The cool, quirky and unmissable in Wilts and beyond this week.
Katy Brand, Swindon Arts Centre, Sat 3 June
Katy Brand’s hit Edinburgh Festival show, I Was a Teenage Christian, is an honest, fascinating and funny exploration of her self-imposed conversion and total immersion in evangelical Christianity. One Sunday, aged 13, Katy went to a local church service and became a fundamentalist Christian. From then on she attended church four times a week. For seven years she put the ‘fun’ into fundamentalism…and the ‘mental’. She was an obnoxious, self-important dick, but at least she knew she was going to heaven. Now she’s not so sure. Katy will relive her glory days of certainty and judgement (and unrequited love…) whilst trying to figure out what the hell was going on in her own head.
The Hippy Motors Convoy, Calne, Fri 2 – Sun 4 June
The 7th annual Hippy Motors Convoy at Blackland Lakes, with good family camping, good entertainment and good people. Are you flower power enough?
Salisbury International Arts Festival, 26 May – 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.
Iford Arts Festival, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, 27 May – 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.
The Wylye Valley Art Trail, Wylye Valley, South Wilts, 27 May – 4 June
A unique opportunity to see the wide range of art being created in the area; visit open studios, exhibitions and galleries, meet and talk to artists and craftspeople.
Westwood Scarecrow Trail, 27 May – 4 June
Have we fast-forwarded to October? Have I missed my summer holibobs? Blooming hope not! Anyway, go find over 30 scarecrows on a family friendly route around Westwood village.
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.
Colourscape, Waddesdon Manor, 27 May – 4 June
Back for the fourth year but with a brand new stucture created to exactly fit the Aviary Lawn, Colourscape brings its labyrinth of 56 interlinked chambers to Waddesdon, where you can where you can explore intense light, colour and space.Each day there will be different music and dance performances – expect Hurdy-Gurdy (I’m not joking!), panpipes, dance, music from Norway and on the final day a theatre-piece with dance and acoustic costumes.
10.30am-4.30pm, music plays from 11am-3.30pm. waddesdon.org.uk
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
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.)