There's plenty to do in and around Banbury - and we've rounded up just a few of the best on offer in the coming weeks.
There’s pantomime, there’s theatre and there’s music in this week’s line-up of things to do in the area. So check what's on in our five of the best.
1. St John Passion
St Mary’s Church, Banbury, April 2 - Banbury Choral Society promises to raise the roof of St Mary’s once again with Bach’s powerful masterpiece. The choir will be accompanied by the St James’ Players, an authentic Baroque ensemble from London. There will also be a line-up of five young soloists, including Mollie Smith (soprano), Rosamond Thomas (contralto) and Christopher Willoughby (tenor), all under the baton of conductor Julian Harris. Bach’s St John Passion is intensely dramatic with an overriding message of compassion, hope and ultimate salvation. First performed in Leipzig on Good Friday, April 1724, this oratorio is considered one of the most demanding and rewarding works for a choir to perform. It will be sung in German, with the audience provided with an English translation. Mr Harris said: “It is an absolute privilege to conduct this wondrous masterpiece again. It is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent works of genius ever written and created by the mind of the greatest composer that ever lived.
2. Blair Dunlop
The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, March 31 - For a man still in his 20s, whose debut album won the Horizon Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and who was declared the “vital bridge between Brit folk’s first and latest flowerings” by Q magazine, it might be tempting for Blair Dunlop to rest on the laurels of an already successful career. But instead, he’s touring extensively in intimate selected venues that have been chosen to allow the simplicity and sincerity of Blair’s songs and performances connect with his audience in the way he is known for. Ed Harcourt said of him: “He has it all – a wry turn of phrase in his words, barbed and moving within a second and seriously demonic guitar skills that belie his youthful looks.” Visit themillartscentre.co.uk to book.
3. Plot and The Plot Thickens
The New Inn, Middleton Cheney, April 1, and Lighthorne Village Hall, April 2 - Members of Middleton Cheney’s long-established drama group Lynden Players return with a fringe-inspired two-part comedy written and directed by Lynden veteran Kay Andrews-Kuhn. Plot is a scurrilous send up of behind-the-scenes drama, with larger than life characters serving up a slice of showbusiness in all its ridiculous glory. With strong language and adult themes, the show is not afraid to push the boundaries. Visit ticketsource.co.uk/lyndenplayers to book.
4. Sally Barker
Banbury Folk Club, Coach & Horses, Butchers Row, Banbury, April 6 - Sally Barker has appeared at the club several times, with Anna Ryder and club patron Marion Fleetwood. She famously made Sir Tom Jones cry, with her renditions on The Voice. Sally has been performing for decades and is known for her consummate professionalism, whether singing to seven million people on The Voice or to a handful in a folk club. The club cannot accept card payments on the door. To book tickets, call or text 07845 821041. See banburyfolkclub.co.uk for more information.