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This week

MON 17 – SUN 23 SEPT

FESTIVAL: Windsor Fringe Festival, various Windsor locations, Fri 21 – Sat 6 Oct 

Windsor fringe Festival 2018 collage of acts with colour filters

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 comedy, music, drama, DJs, arts, gin tasting and more, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh.


FILM: Ocean Film Festival World Tour, Hexagon Reading, Fri 21 Sep

Ocean Film Festival free diver capturing the beauty off the ocean floor in one btreath

Calling all ocean lovers! The annual Ocean Film Festival, by the team behind the Banff Film Festival UK Tour, this collection of short films celebrates divers, paddlers, surfers and oceanographers who live for the sea’s salt spray. You’ll be wowed by the mind-blowing marine life; exhilarated by the power of the waves, and inspired by the characters who dedicate their lives to answering the call of the ocean. One Breath –a film about champion free-diving husband and wife Eusebio and Christina. Self-taught photographers, they travel the world capturing the sensations of the ocean on one breath alone, with breathtaking results (see above).


THEATRE: Cirque Berserk, Theatre Royal Windsor, Tues 18 – Sat 22 Sep

Cirque Berserk UK woman spinning fire on her feet  Windsor Berkshire

Clowns and trapeze artists are far too tame for audiences these days having been drip fed DANGER on BGT. What Simon Cowell wants, Simon gets – and it doesn’t get bigger or better than Zippos’ Cirque Berserk. After a sell-out run in London, this theatre-circus spectacular arrives at the Theatre Royal Windsor for a night of circus skills, death-defying stunts and its legendary motorcycle Globe of Death. I am assured the emergency services are on stand-by. Eek.


ART: Cookham & Maidenhead Arts Trail, Tue 11 – Sun 23 Sep

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. I’m loving the work of the amazing figurative artist, Harriet Brittaine, swing by and see her work in the Nicholson Centre.  Head over to Cookham and mooch around the Stanley Spencer Gallery, then grab a bite at the Bel & The Dragon.


THEATRE: Trial By Laughter, Watermill Theatre Newbury, Thu 20 Sep – Sat 27 Oct

Trial By Laughter Ian Hislop Nick Newman Sketch drawing of a judge in wig typography headline and red background

Following on from the record-breaking play The Wipers Times (if you missed it, it’s on at the Oxford Playhouse 3-8 Sep), Ian Hislop and Nick Newman are back at the Watermill Theatre to premiere a new play. This true and extraordinary story is about the trial of William Hone – a forgotten hero of free speech, he was charged with ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’. The only crime he had committed was to be funny. Worse than that he was funny by parodying religious texts. And worst of all, he was funny about the despotic government and the debauched monarchy. I enjoy Ian Hislop’s razor-sharp wit so it’s bound to be a fun evening an it’s got a whiff of Private Eye…


TOUR: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep

To the tower! On this occasion you’ll keep your head. The iconic Round Tower dominates the Windsor skyline, and now you can take the 200 steps (wheeze… one too many ice creams this summer) to check out the epic view from the top. While the Queen’s holidaying in Balmoral,  poke around her gaff and see St George’s Chapel, Long Walk, Windsor Great Park and the London skyline.


Join us for this strange, beautiful and highly entertaining slice of performance. Ruthless and cheeky rascals Le G. Bistaki will thrill us with their wacky rituals, surreal video projections, passionate tango, gleaming white suits, a ton of corn and fiery fights. It’s like a Young Farmer Convention after a a night win the ciders. Maybe not. But this this bonkers postmodern promenade performance is like something straight out of a crazy French dream. See it to believe it.


FAMILY FUN: Big Draw A Long, Windsor Baptist Church, Sat 22 Sept

Art in the dark The Big Draw Festival 2018 glow in the paint art created by kids on the wall

Escape the digital nanny and get your kids to put pen to paper (positively prehistoric) – well, at least for a couple of hours. Join artist Tony De Saulles – illustrator of the Horrible Science books – in a Festival draw-a-long. Tony will explain how it’s done with lots of disgusting science facts, before the kids raid the art box to create their own masterpieces. Tickets £8.50. If Tony hasn’t tired them out, head over to Trinity St Stephen’s First School at 2pm for The Big Draw Festival. Always wise to keep the paint, glitter and pom poms away from your own home.


THEATRE: BULLISH, South Street Arts Reading, Sat 22 Sep

Bullish South Street Arts Reading woman wean black vest and bull mask tattoo on shoulder pink background

Fancy something a bit off piste? You got it! How about BULLISH. The premiered to a sell-out London run headlining ‘Come As You Are’ festival, the first festival celebrating trans, non-binary and gender-queer theatre. BULLISH pits ancient mythology against modern gender navigation to furiously disrupt, traverse and rewrite the rulebook. Stepping into the ring with a gender fierce ensemble of hopers and renegades, It’s a story about packing, passing, and gambling your way out of the labyrinth. Told you it was different.


The Great British Gin Festival, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 22 Sep

Drinking boots on, peeps, the UK’s biggest Fin Festival Tour is coming to Royal Windsor Racecourse. A whopping 100 different gin from around the world will be available to taste (rude not to), a bevvy of Tom Cruises will be juggling bottles to create the coolest cocktails, plus talks and presentations for producers and industry experts. Get your gang together and make yours a double. Taaaaaaxi!


COMEDY: Gregg Wallace: Doesn’t Get Tougher Than This, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 22 Sep

Masterchef UK TV presenter Gregg Wallace bald, black t shirt half framed glasses

Leaping out of the frying pan into the fire, Gregg Wallace is putting his fork down long enough to make his stand up debut. What can your expect from the former greengrocer cum Masterchef presenter? Funny behind the scenes tales with demos and audience fun and games. He’ll answer anything, shares classic anecdotes and dishes up MasterChef’s juiciest bits. Just don’t spell his name wrong on social…


THEATRE: Shakesbeer In Love, Windsor & Eton Brewery, Fri 21 – Sat 22 Sep


The Bard, beer and tales of love. It’s like my first date with Mr Muddy. Put your beer goggles on for Shakespeare’s greatest lovers as they teach us lessons in L.O.V.E. From the giddiness of Romeo and Juliet to the heartbreak of Ophelia, the Butterfly Theatre Company – renowned for their productions in weird and wonderful places – return to Windsor and Eton Brewery to perform Shakesbeer In Love – a night of passion among the barrels. Tickets £16 (£13 concessions).



FILM: The House With Clocks In Its Walls, UK cinema release,  Fri 21 Sep

The House with a clock in its wall Jack Black and Cate Blanchett Universal Pictures

Image: Universal Pictures

Based on the gothic horror children’s novel by John Bellairs, orphan Lewis goes to live with his mysterious uncle who turns out to be a mediocre warlock, living next door to a good witch. The previous owners of the house were plotting to destroy the world and had hidden a clock in its walls eternally ticking towards alignment and ultimately annihilation. This family magical adventure stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett and sounds like just the ticket as the nights draw in.



THEATRE: Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre, London, Tues 18 Sep – Wed 19 Jan 2019

Super thesps Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, star in Shakespeare’s tale of ill-fated lovers in war torn Ancient Rome and Egypt. With celebrated director Simon Goodwin in charge (who even took a trip to Egypt to consider how the country might differ in our imaginations from that of Shakespeare’s day) and award-winning designer Hildegard Bechtler, it’s bound to be a special theatrical event.


DESIGN: London Design Festival, various London locations, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Sep

Celebrating London as a powerhouse of design, loads of events are on offer across the capital including workshops, demonstrations and launches. As always, the V&A will be at the forefront with show-stopping installations and across the city, there are 5 major trade shows, the commercial pillars of the festival, where you can meet designers, buyers, sellers and manufacturers and discover new products and design trends.


FASHION: London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri 14 – Sun 23 Sep

If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festival with designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.


THEATRE: Pinter at The Pinter, London, now – 23 Feb 2019

Never before have all twenty of Pinter’s short plays been performed together in one season.  To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death, this gathering of stellar actors (many of whom worked with Pinter) looks like a humdinger. Famous names include Martin Freeman, Jane Horrocks, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Sir Anthony Sher, Mark Rylance, John Simm, Penelope Wilton and – alright, love – Danny Dyer! And if that’s not enough, they’ll even be some surprise guest stars. This is gonna be big, people, so get booking. Bonus: one act plays mean you’ll still have some evening left for dinner and drinkies in the Big Smoke


THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until 22 Sep

Fiona Laird, who has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dame Judi Dench, not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled RSC production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it (yes, really). It’s a glam suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over-inflated egos, with a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison and Charlotte Josephine. The performance on Sep 12 will be broadcast live in cinemas nationwide.


THEATRE: Sylvia the Musical, The Old Vic, London, now – Sat 22 Sep

Nowadays it seems that any topic can be given the musical theatre treatment and this time, one hundred years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote, it’s Sylvia Pankhurst’s turn. This modern musical combines dance, hip hop, soul and funk to shed new light on her remarkable story and how her passion for equality tore her family apart. Go sister!


ART: Aftermath, Tate Britain, London, now – Sun 23 Sep

A short but fascinating, haunting and moving exhibition on how artists reacted to the aftermath of World War One, recording its scars but also looking to the future and the birth of new movements such as dadaism and surrealism.


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