What’s On

Sunday, April 2nd: Choral Society’s Spring Concert

Steeple Aston Choral Society announces its forthcoming concert “An Italian Evening” on Sunday, April 2nd at 7.00pm in Steeple Aston Church. Tickets cost £10 in advance; £12 on the door, available from 01869 347346.

The Society’s Chairman, Martin Dale writes: “There will be a super programme designed to take us largely to Italy through Opera Choruses of Handel; Mozart and Donizetti and the wonderful Messa di Gloria of Puccini   Though this last is an ecclesiastical piece, it is musically full of Puccini’s operatic style. Each week when we practise it everyone goes home humming the glorious operatic style tunes.

“Every year we find ourselves at certain times needing to seek the help of professional soloists to sing the solos in these great works. This April is no exception and will be richly enhanced by it. There is a bonus with this since there will be operatic solos also sung by our soloists.

“So this will be a concert with a wealth of beautiful melody and rich harmonies. Do come and enjoy it – it’s like feasting at a great rich table. Italy is still the country with one of the greatest histories of artistic invention and these pieces are no exception.

“There are always so many discussions in music –

Who really was the greatest composer?

Which really is the country with the best traditions?

At a local level we are always so aware to the question – should we use professional soloist or local people? “For me there is one answer and it is always – let us rejoice in what’s possible.

“The best composer of all time is the composer I’m listening to or studying right now and that will be different tomorrow; when we use professional soloists there’s a reason (usually it’s because the music is incredibly difficult to sing as solo and the professional has studied it for years) -but Steeple Choral has a policy of encouraging local singers each year in their summer concert and this year will be no exception.

“Our summer concert on Sunday, July 2nd in the Village Hall will be a highly approachable concert of music which is easy on the ear and plus solos from our local members – always a super musical moment of great fun – we call it our Summer Party and it’s certainly that.

“If you’d like to sing with us – just come along on a Monday evening in term time at 7.45pm in the Village Hall. No experience is necessary. If you feel you can’t read music we’re there to help always and it’s always amazing how quick it is to pick it up. You would always be very, very welcome. We’re a very happy bunch and very welcoming.

For more information, go to www.steeplechoral.org
or www.facebook.com/steepleastonchoralsociety/

Tuesday to Saturday, April 11th – 15th: Local teenagers in Hired Man musical  

Six local teenagers (all former pupils at Dr Radcliffe’s School) will be performing in the Musical Youth Company of Oxford’s Easter production of The Hired Man. They are Jacob Henney, Owen Henney, Claudia Townson, Lucas Lluna, Ellie O’Connor and Immy Parsons.

Dubbed “The British Les Mis” by the press, The Hired Man is an epic British musical about love, labour and loss. The show features a succession of soaring choruses and rousing foot-stomping rhythms and was voted ‘Best Musical of the Year’ by Time Out, The Guardian and The Stage during its West End run in 1984. Based on Melvyn Bragg’s stirring novel, The Hired Man is an intimate portrayal of a tight-knit rural community tested by the challenges of colliery life and heartache of the Great War. The music and lyrics are by Howard Goodall.

The show is on from 11th to 15th April at The Theatre at Headington, Headington School, Headington Road, Oxford OX3 7TD. The evening shows from Tuesday to Saturday start at 7.30pm and there’s a Saturday matinee starting at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £15 – £21 and can be bought in advance online at www.myco.org.uk or by calling 01865 686481.

Thursday to Saturday April 27th – 29th: SA Players’ “Mixed Doubles”

Steeple Aston Players present “Mixed Doubles”, a collection of short plays by leading English writers in the Village Hall on April 27th, 28th and 29th at 7.30pm.

The times they are a’changing, how have we changed with the times?

It is 1969. The 60’s have swung.  In the course of the last decade Lady Chatterley, the Beatles and Dylan have changed the cultural scene.  Khrushchev showed us the end of the world and blinked.  Across the Atlantic the great orators, JFK and MLK, are dead.  In Britain, Christine Keeler, Peter Cook and TW3 have put an end to deference. The pill and abortion laws are giving women control over their bodies. Homosexuality is no longer a crime, the death penalty is history.

And what of marriage, an institution as old as human society? In these varied plays Alan Ayckbourn, George Melly, Harold Pinter and Fay Weldon take us from altar to graveside; from passion to regret; from dedication to deceit as a succession of couples examine their relationships. As a finale the Players will perform “When the Weather Allows” by Phil McCarthy.

Tickets cost £7 (Thurs), £8 (Fri, Sat) and £6 for Under-16s (all performances). The Box Office is open now on 01869 347346.

Tuesday, May 2nd: Oxfordshire Water-Blitz

Volunteers needed for one day only! Check the water quality of your local stream, pond or river and help build a water quality picture for Oxfordshire.

Wild Oxfordshire is spear-heading a campaign to get volunteers to collect water samples from the many hundreds of freshwater-bodies across Oxfordshire on one day.

For your free sampling pack and easy to use app register today by emailing hilary@wildoxfordshire.org.uk and join in on Tuesday, May 2nd.

For more information about Wild Oxfordshire and to subscribe to their fortnightly bulletin, go to https://www.wildoxfordshire.org.uk/

Saturday, May 6th: Plant Sale

A Plant Sale will be held at Paynes Hill House on Saturday, May 6th from 10.30am to 1.00pm.

There will be a wide variety of plants on sale including sweet peas, tobacco plants, cleomes, morning glory, amni and other unusual annuals to fill up borders or to flower in pots. There will also be dahlias, grasses and various perennials plus a selection of vegetables.

All proceeds to Médicins Sans Frontières and Steeple Aston Church.

Monday, May 8th: Village Hall Committee AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Steeple Aston Management committee will take place on May 8th at 8.00pm in the Committee Room. The AGM lasts approximately 30 minutes and is followed by the monthly village hall committee meeting.

Members of the public are very welcome to attend the meeting and if anyone feels they would like to join the committee we would like to see them. If interested, telephone the Chair Barbara Brewer on 01869 340423 for further details.

Saturday to Sunday, May 13th – 21st: North Oxfordshire Artweek

You may notice throughout April and May, little blue Artweeks signs springing up around the county. It’s an annual opportunity to visit the studios of working artists and see what they’ve been inspired to create.

The 2017 Oxfordshire Artweeks May festival will take place from 6th-29th May, with each of the three weeks having a different regional focus. (South Oxfordshire 6th-14nd May and North Oxfordshire 13th-21st May, Oxford City 20th-29th May).

There’s a wide variety of artists exhibiting nearby as part of the North Oxfordshire week. They include ‘Art More Lovely’, an informal collective of Artists and Designers who will exhibit at Heyford House in Lower Heyford. This exhibition will be open from 11.00am until 6.00pm from 13th to 21st May.

Local artist and photographer Clifford Reeves will be exhibiting at St James Church Somerton. You can find out more at http://cliffordreeves.co.uk.  Michelle Davies will be exhibiting her landscapes at Fat Bird Studio, Horseshoe Cottage, 44-46 North Street in Middle Barton. Her website is http://michelledaviesart.com

In Bicester you will find a unique studio where a group of sculptors work at the Old Vicarage in Church Street. The group was the inspiration of George Muller, an artist who worked on notable commissions in cathedrals as well as private houses. He built the studio in the 1990s with the vision of creating a space for sculptors to work together in a shared, creative environment, and his legacy continues today with 24 artists working in stone, wood, metal, clay and other media.

Bicester Sculpture Group will open their studio and the garden from 13th to 21st May between 11am and 4.00 pm. You will be able to talk to the artists about their work and maybe find inspiration in what you see. For more information, go to their website sculptureatbicester.org.uk

For details of lots more artists opening their doors nearby and all over Oxfordshire during May, go to the Artweeks website www.artweeks.org/festival


Sunday, May 14th:  NGS Open Gardens

Five gardens will open in Steeple Aston this year on Sunday, May 14 under the National Garden Scheme. They are:

Canterbury House

Combe Pyne


The Longbyre

Primrose Gardens

The gardens will be open from 2.00 – 6.00pm. Combined admission costs £6.00, children free. Home-made teas will be served in the Village Hall.

Wednesday, May 17th: Public Meeting of Neighbourhood Plan Forum

The Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan Forum is the body representing all the 13 participating organisations that are preparing your community plan.

It meets every other month to discuss and agree policy and next steps. In May it will be meeting for the first time in public. You are invited to come along, listen, ask questions, or take part in the discussion if you wish.

It will be held on Wednesday, May 17th at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Another attraction outside the Village Hall – Wednesday is our visiting fish and chips van day!

Saturday, June 10th: Fashion Show and Pop Up Shop

Steeple Aston Pre School is holding a Fashion Show and Pop Up Shop on Saturday, June 10th starting at 7.30pm (doors open at 7.00pm). The show will be held in the Village Hall and tickets cost £5.

There will be a charity raffle and lots of clothes to try on and buy. Clothes will be on sale at a 50% discount or more from retailers such as M & S, Next, Top Shop, Wallis, Oasis and New Look.

The show will be run by Colours (Fun)draising Fashion Shows (www.coloursfashionshows.com).  For tickets and more information, contact the Pre School on 01869 340863 or email steepleastonpreschoolfundraising@hotmail.com.

For more information about Steeple Aston Pre School, please click here.

Saturday, June 24th: Church Fete

Steeple Aston Church Fete will be opened this year by local MP Victoria Prentiss. It will take place on Robinson Close on Saturday, June 24th starting at 2.00pm. It will include a Car Show and an exhibition of the entries to the Junior Art Competition.

Stalls will include Books & CDs, Cakes, Bottles, Children’s Corner and Games, Recycled Gifts, Vintage, Jams and Pickles, Jewellery and Plants.

They are appealing for donations for all these stalls and for helpers on the day. For more information contact the organiser, Shirley Palmer on 01869 347049, or go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Steepleastonchurchfete/


Sunday, June 25th: Fritwell Open Gardens

There will be an Open Gardens Day in aid of St Olave’s Church in Fritwell on Sunday, June 25th. This is the first open gardens day since 2013, and there will be lots of new gardens to explore.

The gardens will be open from 2.00 to 5.00pm and entrance is £5.00 for adults, children free. There will be refreshments and cakes available as well as a plant and book sale.

Saturday, September 16th: ‘The Mikado’  

Opera Anywhere continue their highly successful UK Gilbert & Sullivan Festival on tour of this popular Gilbert & Sullivan masterpiece…

Set in Japan, The Mikado presents a tangled web of love. Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, flees in search of his true love, YumYum, to avoid marrying a much older suitor. Yum-Yum, however, is betrothed to Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, against her will. Things, as you can see, are complicated! But can everything be righted before someone loses their head? Expect high jinks, lots of energy and clever wordplay as all is revealed.

The Mikado will take place in the Village Hall on Saturday, September 16th at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.

Ticket cost £20, under 18’s £15. The Early Bird price for tickets purchased before July 31st is £15 under 18’s £12.

On line ticket link: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/359133 Telephone orders: 0333 666 3366.

For more information go to www.OperaAnywhere.com

Sunday, October 15th: Sherlock Holmes & The Crimson Cobbles

Chipping Norton Theatre in association with Oxford Theatre Company presents a brand new Sherlock Holmes caper, delivered at breakneck pace in a hilarious, deeply daft theatrical explosion for adults and family audiences. It will take place in the Village Hall on Sunday, October 15th at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.

In this new Sherlock Holmes caper, Holmes and Watson are called upon to investigate the Whitechapel Murders which have recently sent shockwaves through London. But when the evidence points to only one possible conclusion – that Jack the Ripper is actually Sherlock’s trusted sidekick Dr. Watson – is our super sleuth prepared to believe the unbelievable?

Suitable for ages 12 +     Tickets £10.