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This week

MON 10 – SUN 16 JUN


EXHIBITION: Matisse – Drawing With Scissors, The Base Greenham Common, Sat 8 – Sun 30 Jun

A Hayward Gallery touring exhibition from London’s Southbank Centre, 35 lithographic reproductions of Henri Matisse’s famous cut-outs have gone on display at this year’s Muddy Award-winning Art Gallery, The Base in Greenham Common. A brilliant opportunity to see the French painter, sculptor and designer’s vibrant works. I had a sneak preview last week, you can read the review here.

Frank Woodgate, a lecturer at Tate and for the Arts Society, will also talk about the work of this incredible artist on Wed 15 Jun at 2pm.


THEATRE: The Importance of Being Earnest, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 29 Jun

CAst of The Importance of being Earnest Watermill Theatre Newbury

Credit: Philip Tull

Kate Budgen’s production of Oscar Wilde’s social satire The Importance Of Being Earnest is a play about (Victorian) 24-hour party people with loose morals, bad manners and a rather low opinion of marriage. Take two bachelors, add two love interests and watch the car crash as they struggle to keep up with their lies. God only knows what these boys would have said and done if they had Tinder in their lives?


FAMILY  FUN: Gifford’s Circus, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, Mon 10 Jun

Gifford’s Circus pitches up its Big Top once again at Blenheim Palace  on its summer tour with a brand new show Xanadu– the theme this year is the Summer of Love, set in Hyde park 1973, so expect hippies, hipsters, rock stars and all-out grooviness alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated circus acts (Thurs 6 – Mon 10). Gifford’s Circus also comes to Windsor Great Park (Thu 11 – Mon 22 Jul) and Stonor Park Henley (Thu 25 – Mon 29 Jul).


THEATRE: Three Musketeers, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 12 – Fri 15 Jun

Three musketeers blue tunics hanging from rope, fighting with a sword and drinking with tankard

En guarde! Four actors, 30 characters, armed only with a baguette and a questionable steed, what could possibly go wrong? Le Navet Bete (award-winning creators of Dracula: The Bloody Truth and Dick Tracy) are back, with The Three Musketeers telling the chaotic tale of hot-headed D’Artagnan desire to become a Musketeer.


THEATRE: Notflix, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Thu 13 Jun

Notflix all female improvised comedy musical

Netflix combines the taste profiles of 98 million users to create the ‘perfect’ viewing experience. Notflix combines the taste profiles of a room full of theatre goers to create a hilarious and completely improvised viewing experience – a full musical. The all-female cast use audience suggestions of recently watched films to create a brand new, fully improvised, one-night-only musical. It was a five star sell out at the Edinburgh Fringe not to be missed.


COMEDY: Gary Delaney– Gagster’s Paradise,South Hill Park Bracknell, Thu 13 Jun

Gary-Delaney-Gagsters-Paradise black suit holding shotgun

Credit: Andy Hollingworth

Mock The Week regular and starring in the new Live At The Apollo, Gary Delaney is a master craftsman of the one liner. He brings his new show Gagster’s Paradise to Bracknell – an onslaught of expertly crafted gaggery packed into a brand new show. Despite autocorrect changing the the name of the show to Gangster’s Paradise, Gary won’t be singing Coolio. Just saying.


FOOD:  Festival, Forbury Gardens Reading,  Thu 13 – Sun 16 Jun

street food sandwich with seafood and salad wrapped in paper and served in a wire basket

Feastival‘ is like catnip to a greedy gal like me. The elasticated trews are definitely going to be feeling the stretch this weekend. Blue Collar Street Food is behind Reading’s street food festival which will be taking over Forbury Gardens for the four days this week, as part of Waterfest.


FESTIVAL: Stonor Park Food Festival, Stonor, Henley, Sat 15 – Sun 16 June

Garlic bulbs stonor food festival HENLEY

The beautiful grounds at Stonor will be groaning with food and drink stalls over the Father’s Day weekend (dads go free before midday on the Saturday) for the first everStonor Food Festival. Keep dad happy with the crafts beers and BBQ plus there’s talks, tastings and demos along with the large selection of local and specialist produce. Guests include French fancy Jean Christoph Novelli and Michelin twinkling Ashton Kutcher. Tickets are £10 for adults and £6.50 for kids (under 2s go free) and include entrance to the house, gardens and Wonder Woods Adventure playground.


MUSIC: Nate Simpson – A Night With Marvin, Prince of Soul, Sat 15 Jun

RnB soul singerNate Simpson in check jacket and hat

Nate Simpson made it all the way to Judges’Houses on the X Factor in 2016, before being given the boot by Nicole Sherzinger (Booooooo). But a little set back like that hasn’t gonna stopped him. He has since performed alongside the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae, Beverly Knight, Jamie Cullen and many more and played Marvin and Berry Gordy in the hit West End musical Motown. You heard on the grapevine, Nate’s at Norden Farm paying tribute to international Motown icon Martin Gaye.


EVENT: Water Fest, Forbury Gardens Reading, Sat 15 Jun

Reading Abbey Ruins with blade in the background
Celebrating its 30th year, WaterFest will stretch from Reading’s Abbey Ruins, Forbury Gardens and Blake’s Lock. Expect a party atmosphere in Reading that day with entertainment, fun for the kids, waters activities, boats and more more more. The watch this space because the Abbey Ruins will be the backdrop for outdoor theatre and pop up cinema in the summer months.


BOOK NOW: Ladies Night feat. Art Dodger, Windsor Racecourse, Mon 17 Jun

Love a fashion, fizz and the chance to see party on a school night? Hell yes! Windsor Racecourse’s legendary Ladies Night is back. Travel in style and arrive by boat whilst popping a prosecco or two. There’s racing, a Royal Ascot fashion preview, the Best Dressed competition and Artful Dodger will be tearing up the paddock with a floor-filling DJ set. Book now.


EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, now – Sun 10 Nov 2019

Anthony Caro Cliveden National Trust red industrial sculpture on woodland walk
If you loved Cliveden’s Lynn Chadwick sculptures last year, then the new installation Anthony Caro exhibition might get you sitting up like a meerkat. This English modernist artist, who assisted Henry Moore in the 1950s, is most famous for his abstract industrial pieces but briefly created figurative artworks too. You’ll find his pieces doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill.




If you’re heading for the Big Smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital, Summer by the River (until 28 Aug). Outdoor cinema including a HAWT Jason Momoa in Aquaman (4 Jun), a live screening of Royal Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet (11 Jun) as well as concerts, workshops, comedy and quizzes. You can scoff and drink to your heart’s content from the obligatory artisan stalls and then join in one of the fitness events to assuage the self-loathing. Or if you’re heading to Covent Garden, there’s Covent Garden in Bloom (until Sat 15 Jun), with floral artists Fleurs de Villes returning Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. All the retailers and restaurants muck in with botanical window displays, it’s super pretty.

Also this month is the first ever Chilterns Live festival, just over the border in Herts (Sat 29 Jun). Held in Pendley Meadow, Tring, it has a stellar pop line-up of Busted, above, (this got a few squeals in Muddy HQ), Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Feeling. And history buffs, we’ve got you covered too with Chalke Valley History Festival, nr Salisbury an extensive programme of talks, debates and interactive events and a mega-impressive list of speakers from Dan Snow to Mariella Frostrup, with a jaunt through Al Murray, Harry Enfield, Niall Ferguson and Antonia Fraser in between. Oh, and there’s camping too (24 – 30 Jun).


KIDS: New Children’s Garden, Kew Gardens, London 

As if it wasn’t already a prime spot for day tripping, the clever sausages at Kew Gardens have added a brand new Children’s Garden. Two years in the making, the interactive garden (aimed at ages 2 – 12) has over 100 varieties of mature trees, bamboo tunnels, hammocks and in-ground trampolines all under the cover of a huge 200 year old oak tree.



Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include Beasts of London, above, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals. Or you can check out the V&A‘s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of  miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive (until Sun 16 Feb 2020); also at the V&A is this year’s biggie, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, which traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him (until Sun 1 Sept). It is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance – it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A. Also worth checking out is the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg (until Sun 11 Aug).



The Hidden Garden, Henley Royal Regatta, Wed 3 – Sun 7 Jul

If you’re heading down to Henley Regatta this July and want to escape the riff raff (not that Henley does real riff raff, of course) book now for The Hidden Garden. New to the Regatta this year, the luxe but laid-back riverside venue on the Berkshire bank offers brilliant views, VIP hospitality, musical entertainment, gourmet food and – most importantly – lashings of booze (chilled Henriot champagne and local favourite, Mr Hobbs gin to be precise). Pre-booking is a must so grab your other half, bezzies or workies and get organised pronto!

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