Hello July! What’s on this month in Berks
It's the final countdown (we hope) to Freedom Day! Fill your diary with fun this July – we've got wacky theatre, magical circus, live music and aerial yoga.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
DANCE: Future Cargo, The Base Greenham, 27 Jul
A truck arrives from an unknown location with a mystery shipment. This time it’s not the tipsy online shopping you did at bedtime. This is Future Cargo a contemporary sci-fi dance show performed in a shipping container on the back of a truck. It’s going to be a strange outdoor spectacle for a headphone-wearing audience. We likey a lot.
EVENT: Gin Thursdays, Newbury Racecourse, 1, 8 and 22 Jul
The beauty of lighter evenings (sunshine or not) is that the opportunities to put on a nice shoe and totter out for the night are seemingly endless – and Newbury Racecourse does not disappoint with gin and gee gees. Yup, Gin Thursdays are back to take you one a world tour of premium gins, plus a resident DJ and great racing. Get your gang together and make yours a double.
DAYS OUT: Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor Castle, 1-4 July
Giddiup! The Royal Windsor Horse Show’s one of the hottest horsey events in the UK. Her Maj will make an appearance (well, it is in her backyard), and the many of the Royal Family drop in. Expect to see top flight show jumping, dressage, fun kids events, with a bit of pomp and ceremony from the Household Cavalry. It”s a fun, family affair, so trot on and grab a ticket.
KIDS: Kite making workshops, Norden Farm On Demand, 1-31 Jul
Make like Mary Poppins and join Zoom kite-making workshop. This is your time to shine and create a kite to send into the sky. The classes usually take place to create windy wonders for Norden Farm’s annual kite-flying festival. Get ready for launch. Altogether now! Let’s go fly a kite… and send it soaring.
KIDS: Beat The Street, Wokingham, now – 20 Jul
Join the thousands of people taking part in Wokingham’s giant interactive street game, Beat The Street. Covering 1,145 miles, get your mitts on a whizzy fob or card and find the beep boxes and win prizes. Game on!
EXHIBITIONS: Game Plan – Board Games Rediscovered, The Base Greenham, now – 5 Sep
Ah, remember when gaming required more than one player and came out of a box? Take a screen break and head to The Base’s new exhibition – Game Plan – Board Games Rediscovered – on load from London’s V&A. It’s not a look and don’t touch exhibition, there’s plenty on display that you can try out and a nice reminder how much fun (and competitive) getting friends and family round a game can be.
THEATRE: As You Like It and Just So, The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor
As usual, there’s loads of treats on at The Watermill Theatre. This bijou theatre takes it outside during the summer – making the most of the gardens and the theatre’s stunning riverside location. Don’t miss Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It (until 24 Jul) which will have a eco set and costume with music inspired by Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Taylor Swift. Loving the sound of that. The grand garden finale is a semi-staged concert performance of Just So (30 Jul – 4 Sep) – showcasing five of Rudyard Kipling’s stories. Book tickets here.
ART: Jerome & Sae Youen: Artists in Residence, Madejski Stadium Reading, 3 and 17 Jul
Emerging artist duo Jerome. and Sae Yeoun Hwang use play to explore drawing, otherness and power. Join them in the Sir John Madejski Art Gallery where they will be setting up in our built-in studio to start conversations through drawing.
OUTDOORS: The Last Abbot of Reading, Rabble Theatre @ The Abbey Ruins Reading, now – 3 Jul
If you’re looking for a backdrop that atmospheric, dramatic and nails the period brief, the Reading’s Abbey Ruins – originally founded by Henry I in 1112– is it. Outdoor theatre has been performed here since extensive conservation work completed. This month, to mark the 900th anniversary of the Abbey, the Rabble Theatre will bring to life the extraordinary story of Reading’s Last Abbot (now-3 Jul). Tickets from £16. Then the Progress Theatre will take over the open air stage to perform Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy Romeo & Juliet (14-24 July). Tickets from £18.
DAYS OUT: Prince Philip: A Celebration, Windsor Castle, Windsor
A portrait of The Duke of Edinburgh by Ralph Heimans is the centrepiece of a new 120-piece exhibition at Windsor Castle celebrating his life. Prince Philip: A Celebration has been curated by the Royal Collection Trust and features items marking key moments during his official duties for the Queen. From the coronation robe and coronet he wore during the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 and his personal desk to a giant grasshopper wine cooler, it’s a moving tribute to the UK’s longest serving consort.
THEATRE: The Handlebards – Macbeth, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 7 Jul
It’s going to take more than a boil wash to get that out! The world’s first cycling theatre company, The HandleBards, pedal from venue to venue with all the set, props and costume necessary to perform Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Forget the tears and tragedy, they pedal into Maidenhead for a frantic, full-of-beans show like you’ve never seen before.
THEATRE: This Time, Corn Exchange Newbury, 7 Jul
Circus with a difference. Put your ringmasters outfit down, it’s not that kind of show. Ockham’s Razor – and award-winning circus theatre company – uses trapeze and a swinging cradle with a cast of flexible friends aged 11-60 to tell a story about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves.
SPORTS: SUP Evening Paddle, The Great House Sonning, 12 Jul
Watch the sunset from your SUP in Sonning. As someone who spends more time in the water than on the board, the fading light will be a blessing. For more competent paddlers, it’s a beautiful spot to waft about on the river.
OUTDOOR THEATRE: Pride & Prejudice and The Importance of Being Earnest, Welford Park Newbury, 14 – 15 Jul
Two outdoor theatre shows coming to the stunning grounds of Welford park (the OG home of GBBO). Take your pick from The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde’s tale of 24hr (Victorian) party people who have loose morals, bad manners and a low opinion of marriage. Or Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice – a good girls’ guide to marrying well – with Mr Darcey emerging from the lake? Unlikely to happen in this production, but we can dream.
OUTDOOR CINEMA: Luna Cinema, Ascot Racecourse, 16-18 Jul
Giddy up to Ascot for four nights of fabulous feel-goof films under the stars. The giant cinema screen will be positioned on the Old Paddock of the racecourse with this stunning backdrop of the grandstand. The Luna Bar will be fully stocked (good job with the expected Muddy stampede, and there will be food to soak it all up). What’s being screened? Choose from Rocketman (15 Jul), Dirty Dancing (16 Jul), The Greatest Showman Sing-A-Long (17 Jul) and Pretty Woman (18 Jul). Tickets £17.
MUSIC: The Vinyl Frontier: Singles Championships, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 16 Jul
It’s the vinyl countdown: eight singles warriors bring their fave 7in discs to battle it out to be crowned 2021 Vinyl Frontier Singles Champion. They’ll battle it out through three rounds. Only the audience can make sure they live spin another day.
COMEDY: NOTFLIX, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 17 Jul
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.
OUTDOOR CINEMA: A Star is Born, Cobbs Farm Hungerford, 17 Jul
Cobbs Farm’s blissfully rural location is a lush spot for outdoor cinema action. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Oscar winning A Star Is Born will be screened on 17 July. Don’t miss the legendary Cobbs barbecue menu. All the delicious drinks snacks, ice-cream, and popcorn you can consume or BYO. Doors open 7pm, film starts at 9.15pm.
WORKSHOP: Riverside Aerial Yoga, Swan At Streatley, 18 Jul
Ready for take off? Grounded from foreign holidays but not for aerial yoga in the stunning riverside garden at the Swan at Streatley. Taught by resident Yoga Instructor Yasmin Strong of Grace & Gravity Studio, you will be taken through a series of relaxing yoga moves, gently supported by silks that allow you to see the world from a different perspective. I’m booked in, so who’s joining me? 90mins tuition for £47.31.
THEATRE: Gifford’s Circus, Stonor Park, Henley, 22 Jul – 2 Aug
Roll up, roll up, Gifford’s Circus is coming to town! From the imagination of the brilliant late Nell Gifford, the trope’s brand new show The Hooley will feature Celtic dance, fairies, pixies, trolls and a whole host of magical creatures alongside Gifford stalwart (and my all time favourite clown) Tweedy. Adult tickets £25, Kids £15.
OUTDOOR CINEMA: Summer Screens, Caversham Court Gardens, Reading, 22-24 Jul
Caversham Courts Gardens is an under-rated riverside park and now it has the Summer Screens cinema too. Balmy evening staring at the big screen? Race you. There are three films on the Caversham movie reel kicking off in July with The Breakfast Club (22 Jul); Grease (23 Jul) and Thelma & Louise (24 Jul). You last chance to snag your spot will 17 and 18 Sep, but the films are TBC. A selection of cinema drinks and snacks will be available. Doors open at 7.30pm, film starts at 9pm.
MUSIC: Heritage Live, Englefield House Theale, 23-24 Jul
If your teens are dressing like you did in the 90s, Brit Pop band Supergrass (originally from Oxford) could be right up their street. They will be headlining a summer outdoor gig in the grounds of Englefield House on 22 July. Part of the Heritage Live Concert series, the band will take to the stage at this impressive stately home in Theale supported by Feeder and Sports Team. The following night (23 July) Boy George and Culture Club will perform with Lulu, Kim Wilde and Gabrielle. Tickets from £50pp.
THEATRE: Smashed2, Welford Park Newbury, 23 Jul
It’s going to get messy – 80 oranges, seven watermelons and nine performers. Smashed2 is juggling reinvented, using plenty of explosive fruit and slow-motion comedy as they take is witty look at the strained relations between men and women. Inspired by the work of the great choreographer Pina Bausch, Gandini Juggling combine juggling in a dance theatre style, performed with meticulous unison and split-second timing.
FESTIVAL: Pennfest, Penn, 23-24 July
For a serene Bucks village, Penn really does manage to pull in an impressive line-up of rabel-rousers. Hello, Craig David, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, and Big Narstie! Other acts will include Razorlight, Ella Eyre, The Charlatans, and Ms Banks. Pitch up your tent in the scenic field next-door and get ready to party. Weekend tickets from £117.70.
MUSICA: Last Night Of The Heritage Proms, Englefield House Theale, 25 Jul
Opera star and I’m A Celebrity inmate Russell Watson will perform The Last Night Of the Heritage Proms at Englefield House in Theale on 25 July. The concert will feature the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by David Arnold, composer, arranger and producer Mike Moran, coloratura soprano Christina Johnston, and very special guests The NHS Choir. There will also be a Spitfire flypast and fireworks finale. Union Jack flags at the ready for a patriotic sway to Land Of Hope And Glory – £1 from every ticket sold will be donated towards NHS charities.
Romeo & Juliet, Shaw House, Newbury, 25 Jul
Immersion Theatre is a multi-award-winning company taking a few productions outside this summer – and they’re making a couple of stops at the historic Shaw House in Newbury. Starting with an evening performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on 25 Jul (adult tickets £12). Book now.
OUTDOOR THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Stubbings House Maidenhead, 27-31 Jul
Nothing says summer like an outdoor theatre production in the gardens of big with a posh picnic. Stubbings House in Maidenhead will host The Garden Players this month for five open air performances of Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor. ‘Wives may be merry, and yet honest too’. Of yes they can. Just ask the Royal Family.
KIDS: This Noisy Isle, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 29-31 Jul
Drop a couple of Tramadol, this show is INTERACTIVE. A word that leaves parents trembling, but kids go nuts for. A Noisy Isle at Norden Farm is a treasure-hunt show that takes you off to a strange, magical new world. Your mission is to workout the puzzles and steer your team through the choppy seas to search for your new home.
OUTDOOR CINEMA: Dinton Pastures Country Park, Wokingham, 30 Jul – 28 Aug
Definitely not a film for make-up tips, but Heath Ledger’s demented Joker in The Dark Knight (13 Aug)is one of his finest. It was Heath’s penultimate film, released months after his death, and won him a posthumous Oscar. Who was Batman? Oh, some fella called Christian Bale, but Heath totally steals the show. Grab your picnic blanket and see it this summer at Dinton Pastures on 13 Aug. Not your bag? They’re also showing Back To The Future (30 Jul), Dirty Dancing (31 Jul) and The Greatest Showman (14 Aug); 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls (both 27 Aug) and Grease (28 Aug). Bit of a festival vibe at this one, with music, street food and drink stands.
MAGIC: Ben Hart: 2 Metre Magic, Corn Exchange Newbury, 31 Jul
Remember Ben Hart the rather quirky but attractive magician from BGT? Well he’s coming to Berkshire to perform his most intimate magic show yet in an evening of ‘close-up magic’. A rare chance to witness up-close Ben’s acclaimed sleight-of-hand, set against a backdrop of hilarIous patter.
KIDS: Wind In the Willows, South Hill Park, Bracknell, 31 Jul – 1 Aug
South Hill Park Arts Centre is a hidden Berkshire gem – a grand design with stunning gardens and an amphitheatre for a summer season of outdoor theatre. First up is Wind In The Willows (31 Jul–1 Aug) – inspired by Berkshire, so it’s practically a homecoming – created by Cats Grin Theatre Company. Don’t forget to pack a brolly, pac-a-mac and a blanket. Buy tickets here.