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This weekend


Made in Chalford Christmas Fair, Victoria Works Studio, London Road, Chalford, near Stroud, Fri 1 to Sun 3 Dec

made in chalford Christmas fair

This annual Christmas fair put on by the Stroud Valleys village that punches well above its weight in creativity is a melting pot of beautiful, handmade goodies made by local craftspeople and artists. There will be over 30 artisans in the lovely old mill that is the Victoria Works Studio, including My Blue Shed whose textiles are to die for, Jill Watton’s ceramics, ditto, Taylored Felt, ditto, Hestia’s candles, ditto – are you getting the picture?. Basically, expect gorgeous handmade stuff, with the makers on hand to chat over a mulled wine and mince pie.


Wild Boar Presents: A Curious Christmas, Wild Boar Gin Lounge, Stroud, Glos, Fri 1 to Sun 3 Dec

Did someone say gin? Always happy to follow that spirit, and on this particular weekend, your G&T will come served up with a smorgasbord of festive gifts, including art, gifts, jewellery, clothes and decorations. There will also be music and festive games. And more gin! I’m in!


7 Heaven Presents… Boca 45, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Fri 1 8pm to Sat 2 Dec 3am

Ready for an all-nighter? Then The Marshall Rooms, Stroud’s new club hot spot, is the place to go. And make sure you’ve got your dancing pants on because Boca 45 (aka Scott Hendy) will be unleashing his hip hop, funk and beat sounds – and before you know it, it’ll be 3am and you’ll feel like you’re 19 again, until the hangover kicks in that is.


Emily Barker, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Sat 2 8pm to Sun 3 Dec 2.30am

Anyone hardcore enough to do two all-nighters in a row? Thought not, so take your pick this weekend between hardcore hip-hop raving (see above) and the country-soul ballads of Emily Barker, an Americanophile Aussie whose new album, Sweet Kind of Blue, which was recorded in Memphis, is garnering rave reviews.


Christmas Open Studio, Hilles Studio Collective, Edge, near Stroud, Sat 2 to Sun 3 Dec

Christmas Open Studios at Hilles Studio Collection in association with SVA Stroud Valley Arts

This beautiful space dedicated to the Arts & Crafts movement will be opening its doors this weekend to showcase some of the work of its artists, including Kirsty Stockdale’s sculpture, Allie Litherland’s art projections, Saffron Knight’s fine art canvases and Annet Richards-Binns’ Christmas crafts. Original gifts guaranteed, as well as mulled wine and mistletoe. And on Sunday there is a free family drop-in workshop where you can make 3D geometric marbled Christmas decorations. In association with the equally wonderful Stroud Valley Arts.


Sleeping Beauty, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, Sat 2 to Sun 31 Dec

The Roses supremo writer and director Ben Crocker once again injects stage magic into a traditional fairy tale, this year Sleeping Beauty. Expect all the usual panto fun and don’t sit in the front row if you’re shy! I was caught here once and blushed up to my eyebrows, shrinking violet that I am.


Grandma Claus: Waiting for Santa, on tour around Gloucestershire, Sat 2 to Fri 22 Dec

The perfect way to kickstart your Christmas, this light-hearted family show follows Grandma Claus who’s desperately hoping Santa will visit her this year. Magical and fun in equal measures, the show is doing a whistle stop tour round Gloucestershire with dates in Gloucester (2 Dec), Chipping Norton (3 Dec), Cheltenham (9 Dec), Cirencester (16 Dec) and Slimbridge (20-22 Dec). And there’ll be a meet and greet with Claus after the show! Produced by Noodle Productions, written and directed by Matt Nolan, with original music by Joel Hall & Tom Ling.


Black Penny Remedy Club, The Prince Albert, Stroud, Sat 2 Dec, 9-11pm

Known for their energetic live shows, put a rocket under your Saturday night with this unique fusion of folk, Americana, punk and ska. Highlights include tracks from their third album released this November, which has been produced by no less than Morrissey’s co-songwriter/guitarist/musical director, and Polecats and Adam Ant guitarist, Boz Boorer.


Christmas Floating Market, Bradford on Avon, Wilts, Sat 2 to Sun 3 Dec

After the success of last year’s inaugural floating market in Bradford on Avon, the crafty boaters who live on the Kennet and Avon Canal are back again this year even bigger and better. There will be 40 traders spread between 14 boats, stalls on the tow path and a takeover of West Barn in the Tithe Barn Complex. As well as retail therapy, you’ll also be able to watch makers at work, from hand spinning wool to a resident blacksmith who will be turning up with a portable forge. And, there’ll be pizza, courtesy of Wildflower Pizzeria, which prepares pizzas on its boat and then cooks them in a mini wood-fired oven. And if pizza’s not your bag, Wolf Kitchen which serves warming soups and other tasty snacks will be there to keep the wolf from the door.


Calm Before Christmas Yin Yoga, Stroud Yoga Space, Stroud, Sun 3 Dec, 10.30am & 2pm

Hosted by The Yoga Glow, these two-hour yin yoga sessions will help keep Christmas stress at bay with some seriously deep stretching. Holding poses for up to five minutes, you really get down to the nitty gritty in yin and emerge feeling rested, refreshed and revitalised. The sessions end with treats and goody bags, so you’ll leave feeling properly pampered.


Winter Gathering and Gift Market, Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, near Stroud, Sun 3 Dec

If you’ve got a reluctant male shopper on your hands, this should get him off the sofa and out the door. The focus is on laid-back socialising, storytelling and carol singing around the fire, noshing on hearty food and putting back a few pints (of course), but there will also be lovely beer-related gifts to buy including beer soap, local pickles, hop pillows, one-off art and Stroud Brewery fare.


Peter Pan, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, Sat 2 to Sun 31 Dec

Set sail with your shipmates and head for Neverland this Christmas where you’ll be hooked on this swashbuckling pantomime adventure. Featuring magnificent scenery, beautiful costumes, an abundance of comedy and stunning flying sequences, it’s the perfect treat for the festive season and outstanding entertainment for all the family. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss – hook your tickets now! Sorry…


Jack and the Beanstalk, Salisbury Playhouse, Sat 2 Dec to Sun 7 Jan 2018

Written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Ryan McBryde (the duo behind the last two smash-hit Playhouse pantos), with spectacular designs by James Button (Little Shop of Horrors, Salisbury Playhouse), Jack and the Beanstalk is the must-see family entertainment this Christmas. The fabulous cast includes the return of Richard Ede who had audiences in stitches last year as Widow Twanky.


A Christmas Carol, Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, until Fri 8 Dec

The perfect outing to get you in the mood for Christmas, Dickens’ touching tale of the transformation of Ebeneezer Scrooge through the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future is brought to the stage by Split Second Productions, who are regulars at Gloucestershire’s most historic castle, which is possibly home to a few ghosts itself… can also catch the performance at Chapel Arts, Cheltenham from Sat 9 to Tue 12 DecBlackfriars Priory, Gloucester on Sun 10 Dec and Tewkesbury Abbey on Tue 19 Dec.)


Christmas is coming to Highgrove, Tetbury, Glos, until Sun 17 December

HRH The Prince of Wales’s gaff is a princely host for a right royal Christmas festive and shopping experience. This year the famous Orchard Room will be once again offering unique gift ideas, decorations and gourmet foods. Bask in the beauty of the place and find those special, one-of-a-kind gifts. No sharp, high street elbows here, instead you can float around, glass of champagne in hand, breaking for lunch and cream tea in the brand new restaurant. Sounds perfecto. 


Salisbury Christmas Market, Salisbury, Wilts, until Fri 22 Dec

This magical Christmas market sees the beautiful medieval cathedral city transformed into a winter wonderland that rivals the best of Germany’s famous Christmas markets. From jewellery and crafted handmade furniture to every flavour of liqueur you could dream of, this one could get jolly! The opening night is always special with loads of street entertainers and a real festive spirit, then on Thu 30 Nov, there’s the annual Christmas Lantern Parade which this year is in association with the Salisbury Arts Centre and is another it-feels-good-to-be-alive event.


The Cotswold Reindeer Herd, Ampney Crucis, until Sun 24 Dec

This is the place to go and get your Christmas tree this year. Not only is it on one of the stunning back roads around the Ampneys, but there are reindeer! Yes, real-life reindeers that will get the kids (and adults) tingling with festive excitement. Santa will be there in his Christmas grotto too. The festive season starts here.


Enchanted Christmas Market Gloucester Quays, Gloucester, until Sun 24 Dec

Expect street food vendors, a Ferris Wheel, tons of festive stalls, a real ale tent, brass bands and an open-air ice rink. I’ll see you dancing on ice!


Crafted for Christmas, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, until Sun 31 Dec

New Brewery Arts, Cirencester’s go-to creative hot spot, puts on a fantabulous Christmas shopping extravaganza which showcase its regular and guest makers. Expect high-quality, individual gifts and unique homewares that will be very hard to resist.


Dick Whittington, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Join Dick and his cat as he travels from Gloucester to London to make his fortune and runs into a crazy cast of characters on his journey from zero to here. Molly McGuire plays Dick, with Ben Goffe as Tommy the Cat and, of course, expect to see Tweedy the Clown. Regulars to the Everyman panto and Gifford’s Circus will know his genius, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Tweedy, he’s like a comic book character come to life. Brilliant basically. Always a sell-out, be sure to book soon, as Everyman chief exec Mark Goucher says, “It wouldn’t be Christmas without a great family pantomime.”


Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Jack the lad is also bean-counting in Oxford this festive season, at the Playhouse. This one isn’t a celeb-fest but nevertheless looks very sweet and is suitable for very young children. Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford,


The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Stories, Bristol Old Vic, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo: Steve Tanner

After premiering up at Shakepeare’s Globe in London, the critically acclaimed production comes to Bristol. An impoverished girl strikes a series of matches to keep warm on the icy cold streets; each time she escapes into a different Hans Christian Andersen story. Expect cockles to be warmed.


Beauty and the Beast, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo Camilla Adams

As you can tell from the pic, not a another stage version of the Disney film. This is a quirky re-telling of the classic French fairy tale, reminding us that beauty (or beastliness) is only skin deep. Littlies can enjoy the story of family, feathers and fitting in, in The Ugly Duckling (Sun 10 Dec to Sun 14 Jan).


Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until Sun 11 Feb 2018

This started just last week, Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work.

Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 18 Feb

Could have had a catchier title truth be told! But anyhoo, this major exhibition will be the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Blimey! Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed.


Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, until Sat 24 Feb 2018

Photo by Paul Stuart (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia – Kara Tointon’s dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, who recreated Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park on stage for the RSC’s fabulous Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, it’s set in Victorian Britain. Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. rsc

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