What’s on this weekend
FRI 14 - SUN 16 JULY
An exhibition of wildlife sculptures, paintings and ceramics.
Marlborough College Summer School, 9 July – 5 August
Back for 2017, Marlborough College Summer School has grown beyond compare into one of the largest multi-generational learning experiences of its kind. A huge range of adult and child courses in art, culture and sport.
Cheltenham Music Festival, Sat 1 to Sun 16 July
From Mendelssohn at Syde Manor and A Scott Joplin Cabaret at Chapel Arts to celestial choirs in Gloucester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey and Love Songs in Cheltenham Town Hall, there are two jam-packed weeks of musical bliss at the Music Festival this year, with a stellar lineup marking director Meurig Bowen’s 10thanniversary. Toddler in tow? No fear, there’s entertainment for them too.
Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, Glos, 14-17 July
Held annually each July at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military airshow, has gained the well-earned reputation as one of the UK’s top outdoor family events.
Once Upon A Time in the West, Trowbridge, Wilts, 13-16 July
A fab little festival with a great name, Out West doesn’t take itself too seriously, although it is run by a crew who brought you the likes of Glasto and some of the other big contenders. A light hearted fest that is light on the wallet too (£75 including camping), it insists on keeping its commitment to West Country local while enticing some friends from the bigger events to come and play. It’s all independent, eccentric even, rating smiles over sub-bass. Did I say they are determined to be laid back? Perhaps it’s all that cider…
Trowbridge and Westbury, Wilts, outwestfestival.co.uk
Stand by Me, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, 14 July
The phenomenal musical history of one of the biggest selling bands of all time. The icons, challenges, controversy and conflicts, told through anecdotes of former members on screen, sit alongside the vast succession of more than 50 hits over the last six decades, including Under the Boardwalk, Saturday Night at the Movies, Up on the Roof, On Broadway and many more.
Wind in the Willows, Lydiard Park Open Air Theatre, Swindon, 14 July
Pack your picnics and join the boat-loving Ratty, the sensible yet curious Mole, wise old Badger and the fantastically irrepressible Toad as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime culminating in a colourful battle with the sly weasel to save Toad Hall. Eye-catching costumes, toe-tapping music and larger than life characters promise to capture the imagination of the youngest of audience members whilst the sheer nostalgic charm of this beloved story is guaranteed to take older generations on a glorious trip down the riverbank onto memory lane.
Bear Hunt, Roves Farm, Swindon, 15-18 July
Hop on a tractor ride to swish, splosh, squelch and tiptoe on this Bear Hunt. Bringing the classic story to life on the farm, with the chance to meet their very own friendly bear.
Bradford on Avon Mini Book Festival, 15 July
A day of free author events and book-related crafts and activities with well known children’s writers. And a chance for local children to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.
Melksham Party in the Park, 15 July
A great day out for all the family, full of activities, live entertainment, stalls and displays.
Michael McIntyre – Work in Progress, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, 19 July
The Welsh funny man is in town for three intimate sets prior to his massive, sold-out, worldwide tour – so quick, book now! It’s not often you get the chance to see him up close and personal. Don’t bring any minors though – there may be some, er, swearing and adult content.
Salisbury Racecourse Meetings, 15 July – 16 August
Salisbury Racecourse is one of England’s most historic racecourses, racing having taken place at the picturesque downland course since the 16th century. Salisbury stages a number of meetings during the summer months when it successfully combines high quality racing with a friendly and enjoyable day out. Facilities include bars and catering outlets, and a big screen opposite the Stands.
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.
Frome Festival, venues around Frome, Fri 7-Sun 16 July
The funky Bollywood Brass Band opens the 17th Frome Festival with an extravaganza of Indian dance, film and food. The fun continues over the week with the likes of Mock the Week‘s Andy Parsons, Jeremy Hardy, The Wonderstuff, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Germaine Green, Gyles Brandreth, Felicity Lott, Stephanie Cole, Ann Widdicombe and local talent.
Open air Shakespeare, Glastonbury Abbey, 12-16 July
In what must be one of the most spectacular settings for outdoor thespian activity: Durham University’s Castle Theatre Company’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Weds 12 Jul) and the Butterfly Theatre company’s promenade production of Romeo & Juliet, Fri 14, Sat 15 & Sun 16 July).
National Trust Big Camp Weekend, dates throughout July and August
Crack out the marshmallows! Fill your hip flask! The National Trust Big Camp Weekends take place in various venues across the south of England, offering you and the nippers chance to sleep al fresco and stargaze amid beautiful surroundings. In Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, you can camp by the River Thames on Sat 15 July, or you can pitch up at
Hinton Ampner in Hants 29-30 July, or Osterley Park and House and Morden Hall Park on 21-22 July. None in Wilts that I can find but watch this space!
The Magic Flute, Longborough Opera Festival, Sat 15, Sun 16, Thu 20 & Sat 22 July
The Longborough Festival Opera, the small country opera house that punches above its weight, continues its summer season with Mozart’s The Magic Flute. With RSC and Royal Opera House designer Ruth Paton, innovative director Thomas Guthrie and maestro conductor Anthony Negus on board, this promises to be a very special production. The grounds, not far from Moreton-in-Marsh, are glorious, so dress up in your glad rags, pack a picnic or pre-order a hamper 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), and enjoy the show. Glyndebourne, eat your heart out.
That’ll Be The Day, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Fri 14 & Sat 15 July
Banging out the tunes from the 1950s to the 1970s, the UK’s number one rock’n’roll variety production will you have you dancing in the aisles.
Pride & Prejudice, Sandford Park Lidos, Sat 15 July
Illyira’s open-air tour brings Jane Austen’s classic to the Lido, with the infamous Mrs Bennett throwing her daughters into a social whirlwind of balls, dinners and eligible men in a bid to marry them off. If you’re thinking costume drama, empire-line dresses and tea parties, then expect to be surprised, Illyia’s sell-out show brings you Austen at her vibrant, bitchy, forthright best. Bring a picnic and have a ball.
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.
rsc.org.uk, Tel:01789 403493
The Brutalist Playground, The Edge, Bath, until Sat 9 Sept
Part sculpture, part architecture, all play! Artist Simon Terrell and 2015 Turner Prize winners Assemble have worked with RIBA curators to recreate abstract concrete playgrounds that were found in post-war housing estates throughout the UK. Free admission but book here to guarantee you’ll have a go.
Amid the tropical palms lurk some major pop stars in Kew Gardens, West London, the gloriously verdant setting for this summer’s picnic concert series. Acts include Razorlight (put your shirt back on Johnny Borrell please, this is genteel Kew), All Saints, James and soul diva Mary J Blige,
Lovebox Festival, Tower Hamlets, London, 14 – 15 July
Calling all midlife ravers – head to the consistently bangin’ Lovebox in London’s Victoria Park for all your dance music needs this summer. The line-up is strong, with Frank Ocean, Chase & Status, Jamie xx, Solange, and Rag ’n’ Bone Man among the acts.
Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London E3, loveboxfestival.com
Alice, Oxford University Parks, 15 July – 19 Aug
More from quirky Oxford theatre company Creation. This time they invite you to fall down a rabbit hole in the green gorgeousness of University Parks for a family-friendly production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice. This particular wonderland is in a Big Top so inclement weather be damned!