Events and things to do in Berkshire - May 2015

PUBLISHED: 16:53 28 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:58 28 April 2015

All the fun of the fair at a previous Cookham Festival, photo Michael Caroe Andersen,

All the fun of the fair at a previous Cookham Festival, photo Michael Caroe Andersen,


A selection of events and things to do right across Berkshire this May

Cookham Festival: don’t miss out

From 2 to 17 May the pretty village beside the Thames will be showing off, with good cause, indeed a very good cause, as all proceeds go to charity.

It’s a chance for both residents and visitors to enjoy a huge range of theatrical and musical performances and craft and cultural activities.

From the People’s Shakespeare and ‘Maestros in the Making’, an event showcasing local young musical prodigies, to a sculpture garden in the Odney Club, there’s a feast of entertainment. Plus, of course, Let’s Rock the Moor, the Eighties music festival at Marsh Meadow on 16 May, this year featuring a huge line-up including Level 42, Rick Astley, Roland Gift, Betty Boo, Hot Chocolate, The Blow Monkeys and The Christians.

Comedy, jazz, pottery and watercolour painting all find a spot in the festival and you can make a day out of it as local eateries and restaurants are joining in with special menus, entertainment and enticing offers.

This year’s festival will also feature events focusing on the centenary of the First World War, where visitors will be able to see the impact of the conflict on families whose brave men gave their lives and have their names recorded on the Cookham War Memorials.

As in previous years, the festival will be rounded off by a Gala concert, this year featuring the Cantorum Choir, the area’s leading chamber ensemble, and soloists from both the English and Welsh National Operas.

“We’re thrilled to be running the Festival again,” says Cookham Festival Chairman, Malcolm Stork. ‘It’s a great community event, run entirely by local volunteers, with something for everyone. As usual, proceeds from the festival will be donated to a range of local charities, to help support the community who make the Festival what it is.”

Look out for the work of artist Matthew Burley, brought up in the village and whose work will be on display at Elizabeth House in Cookham between 4 and 29 May. Entry is free.

A portrait painter, he uses original photographs to create unique and highly realistic art work. He says that most of his work reflects the importance of family: “Sometimes my work is commissioned as a gift for a friend or loved one; at other times people want a lasting memory of a special moment or time in their lives”.

He also paints moments from films – an area he would like to expand upon in the future. Sadie Frost commissioned him to paint her and her children from a photograph. Although he no longer lives in Cookham, Matthew and his family are regular visitors. He says: “I have lived in many places around the world, I agree wholeheartedly with Stanley Spencer when he said, ‘Cookham is Heaven’. I feel very lucky to have been raised here and am very much looking forward to being part of the 2015 Cookham Festival.”

The box office for the event is now open at the Stationery Depot, Station Parade, Cookham Rise, SL6 9BR. For details visit, where you can also see the full programme of acts and events. You can also find the Cookham Festival on Facebook, or by following @cookhamfestival on Twitter.


We may head to the gardens

This is a fantastic month to visit local gardens. See The National Gardens Scheme,, for both local openings and those worthy of a longer trip. May openings offer gardens in Wokingham, Finchampstead, Wargrave, Winnersh and Sulhampstead.

Others include:

• 9-10 May, Stubbings House, Maidenhead, tel: 01628 825454

• 27 May, Sunningdale Park, Ascot, tel: 01344 634000

• 31 May, Springfield Cottage and Rookwood Farm House, Stockcross see NGS website.


Mary Black’s final visit

Mary is on the last ever tour outside her home country of Ireland and it includes a concert at Reading’s Hexagon on 1 May with special guest Brian Kennedy. Mary has released 11 studio albums, all of which achieved platinum sales status and spawned countless hits. She says: “Music has been so good to me, I’ve loved touring the world for the last 30 years… I have made so many friends and have countless fond memories from different corners of the globe.” Tel: 0118 960 6060.


Family Fun

The Berkshire Country Fayre, White House Farm, Spencers Wood, includes demonstrations by Berkshire Young Farmers, craft and food marquees, vintage machinery, classic cars, birds of prey, fair rides, archery, ferret racing and a dog show.

From 9am to 5pm, adults £7, children over 5 and concessions £3, family tickets available.



Other events:

• 3-4 May, Taplow Lake Family Fun Day, Wakeplus, Taplow Lake, Amerden Lane, tel: 01628 782113

• 4 May, Family Fun Day, Royal Windsor Racecourse, tel: 01753 498400


Performance Highlights


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

1 May, Mary Black: The Last Call Tour; 2 May, Tim Vine; 6 May, Sharleen Spiteri and Texas; 8 May, European Union Chamber Orchestra; 13-16 May, Sainsbury Singers present Sweet Charity; 20 May, Reginald D Hunter; 23 May, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; 26 May, Jimmy Carr; 24/28 May, Alan Carr; 29 May, Paul Merton’s Impro Chums


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

9 May, Organ Recital – William McVicker; 16 May, Reading Phoenix Choir


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

Until 2 May, Radio Times: A Musical



The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, tel: 01635 46044

Until 23 May, Far From The Madding Crowd


Corn Exchange Newbury, Market Place, tel: 0845 5218218

8 May, Barb Jungr’s Blue Hours – No Regrets; 9 May, BBC Symphony Orchestra; 9 May, Pasadena Roof Orchestra; 14 May, Ballet Central; 17 May, Ruddigore; 21 May, The Rite of Sping/Romeo and Juliet; 22 May, Ronnie Scott’s All Stars; 28 May, The Cavern Beatles; 30 May, Jamie Allan – Imagician


Open Air Theatre, Shaw House, Church Road, tel: 01635 279279

29 May, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice



Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, tel: 01753 853888

Until 2 May, Avenue Q; 10 May, A Night of Dirty Dancin’; 11-16 May, The Deranged Marriage; 17 May, London Swing Orchestra; 18-23 May, Peter Pan Goes Wrong; 26-30 May, Pardon Me, Prime Minister; 31 May Stand Up by Royal Appointment



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

7 May, Celtic Fiddle Festival; 9 May, Gypsy Fire – Acoustic Spectacular; 13 May, Ralph McTell; 16 May, St John’s Chamber Orchestra; 25 May, Rapunzel; 26 May, An Evening with the War Poets; 27-28 May, James and the Giant Peach



South Hill Park, Ringmead, tel: 01344 484123

6 May, Counterfeit Beatles; 10 May, Bracknell’s Got Talent Semi-finals; 15 May, Bracknell Jazz; 20 May, Jack Dee’s Help Desk; 21-22 May, Unearthed; 28 May, Richard Digance

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