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What’s on in June


Devizes Arts Festival, to 18 June
A 3 week festival of music and the arts taking place in various venues around Devizes. There’s loads of music, poetry, workshops and theatre for kids, including Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes in concert (you get to dress up for this one) and Plundered! by Really Big Pants Theatre Company.

Salisbury International Arts Festival, to 10 June

This is a biggie, and NOT to be missed. An extensive film programme, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Salisbury Cathedral, a pub quiz for kids, magical outdoor theatre, yada yada…Edinburgh Fest, eat your heart out.

Barely Methodical Troupe – Kin, Salisbury, Wed 7 June

Featuring some of Britain’s hottest young circus performers, BMT combines exceptional acrobatics with
contemporary dance, parkour and a touch of humour, its six performers tumbling, balancing and flying through the air, catching each other at crucial moments in an extraordinary show of teamwork and camaraderie.

Discover Diamonds Lunch with Shen London, Whatley Manor, Thu 8 June
How would you fancy a leisurely champagne lunch in the bucolic surroundings of Whatley Manor in the company of some priceless diamonds? Er, almost as much as I’d fancy Daniel Craig slipping a rock on my finger (sorry Mr Muddy). Well, half term’s over and it’s time to pull off the Marigolds, stop folding washing and treat yourself to a super-luxe lunch with your bestie, where the gemstone experts from Shen London will be showing off some bling and giving you a masterclass on how to source and buy diamonds and gemstones (I’ll be taking notes Daniel – you heard what Beyoncé said, put a ring on it.)  tel: 01666 822 888, email:

Longleat Food Festival, Longleat, 10-11 June

Check out Longleat’s first ever Food and Drink Festival – the House and it’s famous ‘Capability’ Brown landscape will be the prestigious backdrop for a variety of stalls; offering up delicious treats and filling the park with tantalising sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the best produce from the local area, and beyond.

Abba Forever, Theatre Square, Swindon, Sun 11 June

Dynamic non-stop choreography, stunning visuals, top-class musicianship and an all live performance ensures that the ABBA Forever show captivates audiences from the opening refrain to the final sing-along chorus of this two-hour spectacular.

Shirley Valentine, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, 12-17 June

Shirley is a Liverpool housewife. Her kids have left home and she makes chips and egg for her husband while talking to the wall. Where has her life disappeared to? Who cares? Sorry, back on track…Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for 2 weeks and she secretly packs her bags. She heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself very differently.

Blue Sky Festival, Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, 13-18 June

A quirky little arts fest for the whole family.

Beerex, Salisbury Arts Centre, 16-17 June

Music, merriment and a selection of over 50 of the finest real ales and ciders: it’s the annual Beer Festival and your first half pint is free!

Amesbury Carnival and Show, Sat 17 June

With Stone Age games, a fun fair, Carnival K9 Fun Dog Show, Strong Man contest and oh, so much more!

Taste of Corsham, Sat 17 June

An interactive food and drink experience, from artisan market stalls showcasing local and regional companies,
to sampling tents, food and drink retail, master classes, guest speakers and entertainment.

Farley Music Festival, Salisbury, 20-25 June

A well-established annual classical music festival now in its sixteenth year, with a strong reputation for presenting top-quality classical music in an unusual and charming location.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice, 20-21 June

Worship, celebrate, drink alcohol – oh no, sorry, they won’t let you bring the good stuff on site – at this year’s sacred Summer Solstice.

Twelfth Night, Salisbury Playhouse, 20-24 June

Reimagined in the 1920s where prohibition is rife and Europe is still reeling in the wake of war, this brand new production bursts to life. Fuelled by a scintillating selection of energetic jazz music, an outstanding ensemble of actors creates a dizzying and beautiful version of Shakespeare’s perfect play.

Calne Summer Festival and Carnival, 24 June

Always an action-packed day for all the family, this annual event fills Calne town centre with free activities, performances and street stalls. The day culminates with crowds lining the streets to enjoy the carnival procession of street walkers, entertainers and floats decorated by local schools and groups.

Iford Arts Festival, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, to 5 Aug

The internationally renowned Iford Arts Festival (opera, picnic proms and classical cloister concerts) takes place in the exquisite performing spaces of the Cloister and Casita in the Grade 1 Listed Peto garden of Iford Manor, 6 miles outside Bath. Opera is staged in the round and sung in English for a seated audience of 90. More importantly, don’t forget to bring the picnic and the Pimms.

Minety, Malmesbury, Wilts, 30 June – 2 July

Now here’s a good excuse for a party. Minety is the new kid on the block and it is still more about food and drink than the tunes (although it calls itself a music fest) but there is a super-whizz kids zone with circus skills workshops (why is there so much circus stuff everywhere? Are we breeding a generation of future Cirque du Soleil contortionists?) and it is 100% in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Naomi House and Jacksplace Hospice. They’ve got Doctor and the Medics this year, if you fancy a bit of glam rock. Will it rival Larmer Tree? We shall see…

Hornbury Hill, Minety, Malmesbury, Wilts,

Open Garden, Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, Thu 29  June

Come and feast your eyes on the 12 acres of English country gardens at Whatley Manor, which include a bucolic meadow leading down to a river, a natty fountain with idyllic loggia from where tea will be served, and a newly replanted rose garden that will knock your senses out with its 250 beautifully scented roses and make you feel like you’re in an EM Forster novel when you take a seat in one of the two cute refurbished summer houses, called Darcey and Gertrude.

Tristan und Isolde, Longborough Festival Opera, Thu 8, Sat 10, Mon 12 & Wed 14 June

The Longborough Festival Opera, the small country opera house with metropolitan clout, kicks off this year with a revival of its 2015 production of Tristan und Isolde, which wowed the critics first time round – “a shattering success” The New York Times, “compelling” The Guardian. Soprano Lee Bisset and Peter Wedd return to tell the tale of the Irish princess Isolde who is escorted across the sea by knight Tristan to meet her betrothed, King Marke of Cornwall. A variation on the Celtic legend, Wagner described the opera as the “most audacious and original work of my life”. Sung in German with English surtitles, it’s a long one – four hours, plus a 30-minute interval and 90-minute dining interval – but is a fantastic afternoon and evening out (3pm-9pm). The grounds, not far from Moreton-in-Marsh, are glorious and you can dress up in your glad rags, pack a picnic or pre-order a hamper if you can’t be bothered or, why the hell not, just dine in The Coach House Restaurant (see the menu here, £45 per person for a three-course meal) or Valley Buffet(£35 per person). Glyndebourne, eat your heart out.

Chalk Valley History Festival, Salisbury, Wilts, 26 June – 2 July

I’m going to include this gem, the largest festival in the UK dedicated entirely to history, because, y’know, it’s not all about cider and pogo sticks and head banging until you can’t hear yourself think. Get your history spods on and celebrate the past with living history and the sound of cannon-fire and muskets. The setting is idyllic – rolling downs meets Hardy’s Wessex – as you come face to face with Romans, knights of the Middle Ages, Napoleonic riflemen and Tommies from the two world wars. There’ll be plenty of men in skirts (Mel Gibson ca. 1995, anyone?) and if you’ve got a kid with a looming history GCSE I’d drag ‘em here kicking and screaming. Best thing is, you still get to wear those box-fresh wellies.

Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Near Salisbury, Wilts,

Giffords Circus, Fri 12 May to Sun 24 Sept

This year the inimitable Giffords Circus is recreating a 17th-century Spanish court and putting on a candle-lit international gymnastic show with dancing horses, a live band and everyone’s favourite clown Tweedy. It kicks off on Friday 12 May at the circus’s home ground of Fennells Farm near Stroud, then tours Gloucs, Oxon and London until landing bang smack in Wilts from 24 August for 2 weeks. Worth booking early, this one.

Kazem Hakimi: Portraits From A Chip Shop, Old Fire Station & Modern Art Oxford, from 6 May – 2 July 

How cool is this? The first major exhibition of portraits by photographer Kazem Hakimi, taken in his fish and chip shop on Iffley Road. For two years, Hakimi has photographed his eclectic customers, posing them against the same white wall – the result is a beautifully rendered cultural snap-shot of Oxford.

Spring Mischief Festival The Other Place, Stratford, until Sat June 17

A provocative month-long festival of new work, including a double-bill of two new plays, including The Earthenworks by super talented playwright Tom Morton-Smith who had a huge hit with his debut play Oppenheimer about the father of the atom bomb in 2015 at the RSC and Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End. It will be directed by the RSC’s deputy artistic director Erica Wyman. There’s also Myth, a terrific collaborative work by innovative playwright Matt Hartley and award-winning director and Complicite Associate Kirsty Housley about a wine-fuelled dinner party that descends into chaos. I’m sure we’ve all had a few of those…! The joint cast includes Danish actor Thomas Magnussen who appeared in BBC 4’s Scandinavian thrillers The Bridge (season 3) and Follow the Money; RSC actor Lena Kaur, seen previously in The Rover, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Seven Acts of Mercy; Fehinti Balogun and Rebecca Humphries, both making their RSC debut.,  tel: 01789 403493 

Giacometti, Tate Modern, 10 May – 10 Sept

Here comes a biggie. Tate Modern presents the UK’s first major retrospective of Alberto Giacometti for 20 years. Celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, Giacometti’s distinctive elongated figures are some of the most instantly recognisable works of modern art in Tate Modern’s ambitious and wide-ranging exhibition of over 250 works. It includes rarely seen plasters and drawings and showcases the full evolution of Giacometti’s career across five decades, from early works such as Head of a Woman [Flora Mayo] 1926 to iconic bronze sculptures such as Walking Man I 1960.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Tate Modern, Southwark, until11 Jun

The socially and politically engaged German snapper was the first photographer and the first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize – and this exhibition will show you why. It’s set across 14 rooms, with photos pinned, high, low, everywhere and sometimes taped directly onto the walls; pinballing between subject matters and location, from Hollywood to Tehran. Even the most mundane subjects – cigarette butts, a lobster carcass – are compellingly beautiful when viewed through his lens. Until 11 June.

Book now for Grayson Perry, ‘The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!’ 8 June – 10 Sept

It doesn’t start until next month but this London exhibition by Grayson Perry – national treasure, cross dresser and rather decent artist as it happens – is on sale now. A major exhibition of his new work, it promises to touch on many themes including popularity and art, masculinity and the current cultural landscape and is bound to sell out, so get to it people!
Kensington Gardens, London, W2,

Antony and Cleopatra, the RST, Stratford, until Thu 7 Sept 

Shakespeare’s tragic love story between hot-headed Egyptian queen Cleopatra, played here by a luminous Josette Simon, and Antony Byrne’s Roman general Mark Antony. It’s directed by Iqbal Khan with music composed by award-winning Birmingham singer-songwriter Laura Mvula., Tel:01789 403493

RSC’s Rome Series: Julius Caesar, RST, Stratford, until Sat 9 Sept 

Photography by Helen Maybanks

The well-received Julius Caesar runs in rep side-by-side with Antony and Cleopatra–the first double-bill in the RSC’s four-play Rome series. Titus Andronicus and Coriolanus will complete the quartet of Shakespeare’s most political and bloody thrillers in June and September. Season director Angus Jackson brought the brilliant atom bomb drama Oppenheimer, and Don Quixote, to the RSC stage.  He’s directing Julius Caesar, which has strong performances by Andrew Woodall as Caesar, Alex Waldmann as Brutus, James Corrigan’s Mark Antony and Martin Hutson’ as Cassius., 01789 403493

Come Fly With Me Summer Stage School, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Mon 31 July to Fri 11 Aug

Got a tween or a teen with ambitions to be the next Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone? Then quick, get them booked into this summer stage school, which will show 11 to 19 year olds the ropes (literally – they’re going to be doing aerial flying!) of musical theatre, including performing songs from musicals like Mary Poppins and Footloose and acting out extracts from shows such as Metamorphosis and Ostrich Boys. And it’s not just for front-of-stage types – the more technically minded can get their hands on the lighting controls or muck in with set design behind the scenes. At the end of the two weeks, there will be a performance on the Everyman’s main stage where you can feel your heart fill with pride.
Places cost £200 and can be booked at the Box Office on 01242 572573 or at

The Boodles, Stoke Park, Tues 27 June – Sat 1 July

A brilliant, local, fun and cost-effective alternative to Wimbledon held at the gorgeous five star hotel and country club of Stoke Park. It’s luxury all the way here, with Perrier-Jouët Champagne on ice and a gourmet lunch prepared by award winning chef, Chris Wheeler. There’s also a Boodles gallery of fine jewellery to gawp at – the Muddy girls tried half of it on last year while nervous assistants watched on.I should also mention that it’s a brilliant way to see top tennis players in a stadium of just 2000, so it’s like being in the first five rows at centre court.  Already confirmed for this year are Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Nick Krygios, Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric and Fabio Fognini (pictured). I think it’s important to see as much of the players as possible, don’t you?!

Stoke Park, Stoke Poges, Bucks,

Royal Ascot 2017, Ascot Racecourse, Tues 20 – Sat 24 June

So many fashion rules to remember, but one of the great highlights of the social calendar is here. Royal Ascot has come around again, so grab your hat, keep the hemlines long, the fake tan light and enjoy a day of sunshine, celeb spotting and apparently there are few horses running too. It’s the perfect place to people watch, just don’t overdo the bubbles for fear of making it onto the front page of the Daily Mail. Tickets are still available from £37.

Blenheim Palace Flower Festival Show, Fri 23 – Sun 25 June

I sit writing this in my garden, having just pruned my roses – holy crap it’s happening, I’ve hit middle age! If you, like me, enjoy flowers more than you care to admit in public, this three day gardening show is for you. The Grand Floral Pavilion promises to provide UK’s finest nurseries and growers giving expert garden advice and ideas, plus there are 250 stalls selling everything from gazebos to flowers. One word of warning – remember to lock your M&S chastity belt before you go – the show is being opened by pensionable gardening hottie Alan Titchmarsh (*swoon*).

Star Wars Identities, O2, Greenwich, runs to Sept 2017

A collection of some 200 props, models, costumes and artwork from the original Star Wars films, plus an interactive identity quest for Star Wars nuts at  STAR WARS Identities at the 02 in Greenwich. It asks the deep question ‘what force shapes you?’ The obvious answer is the sugared doughnut but I don’t think George Lucas has invented that character yet.

Holland Park Opera Season starts,  1 June – 29 July

I remember taking my dear departed dad to a Holland Park opera a few years ago – it was masses of fun so I can definitely recommend from personal experience. There are 6 shows, including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Puccini’s La Rondine, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Will Todd and even a performance by the Royal Ballet School. Tickets vary in price, from £77 at the top end down to a fiver so worth checking out.

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