From a family favourite in the open air to festival fun aplenty, there's lots going on...
Wind in the Willows, Blenheim Palace, August 27
Ratty, Mole, Toad and friends are heading to Blenheim this weekend for an open-air production of the family classic. The irrepressible Mr Toad and his companions will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, culminating in a colourful battle to save Toad Hall from the mischievous weasels. The show is presented by Immersion Theatre, which will bring its trademark energy to the riverbank with heaps of audience interaction, colourful costumes, toe-tapping music and larger-than-life characters.
Towersey Festival, Thame, August 25 to 28
KT Tunstall, Newton Faulkner, Eliza Carthy and Jon Boden headline the 53rd Towersey Festival. They’re joined by Show Of Hands, Lindisfarne, The Blockheads and Foy Vance, among others. Scotland-born and Los Angeles-based, KT Tunstall came to prominence with her 2004 debut Eye To The Telescope, which earned her Brit and Ivor Novello awards, in additional to Grammy and Mercury Prize nominations. Newton Faulkner boasts two number one albums – his debut, Hand Built By Robots, knocked Amy Winehouse off the top spot in 2007, and he returned to the top again in 2012 with Write In Your Skin. Eliza Carthy’s The Wayward Band line-up features some of the UK’s very best acoustic and roots players, while Jon Boden is perhaps most recognisable as the lead singer and one of the principal arrangers of the multi-award winning Bellowhead, one of the most acclaimed live acts of recent years. And aside from music, there’s plenty of comedy and family entertainment too.
The Clearing, Compton Verney, until December 17
There’s still plenty of time to experience The Clearing, the Heritage Lottery-funded ‘eyecatcher’ by the park’s lake. The installation continues to fascinate and attract visitors to its packed activity programme including a wide range of workshops that aim to teach the skills required to survive in a dystopian future: from building fires and digging toilets, through to brewing beer, making wind turbines and even establishing democ-racies. Might well come in useful.
Dinosaur World, New Theatre, Oxford, August 24 to 26
Dare to experience the dangers and delights of Dinosaur World where dinosaurs come to life on stage in a brand new interactive show for all the family.
Big Feastival, Kingham, August 25 to 27
X Factor star Olly Murs, hip hop legends De La Soul and ska-pop hitmakers Madness headline the music and food extravaganza, which also features demonstrations by the likes of chefs Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw, while Dick & Dom and Justin Fletcher are on hand to entertain the children.
The festival was founded by Blur bassist Alex James, and is held on his farm in the Cotswolds. “With this incredible line-up, there’s something for the whole family,” said Alex.