New acts revealed for Truck and Wilderness festivals

Herald Series: Festival act . . . Joan as Policewoman

10:06am Wednesday 9th April 2014

ORGANISERS of two Oxfordshire music festivals have unveiled dozens of new acts, saying they have their best line-ups to date.

Will rookie actress save musical from disaster?

Herald Series: Ryan Stevens takes the role of Billy Lawlor while Kate Wilkins plays Peggy

10:00am Wednesday 9th April 2014

MEMBERS of Abingdon Operatic Society will be setting the toes of their audience tapping with their latest production.

Legendary fiddle player 'came back from the dead'

Herald Series: Fiddle player Dave Swarbrick

11:11am Wednesday 12th February 2014

LEGENDARY folk musician Dave Swarbrick once famously came back from the ‘dead’ to the relief of his fans.

Small-town Millie seeks an eligible man

Herald Series: Millie Dillmount, played by Helena Kerswell, left, with Jimmy Smith (Josh Kerr) and Miss Dorothy (Jules Roberts)

11:03am Wednesday 12th February 2014

A small-town Kansas girl aims to marry for money instead of love when she hits the bright lights of New York in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Journey through heart turns up Spanish heat

Herald Series: The players: Nicola Harrison, Guy Newbury, Olivier Bonnici, Keith Fairbairn

8:59pm Saturday 1st February 2014

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us (groan) and the cold, dreary grey days of January continue to scrape by.

Two hit shows coming to Corn Exchange, Wallingford

Herald Series: Two hit shows coming to Corn Exchange, Wallingford

8:55pm Saturday 1st February 2014

TWO smash-hit shows from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are en route to Wallingford after entertaining audiences in the West End.

Babes in the Wood - Hanney Drama Group

Herald Series: Double act . . . Lynne Cox, left, as Tackle, and Sue Wise as Block

6:11pm Friday 24th January 2014

VIILLAGERS in the Hanneys are gearing up for their annual dose of pantomime fun.

Whodunnit told as a play within a play

Herald Series: At gunpoint . . . Tim Fermor and Ginette Vincent played by Richard Browning and Suzi Hanks

11:54am Saturday 18th January 2014

MULTIPLE personalities abound in Stagelights’ winter production Murder in Play.

Pantomime parody of classic adventure story

Herald Series: Period costumes . . . Starring in The Scarlet Pumpernickel are, from left , Fiona Merrick, Laura Coleman, Yvonne Kelly and Debbie Lock  Picture: Bethia Thomas

11:45am Saturday 18th January 2014

WE seek him here, we seek him there . . . but for Faringdon Dramatic Society the subject of the hunt is The Scarlet Pumpernickel rather than Pimpernel as in the classic adventure novel.

Peacocke's Pubs: Oil was only blemish on superb experience

Herald Series: The White Hart at Fyfield has a top rating

9:00pm Wednesday 15th January 2014

Tempestuous storms dominated the day, sweeping across the countryside, taking down power lines and causing rivers to break their banks.

Set sail with Sinodun for adventures with Robinson Crusoe

Herald Series: Panto fun . . . Front, from left, Lydia Jones playing Junita, John Cornelius (Cut-Throat), at the ship’s wheel Sarah Stephenson playing Robinson Crusoe, and Nutty Nick (Fiona Prince), with in the background the pirates played by, from left, Graham Watt,

1:03pm Sunday 5th January 2014

YOU’RE being offered the chance to swap our dark, dank days for the sunny climes of a desert island — all with the help of a little imagination, of course.

Didcot Phoenix aims to make 30th anniversary pantomime one to remember

Herald Series: Father and daughter . . . Vaughn and Corin Lawfull play Friar Tuck and Maid Marion

1:00pm Sunday 5th January 2014

MEMBERS of a South Oxfordshire dramatic society will be pulling out all the stops to make their 30th anniversary pantomime one to remember.

Cinderella story given a 21st-century makeover

Herald Series: Magic afoot . . . Cinderella, played by Amber Wyatt, with The Fairy Godmother (Maria Crocker)

12:50pm Sunday 5th January 2014

THE traditional tale of Cinderella is given a 21st-century makeover in Abingdon Drama Club’s annual pantomime.

‘Magical walk’ ends in visit to a friendly pub

Herald Series: ‘Magical walk’ ends in visit to a friendly pub

11:03am Friday 6th December 2013

The Maltsters Arms stands in the centre of the picturesque little village of Rotherfield Greys at the southern end of the Chiltern Hills just three miles from Henley.

Rising folk performer Blair Dunlop in Wallingford concert

Herald Series: Blair Dunlop coming to the Corn Exchange

3:58pm Thursday 21st November 2013

TEN days before his father brings his festive band to town, folk performer Blair Dunlop will take to the stage in Wallingford for a gig with his new trio.

Albion Christmas Band to play Wallingford gig

Herald Series: The Albion Christmas Band

3:54pm Thursday 21st November 2013

FESTIVE celebrations for music fans will get off to an early start at Wallingford with a gig by the Albion Christmas Band.

Crispy beef salad didn't compare to the roast

Herald Series: The Greyhound at Besselsleigh

11:08am Monday 18th November 2013

The air was filled with that unmistakable earthy aroma created by decaying leaves and autumn fungi pushing its way through the ground, which is why I had planned a mushroom foray for Barnaby and I before enjoying lunch together at a south Oxfordshire pub.

Reunion with classmate changes lives forever

Herald Series: Performing the comedy, My Own Show, from left to right, will be Lucie Hall, who plays TV host Fay, Christine Jones (Gillian), Carol-Anne Tilley (Jude), Sue Kitson plays Bollards, and Mark Johnson as Alan

10:50am Monday 18th November 2013

LIVES are changed forever after a daytime TV host appears on the programme This Is Your Life.

Double serving of fun panto-style at Kenton

3:07pm Monday 11th November 2013

FANS of that seasonal treat, the traditional pantomime, are being handed a double header this year at Henley. The Kenton Theatre is staging two of the festive shows over the Christmas and New Year period, one a professional production and the other an amateur show featuring talented local children.

Musicians’ mission to revive forgotten gems

Herald Series: Boldwood

12:10pm Friday 25th October 2013

FOLK group Boldwood turned to Oxford’s world-famous Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum in their hunt for new music to perform.

‘Pubby feel’ and its food punches above its weight

Herald Series: The James Figg in Thame's High Street

8:00am Friday 25th October 2013

Thame’s 27-acre award-winning Cuttle Brook Reserve is just five minutes walk from the High Street, via Spring Street and seven minutes from The James Figg pub.

Hanging out in Sixties London

Herald Series: Accomplished musician . . . Chris Jagger on guitar

8:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013

HIS sibling might be the one that’s world famous but Chris Jagger, younger brother of Rolling Stone Sir Mick, has pursued his own musical career for many years.

Society marks 100th with G & S operetta

Herald Series: ‘Brothers’ in arms . . .  Iain Launchbury, left, and Duncan Blagrove, right, play gondoliers Marco and Giuseppe, with Sarah Forrest, second left, as Gianetta. and Jenna Elliott as Tessa

11:21am Tuesday 22nd October 2013

MEMBERS of Abingdon Operatic Society are preparing to celebrate their 100th production later this month.

Crab dish is declared as being 'simply delicious'

Herald Series: ‘Lovely pub’ . . . The Plough at Kelmscott

8:00am Thursday 10th October 2013

The picturesque village of Kelmscott lies midway between Lechlade and Faringdon and is adjacent to the River Thames.

Chuffed with a rail ride on Thomas and chums

Herald Series: Choo choo

6:00pm Wednesday 9th October 2013

Perhaps you’ve whizzed past Didcot Railway Centre on your way to London.

Something missing in crab and prawn salad

Herald Series: 'Not the best' Helen's verdict on the food at The Miller of Mansfield at Goring

11:00am Thursday 3rd October 2013

AS we drove across the bridge that straddles the Thames between Streatley and Goring, I understood why this area is praised for its beauty.

Memory play's study of an impoverished family

Herald Series: Louise Print-Lyons, left, as Christina, face to face with Rebecca Cleverley, as Kate, with Niki Pusey (Agnes) and Annabelle Buckland (Rose) behind them. Pictures by Lucie Parrott

10:00am Thursday 3rd October 2013

A GLIMPSE into the daily life of an impoverished Irish family is offered in Sinodun Players’ production of Brian Friel’s memory play Dancing at Lughnasa.

Stepping out: Kenton music show to benefit charities

Herald Series: 'Wonderful supporter' ... broadcaster Mike Read has lined up a bill of performers for the evening

3:00pm Thursday 19th September 2013

BROADCASTER Mike Read will be hosting a special one-night-only fundraising evening at a South Oxfordshire theatre to raise funds for two charities.

Cows 'terror' blighted a perfect riverside stroll

Herald Series: The Perch and Pike at South Stoke

1:00pm Thursday 19th September 2013

There’s North Stoke, Little Stoke and South Stoke, all of which can be found midway between Oxford and Reading.

Mane courses prove to be pleasing at Red Lion

Herald Series: The Red Lion... watering hole

4:00pm Wednesday 11th September 2013

The village of Cholsey, which stands just three miles south of Wallingford, is Agatha Christie country.

Get set for a peachy day out with Roald Dahl delights

Herald Series: You can see the caravan which inspired Danny

4:00pm Wednesday 11th September 2013

CALLING all mischief monkeys and mayhem-makers! To celebrate the great children’s author’s birthday, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre (a short hop away, in Bucks) will be more jam-packed than usual.

Once-banned tale of lust, class conflict and boundaries broken to play town stage

Herald Series: Apple target . . . Harry Bowden as Tell's son also called William

1:06pm Wednesday 11th September 2013

A ONCE-banned tale of lust, class conflict and boundaries broken is coming to the stage in Didcot.

Bang on target with world premiere of new version of William Tell legend

Herald Series: Apple target . . . Harry Bowden as Tell's son also called William

1:02pm Wednesday 11th September 2013

LEGENDARY Swiss folk hero William Tell famously shot an apple from his son’s head helping to spark an uprising against tyrannical rulers.

Top guests lined up for Betjeman festival

Herald Series: Top guests lined up for Betjeman festival

11:42am Friday 16th August 2013

AN exciting array of celebrity guests lies in store for visitors to this year’s Wantage Not Just Betjeman Festival.

Expert advises on Great War story

3:26pm Sunday 16th June 2013

EXPERT advice has been sought to capture an accurate depiction of the First World War in a play coming to Abingdon.

Mawkin bring their own brand of folk to Nettlebed

Herald Series: Nettlebed gig . . . Brit-folk band Mawkin

8:31am Monday 3rd June 2013

BRIT-folk band Mawkin bring their own particular sound to South Oxfordshire next week.

This is the Home Service . . . coming to Nettlebed

Herald Series: This is the Home Service . . . coming to Nettlebed

10:44am Sunday 26th May 2013

FOLK fans have a rare chance to see festival band Home Service play a more intimate venue when they perform in South Oxfordshire next week.

Spiers and Boden search for local folk

Herald Series: SPIERS AND BODEN: “We are coming across music we don’t know and there seems to be material coming in from every town and village"

4:00pm Thursday 11th April 2013

Tim Hughes talks to Jon Boden, of folk duo Spiers and Boden, ahead of a uniquely local village show

South Oxhey actress Hollie Thoupos, 11, stars in award-winning romantic drama It's A Love Thing

Herald Series: South Oxhey actress Hollie Thoupos, 11

4:42pm Friday 22nd March 2013

Everyone remembers their first love. The one that first gives you butterflies. The one you’ll always pick for your team in the playground. The one that will first break your heart.

Win tickets to see stand-up comedy

9:09pm Saturday 23rd February 2013

IF you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, here’s your chance to win tickets to see two of the UK’s brightest stars. Andy Parsons and Josh Widdicombe will be bringing their distinctive senses of humour to Oxford and Didcot next month — and the Herald has two pairs of tickets to be won for each gig. With three sell-out national tours and two DVD releases already under his belt, Andy is back on the road with his I’ve Got A Shed tour and arrives at the Oxford Playhouse on Wednesday, March 13. A regular on the award-winning BBC show Mock The Week, Andy has enjoyed success as a writer and performer on television, radio and the live comedy stage. His other TV appearances have included Live At The Apollo and QI, Meanwhile, Josh, of Channel 4’s Last Leg with Adam Hills fame, will be dropping in at the Cornerstone arts centre on with his Josh Widdicombe: The Further Adventures Of show on Saturday, March 30. Josh has numerous other TV appearances to his name including Channel 4’s Stand Up For The Week and BBC1’s Live At The Apollo.

Equus play set to probe the inner self

Herald Series: Once-controversial play . . . A scene from Equus with, from left to right, Rosie Hunt, Lawley Barnett, as Alan Strang, and Jon Crowley, as Dr Martin Dysart

9:07pm Saturday 23rd February 2013

DIRECTING a version of Peter Shaffer’s once-controversial play Equus will fulfil a long-held ambition for Abingdon Drama Club’s Andrea Mardon. Now considered a modern masterpiece, the 40-year-old story of a teenager sentenced to psychiatric treatment for blinding four horses is being staged by the dramatic group next month. Speaking to the Herald, Andrea said: “I’ve always loved Peter Shaffer’s work. The first play of his I read was Amadeus and I was struck how it read like a thriller, you couldn’t put it down until you’d finished it. “Equus is the same. It’s a compelling story told with such sensitivity. It’s a page turner.” With the drama club following the tradition of staging the play in the round, the audience at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon, will find themselves seated on the stage close to the action. However, unlike some professional productions, there is no nudity in this version, although its themes still make it unsuitable for children under 13. Andrea said: “I was also compelled to do Equus because I believe it to be a somewhat misunderstood play. “It has a history of controversy for its nudity, most famous in recent years to Harry Potter fans as ‘the play where Daniel Radcliffe gets his kit off’. It is often crudely described in this manner; either as a play about bestiality or about a young boy who fancies horses. “To describe Equus only in terms of its sexual themes does it such a disservice. Equus is a rich and complex play not about deviance but about commonalities, longings which we all share; the need for intimacy, the quest for spirituality and the ever-present existential angst which questions our purpose on this planet.” Newcomer Lawley Barnett takes the leading role of 17-year-old Alan Strang who is held to account for blinding the horses at the stables where he works with a hoof pick. And, as psychiatrist Dr Martin Dysart, played by Jon Crowley, tries to understand the motivation for the crime, he begins to question his profression, also grappling with the realms of sex and religion. Taking the parts of Alan’s parents, Frank and Dora, are Adam Blake and Lynne Smith, with Rosie Hunt as Jill Mason and stables owner Harry Dalton played by Robert Rees. Making up the cast are Lin Beekar as magistrate Hester Salomon, Maria Crocker as the nurse, and Catherine Huckstep, Liz Adams and Robert Rees as horses.

Jewels concert to brighten February night

3:31pm Friday 15th February 2013

HENLEY Choral Society will be performing a concert, Jewels of the 18th Century, to bring a little sparkle to a February night. The 100-strong chorus is linking up with the Chameleon Arts Orchestra for the performance at St Mary’s, Henley, on Saturday, February 23, at 7.30pm. It will feature Vivaldi’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Symphony No 38 and a polyphonic piece by little-known baroque Czech composer Zelenka, Litanaie de Venerabili Sacramento. The orchestra includes some of the country’s leading freelance players who perform with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Society chairman Melissa Maple said: “We are delighted to be bringing the wonderful talent of the Chameleon Arts Orchestra to Henley for what promises to be an excellent evening of music.” The society will also be joined by the rising musical talent of Julia Sitkovetsky, soprano; Esther Brazil, mezzo-soprano; Guy Cutting, tenor and Peter Collins, bass. Tickets are £12 and under-18s £8 from the ticket secretary on 01491 572795 or Gorvett & Stone, Duke Street, Henley. For information, see:

Win tickets to see folk singer Jim Moray

Herald Series: Folk singer Jim Moray

3:29pm Friday 15th February 2013

SINGER Jim Moray will be bringing his cutting-edge folk music to Abingdon next month. The multi-instrumentalist will be playing a gig in the Roysse Room at the Guildhall on Saturday, March 9. After four acclaimed albums and a clutch of nominations and awards, he has found himself at the forefront of a new folk revival in the UK. Viewed as one of the most consistently inventive musicians in traditional folk music, Moray won the award for the best traditional track at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Lord Douglas and was also nominated for this year’s Spiral Earth Awards in the best album category. His fifth and latest album, Skulk, was released just over a year ago. Aside from working on his own music, Moray, has branched out as the producer of his sister Jackie Oates’ award-winning Hyperboreans album — Doug Oates being his real name and Jim Moray his stage name. Moray recorded his first album Sweet England in 2003 while still studying classical composition at Birmingham Conservatoire by day and playing drums in power-pop bands by night. He has since been awarded honorary life membership of Birmingham Conservatoire for outstanding achievement in music. His imaginative reimagining of English traditional music blended with orchestral flourishes, guitars and electronics saw him awarded the Best Newcomer and Best Album accolades at the 2004 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. After establishing a reputation for his live performances at Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk Festival and WOMAD, and alongside Richard Thompson and Oysterband, Moray followed this with the albums Jim Moray and Low Culture in 2006 and 2008. Awarded the fRoots critics’ poll prize for best album and Mojo magazine’s Folk Album Of The Year accolade, Moray assembled an all-star band, including Saul Rose (Waterson: Carthy, Eliza Carthy Band) and William Bowerman (La Roux), to headline summer festivals throughout 2009. Moray then took the unsual step of giving his fourth album In Modern History away on the cover of Songlines magazine before releasing a deluxe two-disc version in June 2010. Tickets for the 8pm gig are £12 in advance from Seahorse box office, WeGotTickets or See Tickets and, if still available, £14 on the door. Doors open at 7.30pm. l For your chance to win a pair of tickets to Jim Moray’s concert at the Guildhall, Abingdon, simply send your name, address and telephone number in an email labelled Jim Moray Competition to: or send them on a postcard or back of a sealed envelope to: Jim Moray Competition, Herald Series, Promotions Department, Newsquest Oxfordshire, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EJ, by the contest’s closing date of Wednesday, February 20

Legend of King Arthur given panto treatment

Herald Series: Legend of King Arthur given panto treatment

1:50pm Sunday 10th February 2013

THE legend of King Arthur is being given the pantomime treatment by Uffington Players for this year’s seasonal show.

New Didcot-based variety groups takes to stage

Herald Series: The new variety group Synergy

5:08pm Sunday 3rd February 2013

A NEW Didcot-based variety group will be taking to the stage of the town’s Civic Hall next month.

Cast hopes to raise more than laughs

5:04pm Sunday 3rd February 2013

VILLAGERS will be taking to the stage for Steventon’s pantomime hoping to raise more than just laughs. The village’s biennial show has previously amassed thousands of pounds for the NSPCC charity — and the cast of this year’s offering, Beauty and the Beast, is aiming to do the same again. It tells the tale of a spurned woman who takes revenge on the man who jilted her by turning him into the Beast, but she doesn’t count on what Beauty and her friends can do to save him. One of the panto’s co-writers, Maggi Shellard, a member of the NSPCC committee, said: “The 2011 panto brought in over £4,000 for the charity, but we always try to keep ticket prices down so this year a family of four can come for £22. Refreshments and raffles help raise the money.” The show is being staged at Steventon village hall at 2.30pm on Sunday, February 3, at 7.30pm on Wednesday to Friday, February, 6 to 8, and at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Saturday, February 9. Tickets are available from the Old Farmhouse Bakery in Steventon or from Margaret Hall by calling 01235 834067 or email:

Pilgrims' Way aiming to find a place on the map

Herald Series: Pilgrims' Way

12:00am Wednesday 12th December 2012

THE next concert in the Folk at the Unicorn series offers music fans the chance to hear a new band. Pilgrims’ Way, a three piece from Stockport, will be playing an acoustic set at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon, on Thursday, December 13. Named after the Rudyard Kipling poem, their line-up features Tom Kitching, Edwin Beasant and Lucy Wright. Brought together through a series of chance meetings at sessions around the north west of England, they say their aim is to present gimmick-free English folk. While their influences individually are many and varied, they share a respect for the tradition and are inspired some of the most influential bands from the 1960s/1970s revival. Pilgrims’ Way were 2011 BBC Folk award nominees. A Young Folk Award finalist, fiddle player Kitching, also mandolin and vocals, made his name on the British folk scene as one half of a duo with singer-songwriter and guitarist Gren Bartley, as well as performing nationally in a variety of other line-ups. Multi-instrumentalist Beasant (melodeons, guitar and bass) is best known as a box player and for his stint as the drummer with the acoustic dance music outfit Jabadaw. Singer Lucy Wright is an internationally acclaimed jews harp player and second fiddle player in the line-up.

Husband-and-wife folk duo in Wallingford gig

Herald Series: Folk concert . . . Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou

4:07pm Sunday 9th December 2012

HUSBAND-and-wife folk duo Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, above, will be playing a concert in Wallingford next week.

Folk legend to play Wallingford gig

4:04pm Sunday 9th December 2012

FOLK legend Phil Beer will be picking up his fiddle to give a concert in Wallingford later this month.

Calendar Girls take to the stage

10:33am Friday 23rd November 2012

MEMBERS of Goring Gap Players are shedding inhibitions for their latest production Calendar Girls — but it’s all in a good cause. They are one of a number of amateur groups in the county staging the show after the rights were relaxed to help raise money for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity. Calendar Girls, by Tim Firth, is based on the real-life story of a group of Women’s Institute members who stripped for a nude calendar to raise money for leukaemia research when one of their husbands is diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and later dies. The play’s most famous scene — a photo shoot for the nude calendar involving strategically-placed items including flowers, fruit and buns — will see the amateur actresses stand behind the props on stage. Directing the play for the Goring group is Pauline Cain, who said: “I first read the play back in 2011 and coming from North Yorkshire I found it to be ‘right up my Yorkshire Dales’ so to speak.” The story of the WI members was turned into a film starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters in 2003 and adapted as the stage play five years later. Director Pauline added: “Guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and come out singing Jerusalem, Calendar Girls has since become the fastest-selling play in British theatre history and well worth a date in your diary.” In order of appearance, the cast for the show is: Cora: Carolyn Armstrong; Chris: Sarah Loveland; Annie: Chantelle Harding; Annie understudy: Amanda Holland; Jessie: Ann Hart; Celia: Janet Dalton; Ruth: Helen McCutcheon; Marie: Helen Goodwin; Brenda Hulse: Fran Weetman; John: Teri Stevens; Rod: Stuart Hunt; Lady Cravenshire: Gaye Walsh; Lawrence: Martin Audley; Elaine: Halleh Sheibeh and Liam: Ian Miles. The Players will be performing the play at Goring village hall from Tuesday to Saturday, November 20 to 24, at 8pm, and tickets at £10 are available now from Inspiration, High Street, Goring, by calling Jean Betteridge on 01491 873530 or by email at: The producers of Calendar Girls are charging £100 per performance for groups staging the show, with a percentage going to the leukaemia charity.

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