter, hosting a three-day EasterFest (15-17 April). It’s a totally FREE event, kicking off with musical performances from Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter. There’s an Easter egg hunt, the Easter bunny will be reading stories and more.

Hop off to Dinton Pastures Country Park (9-22 April) for the First Days Easter Hop. It’s a pun-filled trail with an eggcellent chocolate treat at the end. If you’re looking for a chocolate free zone, with fresh air and fun guaranteed The Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park‘s Nature Detective Trail is on 8-24 April.

Tumblestone Hollow Stonor Park

A smidge over the Oxfordshire border near Henley, Stonor’s annual Easter Trail runs every day from 9 to 24 April. Let your kids go free range at Tumblestone Hollow – an awesome woodland adventure playground and in the Gardens at Stonor. Solve the puzzle there’s a treat at the end.

If you’re trying to keep your kids sugar intake out of the danger zone, The Base in Greenham is hosting a series of arty workshops this Easter. Join Charlotte Adcock on 10 April for an Easter themed print workshop (£7.50). Leave your kids making a mess for an hour and your can have a coffee in peace. Win win.

SPRING WREATH WORKSHOPS

Spring-wreath

Wreath making isn’t just for Christmas. Spring wreaths are now a thing. The Good Life Hub in Hampstead Norreys has teamed up with luxury event florist Alicia from Wessex Flowers to offer a fragrant workshop with a cocktails (7 Apr). I’ve done Alicia’s Christmas workshops and they are fun, creative and totally Instagrammable. £70.66pp

Multi award winning Sonning Flowers will be hosting an Easter wreath making workshop (9 Apr) at their studio just outside Newbury. Easy to follow tuition, loads of floral and decorative goodies to play with and stunning wreath to put on your door (£65pp).

Lisa Darban of Bespoke Floristry in Windsor has spring ring door wreath workshop on 7 Apr. You can BYO bevvies, but the floral loveliness, expert tuition and tools are all provided. £57.90pp.

Over in Caversham, MadeBy Tamalia is hosting a Spring Wreath Workshop on 8 Apr (£45). Using an eco friendly wire frame, Karen Wicks of Mumadora Crafts will be your step by step guide. From attaching the moss base, building up foliage and adding spring colour and Easter decs.

Like your wreath making with lashings of period drama. Shaw House in Newbury will be hosting two Easter wreath workshops on 6 April (£40pp), and there’s even the option to splash out an extra £3 for a prosecco upgrade.

STAGE & SCREEN

A Thousand Clowns, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – 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. One Will-loving teens.

A Tale of Two Cities, Corn Exchange Newbury, 5-6 April

A-Tale-of-Two-Cities Newbury

If you’ve never read Dickens’ 1859 novel of revolution and excessive gestures of love, then this is the show for you. If you’ve never read Charles Dickens’ novel of revolution and excessive gestures of love, then this is the show for you. If you have read it, this might also be the show for you, depending on how well you remember it. Definitely one for the teens, especially if you’re trying to get them in the zone for their GCSEs and A Levels.

Animal Farm, The Old Court Windsor, 6-9 April

George Orwell’s world-famous and unsettling ‘fairy story’ was originally based on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath. With its themes of freedom, fake news and the corrupting nature of power, it is as relevant today as when it was written at the end of the Second World War.

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. 

The Big Comedy Bash, The Hexagon Reading, 12 April

Al Murray pub landlord comedian burgundy blazer shirt stripy tie bald head

It’s the comedy equivalent of a BOGOFF. The Big Comedy Bash is back with a stellar comic line-up including Al Murray, Rory Bremner, Angela Barnes, Shazia Mirza and Alasdair Beckett-King who will be firing gags at you in aid of the Slapstick Festival. Not to be missed.


Ben Elton – Work In Progress, Corn Exchange Newbury, 16 April

Ben Elton Live 2019 comedian

Ben Elton was a thorn in Maggie Thatcher’s side, co-author of comedies The Young Ones and Blackadder, brought us the We Will Rock You musical and was a lover of a shiny suit. He defined the UK comedy scene of the 1980s and after a long absence, he’s back with an all new stand-up show. Ben promises to try and make sense of a world which appears to have gone stark raving mad. Don’t miss this Work in Progress performance ahead of his UK tour.

Remembering The Oscars, The Hexagon Reading, 21 April

Aljaz-Jeanette_Remembering the OScars The Hexagon Reading

Love your Strictly stars covered in sequins and dripping in sass, then Aljaz and Janette’s Remember The Oscars (although perhaps not this year’s) dance show is going to be right up your red carpet. Whether you are Wishing On A StarSwinging On A Star or merely dancing in the City of Stars, this incredible production will take you from Disney family favourites, through to the Golden Ages of Hollywood.

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.

NT Live: Henry V, various cinemas, 26 April

NT LIVE HENRY V

Shakespeare’s warmongering Henry V could be a tough watch while all hell breaks loose in Ukraine – even with Game Of Thrones heart-throb Kit Harington in the title role. Captured from London’s Donmar Warehouse this is modern production lamenting the horrors of war. Unfortunately the brutality of the rolling news from Ukraine may overshadow the whole thing. We’ll let you be the judge.

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.

Bumper Blyton, Corn Exchange Newbury, 29 April

Bumper-Blyton

Who doesn’t love a parody chock full of innuendo and lashings of puns? Indulge in lashings of ginger beer, grab a cheeky tongue sandwich or wrap your lips around a nice spotted dick! Cast yourself back to your childhood in a show that’s utterly unique and spontaneous with this satirical take on childhood favourite books like The Famous Five and Mallory Towers

KIDS & FAMILY

Steve Backshall: Ocean, The Hexagon Reading, 14 April

Steve Backshall Ocean stage show

Natural history hottie Steve Backshall has swaps the sea for the stage with his new stage show Ocean – a love letter to the most exciting environment on our planet .Suitable for all ages, Steve brings the Big Blue to life using stunts, experiments, props, cutting edge science and big screen footage from his two decades in TV.

Alby The Penguin Saves The World, Reading Rep Theatre, 6-18 April

A return after the sell-out success of Alby the Penguin Saves Christmas, in partnership with Reading Libraries, he’s making a comeback for Easter. Suitable for kids aged 3-6, it’s a magical adventure in which Alby finds himself on a mission to help save his friends (and the world).

Morgan & West: Unbelievable Science, South Street Arts Reading, 8-9 Apr

Morgan and west unbelievable science

Morgan & West present captivating chemistry, phenomenal physics and bonkers biology in this science extravaganza. Expect explosive thrills, chemical spills, and a risk assessment that gives their stage managers chills. Suitable for age 6 years +.

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

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.

Dinosaur World Live, Corn Exchange Newbury, 12-14 Apr

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

Why can pre-schoolers reel off the names of flesh eating giants like T rex, Triceratops, Styracosaurus 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 prehistoric superstars as they thud, stomp and roaaaaar onto the Newbury stage.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, West Berkshire Brewery Yattendon, 12 April

Peter Rabbit 2
Image: Sony Pictures

Hop to it! Easter hols are long so pop your kids in front of Peter Rabbit 2 at West Berkshire Brewery this Easter. Entry is FREE, there will Easter treats for the tiddlers and a medicinal tipple for you if you fancy it. Film starts at 3.30pm. Tables can be booked here

SLIME, South Street Arts Reading, 13 Apr

SLIME South Street Arts

The title alone should get kids excited. Who doesn’t love slime? Parents usually. And slugs definitely get a bad rep – urgh, gross. It’s the perfect set up for a LOL-filled visit to South Street Arts for SLIME. Slug and Caterpillar are starving, and the only leaf left in the garden is just out of reach. Slug thinks they should work together. Get the leaf, eat the leaf, play a game, be friends. Caterpillar has other ideas. Things could get sticky.

Jack and the Beanstalk, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 13-14 April

Fee Fi Fo Fum! It’s a giant of a show, that loads of fun! This classic fairytale gets the Lyngo Theatre treatment so expect lots of surprises and beautiful images as Patrick Lynch (from Cbeebies) tells the gripping story of Jack who sells his cow for five magic beans and finds himself in the land above the clouds. It’s a show for the over 3’s (and their giants) with something for everyone – enormous shoes, tiny houses, showers of silver and gold and a big, leafy explosion!

The Amazing Bubble Man, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 19-20 Apr

The Amazing Bubble Man (1)

Go on, admit it. There’s still something quite fabulous about blowing bubbles, even as an adult. The Amazing Bubble Man has garnered world-fame for his amazing, science-defying creations made with just bubble mix. I dare you not to be as amazed as the kids.

The Not So Ugly Sisters, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 21 April

Hair beauty dryer

A brand new musical re-telling of Cinderella from the perspective of the ‘Not So’ Ugly Sisters, reimagined by Wrongsemble. You’ve heard the fairytale, now here’s the whole hair-raising truth! It’s the morning of Cindy and Prince Smarming’s big royal wedding – but Dolly and Barb are not invited! But hell hath no fury like a hairdresser scorned!

Jousting tournament, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, 30 April – 2 May

joust

And for the end of the month: Squire, ready my horse! Blenheim Palace has a jousting tournament from 30 April – 2 May, so we can live our A Knight’s Tale fantasy* and the kids can gawp at all the high speed charging. (*Heath Ledger not included).

ARTY FARTY

Contemporary Art Fairs, Newbury Racecourse, 22-24 Apr

How cool is this? It makes a bold statement but perhaps not one for the kids’ bedrooms. Sculptor Steve Yeates’ fabulous figurative works has previously 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.

Quest Family Fest, Norden Farm Maidenhead

‘Have-a-go’ Easter Holidays at Norden Farm’s Quest Family Fest. In addition to the brilliant theatre shows, there’s an opportunity for kids of all ages to try something new. From circus skills and digital animation to magic, chocolate making and wand making, there’s something to spark their imagination during the school hols. You can enjoy five minutes peace with a brew in the café.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, The Base Gallery, Greenham Common, now – 3 Apr

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER Storm-Fox_jonny-armstrong-wpy1
Image: Storm Fox by Jonny Armstrong

Last chance to see the Natural History Museum’s annual touring exhibition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. 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 prestigious touring exhibition stops off at The Base at Greenham Common Business Park in Newbury. It’s an international showcase of 100 images taken by the very best in nature photographers around the world.

Pottery Taster Session, The Base Greenham, 2 April

Great Pottery Throwdown contestant Cait Gould resident artist at The Base Greenham Common Newbury

Got a future star of The Great Pottery Throwdown lurking in the family? Sign them up for as taster session with series two contestant Cáit Gould. Under her brilliant tuition, you’ll get to spin the wheel, make a trinket dish and decorate using paper printing.

Festival of Arts & Crafts, The Base Greenham, 9-18 April

Ellie-Kerr-Smiley

Muddy Award winner The Base will be hosting its very first Festival of Art and Crafts, celebrating our brilliant local artisans. Both weekends during the 10 day Festival will feature a craft market surrounding The Base building, with 2D artists displaying work for sale in the Gallery. Weekdays, visitors will have the opportunity to have a go at a range of workshops.

Changing of the Guard, Windsor

CHANGING OF THE GUARDS WINDSOR

Don’t miss this very British tradition – The Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle. The parade takes place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11am. The new guard set off from Victoria Barracks on Sheet Street and march through the Town Centre to the Queen’s des res. The ceremony takes place inside the castle and then the old guard head back to barracks at 11.25am. Always a fabulous site that brings this town to a standstill. If you live in the Windsor and Maidenhead Borough and in possession of an Advantage Card you can have a Through The Keyhole moment and nose around Windsor Castle for free. Everyone else needs to pay an entrance fee or you’ll be sent to the tower.

Kids Yoga, Swan at Streatley, 14 and 21 Apr

YOGA KIDS

Release the tension! And what better place to send them than kids yoga at Swan at Streatley. Two creative yoga workshops for different age groups (4-8 yr olds at 1.15pm, where they’ll get to release energy and hit the reset button. You can work on your own tension in the cafe/bar – coffee? wine? Choose your poison and relax.

MUSIC

James Morrison, The Hexagon Reading, 5 Apr

james morisson

James Morrison is back on the road with his greatest hits tour and stops in Reading. It might be off the radar of your too cool for school teen, but we reckon it could be a fun night out, with school run flashbacks of embarrassing singing to the radio.

Nick Cope Spring 2022, Corn Exchange Newbury, 9 Apr

CRAFT-Nick-Cope-Family-Music(1)

Nick’s not your average children’s musician – he was lead vocalist and guitarist in Britpop band The Candyskins and now the star of CBeebies’ Popcast. He’s been writing and recording his totally unique songs for kids and their families for over 10 years, he performs with his guitar and animations to sell-out crowds all over the country.

Family Concertini with Yolanda Brown, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 12 April

CONCERTINI EASTER

Join world renowned saxophonist, star of CBeebies and multi MOBO award winner YolanDa Brown for an inspirational Concertini exploring a fusion of Reggae, Jazz and Soul. YolanDa has toured with the Temptations, Diana Krall, Courtney Pine and Billy Ocean and has collaborated with artists such as Mica Paris, Julian Marley and as part of Jools Hollands Rhythm and Blues orchestra. Suitable for ages 4+.

Madama Butterfly, The Hexagon Reading, 23 April

EllenKentMadamaButterfly

Turn up the drama and the volume for Puccini’s Japanese tragedy. If you love opera, the award winning Ellen Kent production, featuring the The Ukrainian National Municipal Opera Kyiv, is one 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.

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