One Planet Living Festival: 15th June

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One Planet Abingdon (OPA) is hosting an event in June to celebrate Abingdon’s culture and community by bringing everyone together.

The environment group is collaborating with other community organisations and charities to stage the One Planet Living Festival on Saturday, June 15th, from 10am to 5pm in the Market Place. The festival will feature a range of eco traders, information on sustainable living, and activities and performances for all ages.

OPA co-founder Michelle Charlesworth expressed her excitement: “It has been my vision since the conception of One Planet that we would come together as a community. This collaboration is the realization of that vision, showcasing our rich culture and community. We can enjoy one another’s tradition, music, and stories, truly connecting as we continue our journey to a one planet living town.”

OPA is partnering with Evoking Belonging, the Abingdon Events Partnership, and Abingdon Town Council to bring this festival to the town. Local businesses such as Taiwil Fashions, Planted Plates, and Tribe Zero will host stalls promoting the ten principles aimed at creating a better world. Abingdon’s Morris Dancers and local artists will perform, representing the diverse cultures of Abingdon.

Dianne Regisford of Evoking Belonging highlighted the importance of social cohesion: “As more African-Caribbean and other ethnic origin families come to live in Abingdon, the social, cultural, and racial dynamics of the town change. To ensure a vibrant, socially cohesive, and economically buoyant town, it’s imperative to create strategies and opportunities for all to thrive. This is a social justice vision of belonging for all.”

OPA, launched in 2021 in response to Abingdon Town Council’s climate and ecological emergency declaration, runs the Climate Emergency Centre (CEC) under the County Hall Museum. The CEC provides refreshments for visitors while exploring the implications of transitioning to zero carbon living, a target set by the national government. The volunteer-led organisation welcomes anyone concerned about the environment to get involved.

The One Planet Living principles are: Health and happiness, Equity and local economy, Culture and community, Land and nature, Sustainable water, Local and sustainable food, Travel and transport, Materials and products, Zero waste, and Zero carbon energy.

For more information or to help with OPA activities, including the festival, visit http://www.oneplanetabingdon.org/ or visit the CEC, open from 10am to 4pm, Thursday to Sunday.

Evoking Belonging addresses the increasingly diverse population of Abingdon. Its founder, Dianne Regisford, was recently elected to Oxford Town Council representing the Green Party.

Visit hillside heaven in Missenden

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Overstroud Cottage will open its gates again this month as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) local fundraisers

Overstroud Cottage, HP16 9Q, sits halfway up Frith Hill above Great Missenden. In the 17th century this cottage was used as Missenden Abbey’s fever house.

Thanks to The National Open Gardens Scheme, you can visit the gardens of this local treasure, owned by Mr & Mrs Jonathan Brooke on Sunday, 9th June, 2-5pm. Entry is £4 for adults (children free) and cream teas will be served at the nearby parish church.

The chalky soil has been tended on two levels to showcase a collection of 17th & 18th century plants including auriculas, hellebores, bulbs, pulmonarias, peonies, germaniums, dahlias, herbs and succulents. With its blue and white ribbon border, this garden, reminiscent of the late Margery Fish’s garden at East Lambrook Manor, is carved out of an old chalk quarry so the soil is alkaline.

The potager, edged with ‘step-over’ apples is featured is Joy Larkcom’s book, Creative Vegetable Gardening. Traffic noise has been lessened by a layered hedge, row of hornbeams and an ivy ‘fedge’ which forms the backdrop to a mini wildflower meadow. Visit National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk) for more info & open gardens.

Having a blast in Godalming

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June 8th is set to be a super singing Saturday when vocalists of all ages come together for a mass charity event in Godlaming

Let the music you when ChoirBlast explodes into Godalming on June 8th for an exciting day-to-evening event for music lovers, featuring 50 nationwide choirs in a fusion of singing and community.

The family-friendly event features seven simultaneous stages at The Burys Field, the Bandstand and Cloisters and is a not-for-profit festival, with craft stalls, children’s activities, food and lots of fabulous singing from 11am.

ChoirBlast is a celebration of contemporary choirs from around the country and the festival presents a unique opportunity to experience the joy and power of harmony music. Among the local choirs taking part this year are Music by Motivation Contemporary Gospel Choirs comprising members from Guildford Rock Choir; Farncombe Jazz Choir know for their acapella arrangements; the Halow Project who are one of the charities to benefit from this year’s event as are The Meath Backstage Choir; Guildford Jazz Choir bring together the old and new with jazz classics and contemporary hits; Godalming Jazz Choir is a friendly place for people to sing together that has been running for 10 years; born out of friendship and love Little Town Choir from Petersfield provide a ‘musical sanctuary’; Godalming-based Music Kids for five to teens; Guildford Vox Community Choir have a repertoire consisting of contemporary and traditional songs from the British Isles; Godalming Community Gospel Choir; ladies a capella group In Accord from Guildford; Wholenotes Community Choirs for those with social anxiety and / or learning disabilities based in Guildford and Camberley and many more from around the country.

ChoirBlast supports the local halow project and Meath charities, for adults with epilepsy and complex needs. In the spirit of the festival, admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Make a day of it enjoying the sweet sounds on offer alongside the food and drink from the Serious Rum Bar, street food from Cara Gorda Cantina, seasonal flavours from Dylan’s Ice Cream, South African flame grilled steaks and burgers from Bring & Braai, wood fired pizza from Belle Buono, Sri Lankan street food from Kothu Truck, Daisy’s Sandwiches, ice coffee and cake from The Journalist and serving up much-needed coffee will be Bean & Gone.

Visit choirblast.com for details of all the choirs taking part. 

The Dolphin, award-winning pub

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The Dolphin recently picked up Greene King’s Community Pub of the Year for its excellent range of events and community initiatives, landlady Emma Cox shares her delight

To me the pub trade isn’t just about selling alcohol it’s about being an all-inclusive base where everyone can come together. For celebration, commiserations, for support through the high times and the low times.

I’ve been at The Dolphin working since I was 13 as a cleaner to start off with and my parents became managers when I was 16 so I’ve watched the trade change over the years.

I love Wallingford and we are in a position to give back some of the support we have been shown over the years. When lockdown happened I noticed there was so much more we could do. So many customer didn’t return through fear of covid that we started doing food parcels, prescription runs, phone calls for company, which lead to us getting involved in the different community centres.

The reason I do it is simple. If the shoe was on the other foot or one of my family or friends are in need I’d really hope somebody would be there to help – one of my mottos is ‘it’s nice to be nice!”

I love the kids eat free, my daughter Annie is six. She struggled socially for a long time after lockdown. I think social skills build such a great confidence in our children and that’s so important.

Winning the award is probably one of my greatest career achievements so far! But, it’s not just me. There’s a whole team of amazing people that work at The Dolly who go above and beyond everyday. And we couldn’t do what we do without each other.

Ox-plore the trail

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Follow Oxfordshire’s first sculpture trail and go in search of 137 oxen across the county and help fund the vital work of Sobell House Hospice

Have you ‘herd’ the news? From 6th July to 29th August, 137 life-sized and mini ox sculptures will be grazing throughout Oxfordshire to form a vibrant, colourful and family-friendly art trail.

Each sculpture has been designed and decorated by artists, local schools, community groups, and local media – making the herd truly unique – and many have been sponsored by local companies and organisations.

OxTrail is Oxfordshire’s very first sculpture trail, expected to draw in thousands of visitors to the county, in celebration of the culture, places and people that make Oxfordshire special. Through the OxTrail Learning Programme, where schools and community groups taking part have each decorated their own mini ox, we are reaching 37,580 young people and over 1,000 elderly residents alone.

All of the proceeds raised through OxTrail will help to fund Sobell House Hospice, which provides expert care to people facing life-limiting illness and support to their loved ones. The hospice relies on the support of its community to raise over £3 million each year. OxTrail is set to be their biggest fundraiser to date, but with the number of people needing end of life care expected to rise 55% by 2030*, there’s never been a more important time to raise the income they rely on.

You’ll be able to ox-plore the trail and collect the sculptures using the official OxTrail app, which will be available to download from 6th July, or through the beautifully-decorated OxTrail map. What’s more, there will be a range of merch and fun activities for children available at the Westgate pop-up shop. Along the way, there will be plenty of surprises and moments of OxTrail magic.

Once the trail is over, there will be one last chance to bid goodbye to the moo-gnificent herd at the Farewell Weekend, which takes place on 7th and 8th September at the Westgate. Gather your friends and family together to help give the oxen the send-off they deserve!

The life-sized sculptures (and some of the mini oxen) will then be sold to their forever homes at a hoof-biting Grand Auction on 13th September at Saïd Business School in Oxford and online.

Join the moo-vement this summer to explore Oxfordshire’s iconic attractions, uncover some hidden gems, and have lots of fun along the way.

Visit OxTrail 2024 and follow the ox @oxtrail2024
* sueryder.org/news/hospice-sector-under-threat-amid-increasing-demand-for-palliative-care 

Jump into the GAP

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Have you got your GAP Festival tickets yet? Ten day extravaganza kicks off on June 7th

The biennial cultural GAP Festival in Goring and Streatley will welcome festival goers to its incredible programme of over 50 exciting events in June.

Some events still have a few last tickets remaining. So if you haven’t got yours yet, or you are looking for a last minute opportunity to try something new, visit The Gap Festival to book yourself in and join this cultural extravaganza! As a registered charity, every ticket purchased goes back into bringing culture to the community. How about…

World-class mandolin player and wit Simon Mayor and Friends in a relaxed evening of magical music and humorous anecdotes on Friday 7th June.

The spectacular red carpet premiere of the shortlisted Children’s Film Festival short films, alongside a screening of The Super Mario Bros. Movie (PG) on Sunday 9th June.

For crime drama and true crime lovers, An Audience with Author Helen Saxton, with actors will re-enact key events and discuss the controversial story of Amanda Knox in the murder of Meredith Kercher on Monday 10th June.

Outdoor family theatre in an idyllic setting on the banks of the Thames, with a performance of The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle on Thursday 13th June.

A one hour family show of songs about science, maths and the wonders of the world around us with Helen Arney: A Voice of an Angle – as seen on BBC2, Channel 4 and Discovery – on Friday 14th June.

Step back in time, put on some 40s/50s glamour (or not!), sit back and tap your feet to the doo-wop harmonies of the Ding Dong Daddios on Saturday 15th June.

Enjoy a Glyndebourne-style opera experience, with GAP Opera: The Marriage of Figaro. Picnics, pimms, fizz and top class opera in three performances Friday 14th – Sunday 16th June.

Alongside the amazing variety of ticketed events, there are also a host of free activities and performances taking place, no ticket required – just drop in.

On Friday 7th June, pre-schoolers can bring their parents to join a morning of games, free play and interactive story with a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

Join the cosmic fun of Saturday 8th June and experience all that Space Day has to offer, including blasting off a water rocket, space crafting, scale-model solar system treasure hunt and the chance to track the International Space Station live with local satellite company OrbAstro.

Visit Goring’s Rectory Garden on Sunday 9th June to join the Festival’s contribution to the national Great Big Green Week – The Great Green Food Day. Head down and discover creative ways to let eating and food play a vital part in helping tackle climate change, reduce waste and protect nature. Bring a picnic and enjoy live music, ask the experts question time, stalls, children’s activities and more, or pick up lunch from the collection of food and drink stalls and enjoy all the day has to offer.

Saturday 15th June hosts the return of the popular Festival Market Day. Enjoy browsing crafts, arts and skills from the local community, alongside face painting, refreshments and live music.

Meet and Greet the Owls at Withymead Nature Reserve on Saturday 15th June and learn all about owls, how they hunt, owl conservation and have a go at pellet dissection.

For art enthusiasts, there is a celebration of community art with a weekend long Art Exhibition from Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th June.

A chance to have a go at bell ringing with the Goring and Streatley ringers, followed by a lunchtime Festival Picnic Concert with Goring and Streatley concert band on the final day of the Festival – Sunday 16th June.

Plus a host of ‘fringe’ music events, popping up in local venues where you can sit back and soak up the Festival atmosphere with a drink in hand.

Find out all you need to know to make the most of this year’s Festival during the ten-day period and book your last minute tickets by visiting https://www.thegapfestival.org/

Support Thames Valley Air Ambulance

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Thames Valley Air Ambulance celebrates 25 years and you’re invited to join the party and help their life saving work

In 1999, Thames Valley Air Ambulance first took to the skies to treat patients in critical need. Now, a quarter of a century and nearly 35,000 call outs later they are celebrating this milestone with a fun-filled family day for the whole community on June 22nd at Penn Estate.

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive Officer at Thames Valley Air Ambulance said: “Both the care we deliver at the scene and the support we offer long afterwards are funded solely by our community. It’s your generous donations that have allowed us to be there for these 35,000 people in their time of need.”

Their ‘Big Birthday Bash’ will include a variety of fun activities for both kids and adults to enjoy, from circus shows and workshops to special demonstrations from their crew plus plenty of delicious food and drinks from local vendors.

Tickets start from £4 and all proceeds go to help Thames Valley Air Ambulance continue to be there for those in most need across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. More at Big Birthday Bash – Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Did you know:
• Last year, we were called out 3,293 times to help people in need of urgent critical care.
• We are called out on average 9 times a day.
• The flight time between our base at RAF Benson and anywhere in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, or Oxfordshire is just 15 minutes.
• To find out more about the work of Thames Valley Air Ambulance and donate visit Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Could you be a puppy parent?

Liz Nicholls

community

Local charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People urgently needs volunteers to step up as puppy parents to make a difference to people’s lives… Could you step up for this rewarding role?

Deafness is on the rise in the UK. By 2035, it is estimated that one in five British people (more than 15 million) will experience hearing loss.

Bucks-based UK charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People trains clever dogs to alert deaf people to important and life-saving sounds including alarms, oven timers and even baby monitors. Its dogs also provide constant emotional support and companionship – helping deaf people to leave loneliness behind.

An increase in demand means Hearing Dogs for Deaf People urgently needs more local volunteer puppy trainers. The charity receives no government funding but is very fortunate to have a network of committed volunteers.

There are two types of volunteer roles the charity urgently needs to fill: permanent puppy trainers, who will look after a puppy for the duration of its training (usually between 18 months and two years), and short-term trainers to cover times when others are on holiday.

Linda Foster, who lives near High Wycombe, became a volunteer puppy trainer last year after retiring. “I started off by doing short-term cover when the other trainers were on holiday. I also went to puppy training sessions at The Grange,” says Linda. “Then in April, I started looking after Lola, a gorgeous 13-month-old black Labrador puppy, on a long-term basis. The experience has been very rewarding, and I’ve met some lovely people (and dogs).”

Without volunteers like Linda, the charity would not be able to help anywhere near as many people with hearing loss reconnect with life. Sixteen-year-old Zach Allen, from Chalfront St Peter, was diagnosed as deaf when he was three.

His mum Kirsty said: “Although we got support for Zach to attend a mainstream school, he still had challenges. I saw him lose confidence as he got older. Then, when Zach was eight, everything changed because Echo the hearing dog came into our lives.

“We took Echo into school so Zach’s year could meet him. As a teacher was about to tell the school about him, Zach stood up and introduced Echo to everyone. He explained how Echo alerts him by nudging with his nose. We all stood there open-mouthed at this confident child who had appeared from nowhere.”

Please visit hearingdogs.org.uk/volunteer or call 01844 348129.

Love, laughs & larks

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Boo, hiss, you won’t want to miss… It’s time to sprinkle the fairy dust and wave your wand to welcome larger than life characters and slapstick galore – pantos are back!

Find Pantos near you this winter


Surrey

Our Q&A star this month Lucy Benjamin got into some scrapes during her time in EastEnders and as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, this festive season will no doubt get into some more in the classic rags to riches tale. Radio’s Peter Gordon returns for his 18th year, this time in a hilarious Ugly Stepsister duo alongside Guildford Shakepeare Company co-founder Matt Pinches. It’s also welcome back to CBeebies star James Merry for his third Yvonne Arnaud panto! The godmother of all pantos, full of slapstick and slosh, music and magic runs from December 2nd to January 7th. For tickets visit yvonne-arnaud.co.uk

The story of a young girl’s journey from scullery to ballroom is also being told with tears, laughter, music and fun at Camberley Theatre from December 9th to 31st. This new, magical production of the timeless story of Cinderella will delight the whole family featuring a jukebox of much loved songs, beautiful costumes and a talented cast of actors and dancers. Will Cinderella be able to escape her cruel family for a chance of one night of fun, and maybe find love along the way? Find out more for yourself at camberleytheatre.co.uk

Holly, Santa’s newest elf and Trixie the experienced elf are busy decorating Santa’s workshop in the lead up to Christmas. Holly reveals Lapland’s biggest secret, that once a year Santa sends a magical gift to one person who deserves it the most. Holly writes her Christmas wish on a snowflake and places it on the window ledge, a gust of wind takes it, and in the morning a large golden gift appears in its place. Is it really Santa’s Magical Gift? Find out in this heart-warming festive story with audience participation, comedy routines and a present for every child in the audience from Santa at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, December 17th to 24th. Book at atgtickets.com

Aladdin may be poor but he has ambitions beyond Widow Twankey’s laundry where he helps his mum and hapless brother Wishee Washee. Enter stage left to boos and hisses, the evil Abanazar tempting Aladdin with untold riches. Add a wish or three of magic in the shape of an enchanted lamp, plus not one but two genies and you have all the ingredients for a traditional panto in this year’s offering from Godalming Theatre Group at Ben Travers Theatre, Charterhouse, Godalming, December 15th to 18th. Tickets from thelittleboxoffice.com

Meet The Society for Christmas Creatures at Farnham Maltings this December. They are the world’s only expert team of festive detectives, and they know a thing or two about Christmas. Armed with a taste for adventure (and a pair of knitting needles), they’ve trekked far and wide searching for Christmas creatures of every shape and size. Now they’re here in Farnham for their toughest mission yet: to find the elusive Christmas Lobster and maybe (just maybe) discover the true meaning of Christmas. Will they find him? Find out from 13th to 24th, exc 19th. Book at farnhammaltings.com

When Christmas is over there’s still time to enjoy a panto with The Quince Players’ who this year are staging Ba-Ba Land, a brand new story about the land of nursery rhymes, a budding romance between Bo Beep and Little Boy Blue and a competition that the Big Bad Wolf is determined to win. Performance dates are January 11th-14th and 18th-20th at Cordes Hall, Sunninghill. Tickets will be available from mid-November at quinceplayers.com


Hampshire

Pumpkin Pantos are back with another spellbinding pantomime and this year it’s one as old as time featuring a cursed prince, an enchanted rose and a magical castle. Can the cold-hearted Beast find true love before it’s too late? Is the beautiful Belle his chance of a happy ever after? Only time will tell in this spectacular production with stunning scenery, lavish costumes, memorable songs and laughs galore. Join Beauty and the Beast at Alton Assembly Rooms, December 9th and 10th and Forest Community Centre, Bordon, the week after on 15th-17th. Tickets at www.pumpkinpantos.co.uk

Dick Whittington, a plucky young man from the country, arrives in London to make his fortune, with his trusty feline sidekick in tow. Little does he know, his journey could fulfil an ancient prophecy and Queen Rat will do everything in her power to stop Dick in his tracks. Come along on a whirlwind journey through the streets of London and across the seas at the Harlington, Fleet from December 9th to 29th. Book here theharlington.co.uk

Cinderella is also looking for her lost shoe at Theatre Royal Winchester in this retelling of the greatest fairytale of them all. With original songs, loads of corny gags, audience participation and some surprising twists to the tale, the whole family is invited to the ball from November 30th to January 1st. Book at theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

The swashbuckling adventure at The Anvil, Basingstoke this Christmas is The Further Adventures of Peter Pan: The Return of Hook starring Gavin & Stacey’s Melanie Walters as Mrs Darling and Ethyl Mermaid, Channel 5’s Milkshake! presenter David Ribi as Peter Pan, the ever-comical Chris Pizzey (CBBC’s Basil Brush) back by popular demand as Smee, Nickelodeon’s Holly Atterton as Tinker Bell, while Chris Fearn returns as Captain Hook. Check out anvilarts.org.uk  for full details.

Santa is determined to deliver the most fantastic Christmas present to Sarah, but he doesn’t get it right straight away! With the help of his cheeky Elf, he finally settles on something ‘perfect’, just in time for Christmas Eve. From the author of the well-loved children’s book Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell, Dear Santa, is an ideal introduction to theatre for those aged two and over. Meet Santa in his grotto after the show at The Haymarket, Basingstoke and receive a free gift. The show runs from December 7th to 10th, book at anvilarts.org.uk

The Phoenix Theatre in Bordon bring three classic tales to life this Christmas. A-Lad-In-Space is their adult’s only pantomime, telling the tale of Aladdin with a 1950s science-fiction feeling; you’ll rekindle your warp drive and be sent into orbit frm December 14th to 16th. For younger ones Oomph Theatre brings Hansel & Gretel on December 18th and 19th, a fabulous feast of festive fun. The Phoenix Players’ Red Riding Hood takes you on a journey through the deep, dark forest to Granny’s house. January fun on 19th, 20th, 25th to 27th. Book tickets for these at phoenixarts.co.uk


Oxfordshire

Get ready for a gigantic panto experience and climb new heights with Jack and the Beanstalk, a fee fi fo fun pantomime for everyone to enjoy at Oxford Playhouse, November 24th to January 7th. Poor Jack can’t seem to help getting into trouble with his mum. Now he’s really landed himself in it by selling the family cow to a stranger for a handful of old beans. But those mysterious beans have started to grow…and grow… and GROW! Full of infectious laughter, brilliant storytelling, singing, dancing, cheering for the goodies and booing for the baddies, an Oxford Playhouse pantomime is fabulous festive fun for everyone aged 5 to 105! Book tickets for this at oxfordplayhouse.com

Oxford’s New Theatre is home to one of the biggest shows in recent years, coming of age musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Sixteen-year-old Jamie doesn’t quite fit in, terrified but determined to be a sensation and with love and support from his mum and friends, Jamie beats prejudice and the bullies to step into the spotlight. A hit in the West End, see it for yourself from December 12th to 30th. Tickets at atgtickets.com

Join The Sinodun Players on an epic journey across the seas in The Adventures of Sinbad at the Corn Exchange Wallingford this January, 12th to 27th. With all the magic and fun of a traditional panto, be enchanted by the sparkling diamond cave, wonder at the magic carpet and the myriad characters that make up this exciting story, oh and there’s a baby elephant too! Intrigued? Full details and booking at cornexchange.org.uk

It’s the panto you’ve ‘bean’ waiting for! Immersion Theatre are thrilled to bring a giant amount of fe-fi-fo-fun to the Kenton Theatre as they present Jack and the Beanstalk, a magical pantomime of epic proportions from December 9th to 31st. Packed with comedy, music and audience participation, this hilarious and action-packed adventure promises to be a joyous and festive experience, oh yes it does! Book at kentontheatre.co.uk

The Henley Children’s Theatre’s annual panto is Beauty and the Beast. It may be a tale as old as time, but there is nothing outdated about this production, and certainly not the cast of enthusiastic youngsters! We meet our book-loving heroine Belle and Prince Perfect who is turned in to a Beast and must find someone to love him all while the clock is ticking! The cast of local children, aged 4-16, will delight with their joie-de-vivre (and questionable French accents) at the Kenton Theatre, January 3rd to 6th. Tickets at kentontheatre.co.uk

Deep in Sherwood Forest, local hero Robin Hood robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Will he rescue Maid Marion from the clutches of the money grabbing Sheriff of Nottingham? Packed with songs, slapstick, the most dangerous archery competition you ever did see and all the fairy-tale magic of traditional pantomime. Enjoy the merriest panto in the land at The Beacon Wantage on December 9th and 10th. For tickets visit beaconwantage.co.uk

Christmas is coming and Sally can’t sleep – it’s far too hot! The weather has gone topsy-turvy. Sally has a dream that changes everything – a mysterious silver spark transforms her bedroom into a glistening, white field where she meets the glowing Heart of Winter. The magical new musical show at Didcot’s Cornerstone (December 18th to 24th) celebrates family, friendship and the good fortune of finding the winter we really need and want…with the festive offering of lots of fluffy snow! Book at cornerstone-arts.org

Abingdon Drama Club are telling the story of Peter Pan, January 11th to 14th and 17th to 20th. Join Peter, Wendy and the lost boys as they do battle with Captain Hook in this comic caper. More details and tickets at abingdon-drama-club.com

Abingdon’s Amey Theatre offers a variety of seasonal shows to entertain, including The Snowman Live with Wantage Band on 3rd December. The concert will centre on a performance of the soundtrack to the 1982 film with a showing of the film itself. On 12th December, you can also join Clara, her Nutcracker doll and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the magical Christmas ballet in the Royal Opera House live performance of The Nutcracker. To browse and book events at the Amey Theatre, visit abingdon.org.uk

Kingston Bagpuize Drama Group present Cinderella, a pantomime by Tom Whalley. Forced to do all the terrible chores at Hardup Hall by her two awful, ugly stepsisters, Cinderella dreams of the day her Prince Charming will take her away to a happily ever after. With a little help from her Fairy Godmother and some magic it might just happen. November 23rd to 25th at Southmoor Village Hall, OX13 5BY. Tickets at tinyurl.com/3rzyccfa

Expect toe tapping songs, lots of audience participation, very corny jokes, comedy and even a bit of Carry On Camping thrown in to Snow White at the Corn Exchange Witney, December 14th to 31st (selected dates). The story has a host of colourful characters including a talking mirror. Join Buttercross Theatre Productions and find out if Snow White manages to outwit her wicked stepmother and bag her handsome prince with the help of her seven new friends. Book at buttercrosstheatreproductions.co.uk

There’s a Latin American twist to a traditional tale at the Theatre Chipping Norton this Christmas, where Cinderella promises to be the perfect panto for Encanto-loving families. Director John Terry calls it “a joyful blast of carnival colour and energy the likes of which neither Cinderella nor Chipping Norton has seen before!” The clock is ticking. Book your tickets now for the panto, November 15th to January 14th, at chippingnortontheatre.com


Berkshire

Reading’s favourite panto star Mr Tumble aka Justin Fletcher is back at The Hexagon for Sleeping Beauty from December 9th to January 7th. The wicked fairy Carabosse’s evil curse causes the princess to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into an enchanted sleep, can anyone rescue her from a magical slumber before it is too late? Sleeping Beauty will have everything you expect from a pantomime at the Hexagon, memorable musical numbers, tons of fun and laughter and a happy ever after! Book at whatsonreading.com

Why see just one pantomime when you can see seven? A madcap ride through the biggest and best pantos is on offer at Reading Rep Theatre courtesy of Potted Panto. All the beloved pantomime characters arrive on stage in this wonderfully absurd festive treat. A dastardly double act dash from rubbing Aladdin’s lamp to roaming the golden streets of Dick Whittington’s London and making sure that Cinderella gets to the ball! This might not be the traditional panto you think you’re looking for, but it’s the panto you need, from November 27th to December 31st. Book your tickets at readingrep.com

Make all of your wishes come true and join Windsor’s favourite threesome on a magical (carpet) ride of adventure and fun! With traditional pantomime comedy capers, dazzling dancers, colourful costumes, and a sprinkling of magic, you won’t want to miss this ‘genie’-ous show! Due to popular demand, this year’s pantomime is being extended for an extra week from November 24th to January 14th – making Aladdin Theatre Royal Windsor’s biggest panto of all time! Tickets at theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

Magic and mayhem are the order of the day at the Wilde Theatre with a new version of the timeless tale of Sleeping Beauty. A young princess is cursed to die on her birthday by an evil witch. After pricking her finger on a spinning wheel’s spindle, she falls into an eternal sleep from which she can only be awoken by true love’s kiss. Will the Princess find her true love and live happily ever after? Expect laughter, silly songs, colourful characters, slapstick comedy, and dangerous dragons in this panto favourite full of creative sparkle. You’ll be enchanted! November 24th to December 31st. More at southhillpark.org.uk

‘Every time a bell chimes an angel gets it’s wings’ in this adaption of the seasonal classic It’s A Wonderful Life, November 30th to December 30th at Reading Rep Theatre. It’s Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls… Down-on-his-luck banker, George Bailey, feels life has passed him by. So when his guardian angel pays him a visit, George is amazed to discover what life in his beloved town would be like without him in it… Maybe it’d be a little less wonderful after all? Based on the critically acclaimed 1946 Frank Capra movie this reimagining is brought to life by four actors playing all the residents of Bedford Falls. Don’t miss this heart-warming tale; readingrep.com

Experience Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie on their magical journey to find the lamp and defeat the evil sorcerer in the magical, musical and hilarious adventure for the whole family brought to you by Wokingham Pantomime Group. Book your tickets for The Whitty Theatre, Luckley House School on December 29th and 30th at ticketsource.co.uk

Riverside Players are bringing Old Mother Hubbard, the Lady who Lived in a Shoe to The Memorial Hall, Windsor from December 1st to 3rd and 7th to 9th. The show features all your favourite characters from the hard-working Dame, Mother Hubbard, doing her best for her mischievous orphans Jack and Jill. There’s a classic love story between Little Miss Muffet and Little Boy Blue, Wee Willy Winky has been up all night and needs help staying awake, and the evil Baron is intent on bringing the village of Lower Bottom to its knees. Plenty of other characters show up along the way too. Book at riversideplayers.com or call 07803 705437.

Panto continues into the new year with Twyford Drama putting on Treasure Island, January 12th and 13th. The nautical masterpiece combines a comical riot of piratical hi jinks, flying custard pies, suspenseful chases, ferocious fights and of course…a never-to-be-forgotten hair-raising haunted grotto. Tickets and more info at twyforddrama.co.uk


Buckinghamshire

Strictly Come Dancing glitter-ball winner Joe McFadden will reprise his role of baddie, the arrogant Eugene, alongside Hear’say and musical theatre star Suzanne Shaw as the Enchantress in Wycombe Swan and Imagine Theatre’s all-star Beauty and The Beast from 8th to 31st December. Joe says: “I’m excited to be back at the beautiful Swan after having a brilliant time here earlier in the year with the tour of Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d.” Suzanne adds: “I couldn’t be more delighted to be in Beauty and the Beast in my home town, I’ve wanted to do panto in Wycombe for 16 years and finally my wish has come true!”

They will star, along with Wycombe favourite Jon Clegg and another vocal local, Britain’s Got Talent Favourite La Voix, who recently appeared in ITV’s Queens For The Night as well as starring in Queen Of The Universe, the international drag-singing competition from RuPaul. Currently touring the UK in her show, The Red Ambition Tour, La Voix is no stranger to pantoland, telling us: “I can’t wait to play Peggy, internationally renowned barmaid of the village tavern! “Now, it sounds like I’ve been round the block a bit but this must be coming up 20 years of panto… And I love it: Christmas and panto!” Book at wycombeswan.co.uk

The Young Theatre at Beaconsfield’s The Curzon Theatre, HP9 1RG, will dazzle you with Cinderella, directed by Emma McGrath, 21st to 24th December, with an original script and loads of great songs and music, as well as some “truly ridiculous” jokes. Book your tickets at youngtheatre.org.uk

At The Elgiva in Chesham, you’re invited to step into a world of enchanted pumpkins, a handsome prince and some very special footwear… The team are preparing the sparkly costumes for a dazzling Cinderella from 2nd to 8th December. Please book your tickets at elgiva.com

Maidenhead pantomime Beauty and the Beast, supported by Marlow FM promises to whisk you away, at the Baylis Theatre in Braywick Leisure Centre, 14th to 24th December; maidenheadpanto.co.uk Aylesbury Waterside Theatre brings you Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 1st December to 3rd January. More than 50,000 people watched last year’s production, and sales indicate another record-breaking year in store. BBC3 Counties breakfast show star Andy Collins returns, by popular demand, for a 12th magical year, playing the role of Muddles. “Year on year I feel so lucky getting to do something I love, in a town that I love, and with audiences who are quite simply the best around. Every year I do my thing on stage and see the faces of school children, parents, grandmas and grandads having fun and making memories.” For info
& tickets visit atgtickets.com

At Aylesbury’s Norman Bragg Studio, HP20 1UG, there are the festive alternatives of A Christmas Carol, 12th to 17th December, and Santa’s New Sleigh 19th to 24th December; please visit atgtickets.com

Some different festive offerings from Norden Farm… Enjoy an evening of stories, flowers and fragrant festive designs on 16th November with Mig Kimpton In Floral Pantoland! Miki is a magical family show for ages 3+ following a polar bear and penguin, 28th November to 30th December. And The Hundred Watt Club bring you A Burlesque Christmas Special on 15th December. To find out more & book please visit norden.farm

The Lane End Players are an established amateur theatre group whose talented players are polishing up their Pinocchio, featuring the famous puppet brought to life and his subsequent adventures with a circus, mermaids, a whale and lots more! Shows at the hall, HP14 3JE, from 12th to 27 January; visit laneendplayers.com

And inclusive Iver Heath Drama Club will offer six shows of Dick Whittington over two weekends from 20 to 27th January 2024, written by Lee Hall and directed by Lee Hall and Kaia Barton. Tickets at available to book here

Whichever pantos you choose, we hope you enjoy the best of the season.
All together now.. he’s behind you!

Fi.Fest ready to rock Maidenhead

Round & About

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The fifth Fi.Fest on Saturday, 8th July at Stroud Farm in Forest Green Road will star Scouting For Girls and The Feeling

Preparations are under way for Maidenhead’s biggest music festival. UK chart toppers The Feeling will play some of their best-known hits, including She’s So Lovely, Elvis Ain’t Dead, Heartbeat, Fill My Little World, Love It When You Call and Never Be Lonely alongside many others. About 5,000 people are expected to attend the event, which brings friends and families together for a brilliant day out for all ages.

Organisers Lee Page and Alex Kinloch say: “We can’t wait to welcome back our festival family, 2023 is set to be the biggest event yet. We have been planning this for nearly a year and can’t believe it will be all coming together in a couple of weeks’ time!

“We’re extremely grateful for the loyalty and support shown by Fi.Festers, who come back each year to enjoy a day of music and entertainment. We know that households are being squeezed by the cost of living and it means a lot to us that they make the effort to attend the festival.”

Barrioke will make a Fi.Fest debut, as he brings his smash hit UK tour to the main stage. Festival goers can get up on the main stage in front of 1000’s and sing with the ex EastEnders and Extras star.

Alongside the main stage, the festival has a dedicated kid zone with several free activities to keep younger Fi.Festers entertained and engaged, including dedicated kid stage shows, dinosaur show, crafts, inflatable theme park, circus skills and more.

New to 2023 is a “second stage”, where festival goers can listen and support local talent and discover new bands.

The festival is proud to have two amazing local charities Alexander Devine and Windsor Horse Rangers joining them at the festival with two pop up stalls and representatives looking to raise funds and spread awareness of their charity work.

Tickets are still available for the event online at Fi.Fest (fifest.co.uk). Festival goers are urged to buy tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Prices go up just before the event and will come off sale once sold.