Our pick of Bucks events and shows to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead
Theatre, music, magic and more - there's plenty lined up
The Romans, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles, May 30 and 31
Roman re-enactors return to the museum for a bank holiday family treat. Visitors can travel back to Roman times, visit the living history camp and learn about trades and crafts from this time. Meet gladiators, the emperor and his guards, watch a working catapult, see archery contests and learn about Roman board games.
There will be demonstrations throughout the entire day, including archery, combat and more. The Romans will be brought to life by Britannia, one of the largest and oldest re-enactment groups in the UK. Britannia has worked on more than 150 television and film projects, including Sky’s Britannia, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, CBBC’s Horrible Histories and action film Centurion. Tickets must be booked in advance.
Tom Brace: Eat, Sleep, Amaze, Repeat, The Elgiva, Chesham, June 4
The acclaimed magician - whose fans include the BBC’s Alistair Petrie and LBC’s James O’Brien - Tom Brace brings his new socially distanced magic show to The Elgiva. Find out what a magician does to pass the time when facing a national lockdown in a show suitable for the whole family.
Open-air opera, Chiltern Open Air Museum, June 10
Singers from the world’s leading opera houses will be performing a variety of arias, duets and ensembles from some of the greatest operas ever written. It’s a chance to listen to the work of Handel, Mozart, Puccini and Verdi in wonderful surroundings. The four singers are Jenny Stafford, Martha Jones, Richard Dowling and Alistair Ollerenshaw – some of the most eminent chamber musicians in the country. Chiltern Open Air Museum director Sam Hatfield said: “The arts have been hit hard by the pandemic and we’re very pleased to be collaborating and supporting our friends in the industry.”
English Sinfonia, The Elgiva, Chesham, May 23
The acclaimed orchestra is taking up a residency at The Elgiva this year and gives the first of a series of concerts on Sunday, May 23. Titled A Concert for All Seasons, it celebrates the versatility and impact of the piano trio. From Nyman through to Amy Beach, Mendelssohn and Piazzolla, the English Sinfonia demonstrates why this classic combination of instruments continues to be such a popular choice for composers and audiences alike.
Soap and Porridge, Buckinghamshire libraries, until October
Between October 2019 and February 2020, artist Tom Cross invited writer Aoife Mannix to work with him in Aylesbury Library. They asked community groups and more than 100 regular library users ‘what is your first memory, and what might be your lasting memory?’. From the responses they received they’ve been creating art, animations and poems under the title Soap and Porridge, which went on display in the library in February. Following the reopening of libraries across the county, the exhibition will tour to seven libraries across Buckinghamshire, starting in Beaconsfield this month and visiting Burnham, Chesham, Princes Risborough, Buckingham, High Wycombe and Wendover. Wendover is where Tom’s grandfather lived and the place that inspired the smell of soap and porridge, from which the project takes its title.
Sounds in the Grounds, West Wycombe Park, July 9 to 11
Audiences can enjoy three evenings of much-loved and internationally renowned bands from their own designated picnic patch – which will be socially distanced from others but close enough to share the fun. In fully-staged productions with LED screens, Sounds in the Grounds includes Beyond the Barricade, now in its 22nd year, featuring past principals from Les Misérables in the West End and on UK tour performing songs from the world’s greatest musicals; leading Abba tribute act Abba Mania; country music celebration A Country Night in Nashville; and Killer Queen, who recreate Queen’s songs and shows.
Scouting for Girls, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, October 14
Throughout Scouting for Girls’ career, the band have sold over two million albums, two million singles, been nominated for four Brit Awards as well as an Ivor Novello, had four top ten singles, sold out Wembley Arena, The Royal Albert Hall and, most recently, sold out two nights at The London Palladium. Going back to the music and culture of their childhoods in the 1980s, the band regrouped last year to curate a joyful album of ‘80s covers, alongside some new tracks inspired by the music of the era.
Festival of Beer, Blackpit Farm, Buckingham, September 3 to 5
Enjoy three days of live music, food and drink with a top line-up of acts, breweries and chefs.
Hirspray the Musical, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, September 6 to 11
Welcome to the ‘60s, where everyone’s grooving to a brand-new sound. Enter vivacious heroine Tracy Turnblad, who has big hair, a big heart, and big dreams to dance her way onto national TV, and into the heart of teen idol Link Larkin. When Tracy becomes a local star, she is able to use her newfound fame to fight for liberation, tolerance, and inter-racial unity in Baltimore. But can she win equality – and Link’s heart – without denting her ’do? The international musical phenomenon has been breaking box office records and delighting audiences in the West End, on Broadway and on the big screen since 1988.
Adam Kay - This Is Going To Hurt (Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor), Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, July 19
Award winning comedian Adam Kay shares entries from his diaries as a junior doctor in this critically acclaimed evening of stand-up and music. The accompanying book, This is Going to Hurt, is a Sunday Times bestseller and is being turned into a major BBC series. Signed copies will be available to buy on the night.
Friars Aylesbury - OMD, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, September 17
OMD are one of the true Friars Aylesbury legends. Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys first played Friars as a duo with a tape recorder, supporting Gary Numan, on October 6, 1979. They went down a storm. A year later they came back with the full band as triumphant headliners. The gig on November 1, 1980, was a complete sell-out.
Years later Andy McCluskey was talking to George Michael who said that he and Andrew Ridgeley had driven over from Watford that night and were in the audience. This was when George and Andrew were a couple of unknown music fans. OMD had released their second album, Organisation, in October 1980, just before the Friars gig and the only single from that album, Enola Gay, was high in the UK singles chart. OMD have sold more than 25 million singles and more than 15 million albums. They appeared on Top of The Pops 29 times. They had a string of hits including Electricity, Messages, Enola Gay, Souvenir and Joan of Arc.
Harris and Baker's Backstage Pass, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, August 22
Bob Harris and Danny Baker have great rock stories to last a lifetime – here’s just an evening of them.
Friars Aylesbury - The Flaming Lips, May 30, 2022
They’re one of the world’s most revered live bands, known for their euphoric, mesmerising and often somewhat eccentric shows. The Flaming Lips were due to play in Aylesbury in July but have had to postpone the show due to continuing Covid-related uncertainty. David Stopps of promoters Friars Aylesbury said: “If you’ve already bought tickets it would help Friars Aylesbury enormously if you would hang on to them. They will be valid for the May 30, 2022, date. The live music industry has been decimated since March 2020. Friars Aylesbury is hoping to survive this but we can only do it with your help.”
Drag Night, The Aristocrat, Wendover July 23 and Straight Outta Lockdown drag night, St John’s Sports and Social Club, Aylesbury, July 31
It’s been quite a year for Buckinghamshire’s Ryan Ferguson and Jake Woodward, also known as Alotta Teal and Jackie D. They met online during the first relaxation of lockdown rules in summer 2020 and bubbled up for the Christmas and New Year break, when they took part in several virtual live shows on social media. After spending time together and voicing their ideas they both realized they could put on quite a show – and this was something to work on. But it wasn’t ever going to happen overnight – hundreds of hours of work was needed to make this idea a reality. And with both Ryan and Jake in full-time work, this was going to be a challenge. In day-to-day life, Ryan is a team leader in a care home caring for people with dementia, and Jake works in administration for the NHS and studies Psychology at Aberystwyth University. Both being keen to take their drag career to the top, they invest all their spare time into rehearsing and coming up with material. They have both invested thousands of pounds in wigs, make-up and custom made costumes to get this on the road. Jake has also learned how to sew and make his own outfits and is constantly practising to make that side of his craft perfect. They have two shows lined up locally – and they promise to be memorable occasions.
Coffee Baroque, The Vache, Chalfont St Giles, May 29
The Vache Baroque Festival 2021 season with this musical homage to the hot drink that gets so many of us going in the morning. The coffee-themed event has witty music, poetry and refreshments along with J.S. Bach’s Coffee Cantata. This is a family friendly event.
16 ART, THEATRE AND MORE
Waddesdon Manor, June and July
Waddesdon hosts an array of activities in the coming weeks, including a food market, theatre from The Lord Chamberlain's Men and an exhibition of works by Gustave Moreau.