Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, 28 June – 1 July
With a dazzling array of sequinned costumes, extraordinary head-dresses and a hit parade of dance floor favourites, including Hot Stuff, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun & Go West. This wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!
Ghost Walk, Bradford on Avon, Fri 30 June
Award winning author Jasper Bark will be taking participants on a tour through the dark alleys and devilish past of our unique town centre. Once you know it’s horrific history, you will never be able to look at Bradford on Avon in the same way again.
Jongleurs, Chippenham, Fri 30 June
Jongleurs, the UK’s Number One Comedy Company is coming to The Neeld by popular demand. With over 30 years experience of running clubs and shows, Jongleurs has helped launch the careers of some of our biggest comedy stars. Now, in our ‘Jongleurs On The Road’ show, they present four of the brightest and funniest acts on the current UK comedy circuit in an evening of live comedy at its best.
Animal Magic, Fisherton Mill, Salisbury, 1-29 July
An exhibition of wildlife sculptures, paintings and ceramics.
Independence Day Fair and BBQ, American Museum in Britain, Claverton Down, Sat 1 July
Roll up, roll up, for the American Museum’s Independence Day Fair. Expect outdoor fun for all the family: classic fairground games, bouncy castle, craft activities, lip-smacking food from Spitfire BBQ, and live music throughout the afternoon.
Learn Golf in a Day, Bowood, Sun 2 July
Aa 4-hour coaching day with PGA Golf Professional, Matt Hacking.
Into the Woods, Salisbury Playhouse, 3-8 July
Capturing the imagination of the young and old by intertwining classic fairy tale characters that we know and love with the musical talents of Stephen Sondheim. Humorous and heartfelt, this enchanting and sometimes mysterious musical will delight all with its twists and turns and fabulous music.
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.
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.
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.
Grayson Perry, ‘The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!’ To 10 Sept
This London exhibition by Grayson Perry – national treasure, cross dresser and rather decent artist as it happens – 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
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
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.
rsc.org.uk, 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 everymantheatre.org.uk
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, stokepark.com
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.