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What’s on in May

MAY 2018

Royal Wedding, Windsor, Sat 19 May

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement photos Frogmore House Windsor Berkshire

Image: Alexi Lubomirski

There is one ticket in town that everyone wants this month and it’s a FROW seat to the Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Invite got lost in the post? *Sniff* Mine too. Heading to Windsor, if you can’t get near the action, The Boatman will be screening the I dos, fizz and food by the river. Cliveden House is throwing a glam garden party and The Jelly Lounge Windsor has a day of royal themed fun. There’s loads of Big Fat Berkshire Royal Wedding events, so I’ll do a post.


DollyWould, South Street Arts Reading, Thu 10 May

Big blonde hair, painted drag faces and Dolly Parton T Shrts in DollyWould

Love Dolly? Who doesn’t?! (Fingers planted in ears to the haters) I love her and by all accounts so do Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit, the award-winning duo behind Sh!t Theatre. Part theatrical improv, part performance art, SH!t Theatre are renowned for their political satires, but their new show puts the plastic and utterly fantastic Dolly Parton under the microscope. The show was a 100% sell out at Edinburgh Fringe, so book up. 


Lynn Chadwick, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Wed 1 May – Oct 2018

Lynn Chadwick metal work sculptures of human form at Cliveden House

If you loved the Benar Venet sculptures at Cliveden last year, then the new installation of English sculpture and artist Lynn Chadwick’s awesome abstract metal works inspired by the human form and natural world. His big, bold sculptural pieces are doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill.


Al Shaqab Lockinge Day, Newbury Racecourse, Sun 19 May

Newbury races hospitality dress hats binoculars

The Queen’s favourite racecourse and she’s got a prior engagement. A Royal Wedding kinda trumps a day at the races. – but not for you. You’re invited to the Prince Harry and Meghan’s ‘I dos’ (well, it’ll be shown on a big screen), enjoy bubbles,  a classy picnic and it’s the perfect excuse to show off your style credentials. The Most Stylish Racegoer will be picked – and there are prizes. Oh, and the racing’s pretty good too.


Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor,  Wed 9- Wed 16 May

Show jumper Carl Hester jumping Big Ben fence Royal Windsor Horse Show

Image: Kent Farrington

Giddiup! The Royal Windsor Horse Show’s one of the hottest horsey events in the UK. Her Maj and Prince Philip are almost guaranteed to make an appearance (well, it is in their backyard), and the many of the Royal famalam 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.


Léoube Supper Club, Bel & the Dragon Reading and Cookham Wed 16 May

Leoube organic rose wine pink summer flowers and large silver ice bucket

Nothing says summer like a cold glass of rosé. yes the weather needs to get the memo, but that doesn’t mean that out tastebuds should’t be tantalised.  The Bel & the Dragon is hosting one of its legendary Supper Clubs at its Reading and Cookham pubs, showcasing the Léoube Estate’s artisan wines with a menu matched to perfection. Join the feast and be tickled pink. £60 pp.


One Woman Sex And The City, South Hill Park, Fri 4 May

theatrical comedian Kerry Ipema sits with hand splayed next to her face as she sits on stage performing One Woman Sex And The City – 6 series, 24 characters, 1 woman

SATC  is back… in Berkshire. But not as you know it. While Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall are knocking chunks out of each other with their Manolos, New Yorker Kerry Ipema will take to the Bracknell stage in her One Woman Sex And the City: A Parody of Love, Friendship and Shoes. Longest name for a show ever! Grab a Cosmo and laugh until it hurts as the tantric sex demo, post-it note, and “he’s just not that into you” episodes come flooding back.


Street Kitchen BBQ, Swan At Streatley, Sun 6 May

Not only is this the last day you can nominate your favourite lifestyle businesses in the Muddy Awards 2018, it’s also The Swan at Streatley’s Spring shindig. I’ve booked the sunshine, Sear Street Kitchen are cooking on a live fire – already drooling at the thought go smoked chicken tacos, barbecued lamb buns and slow cooked pork. The Swan’s got the bar and stunning riverside view covered. Fun starts at 12pm-6pm.


Family Fun Day, Windsor Racecourse, Mon 7 May

big wheel lights up the night sky at a vintage fun fair

No ned to bankrupt yourself over the bank holiday weekend keeping the rug rats enterained, Windsor Racecourse to the rescue. Its annual Family Fun Day is back and for the first time ever the rides are all free as a bean. Yup, they’ll cost nada. There’s an inflatable assault course, dodgems, ferris wheel, pony rides, dragon coaster and loads more. Grown ups have to pay to get in, but under 18s are FREE.


A Brave Face, South Street Arts Reading, Thu 3 – Fri 4 May

A Brave Face soldier and child Vamos Theatre

A Brave Face explores Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, an unseen and often unrecognised injury of war, and the impact it can have on even the closest of families. With compassion, humour and fearlessness, Vamos brings its trademark, wordless, full mask style to a story that needs to be told.


RB Live, Manon, UK cinema broadcast. Thu 3 May

Royal Ballet Manon dancer holder female ballet dancer upside down in the splits

Another chance to see the best of the best flex their rippling muscles in tights and tulle. The Royal Ballet will perform Manon live from Covent Garden with Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov in the lead roles. What’s it all about? Manon’s brother her selling his her off to the highest bidder when she meets ‘The One’ Des Grieux. They elope, she has sleep with a rich fella for a life of luxury and their lives unravel from  there. Watch and enjoy from the comfort of your own county.

See it at Corn Exchange Newbury, South Hill Park Bracknell, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Showcase Cinema Reading and Vue Cinemas

Savage, South Hill Park Bracknell, 23 May

Futuristic dancers wearing white with face masks

Exhilarating audiences with its explosive, edgy and highly impactful performances, 18 Chrysalis dancers explode onto the Wilde Theatre in the world première performance of Savage. Choreographed by Artistic Director Jodie Blemings, Savage incorporates delicate beauty with aggression and power to explore emotive stories of love, lust, loss, pain, elation and viral combat.


Friday Night Pop Up Bar, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, from Fri 11 May

bottles of gin lined up on 2 wooden shelves in a bar

Fancy sitting in the sunshine with stunning views across the Berkshire countryside, while your kids safely run feral outside playing games? Sign me up, baby. I’m thinking chilled rosés and gin and tonics and bit of food. This utopia is a reality. Throughout the summer, the lovely team at Birch Associates Events will be running a pop up bar at Douai Pavillion in Woolhampton every Friday night. If you’re in the area, pop in and pop that cork.


Grumpy Old Women To The Rescue, Hexagon Reading, Sun 6 May

Grumpy Old Women starring Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane and Lizzie Roper

Fed up with flogging their guts out and alway having to be in charge? Join the Grumpy Old Women (Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane, Lizzie Roper) who have put their knobbly old feet up in glorious retirement, free at last to practise their extreme colouring-in, ukelele orchestra and novelty fudge-making. A riot of truth be told laughs.


BalletBoyz, Hexagon Reading, Fri 11 May

Male dancers BalletBoyz performing FOURTEEN bar chests and wearing tights with exposed leg muscles printed on them

There’s more to these boyz than a beautiful carved physique and the agility of a gazelle, the BalletBoyz are ridiculously talented and the fact they all look pretty hot is just a billy bonus for the rest of us. The company will perform four brand new works, Fourteen Days – named because all choreography and music was created in just 2 weeks – and then return for a crowd-pleaser. A visual treat.


Jason Manford, Muddle Class, Hexagon Reading, Wed 23 May

Comedian Jason Manford brown hair bears blue floral shirt holding mic

Ooh, isn’t Jason Manford the man of the moment. He’s telly hosting Big Heads (laugh ’til you cry funny, btw) and What Would Your Kids Do? AND he’s just kicked off a huge tour. ‘Muddle Class’ will cover Jason’s life, growing up working class but growing into middle class – causing much confusion!


To Helen And Back, South Street Arts Reading, Wed 16 May

Comedian Helen with medical manual surrounded by medical instruments

In sickness and in health, Helen Seymour admits you into a surreal hospital to create a funny, unique and powerful theatrical experience. It blurs the boundaries between spoken word, comedy and performance art. So come on, be on the look-out while Helen sneaks around wards, X-ray rooms and cupboards to discover the bizarre and the bemusing on the road to recovery.


Newbury Spring Festival, various locations Sat 12 – Sat 26 May

Sting musicians using violin bows to attack the bass man Graffiti Classics

This whopping music festival has grown over the last 40 years to now attract the very best in classical, jazz and world music acts. Over 40 concerts will take place this year from 12 to 26 May in some glorious venues, including Englefield House, Highclere Castle, Donnington Priory and the Corn Exchange Newbury where you can catch saxophonist YolanDa Brown and Graffiti Classics (above).


Fizzlebert Stump: The Boy Who Ran Away From the Circus (and joined the library), South Street Arts Reading,

Fizzlebert Stump runs away from the circus puppet wearing top hat and ring masters coat

Roll up, roll up! We’re running away to the circus for a 50 minute high flying, tightrope-walking, slightly hypnotizing adventure. Fizzlebert Stump: The Boy Who Ran Away From The Circus is a funny adaptation of AF Harrold’s much- loved book for children aged 6-10 featuring puppetry, magic and a lion with false teeth!


Caversham Arts Trail, various locations, 12-13 and 18-20 May

Julie Simmonds & David Pope Ceramic oriental style bowl painted with red yellow and grey modern design

Hot on the heels of the Henley Arts Trail is this one based around Caversham and Emmer Green, north of Reading. Visit the studios, workshops, homes and gardens of 37 talented local artists (including Julie Simmonds & David Pope Ceramics, above). See their latest projects, ask questions, buy their art and be inspired! 37 artists in 17 venues the trail runs across two weekends: Sat 12 & Sun 13 May and Fri 18, Sat 19 & Sun 20 May, 11am – 5pm.

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Open Air Cinema: Bridesmaids, Swan At Streatley, Sat 19 May

Bridesmaid movie with bride and 5 bridesmaids wearing pink satin short dresses

Light, camera… outdoor cinema action. If you’re running in the opposite direction to the Royal Wedding Windsor massive, then head to The Swan At Streatley for a wedding that’s more fun than a night out with Holly Willoughby. The Swan at Streatley will screen comedy classic Bridesmaids by the river, you can stuff your face on lush street food and hit the well stocked bar hard.


Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Wed 2 – Thu 3 May
Fashion designer icon punk Vivienne Westwood red curly hair metal rimmed spec eating a banana
If you’ve missed the Westwood doc in Reading and Newbury, here’s your chance to see it in Maidenhead. Anyone else a bit mad about Westwood? And I mean the super cool punk icon, NOT the cheesey DJ – just to be super clear! We’re giddy at the thought of checking out this (first) documentary about the legend’s life and work and, we are gonna make sure we dress appropriately outrageously for the occasion! Yaaaaaaaaa.

Wedding Bells of Windsor Music Festival, Moat Garden Windsor Castle, Sat 28 May

Three young girls playing dress up in royal court clothes Windsor Castle

The Wedding celebrations are gonna be geeked out until autumn, I reckon. A week after the I dos, Windsor Castle will celebrate royal wedding past and present with a music festival in the Moat Garden. Take part in special wedding-themed storytelling sessions, picnic beneath the Round Tower and listen to live music throughout the day. Perfect opportunity to catch up on some zzzz in the sunshine.


A Shot In the Saddle, Queen’s Walk Plaza Reading, Sat 5 and 12 May

Wooden stable block for horses

Great for teens and tech obsessives who could do with seeing daylight – vitamin D levels running dangerously low. A Shot in The Saddle is a murder mystery treasure hunt against the clock. Reading is the set for this real life whodunnit, fusing live action, escape room style puzzles  and cryptic clue cracking using smartphones. #WhoKilledGideonUp


Patterns Photographic Exhibition, Forbury Place Reading, Wed 9 May

Woman on bike amid curving lines Tony Sellen photograph called Lines

Image: Tony Sellen

Gawd, I wish I could take a good pic. I guess that’s the difference between an iPhone snap and an expensive camera used by someone who knows what they are doing. Anyhoo, see how the pros do it at the Photographic Angle’s FREE exhibition called Patterns. The photographers have captured hidden geometry that surrounds us, including this image by Tony Sellen called Lines.


The Band At The End Of The World, Market Place Newbury, Fri 4 May

Steam Punk musicians perform on a wheeled one machine band Newbury Market Place

The end of the world is nigh! These clowns think it could happen right here, right now. Ramshackilious will ride into Newbury in a cloud of raucous, brass heavy music, driving their homemade, water spurting, flaming and smoking battle-church, dressed in punk marching band attire to educate and entertain us as we edge towards an apocalyptic micro-climate. Bonkers. Free event.

Dear Zoo, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 5 – Sun 6 May

Dear Zoo stage show three actors lean on the red box delivery saying Danger from the the zoo

Nostalgia fest as Rod Campbell’s 1982 kid’s classic is brought to life on stage for the first time ever. Bit of shocker since it has sold more than 8million copies worldwide. My boys loved this story about a child writing to the zoo for a pet. Expect puppets and a catchy tune.


NT Live: Macbeth, UK live broadcast, Thu 10 May

Actress Anne Marie Duff Macbeth National Theatre

Best known for her role in Shameless and playing Queen Elizabeth I in The Virgin Queen, Anne Marie Duff takes to Southbank’s National Theatre stage to tackle Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth. The production will be broadcast live, so grab your popcorn and settle in for this post-modern.


Healthy Food For Busy Mums, The Wellbeing Centre Newbury, Sat 19 May

Mums and dads worry a lot about what they are feeding their children, but often neglect to eat well themselves. Guilty as charged. Flick of Ridgeway Nutrition is running a fab 2 hour workshop to help you create tasty, healthy meals for all the fat, that you can knock up quickly and won’t use every pan. Spaces are limited, book up, £20pp.


Style Clinic, Fifi & Moose Newbury, Fri 18 May

woman wearing white t shirt slogan dress shouting

Lost your fashion mojo? Stuck in a style rut? Panic not, head to the fab Fifi & Moose women’s boutique in Newbury and stylist Claire McNestry will help you guide you to colours and shapes that’ll make you look, er, hot. Did I mention the bubbles, discounts and goody bag? Make way coming through.

Fifi & Moose, Weavers Walk, Newbury, 10am-3.30pm, Fri May 18


Sonning Regatta, Sat 26 May

tow path walk in Sonning, Berkshire, with the river running past and an old red brick humpback bridge surrounded by willows

If you’re going to mess about by the river in a Wind In The Willows styles, then you can’t beat the Sonning Regatta. It’s a fun, family event with races for all ages and all rowing abilities – from aspiring Redgraves to novices. You can also try a dongola or a katakanu. Er, no clue – but the beer tent and BBQ sound right up my street.


Ballet Centre, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 24 May

Ballet Centreal Blck Swan dancers wearing black tulle, red hair accessory surrounded by smoke

Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney (lead dancer for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures), Ballet Central returns with a new programme showcasing the best in dance theatre. These young dancers on the cusp of their professional careers. See them here first.



Open Studio: 30 Years, West Berks and North Hants, Tue 1 – Thu 31May

Mixed media art colourful pledges Sarah Moorcroft textiles

Amazing art in open studios and private spaces across West Berkshire and North Hampshire throughout May and totally free! Simply go to the Open Studios website, find an artist and pop along for a nose. The main exhibition is INSIGHT at Arlington Arts Centre where 123 artists will show their pieces. My faves include Tom Cartmill’s drawings at his Burghfield studio and textile artist Sarah Moorcroft (she’s worked for everyone from Monsoon to Missoni) at Lower Way Farm Thatcham.


Midsummer Night’s Dream, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, Thu 10 May – Sat 16 Jun

Midnight blue background and purple neon A Midsummer Night's Dream Watermill Theatre Bagnor

The Bard is back! Following on from the huge success of Twelfth Night and Romeo + Juliet, it’s the turn of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be performed by the Watermill ensemble. The staging’s always clever, fusing actor musicianship with one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies.


Supercar Sunday, Stonor Park, Sun 20 May

Calling all Penelope Pitstops! Get yourselves down to Stonor Park, the idyllic backdrop of this annual supercar event, featuring a parade of pioneering race cars, classic sportscars, and modern hypercars. It’s set to be a fantastic family day out where you can enjoy a picnic – once the cars have left the lawn of course, health and safety fans – try some exciting street food or let loose in the Wonder Woods. Book now and save £3 per ticket.

Pub in the Park, Marlow, Thu 17 – Sun 20 May

Music stage Pub in the park 2017 Brand new Heavies Marlow Bucks

Tom Kerridge has Marlow residents eating out of the palm of his hand (not literally, that would be disgusting). Pub In the Park was such a hit with the locals last year, it’s back with bells on. The food and music festival will see performances from the likes of Jamie Cullum, Texas, Melanie C, Razorlight, Soul II Soul, with kitchen kings James Martin, Paul Ainsworth, Atul Kocchar, The Crown at Bray’s Matt Larcombe serving up the top nosh. It’s pretty much a sell out, but Thursday tickets are still available.


Spring Jousting Tournament, Blenheim Palace, Sat 5 – Mon 7 May

knights on horseback charging in joust contest Blenheim Palace

Charrrrrrge! The annual Blenheim Palace ye olde joustingy thingy on the South Lawn featuring ‘The Knights of Royal England’. Falconry displays, archery, puppet shows, jesters and knights on horseback charging in the traditional tilt, and battling on foot with the mighty mace and quarter staff. Are you yawning? Well cheer up, lift your visor and head for the Champagne and Pimms tent!


Mapledurham Food Festival, Sat 5 –Sun 7 May

Grab your biggest pair of pants and head of to the 16th Century Mapledurham House for its much-loved food festival. I cannot think of a more beautiful place to stuff my face than on the banks of the River Thames. Enjoy the street food avenue, producers’ market, celebrity and local chef demonstrations, master classes and more. Plus there’s a new health and wellbeing element for those less greedy than me.


Reading Beer and Cider Festival, Christchurch Meadows Caversham, Thu 3– Sun 6 May

bottles craft beer in ice

If you’d rather hit the May Bank Holiday with more liquid refreshment, this weekend is the 24th Reading Beer and Cider Festival. There’s more than 550 craft beers and ciders to sample, food to soak it up and music. Tickets are from £21.40 in advance and include priority access, drinks vouchers and a souvenir glass. Taxiiiiiii!

The Design Museum, London, from Thurs 10 May to Sun 7 Oct

Fascinating exhibition of the sculptor turned couturier, Azzedine Alaïa, who found fans in Michelle Obama, Rhianna and Grace Jones, with his flair for couture and refusal to stick to fashion week deadlines.


Joan Jonas, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, 31 May

With all the talk of the pollution of our oceans , this timely four day programme sees the artist Joan Jonas preside over live drawing, readings and film projections exploring the poetic and ecological aspects of ocean life. If you don’t understand what the hell’s going, just walk purposefully around the Turbine Hall looking intelligent. It works for me every time.



The Little Welly Adventure Course, Culden Faw Estate Henley, 9-10 June

Little Welly adventure course pool of foam

Give it some welly and book now for this summer’s much-loved Little Welly kids’ obstacle course (even the most iPad-obsessed nippers can’t resist). It’s 9 and 10 June just over the border in in Henley. Go, go, go! Snap up your tickets.

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