Events and things to do in Berkshire - January 2016

PUBLISHED: 11:32 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 11:32 12 January 2016

Still going strong after 50 years, the inimitable Cockney rocker, Joe Brown. Photo: Garry Knight

Still going strong after 50 years, the inimitable Cockney rocker, Joe Brown. Photo: Garry Knight

Copyright (c) Garry Knight

A quiet January? Not in Berkshire!

Get those legs moving

In January it’s easy to look outside and see instead the attractions of curling up beside the fire. However, we say get those boots and coats on because on a bright, crisp day this month there’s nothing better than a gentle amble through one of the local nature reserves to blow away the last of the ‘Christmas cobwebs’. For many events all you need is to wrap up for the weather.

You can start this, without making any resolutions, on the afternoon of 3 January when enthusiastic birder Graeme Stewart will lead a walk round The Nature 
Discovery Centre at Thatcham and the reed beds there. Allow about two hours for this visit and you can always take advantage of the warm and welcoming café there. This event is suitable for all ages.

Graeme’s out and about again on 13 January, this time for a pre-lunch Greenham Common Bird Walk, exploring the heathland and woodland landscape. If you have them, it’s a good idea to bring a bird ID book, binoculars and camera as there’s plenty to see, both on the ground and in the skies. Again, anyone with an interest in the countryside is welcome, although it’s worth noting that some of the route is not suitable for buggies.

On 16 January those near Crowthorne can head to the Wildmoor Heath Family Fun Day when a nature trail with activities suitable for five to 13 year olds runs for four hours from 11am.

The following day sees Family Fun: Garden Birds at The Nature Discovery Centre, in Thatcham from 2 to 4pm. This should suit families with youngsters aged two and above, with activities aimed mainly at primary school children. It’s a mix of indoor and outdoor activities so the right clothing is needed and binoculars would be handy.

Want to make some noise that day? The old English tradition of ‘wassailing’ to ensure a good harvest of fruit comes from Thatcham Community Orchard starts at 2pm on Saturday, 16 January with a sing-song including ‘Here’s to thee, old apple tree’ feeding the trees some toast and drinking from the wassail cup. A noisy celebration apparently does the trick, so musical instruments and anything else to wake up the trees is welcome!

For the littler ones, Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre at Maidenhead has parent and toddler sessions on Friday, 15 and Monday 18 January (9.30 to 11.30am). Those aged 18 months to four into bug hunting, mud painting and mask painting will get the most out of this, although younger brothers and sisters are welcomed with parents. In most cases you will need to book for the events above.

The Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham, tel: 01635 874381, | Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre, Maidenhead, tel: 01628 829574 | See


If you haven’t seen this comedy show, An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, or would simply love to go again, the second nationwide tour is underway. It comes to Norden Farm, Maidenhead, on 15 January, with all the action based entirely on audience suggestions, see

Light up the month

There’s still just time to catch a show aimed at firing the imagination of those aged five and over at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. The Fire and Light Show runs until 3 January and reveals what a candle needs to keep burning, how some creatures create their own light and what a ‘tornado of fire’ looks like. Tel: 01344 354400.

See Joe at Reading

Some performers have you suddenly counting back the decades, let alone the years, and one of these is undoubtedly Joe Brown, who formed his first band in 1956. Since then Joe, definitely a one-off, has been a TV regular, lauded over the years by the likes of George Harrison, Mark Knopfler and Keith Richards (how does HE keep going?), won a MOJO award and been made an MBE.

Now Joe’s back on the road at the age of 74, with a tour which started in November and has taken him up and down England and across Wales. He’ll be at Reading’s Hexagon with a four-strong band playing old favourites, rockers and new songs with a twist on 16 January.

Other events

• 8 January, Howl Night, UK Wolf Conservation Trust, Butlers Farm, Beenham, Reading, tel: 01189 713330

• 19-20 January, Toddler Days – Winter Magic Theme, The Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Road, Bracknell, tel: 01344 354400

• 19 January, Sex, Lies and Putrefaction, Pangbourne Village Hall, Pangbourne, tel: 01635 874381

• 21 January, Ancient trees: An essential part of our landscape, Woolley Firs, SL6-3LJ, tel: 01635 874381

• 24 January, Small is Beautiful – Moss Walk at Snelsmore Common, Snelmore Common, RG14-3BQ, tel: 01865 788300


The Hexagon, Queens Walk, Reading, tel: 01189 606060

Until 3 January, Dick Whittington with Justin Fletcher; 14 January, Stewart Lee: A Room with A Stew; 16 January, Joe Brown in Concert; 21 January, Jethro: 40 Years The Joker; 22 January, Beyond the Barricade; 23 January, The Elvis Years; 24 January, American Superslam Wrestling; 28 January, That’ll Be The Day; 29 January, The Circus of Horrors; 31 January, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue

Concert Hall, Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, tel: 01189 606060

22 January, Katherine Ryan; 30 January, Red Priest

Progress Theatre, The Mount, Christchurch, tel: 0118 384 2195

14-23 January, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Shinfield Players Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane, tel: 01183 9758880

15-24 January, Mother Goose

The Mill at Sonning, tel: 01189 698000

21 January – 12 March, The Perfect Murder; 31 January, Forever in Blue Jeans

Hall Behind Tilehurst Methodist Church, School Road, Tilehurst, tel: 07703 905138

28 January – 6 February, Sleeping Beauty


The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, tel: 01635 46044

Until 3 January, Alice in Wonderland; 28 January – 20 February, Tell Me on A Sunday

Corn Exchange Newbury, Market Place, tel: 0845 5218218

Until 3 January, Dick Whittington; 15 January, Jongleurs Comedy Club; 21-23 January, Les Miserables: School Edition; 29 January, Steve Hall and Tommy Rowson; 29 January, Forever in Blue Jeans; 30 January, Elkie Brooks


Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, tel: 01753 853888

Until 10 January 2016, Cinderella; 12-16 January, Rehearsal for Murder


Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, tel: 01183 788660

9 January, The Dreamers; 12 January, Maidenhead Community Choir; 14 January, The Big Band with Five Star Swing; 15 January, The Vinyl Frontier – The 2016 Album Championships; 15 January, Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel; 16 January, Ed Byrne; 17 January, Isy Suttie; 21 January, London Klexmer Quartet; 21 January, Tiff Stevenson; 22 January, Alex Garnett; 23 January, Gary Delaney; 29 January, Sink or Swing; 29 January, Paul Sinha


South Hill Park, Ringmead, tel: 01344 484123

Until 3 January, Sleeping Beauty; 8 January, Steve Fishwick; 15 January, Yasmin Rowe – Conservatoire Concert Series; 19 January, The Trials of Galileo; 21-22 January, At The Mountains of Madness; 21 January, Alexandra Legouix & The Sunflowers; 22 January, Atsushi Imada; 23 January, Artree Live – Folk & Roots Music; 26-30 January, One Man, Two Guvnors; 26 January, Bridging The Void; 29 January, Mishka Momen


Loddon Hall, tel: 01183 282825

14-16 January, The Wizard of Oz Pantomime


Eton College School Hall, tel: 01628 528041

16 January, A Feast of Baroque Music for Choir and Orchestra

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