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Panto Capers Across the County
Make sure you see at least one of our pantomimes to get you in the Christmas spirit – plan well and you could be joining in the fun up and down Berkshire. At Windsor’s Theatre Royal we have Sleeping Beauty from 29 November to 7 January. Basil Brush, Kevin Cruise and Steven Blakeley and DJ Mike Read, are among the stars.
Nearby at Maidenhead there are two shows. CBeebies presenter Nisha Anil and the irrepressible Sandra Martin appear in Aladdin at the Magnet Leisure Centre from 9 to 31 December. Maidenhead Drama Guild take to the stage with Cinderella from 13 to 17 December at The Desborough Theatre in the Town Hall, see maidenhead-drama.org.uk.
In Reading Justin Fletcher leads the cast on the magical journey of Peter Pan at The Hexagon from 9 December to 7 January. There’s also a lovely Christmas show for little ones aged between three and six, Alby the Pengiun Saves Christmas, at Reading Studio of Dramatic Art, Reading College from 16 to 24 December. Written and directed by Helen Eastman, it’s a Reading Rep, Reading Libraries, Oxford Playhouse co-production, in association with Jelly. See readingrep.com.
Head to Newbury’s Corn Exchange for Beauty and The Beast. Panto writer and director Phil Willmott and the cast always ensure this is a fun-filled and truly local show. It runs from 1 December to 7 January. Meanwhile, The Watermill Theatre at Bagnor has a tremendous performance of The Borrowers until 31 December. This adaptation by Theresa Heskins will be performed by actor-musicians with a new score composed by Tarek Merchant and is directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director, Paul Hart.
These chaps bring a mix of traditional English music, throw in a bit of pop and music hall, and top it off with wry humour in a unique live experience that has made them one of the most popular duos in folk music.They come to South Street Arts Centre, Reading on 16 December, call 0118 960 6060, see readingarts.com.
Ed Byrne Live on Stage
The comedian says he thought about calling his latest show ‘I’ll Millennial You in a Minute’, but it’s ended up as Spoiler Alert. Catch him at The Hexagon on 1 December or South Hill Park on the 12th.
Christmas Tree Sale
Buy a tree from a local nature reserve at Edgbarrow Woods Car Park, Wildmoor Heath, Sandhurst Road, Crowthorne, near RG45 7PP on 9 and 10 December between 11am and 3pm.
The local Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is holding the sale and the trees – Scots pines – are sourced from Wildmoor Heath and surrounding nature reserves. Sustainably grown, freshly cut for the weekend of the sale and drop-resistant, felling the trees helps with the heathland management and restoration.
Mistletoe, holly, cards and calendars will also be on sale.
Christmas at Windsor Castle
The Christmas display at Windsor Castle from 24 November to 5 January commemorates the 20th anniversary of its restoration following the devastating fire of November 1992. The State Apartments will be decked with glistening gold decorations inspired by the intricate gilding work that was undertaken to restore the Castle’s interiors. The highlight of the display will be the magnificent 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir tree in St George’s Hall, taken from Windsor Great Park and entirely dressed in gold decorations.
For the first time, a series of immersive evening performances will be staged in the State Apartments. Between 16 and 30 December, the nine family-friendly performances of Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ will transport audiences into a Victorian Christmas. On Saturday, 9 and Sunday, 10 December, a Festive Weekend will offer a range of Christmas activities for families, including a pop-up pantomime, storytelling, festive music, a floral display, decoration-making workshops and the ever popular Bach to Baby concerts for under-fives.
Every Saturday in December, families can enjoy festive arts-and-crafts workshops in the Castle’s Moat Room. On selected dates visitors can join a Private Evening Tour, led by an expert guide and offering a behind-the-ropes experience. Tickets include a glass of champagne, copy of the Official Souvenir Guide and a 20% discount at Royal Collection Trust shops.
Reading Guild of Artists’ annual charity art sale at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, runs until Saturday, 16 December. Entrance is free and 25% of the proceeds go to the Hospital’s ‘Art and Garden Fund’ charity. It features a wide-range of styles and media, from water colours, acrylics and pastels and much more.
Anthony Wilder, chairman of the RGA, says: “It is staggering to think that this the 24th arts sale we have held and it just gets bigger and even better! The range and styles on display really means there is something for everyone and an ideal way to get that unique Christmas gift or to mark another special event. I would urge people to pop in and see what’s on offer.”
Carole Stephens, RGA member, adds: “I love flowers and gardens and the very ‘Englishness’ of Reading, where I live. I really appreciate the opportunity to show my work in this special exhibition and have done so for the last seven years.”
Ian Thomson, charity director of the Royal Berks Charity says: “I am delighted that the Reading Guild of Artists has nominated the Art and Garden Fund as a recipient for funds raised at the art sale. I welcome the on-going relationship which reflects the passion that people have for the Royal Berks Hospital and the care provided by staff in the Trust – a true partnership.
“With your support we can change the lives of thousands of people and enhance patient care in the community. To everyone involved, a big thank you. You are our local heroes.”
The charity arts sale can be found at RBH Level 2 Link Corridors, Craven Road, Reading. See rga-artists.org.uk.
Until 7 January 2018 Sleeping Beauty; 06 December, Carols by Candlelight
Magnet Leisure Centre, tel: 01494 917519
9-31 December, Aladdin
Maidenhead Town Hall, tel: 07900 863699
13-17 December, Cinderella
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, tel: 01183 788660
13 December, Concert in aid of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People; 14 December, The Horne Section – Christmas Show; 16-17 December, Omis Djalili; 31 December, New Year’s Eve Hoedown
South Hill Park, tel: 01344 484123
Until 3 January, Beauty and The Beast; 7 December, Kerry Godliman; 8-24 December, Father Christmas Grotto; 12 December, Ed Byrne: Spoiler Alert; 14 December, The Big Chris Barber Band; 15 December, Supertonics Big Band Winter Concert
Stunning, picturesque and beautiful are all words used constantly to describe the villages of Berkshire - and rightfully so. Why not take a visit and enjoy one of the fantastic pubs or restaurants on offer...