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What’s On This Week

MON 13 - SUN 19 NOV

The Ladykillers, Salisbury Playhouse, to 18 Nov

When Mrs Wilberforce puts a sign in her newsagent’s window advertising ‘A Room to Let’ she’s delighted when the mysterious Professor Marcus proclaims it perfect for rehearsing his unorthodox string quintet. However, she soon discovers that she is not making tea for a motley band of musicians but harbouring a gang of hardened criminals and conmen planning the great King’s Cross Train Robbery! As his masterplan goes off the rails, and the bodies drop onto them, it begins to dawn on the Professor that, in Mrs Wilberforce (and General Gordon, her extraordinary featherless parrot), he may have finally met his match.

The Wipers Times, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Mon 13 to Sat 18 Nov

An amazing, and true, story about a satirical newspaper created by two officers from a bombed-out building in Belgium during the First World War. Stationed in Ypres (pronounced Wipers by British soldiers), two officers discovered a printing press and decided to put together a subversively funny newspaper to lift the spirits of the troops. A West End recruit penned by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, the pair will be at the theatre following the Tuesday evening performance for a Q&A session.

NT Live: Follies, Salisbury Arts Centre, 16 Nov

New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling new production.


Living Crafts for Christmas, Blenheim Palace,  16 – 19 Nov

The first of the big crafty events that we’re about to bombarded with over the next 6 weeks. This one is more pleasurable than most – more than 150 British designer-makers showcasing their craft in the Churchill and Marlborough Pavilions in the Great Court. Millinery, ceramics, studio glass, leather work, sculpture, textile crafts, photography, toys and puzzles and all that jazz. If you’re looking for a good pub afterwards, head into Woodstock to The Woodstock Arms or The Crown, I’ve eaten in both and can totally recommend.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon,


Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival, Fri 17 – Sun 19 Nov

Oooh, sparkly lights! This free festival will be taking over the city’s streets and open spaces for three days, with the newly opened Westgate Oxford (let us worship) as one of the main venues, along with Oxford Castle quarter, Gloucester Green and Broad Street. The Westgate will be hosting art installations, and will also form part of the route taken through the city as part of the popular lantern parade. Expect street artists, outdoor exhibitions, markets, music and dance throughout the weekend.


Peter and the Wolf, Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Sat 18 Nov

Featuring animal antics of singing birds, waddling ducks, sneaky cats, and a rocking wolf this production features new music lovingly inspired by Prokofiev’s classic – including real musical vegetables (the mind boggles) plus puppetry and physical comedy for kids 4+.

The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park, Spiceball Park Rd, Banbury,


The Roses’ Christmas Market, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, Sat 18 Nov

Following its success last year, this second outing for the theatre’s Christmas market will see loads of lovely stalls selling gifts, local produce and affordable art which will help you nail your Christmas shopping. There’ll be food and drink too, as well as festive carol singing.


Angel Making Workshop, Marlborough, 18 Nov

Mandy Mander is back at Elements of Avebury with her wonderful Angel workshop. Learn how to make a gorgeous Angel. Using silver plated wire, Mandy will carefully show you how to make this amazing Angel, and then she will be yours to keep!

Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Sat  18 Nov – 4 Feb

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden,


As You Like It, Oxford Playhouse, Tue 14 – Sat 18 Nov

Shakespeare is for life, not just jaunty summer productions. Former Oxford Playhouse resident company Shared Experience bring Shakespeare’s much-loved romantic comedy to the theatre. It’s a modern setting for this production, just in case that sways you either way.

Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford,


Writing Comedy for Beginners, The Pheasant Inn, Salisbury, to 4 Dec

This course will take you from the fundamentals of why we laugh, all the way through to the hidden structure of jokes and sketches.

Finnish Rooftop Sauna, Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace, South Bank, to Sat 30 Dec

woman sauna finnish

And now for something completely different. Why not warm up and unwind in a one-of-a-kind Finnish sauna experience in the heart of London? There’s a specially designed Nordic sauna that on the Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace, combining beautiful Nordic design with a bespoke artistic commission. If 90 degrees celsius is a bit sweaty for you, cool down in the open air (or with cold water buckets – go on, dare you!), while enjoying some stonking views of the Thames below.

London Jazz Festival, to Sun 19 Nov

One of the biggest jazz festivals in the world, with ten jam-packed days of international talent. This year the numbers are dizzying – more than 350 performances in 60 venues with many of the events free.

Hannah Ryggen, Modern Art Oxford, to 18 Feb 2018I’m always excited when Modern Art Oxford introduces a new exhibition and this one is going to be a corker. Hannah Ryggen was one of Scandinavia’s most outstanding artistic figures of the 20th century, an impassioned artist responding to the socio-political events of her time, from the the rise of fascism and the Nazi occupation of Norway, to nuclear power and media coverage of the Vietnam War. This is the first major presentation of the artist’s work in the UK and surveys her career from early portraiture through to the intricate tapestries that characterised her career from the 1920s onward. Don’t forget that Modern Art Oxford is free entry, and there’s a corker of a cafe on site too.

Softer: Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, until Sun 31 Dec

dark art gallery installation blue and purple lights two silhouettes of bodies

The fourth artist to to showcase contemporary art at Blenheim Palace (my kids still talk about Ai Wei Wei back in 2015), 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. Sounds cool right? Plus visitors can also explore more meditative areas featuring examples of Holzer’s best known work.



Whales Beneath the Surface
■  Natural History Museum
, London SW7  ■ to Feb 2018

A major new exhibition exploring the extraordinary life of whales. Dive through one of the world’s most compelling evolutionary journeys in this family exhibitionwhen more than 100 specimens from the Museum’s collection will be on display together for the first time, from parts of a colossal blue whale to a small harbour porpoise. Travel back 50 million years to the beginning of the evolution of the whale. See how whales became sociable, aquatic mammals, some of which can communicate over vast distances.

■ Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. 

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