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What’s on in Berkshire this October? We know!

It's all treat and no trick in Berkshire this month, thanks to a bumper harvest of things to do. From knockout exhibits to rib-tickling theatre, Muddy knows what's good.

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH

Cliveden Literary Festival, Cliveden House Hotel Taplow, 23 – 24 Oct

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. Speaking at this year’s event are: Oscar-winning writer, actor and director Emerald Fennell, comedian David Baddiel, Women’s Hour’s inquisitor-in-chief Emma Barnett, author Kate Mosse, Michael Gove MP, author Olivette Otele, former political columnist Barbara Amiel, my journo pal Camilla Tominey who broke the story that Harry and Meghan were dating and many more. With the sumptuous hotel as the backdrop, this promises to be a fabulous affair. Tickets from £110.

STAGE & SCREEN

Nina Conti, South Street Arts Reading, 29 Oct

Nina Conti

British Comedy Award winner Nina Conti is coming to South Street! She’s working through new ideas and warming up her brand new show, The Dating Show, before it tours across the UK. There’s no promise that true love will be found, but a firm guarantee that big laughs will be had without moving her lips.

The Cherry Orchard, Theatre Royal Windsor, 1 Oct – 13 Nov

Sir Ian Mckellan Theatre Royal Windsor

Sir Ian McKellan has been lighting up the Theatre Royal stage in Windsor in an electrifying production of Hamlet. If you missed it, fear not, he now stars in Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard – a dramatic play about an aristocratic landowner who returns to her family estate to find its being sold to pay the family debts. It’s all about social change, mid-life regrets and the hope the next generation will make a difference. A limited number of on-stage seats are available so grab the best seats in the house.

Crimes in Egypt, Corn Exchange Newbury, 7 Oct

Crimes of the nile windsor Theatre Royal woman on camel man in a boat

Following a successful national tour, New Old Friends theatre company (they have some pretty great creds, awards-wise) stop off in Newbury with this new original production – a classic whodunnit, comedy thriller about a holiday cruise along the river Nile.

The Great Gatsby, Corn Exchange Newbury, 12-13 Oct

What a bunch of flappers! The Wardrobe Ensemble and The Wardrobe Theatre join forces to perform The Great Gatsby. If anyone can make the twenties roar, its this lot. Expect a a cocktail-soaked story of memory, money and lost love.

Carmen, South Hill Park Bracknell, 9 Oct

Jose Agudo – one of the world’s leading choreographers – draws upon his unique palette of Flamenco and contemporary dance to create this dramatic adaptation of Carmen. It’s a cracker. Don’t miss it.

National Theatre Live: Follies, The Hexagon Reading, 28 Oct

NT LIVE THE FOLLIES

A chance to see the National Theatre’s dazzling Follies – winner of the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. On the eve of the demolition of the crumbling Weismann Theatre, veteran Follies girls (including Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee) gather to drink, sing and lie about themselves, haunted by their ostrich-feathered younger incarnations. See this NT Live encore film

Respect (12A), Norden Farm Maidenhead, 8-13 Oct; The Hexagon Reading, 27 Oct

Respect Jennifer Hudson

Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career — from a child singing in her father’s church choir to her international superstardom — it’s the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.

The Hundred Watt Club – Halloween Special, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 30 Oct

Burlesque dancer white feather plume The Hundred Watt Club

You’ll get chills… they’re multiplying! The Hundred Watt Club invites you to peek inside its cabinet of curiosities and celebrate Halloween with an evening of bizarre burlesque, queer cabaret and sublime circus entertainment.

EXHIBITION

Hockney and Hollywood, The Base Greenham, 22 Oct – 28 Nov

Hockney and Hollywood at The Base Greenham 1000x666

Hockney in Berkshire? Oh yes he is. The works of Britain’s most famous living artist will go on display at The Base in Greenham – and we’re giddy. The legendary David Hockney’s major photomontage Hockney and Hollywood features an extraordinary life-sized nude photographic study of Theresa Russell, commissioned by film director Nicolas Roeg for the film Insignificance. It starred his then wife Theresa Russell as Marilyn Monroe. Tickets £8 (£7 concs, £5 schools/students, under-16s free).

The 1971 Reading Festival – For The First Time, Reading Museum, now – 29 Jan 2022

READING FESTIVAL 1971 FOR THE FIRST TIME exhibition

If there’s one thing that’ll clear a field full of teenagers, it’s their parents living it up like it’s 1971. Reading Festival is 50 years old this year and to celebrate the UK’s iconic music festival an exhibition of astonishing objects and rare and unseen photos can be seen in Reading Museum’s Sir John Madejski Art Gallery.

FESTIVALS 

Henley Literary Festival, Various location in Henley, 2-10 Oct

The plucky Henley Literary Festival runs 2-10 Oct. Though sadly we’re not holding the Muddy Salon there this year due to the fact we’re absolutely knackered running the site, the festival boasts a rack of big names like Grace Dent, Cecilia Aherne, Sebastian Faulks, Elizabeth Day, Frank Gardner, Kate Mosse, Ruby Wax and Rob Biddulph. There are talks, workshops and signings for all ages, and there’s a particularly strong children’s section this year. Perhaps this is the inspo you need to finally get that novel written?

Let’s Rock The Moor, Marsh Meadow Cookham, 2 Oct

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 Tony Hadley, Kim Wilde, Toyah, Howard Jones, The Undertones, ABC and UB40… why on why would you ever miss it?

Are You Listening Festival, Reading, 9 Oct

Are you listening festival 2019 Reading South Street arts illustration of a finger pointing from a gramaphone horn with the message are you listening?

The opportunity to see bands before they get mahoosive – and raise money for charity. Reading’s fab one day festival caters for all tastes but we’re sitting up like meerkats for Billie Marten, who is A listed on BBC6Music who counts Annie Mac as a fan. Add into the mix Freestylers DJ who have played at Glastonbury, the Times Square Millennium Party and Top of the Pops and BC Camplight, another Glasto vet, and you know it’s a bit spesh. Tickets £27.50pp.

COMEDY

John Bishop, The Hexagon Reading, 1 Oct

Comedian John Bishop

Be the first to see comedy superstar John Bishop‘s brand new show. This is a warm-up gig for his eighth stand up show and it’s shaping up to be his best yet! It’s selling fast so grab a ticket pronto £32.

Double Barrelled Comedy, Double Barrelled Brewery Reading 3 Oct

Stand Up Comedy in a brewery? What could possibly go wrong? Mates Rates Comedy doesn’t claim it can organise a p*** up in a brewery, but they can bring the comedy, the rest is down to you and the Taproom staff. Canadian born Glenn Wool is headlining. Tickets £15.

Victoria Melody – Head Set, South Street Arts Reading, 7 Oct

VICTORIA MELODY HEAD SET

Science and stand up! Award-winning Victoria Melody will be wearing technology that shows in real-time what happens to the brain when you tell jokes. It’s a genuine insight into the brain and the secret world of stand-up. Its just the latest

In the past Victoria has become a pigeon fancier, northern soul dancer, beauty queen, championship dog show handler and a funeral director all for material for her theatre shows.

Chris Ramsay, The Hexagon Reading, 8 Oct

Chris-Ramsey-comedian

Chris Ramsay has finally scrubbed off the last of the fake tan and stopped finding glitter and sequins in every crevice. To celebrate, he’s shimmying off on tour for his biggest ever stand-up tour.

Lucy Porter, South Street Arts Centre Reading, 14 Oct

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.

MUSIC

Laura Marling, The Hexagon Reading, 16 Oct

Laura Marling musicIAN

When you release your 7th album and pick up a Grammy and Mercury Prize nominations, it’s safe to say you’ve hit creative gold. Now you can see what all the fuss is about when British folk singer Laura Marling performs music from Song For Our Daughter in Reading this month.

Norman Jay MBE & Don Letts, Sub89 Reading, 15 Oct

norman jay man with glasses and hat in front of yellow background

Ahhh, now this one takes me back to good times! The co-founder of pirate radio KISS FM and the legendary Good Times Sound System comes to Sub89 Reading with his vinyl collection and hat in tow.

SHOPPING

Camp Hopson’s 100th Birthday Party, Camp Hopson Newbury, 30 Sep – 3 Oct

FLAPPER 1020S

Save the date! To celebrate Camp Hopson’s 100th birthday join the party in store from 30 Sep – 3 Oct for fun activities, surprises and complimentary treats. Word on the sales floor is that there will be Gatsby dancers, caricature artists, children’s grotto, lucky dips and beauty masterclasses. And don’t miss the chance to win £100 to spend in Camp Hopson by entering a fab Instagram comp. 

Ascot Fashion Weekend, Ascot Racecourse, 8-9 Oct

Need to give the credit card a battering? Ascot Racecourse is hosting an AW21 fashion frenzy. Designers and boutiques will be wafting about like peacocks at the Ascot Fashion Weekend. Whether you just need a trend injection, have a party to go to or you’re looking for something to see you through the new season, you’ll find it here. Grab the girls, join the stampede and shop till you drop.

SPORT

Windsor Half Marathon River Train Run, Alexandra Garden Windsor, 3 Oct

Sightseeing with a sweat on. Squeeze into your Lycra and take the river trail paths, ticking off the Royal Berkshire landmarks as you go. If you’re sick of pounding the pavement, enjoy the change of scenery. Just choose your distance: 10K Half Marathon and Marathon. f3events.co.uk

Qipco British Champions Day, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 16 Oct

Qipco British Champions Day Ascot Frankie Dettori

It’s the flat season finale! That’s all well and good but, let’s be honest we’re only in it for the cute hats, fashion and the endless supply of bubbles. Race you to the winner’s enclosure and we can trot around the parade ring on race day.

BEER FESTIVALS

Ascot Racecourse autumn racng and beer festival Berkshire

Beer Festival, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 3 – Sat 4 Oct

A Beer Festival with bells on. A day of flat racing, the guys behind the notorious Smoke & Fire Festival will be getting their grill on, there are more than 160 loads of beers, beers, ciders and perries on offer plus a brand new wine tasting bar. Race you to the finish line. Lederhosen optional.

Phantom Brewing Co 10K, Reading, 17 Oct

If you need to burn the calories before your go on a beery bender, then this one’s for you. The Phantom Brewing Co 10K, organised by Barnes Fitness, takes place in central Reading. Once you pass the finish line, runners will get a free beer before swapping their trainers for drinking boots for the after party. More beed, street food and live music.

Oktoberfest, Newbury Racecourse, 22-23 Oct

It’s Oktoberfest at Newbury Racecourse! A fab weekend of weekend of racing,, plus the Grandstand will be transformed into a Bavarian Beer Hall, Oompah music, traditional German grub and, of course, loads of beers. Looks my dirndl will finally get an airing.

KIDS & FAMILY

Child holding pumpkin

It’s prime pumpkin-picking time, and there are plenty of places to PYO this year. Head to stunning Wasing Estate in Aldermaston to p-p-pick up a pumpkin and wander the Woodland Trail (22-30 Oct). You can also PYO pumpkins at Cobbs Farm in Hungerford (2-31 Oct) as well as Copas Fruit Fields in Cookham, available 16-17 Oct and 23-31 Oct.

Halloween painted pumpkins

If you’re all about the decorating, Wellington Country Park’s Hallo-Welly-Ween pumpkin patch, ride the ghost train, there’s a Halloween disco, family shows and slim making (23-31 Oct). The fright night fun continues at The Jelly Lounge in Windsor’s Spooktacular Halloween Party (30 Oct) – gruesome grub, fancy dress, face painting, disco, copious amount of gin for you.

Or check out The Moon Witch’s Halloween Adventure at Tumblestone Hollow, Stonor Park, on from 20-31 Oct, which celebrates the upcoming publication of their book The Moon Witch and the Thief. There will be readings from the book, puzzles to solve, ghoulish surprises, pumpkins to carve, and plenty of treats. That should do the blighters.

Brick or Treat, Legoland Windsor, 14-31 Oct

Lifesize Lego Halloween figures dracula orange lego brick with lashes and witches hat and frankenstein

Brick or Treat has been running so long I’ve run out of lame jokes and puns. But in all serious, kids love it and this year Legoland Windsor are pulling out all the stops. If you want it to be fangtastic don’t miss the Haunted House Monster Party Ride, Lord Vampyre’s Creepy Crypt Trail, Monster Rocker’s fang-tastic Pumpkin Trail, plus all of the new rides in the brand new land LEGO MYTHICA: World of Mythical Creatures, live shows and attractions.

In The Night Garden Live, The Hexagon Reading, 5-6 Oct

iggle piggle upsy daisy in the night garden live tour

Brand new In The Night Garden Live comes to The Hexagon Reading. I spent my happiest days when my kids were toddlers falling asleep to that theme music! Prepare to snooze while your little ones go wild for Igglepiggle and the gang.

The Little Prince, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 27-30 Oct

Luca Silvestrini is a talented comic choreographer who has taken Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale and turned it into charming, ingenius portable production.With a cast of just four dancers (who work their socks off) discover how the Little Prince leaves behind his own tiny asteroid and journeys through the universe, coming face to face with the baffling world of grown-ups! Mixing speech, dance and song this is great show for kids and adults alike.

The Elves & The Shoemaker, South Streets Arts Reading, 27-28 Oct

Shooooooooooooooes ….! Ah, new shoes …. Delightful on the feet. Soft, dancing shoes; swarthy pirate shoes; silver buckle and silken soles. No one makes shoes like an elf. Theatre of Widdershins bring this Ladybird Classic to life and perform it in less than one hour. Just long enough to avoid a meltdown. Suitable for age 3+.

Morgan & West’s Unbelievable Science, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 26 Oct

The Unbelievable Science show might even wash with the teen in your life, and will definitely be a big hit with the pre teens and younger. Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West have a load of tricks up their sleeve and other less obvious places with their feats of deception and deft. No, we won’t tell you how they do it… But we will tell you that it’s Norden Farm in Maidenhead on 26 Oct and tickets are £12 or £10 for under 16s.

Knight Time, Windsor Castle, 23-30 Oct

Her Maj is having a spring clean of her knights. And who can blame her after the embarrassment they’ve caused with their tax dodging and sex scandals. During Half Term Windsor Castle pile your kids into the State Apartments for short, interactive storytelling sessions, followed by some arty shield designing and the lowdown on the parts of a knight’s armour.

FURTHER AFIELD

Circus City, Bristol

Ooh, stepping out of county for a change? Go on, why not. Here are few things worth leaving home for:

THEATRE: The Shark is Broken, Ambassadors Theatre, London’s West End, 9 Oct – 15 Jan. This new comedy play (on stage one year later than planned, no prizes for guessing why) takes the audience to Cape Cod in 1974, and the making of Jaws. The mechanical shark has stopped working, and the lead actors are getting cranky. Reviews so far are rave.

FESTIVAL: London Literature FestivalSouthbank Centre21-31 Oct. This year, the acclaimed annual festival looks at friendship. We like the sound of Grayson Perry: A Show for Normal People, 22-23 Oct.

EXHIBITION: Nero: the man behind the mythBritish Museum, on until 24 Oct. A ‘thrilling’ exhibition that questions the traditional narrative of Nero, one of Rome’s most infamous rulers, as a ruthless tyrant.

PERFORMANCECircus City, various venues across Bristol, from now until 16 Oct. Think you ‘get’ circus? Ooh, boy: there’s a whole world of contemporary circus out there, and this biennial circus celebration shows it all off.

Not enough for you to do this month? Try one of these:

Headline walks in Berkshire

13 local arboretums to explore this autumn

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