What’s on this month
How the Other Half Loves, Theatre Royal Windsor, Wed 30 Aug – Sat 9 Sept
One secret love affair (is there any other kind?). Two disastrous dinner parties. Three couples heading for trouble. Nope it’s not the wrap party of Strictly Come Dancing, but the critically-acclaimed West End revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s hilarious tale of matrimonial mishaps, How The Other Half Loves.
Refresh Festival, Wellington Country Park, Sat 2 – Sun 3 Sept
Back to school countdown has begun, and I’ve got just the thing to ensure you’re ready for the new term. The Refresh Festival, hosted by Olympic legend Dame Kelly Holmes, is coming to Wellington Country Park. Fun, family friendly and focused on health, fitness and wellbeing, this is a chance to press the reset button. After a summer with the kids, I’m in.
Missiles, Politics and Peace, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sun 3 Sept
Have we learned anything from the Greenham Common nuclear showdown? BBC Radio Berkshire’s Andrew Peach will referee a live audience and a panel of experts as they explore whether the peace protests in the 80s and 90s made any difference to the nuclear power struggle of today.Pre-book and chain yourself to the Corn Exchange (joke).
Tractor Ted Little Farm Live, Stonor Park Henley, Sun 3 Sept
If your nippers’ love Tractor Ted and bouncy castles then 3 Sept is their lucky day. Head to Stonor Park, Henley, and let the them enjoy some end-of-the-summer-hols steam. They can hang out with animals, take a Tractor Ted driving test and try a bout of welly wanging. Which sounds rude to us but we’re sure it’s good wholesome fun.
Knights in Training, Windsor Castle, Sat 2 Sept
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. Now Windsor Castle will host its biggest ever Family Festival and train young knights to sword fight, joust and other heroic stuff. If they pass, they’ll be ‘knighted’ in St George’s Chapel.
La La Land, Bucklebury Farm Park, Sat 3 Sept
Ah Ryan Gosling, you gorgeous specimen of man. Sorry, he stars in La La Land with Emma Stone. Yes it’s a musical of the old school variety, yes it’s romantic and if you haven’t seen it yet, where have you been? No matter, here’s your chance. Go hang out in the bucolic splendour of Bucklebury Farm Park, just for Ryan.
Brian Blessed directs Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web, Mill at Sonning, until 9 Sep
Gordon’s Alive! It’s only national treasure Brian Blessed in the director’s chair at The Mill at Sonning. This Agatha Christie murder mystery classic sees Clarissa discover a dead body in her house. Do any of her house guests have anything to do with it, we wonder?
Festival of Food & Wine, Ascot Racecourse, Thurs 7 – Sun 10 Sept
Great British Bake Off is back, but if the C4 newbie is leaving you feeling a bit meh, ditch the gogglebox and head to Ascot Racecourse for a Festival of Food & Wine. Last year’s GBBO winner Candice Brown and chef Raymond Blanc will be in the mix alongside 100 food producers and a full day of flat racing. Tickets from £18 in advance.
Floralyn George, Arlington Arts Newbury, Thurs 7 Sept
The harp, but not as you know it, Floralyn George is a 21-year-old singer/songwriter, harpist and model. Hear tracks from her Debut EP When Light Falls Asleep at a special concert in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. A heady mix of Floralyn’s dynamic voice with the enchanting tone of her harp playing pop-rock, electro, dance and ambient.
DUST, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thurs 7 Sept
Roll up, roll up! Enter the black and white circus of upside-downs and inside-outs, where time freezes and friendships unfold. Blending circus skills, puppetry, movement and mime, Elusive Circus invites you to enter their fantasy world. A monochromatic scene awaits; one of lost horizons and tall, towering stories.
Grand opening, The Lexicon Bracknell, Thurs 7 Sept
On your marks, get set… shop! The super-swish multi-million pound shopping mecca that is The Lexicon opening this week. We’re excited to see the new Fenwicks with its denim and shoe studios plus it will stock Charlotte Tilbury – a beauty brand loved by Muddy. Others to look out for? A massive H&M, Kiki plus Gourmet Burger Kitchen,
Reading on Thames Festival, Sat 9 – Sun 17 Sept
Enter our very own water world at the first ever Reading on Thames Festival – an arts and culture fest using Reading’s rivers as a backdrop. Expect theatre, opera, writing, debate and exhibitions inspired by the local H2O. For the full programme of events go to website and get involved.
Goring & Streatley Food and Drink Festival, Sat Sept 9
Grab your roomiest trews and make your way to the Goring and Streatley for its annual food and drink festival – a fun, interactive and indulgent day out for all the family. Aside from the vast array of tasty samples, there will also be chef demos (including L’Ortolan’s Tom Clarke), competitions and boat rides.
Cookham & Maidenhead Arts Trail, Sat 16 – Sun 17 Sept
Always wondered what artist’s do all day? Now’s your chance to find out. Join the Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail and have a nose around the studios of the talented creatives working in the area and even buy, it you like. While you’re in the area pop into the Stanley Spencer Gallery and then grab a bite at the Bel & The Dragon.
Jon Culshaw Great British Take Off, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 9 Sept
Comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw is coming to Newbury for the first time following his sell-out tour. Unscripted, unrehearsed, spontaneous comedy as politicians, sports personalities and celebrities are all up for a roasting. You help choose which characters appear and what direction the show takes. What could go wrong?
Greenham: 100 years of War & Peace, Greenham Common, Fri 8 – Sat 9 Sept
Mention Greenham Common and you immediately think of the historic 19-year women’s peace protest against nuclear weapons. But there’s more. To celebrate 20 years of the Greenham Common Trust, this theatrical performance reflect’s Greenham during WW2, the arrival of the Ugandan Asian refugees, and the Cold War.
Paul Zerdin All Mouth, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 15 Sept
British ventriloquist, comedian and America’s Got Talent 2015 winner, Paul Zerdin, is returning to the UK with his live show. A whopping 22 million internet views, don’t lie. The man’s a genius. Join Paul, pre-teen Sam, cantankerous OAP Albert and the precocious Baby, plus two new characters, for a laugh-out-loud evening.
Pete Firman, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 29 Sept
Pete Firman‘s been described as a ‘poster boy for comedy magic’, but it’s a pretty small pool of talent, I would argue. That’s not to say he’s not brilliant. You’ll have spotted Pete on the telly box, he’s on loads of stuff, now is your chance to see him live at Norden Farm for a night of laughs and jaw-dropping magic.
Playground Victories, Broad Street Reading, Sat 9 – Sun 10 Sept
If you’re out shopping in Reading, you’re in for a treat. Street theatre in the form of a huge playground waits to be conquered. Performers climb, crawl, swing and storm over it playing children, adults, teenagers, drunken students, single mums and even wildlife. Playground Victories is free, simply turn up outside M&S at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.
The Gruffalo, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 22 – Sun 24 Sept
If you don’t know the words to The Gruffalo – where have you been? It is pretty much the only kids book read in our house. Now you can take a stroll with Mouse, Owl, Fox, Snake and the Gruffalo as they step out on stage. Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 + and their grown-ups. Oh help, oh no, it’s the Gruffalo!
The Two Man Show, South Street Arts Reading, Tues 26 Sept
Two Man Show is, in fact, performed by two women, Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen, aka RashDash. It’s billed as a look at masculinity and patriarchy and it unapologetically loud, snotty and bonkers with loud blasts of punkish songs and nudity. It’s also won a load of gongs, including the 2016 Fringe First Awards.
The Night Pirates 2017, The Hexagon Reading, Sat 23 Sept
The Night Pirates by Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright, is one of my fave kids books about a group of little girl pirates who descend on a young boy called Tom at bedtime. So I am thrilled to see the stage production coming to Reading, courtesy of A Rose Theatre Kingston & Nick Brooke. Brilliant set design, fab story – perfect for pirates.
Perfect Wedding, The Mill at Sonning, Thurs 28 Sept – Sat 18 Nov
Theatre’s answer to The Hangover, The Mill at Sonning’s new production The Perfect Wedding is all about the pitfalls of the stag do: naked girls, memory loss, cover ups and a bride on the warpath. The perfect medicine for all those thinking of getting married! Plus all tickets come with a two-course meal.
7Up, The Firestation Windsor, Sat 16 Sept
Find yourself going to club and begging them to play your favourite choons or thinking you could do better? Then 7UP is the night for you. Pick 7 songs, bring them along on an iPod, CD or other such thingy, play them loud. If they’re rubbish, you’ll get gonged of If they’re super-wicked and quite sick, you’ll win the coveted 7UP prize.
Rainbow Trust Boutique Sale, Island Mill Kingsclere, Mon 18 – Tues 19 Sept
Did someone say sale? Grab your flexible friend, sharpen your elbows and have your wits about you. Designer, new and nearly new clothes and accessories costing between £5 and £75 will be on sale. Plus a heavily discounted Samantha Sung collection, all in aid of children’s charity the Rainbow Trust. Serious bargains for serious shoppers.
Island Mill, Union Lane, Kingsclere, RG20 4SS (Mon 4.30pm-8.30pm; Tues 8.30am-2pm)
A Melody For Murder, Queen’s Walk Plaza Reading, Sat 30 Sept
Following the sell-out success of A Gamble With Death, the team are back with A Melody For Murder. Discover #WhoKilledStellaChord – a mega-rich singing diva murdered during rehearsals – using your smartphone, race around Reading to find hidden evidence, crack clues and converse with dodgy characters. Tickets £20
The Handlebards As You Like It, Norden Farm, Tues 12 Sept
Love Shakespeare? On yer bike! No seriously, join the world’s first cycling theatre company, The HandleBards, as they present an all-female bicycle-powered production of As You Like It. The company’s clocked up 6,000 miles to date and carry the set, props, and costumes on their bikes for a slightly bonkers, environmentally sustainable show.
Windsor Fringe Festival, Sat 23 Sept – Sat 7 Oct
If you like your arts fresh out of the box, head to Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of events and shows, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing judged by Hilary Mantel, Fay Weldon and Kenneth Branagh, to name a few.
Softer – Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, Thurs 28 Sep – 31 Dec
The fourth artist to to showcase contemporary art at Blenheim Palace, Holzer will be creating new work directly addressing our military and political history – eeek! For this show she’s developing large-scale light projections that will transform the Formal Gardens after dark in a series of night time public events. Sound cool right?
BOOK NOW FOR…
Cliveden Literary Festival, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct
The River Café’s Ruth Rogers, novelists Robert Harris and Ian McEwan, and historian Lady Antonia Fraser are among the speakers at Cliveden’s refined gathering. The 5 star country house hotel has held literary salons since the 17th century, inspiring writers from Pope to Swift to Tennyson, so you’ll certainly be in rarefied company. And be sure to have a snoop around the exquisite grounds while you’re there.