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Special events

ODN Drama Festival

This year's Oxfordshire Drama Network Festival is at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon from 5th to 10th June at 19:30. There are two one-act plays each evening from Monday to Friday and after each play the adjucator, Jennifer Scott-Reid, will give a short review and workshop with the cast. Saturday is Gala Night with reprises of three plays from the week chosen by the adjucator, followed by the awards.

Monday 5th June
The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco, performed by Didcot Phoenix Drama Group
Floor 13 by Young Theatre and Helen Sharman, performed by Stanton Harcourt Drama Group
Tuesday 6th June
Pathways by Tasha Moor & Dan Shipman-Toon, performed by Didcot Phoenix Drama Group
Henna Night by Amy Rosenthal, performed by Kingston Bagpuize Drama Group
Wednesday 7th June
The Extraordinary Revalations of Orca the Goldfish by David Tristram, performed by Kingston Bagpuize Drama Group
Sixty-Love by Mike Rowbottom, performed by Sinodun Players
Thursday 8th June
Seagulls by Caryl Churchil, performed by Henley Players
Murder Play by Brian J Burton, performed by BreakaLeg Productions
Friday 9th June
The Allotment by Gillian Plowman, performed by Banbury Cross Players
Seagulls by Caryl Churchil, performed by Henley Players
The Extraordinary Revalations of Orca the Goldfish
by David Tristram, performed by Kingston Bagpuize Drama Group

Greenham: War and Peace

Greenham: War and Peace is a large scale outdoor community event on the Common on 8th and 9th September 2017. It’s being held to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Greenham Common Trust and will cover the incredible history of the common over the last hundred years. We are looking for a large cast of community performers to perform alongside a small professional cast. The event is run by Greenham Common Trust, organised by a professional production company working with The Watermill Theatre and The Corn Exchange, Newbury. It will be filmed by the BBC and featured on South Today and BBC Radio Berkshire, and we anticipate an audience of several thousand each night.

We are looking for a large ensemble of community performers aged 16yrs plus to take part. There are a few key speaking roles and lots of smaller or non-speaking roles, so all levels of experience are welcome.

Rehearsal dates
20th May: daytime rehearsal
10th and 11th June: Rehearsal Weekend - you won’t need to be available for the entire weekend – we will issue a schedule once all the parts are cast.
Some evening/weekend rehearsals during June / July - to be scheduled after casting (with flexibility for those away on holidays)
Friday 1st September: evening rehearsal
Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd September: daytime rehearsals
4th – 7th September: evening rehearsals, including technical and dress rehearsals
Friday 8th and Saturday 9th September: performance starts at 6.30pm

If you would like to take part, please get in touch - we may run other workshops in the next few weeks.

Please note: children’s parts (aged 8 – 15yrs) will be cast and rehearsed by The Watermill Theatre during the summer holidays. Parents of children that would like to be involved should contact Emma in the Outreach Department on 01635 570934 / 

Open air productions 2017

The Wizard of Oz, 20th to 21st May, 18:00 at the Hawk Conservancy, Andover
Join farm girl Dorothy on her adventures through the magical Kingdom of Oz. With the help of her dog Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the cowardly Lion, can the Wizard of Oz help her or will the Wicked Witch of the West get hold of her special silver shoes?

Storming Utopia, 24th June, 20:00 at Magdalen College School Rose Garden
A theatrical experiment in practical utopianism, and a story about life on an island – a ‘mash-up’ of themes and stories from Shakespeare’s Tempest, More’s Utopia, and the political geography of post-Brexit Oxford. This new inter-generational show, made in partnership between Oxford University’s TORCH and Pegasus Theatre, brings alive the conflicts, tensions, and hopes that animate the lives, and loves, of our diverse East Oxford community today.

In at the Deep End, 25th June, 17:30 at Forbury Gardens, Reading
15th July, 19:30 at Britchcombe Farm, Uffington, Faringdon
25th July, 19:30 at The Rowbarge, Woolhampton
29th July, 19:30 at The Riverside Tea Garden, Sonning Lock
1st August, 20:00 at Benson Marina, Benson
9th August, 19:30 at Wolvercote Green, Wolvercote, Oxford
Skipwick RNLI is all at sea. Crew members are hard to come by and Coxswain Darren’s management style isn’t helping. So when seventeen year old Shannon volunteers, it’s all hands on deck – particularly for Darren’s teenage son, Billy. Can the station survive in this ‘me first’ age? Will eccentric fundraiser Hazel’s ideas ever turn a profit? And can Darren and Billy chart the choppy emotional waters closer to home? With marvellous maritime music and fathoms of fun, join Mikron Theatre Co as we dive into two hundred years of saving lives at sea!

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 4th to 6th July at Magdalen College School Field, Oxford
By William Shakespeare. Duke Theseus is due to marry Queen Hippolyta in four days’ time. Entertainment is required. Prize money is at stake. An angry father compels a young couple to flee Athens for the neighbouring woods, where the fairy world is gathered. Passion, slapstick, dreams and Shakespearean comedy all ensue in a gorgeous outdoor setting on the banks of the Cherwell.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5th July to 5th August, in central Oxford
Back by popular demand, last year’s anarchic adventure of Shakespeare’s comedy is taking to the streets of Oxford. This version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is part play, part quest, part treasure hunt and just a little bit Crystal Maze! Meet in groups of 10 at a secret location, follow the clues and watch out for fairies… A Creation production.

The Importance of Being Earnest, 6th to 8th July at Shaw House Outdoor Theatre, Newbury
Oscar Wilde's trivial comedy written for serious people. A New Era production.

The Wind in the Willows, 12th to 22nd July, at Caversham Court Gardens
Mole, Toad, Ratty and Badger are brought to life as they tell the tale of the events at Toad Hall in this playful adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book, perfectly suited to the beautiful and enchanting setting of Caversham Court Gardens. Why not bring a picnic and some fizz to one of the area's favourite annual events, presented by Reading's longest-running open-air theatre production? With a laid back atmosphere in one of the area's prettiest locations by Grahame's beloved Thames, The Wind in the Willows will be enjoyed by the whole family. A Progress Theatre production.

Alice, 15th July to 19th August at University Parks, Oxford.
We’ll be building our very own Wonderland in the beautiful University Parks this summer, and letting loose the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts. The whole family can fall down the rabbit hole with plenty of helpings of magic, music, puppetry and acrobatics as we join Alice on her journey towards adulthood. Seating is unreserved so come early, bring a picnic and enjoy a summer afternoon in the park before the adventure unfolds in our Big Top. It’s a weatherproof show so don’t worry about rain – it’s always dry in Wonderland! A Creation production.

Love's Labour's Lost, 18th to 29th July at Trinity College Gardens, Oxford
Set in the Oxford of 1895, Oxford Theatre Guild's witty new production of Shakespeare’s enchanting comedy captures the perfect English Summer. Croquet on the lawn, Cricket in the Parks, lazy afternoons beside the river and romantic intrigues everywhere you turn. This timeless tale of students falling in and out love is one that will delight audiences of all ages.

Great Expectations, 19th to 22nd July
This year’s summer production by Blewbury Players is an adaptation by Julia Golding of one of Dickens’s best known and loved novels.

Best Foot Forward, 19th July, 19:30 at the Eyot Centre, Henley-on Thames
27th July at The Rowbarge, Woolhampton
30th July, 15:00 at Goring Lock
1st August, 15:30 at  Benson Marina, Benson
A hike through the history of hostelling. Something’s afoot at Pearling Manor and it isn’t just the walkers. The beautiful hostel, rich in YHA history, is lovely but falling apart. External forces are out to grab and turn it into a golf club. Cue Connie, first ever warden, with a heart as big as her rucksack. She takes us on a journey through the YHA’s past in the hope of securing its future. Through thickets and thin we’ve managed to keep Our promise of somewhere cheap to sleep If that’s threatened we must defend it Looking to the past in order to transcend it With harmonies, hills and humour, join Mikron Theatre Co on a hike through the history of hostelling.

Twelfth Night, 25th July to 3rd August at Old Schools Quadrangle, Bodleian Library, Oxford
Set in the 1920s with Europe reeling in the wake of war, Shakespeare’s tale of mistaken identity, mischievous mishaps and misplaced love is accompanied by unforgettable jazz music inspired by the likes of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Brought to life by an ensemble of actor-musicians, this dazzling production balances comedy, romance and live music, showcasing The Watermill’s critically acclaimed bold and playful style in the glorious, historic setting of the Bodleian Quad. Tickets from Oxford Playhouse Box Office.

All at Sea!, 26th to 30th July at Welford Park
Continuing to follow the extraordinary life and times of local Charlotte Peake (poet, mystic and free thinker), the Boxford Masques plunge into the 1920's; the world of jazz, glamour, women's emancipation and unprecedented social and political change. The residents of Welford Park, with some familiar staff and friends, all embark on a sea voyage in search of broader horizons. Themes of diaspora and shipwreck pre shadow our own age as our brave voyagers struggle to come to terms with leaving home and finding new homes in unexpected places. The Queen Anne house of Welford Park itself will become our ocean liner and the audience co-passengers on this exciting, spectacular and touching musical romp across the stormy waves of a new age!

The Comedy of Errors, 12th August, 19:00 at The Vyne, Basingstoke
By William Shakespeare. This fantastical comedy follows two pairs of identical twins, Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus, and their servants, both named Dromio. When they were babies, the twins and their parents were separated in a shipwreck; now, years later, as one half of the twins search for the other they unwittingly find themselves in the same city on the same day. Performed by The Lord Chamberlain's Men.

The Wind in the Willows, 14th August, 18:00 at Shaw House Outdoor Theatre, Newbury
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. The perfect summer holiday treat for all the family! Performed by Immersion Theatre.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 19th August, 17:45 at The Vyne, Basingstoke
By William Shakespeare. An introduction to works of The Bard, you'll be whisked away to the land of the fairies in this production for children. Midsummer night. An enchanted forest. Puck and his musical fairy band tell a tale of lovers, mechanicals, and magical mayhem. The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons present their innovative and hilarious open-air version of Shakespeare's timeless comedy - told, as ever, in their own distinctive and anarchic style.

Pride and Prejudice, 20th August, 18:00 at Basing House
Take a step back in time with Chapterhouse Theatre Company to meet Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Austen's most loveable heroine. When Elizabeth meets the rude and abrupt Mr Darcy, she loathes him at first sight. But is there more to him than meets the eye? Brought to life by award winning writer Laura Tuner, this brand-new adaptation celebrates the 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and promises to be the most splendid evening of the summer. A Chapterhouse Theatre Company Production.

StockFest

Two-week village festival at Stockcross in Berkshire. Tickets and details from www.stockfest.co.uk. These are the theatre-related events.

1791: Mozart's last year, 17th August, 19:30 at The Sutton Hall, Church Road, Stockcross RG20 8LN
Mozart died aged 35 in December 1791 and Kennet Opera's 'celebration in song and words' is mostly opera and choral works from his final year, when his creativity was as astonishing as ever. The show won't just be music – some items will be staged and acted. And a lively commentary will come from Emanuel Schikaneder (1751 – 1812), the actor-manager, singer and composer, an associate of Mozart. Seating is at tables, so bring along your own drinks and make believe you’re at a Vienna cafe!

HADCAF (Hungerford And District Community Arts Festival)

Box office details at www.hungerfordartsfestival.com/tickets. Facebook. Twitter.

... and This Is My Friend Mr Laurel, 2nd July, 20:00 at the Croft Hall
Visiting Oliver Hardy on his deathbed, Stan Laurel – one of Hollywood’s best loved film comedians – reminisces about their remarkable lives, their great friendship, and their timeless success as the legendary double act Laurel and Hardy. Jeffrey Holland is Stan Laurel in this funny and touching account of one of the great cinematic partnerships of the last century.

From the Horse’s Mouth: Illustrated talk by Ruth Rogers, 5th July, 19:30 at the Town Hall
Ruth Rogers talks about her four years as a puppeteer in the National Theatre’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse. She was War Horse Assistant Puppetry Director from 2011-13, and for two years previously the only female full-time puppeteer operating horse Joey’s head. Her fascinating talk includes an account of the auditions and rehearsals, a detailed look at how the War Horse puppets work, tips on how to perform as a horse – and possibly even lessons in whinnying!

Stanley, 6th July, 19:30 at the Croft Hall
Newbury Dramatic Society presents a dramatised reading based on the play by Pam Gems, which explores the complicated life and loves of the twentieth-century British painter Stanley Spencer, with special reference to the iconic murals in Sandham Memorial Chapel depicting the artist’s experiences as a medical orderly during World War One. Spencer’s unconventional but profound religious beliefs inspired visionary paintings of biblical scenes taking place in contemporary settings, notably those of his beloved Cookham. He left his first wife Hilda for a disastrous second marriage, though Hilda remained the love of his life.

Nesting, 10th July, 20:00 at the Croft Hall
A new play by Ellen Robertson. Linda is a self-confessed ‘collector’. She has all the necessities: broken umbrellas to match any outfit, unopened Amazon parcels delivered in 2012, shoes that don’t fit but were a bargain at 75 per cent off, and trainers because, one day, she will definitely take up running. Adding to her collection there is Tony, an affectionately named rat who has taken up residence in her home. The arrival of Jonathan – a man who can’t sleep if the sponge is in the wrong place by the kitchen sink – brings about a more life-changing situation than Linda could ever have imagined. The journey that follows is one of love, loss – and an obsession with Stevie Wonder memorabilia. Nesting is a funny and moving look at compulsive behaviour and finding love in the most unlikely of places. A Watermill Theatre production.

Rapunzel and the Tower of Doom, 16th July, 15:00 at the Croft Hall
Tangles? Split Ends? Frizzy? Flyaway? It’s hard enough having a bad hair day but pity poor Rapunzel spending her life in a tower with a wicked old witch using her captive’s locks as a step ladder! What sort of damage is that going to do to your hair? Theatre of Widdershins have taken this Grimm tale right back to its dark roots, teased out the tangles and styled it into a beautifully coiffured hair piece! This enchanting show promises plenty of body, volume and loads of highlights. Make an appointment to see the show today – because you’re worth it!!! Suitable for age 4 up.