What’s on in June
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.
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, minetyfestival.co.uk
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, cvhf.org.uk
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.
rsc.org.uk, 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, serpentinegalleries.org