Boswells Blog

16th June 2015

The Free Ruskin Theatre Platforms

The Free Ruskin Theatre Platforms

Oxford is a busy place for literary and theatrical events. Many of us wish we took up more of these opportunities, so Rosie in our Pharmacy shows us a good way to start.

Hearing the sad news of Ron Moody’s death reminded me of the time I met him, at the Oxford Literary Festival a few years ago. He was promoting his autobiography and interspersed his talk with snatches of songs from “Oliver”. A rare treat and Oxford is one of the few cities outside of London that we get these opportunities more regularly than most.

Another famous writer I enjoyed meeting was Mark Haddon. This was at Ruskin Theatre Platforms last year. He talked about watching the play of his novel “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime” in Denmark. He knew what was happening but he didn’t understand a word that was spoken as it was a translated version!

Ruskin Theatre Platforms ProgramThe Ruskin Theatre Platforms are exactly the sort of free opportunity that we can all take advantage of. They are run by Ruskin College's Writing For Performance (WFP) initiative in association with the Oxford Playhouse and incredibly John Retallack (a WFP Tutor), encourages all these talented people to donate their time for free! Thanks to that generosity the events themselves are also free to attend. The money raised from donations goes to support the events and the students.

The format is a rehearsed reading of a modern play followed by a chaired discussion with cast and director afterwards. I certainly enjoy the Ruskin Theatre Platforms and how they manage to get such a depth of feeling with only one day of rehearsal is amazing. 

Previous speakers have included: David Edgar, the aforementioned Mark Haddon and the superb actress Maxine Peake who is also the Patron of WFT.

The remaining events this June are:

"Playhouse Creatures" (1997) by April De Angelis at Ruskin on Wednesday June 7th and at the Oxford Playhouse on Friday June 19th. Described as "1669 - a bawdy troublesome year. Theatres have just reopened after years of Puritan suppression, and for the first time, English actresses appear onstage...

"The Lover" (1962) and "Landscape" (1968) by Harold pinter on Wednesday 24th June at Ruskin. Described as "beautifully written...The Lover is the sexiest play I remember seeing on the television" by the Sunday Times and "landscapre is spellbinding" by the Daily Telegraph.

There is normally a second tranch of platforms in the Autumn so it is not over yet...

Everyone is welcome at these FREE events but booking is essential as space is limited. All money raised goes to support more events and students at this well known college. To book Contact ruskinplatforms@ruskin.ac.uk

The college is a short bus or cycle ride from Oxford City Centre. Further details can be found on: www.ruskin.ac.uk 

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27th April 2015

What's On Around Oxford This May Bank Holiday

What's On Around Oxford This May Bank Holiday

Let's hope the marvellous April weather lasts through the May Bank Holiday weekend, but there's lots of fun to have indoors and out. Let us give you a guide. We just have to start the Bank Holiday a little early with...


The Famous May Day Morning

Mrris Dancers on May Morning 2007This is an experience every Oxfordian should have at least once even with bleary eyes. As the City Council states "May Morning in Oxford is a traditional celebration of the coming of Spring and brings together Oxford's communities to enjoy dancing, singing and revelry from around the city."

You could make a claim that the party starts the night before as some just don't go to bed, but the traditional start is the Magdalen College choir singing Hymnus Eucharisticus from the Great Tower at day break. This year that is a 6am.  Then see a morris dance, hear a concert or have a fry up breakfast.

We recommend the following websites for up to date information and what to do where and when.

http://www.oxford.gov.uk/maymorning

http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/mayday

The official social media hashtag is #maymorning. 

 

The Dorchester-on-Thames Festival 

The biennial Dorchester-on-Thames Festival is one of Oxfordshire’s leading Festivals based in the stunning location of Dorchester Abbey. Fun for all the family. It starts on on Friday 1st and ends on Sunday May 10th.

Find out more at http://dorchesterfestival.com/

 

British St Food LogoThe British Street Food Festival

From Friday 1st to Monday 4th the Oxford Castle quarter is hosting the British Street Food Awards Regional Final. That means food of the quality we are used to at the Bitten Oxford Events but for 4 days rather than just one PLUS music and all round fun. Performances are ticketed.

Find out more at http://britishstreetfood.co.uk/

 

Oxford Artweeks

Oxford Artweeks starts on Saturday! The opportunity for Oxford's artists to show off and hopefull get some sales. A great chance for us to meet the artist, get inspired or buy a piece of art we will always remember. Last but not least a good way to tour the county.

Artweeks 2015 runs for three weeks in May, each with a different regional focus: North Oxfordshire 2nd-10th May, Oxford City 9th-17th May, and South Oxfordshire 16th-25th May. 

Find out more and including a handy interactive map at http://www.artweeks.org/festival

 

The Oxford May Music Festival

Music, Science and the Arts meet in creative harmony - April 29th to May 4th 2015. An extraordnary opportunity to delve into science with the experts and be transported by beautiful music at the same festival. Events are ticketed.

 Find out more at http://www.oxfordmaymusic.co.uk/2015-festival-programme/ 

 

Love Oxford Banner

Love Oxford

This Sunday sees an outdoor Christian service on Broad St at 11am. Previous years have seen over 2000 people gather from over 30 churches. So if you are looking for a spiritual way to spend this Sunday this seems like a prime opportunity. After the service drop into Boswells and by showing your programme get a one off 20% discount in the store!  

As the organisers at St Aldates church say "We will be coming together on Sunday 3rd May at 11am for an outdoor church service. This is an amazing opportunity for the churches of Oxford to come together and for their witness of worship and prayer to be seen in the very centre of Oxford. We are praying that this would be a valuable time of unity between Christians but more than this we pray that there will be fruit and ‘great joy in the city’ (Acts 8:8)."

Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/events/1545119742417049/ or watch a video at https://vimeo.com/121494063


Outdoors with the kids and nature

This isn't meant to be a complete list of everything around Oxford but the following are great activities for a good weather day if you are prepared to venture into the countryside and are looking for some creature interaction.

Millets Falconry Centre

Near Abingdon - Millets Farm Falconry Centre is home to over 80 birds of prey from tiny Owls to huge Eagles. It is the largest attraction of its kind in Oxfordshire. There is something for everyone, here you will not only be able to admire a wide and deserve range of birds of prey but also see what they are capable of and learn how they live in the wild.

This is a ticketed attraction. Find out more at http://milletsfarmfalconry.co.uk/

CrocodileCrocodiles of The World

Near Witney - We've listed this before on guides, because, well its crocodiles silly!  A conservation and education centre that can provide a safe sometimes even hands up experience with these ancient and remarkable creatures.

This is a ticketed attraction. Find out more at http://www.crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk/

Cogges Manor Farm 

Near Witney - A working farm now run as a heritage centre there are pigs, goats, shetland ponies, chickens and smaller animals like rabbits & guinea pigs for supervised handling. Also has a popular cafe and child friendly climbing frames.

This is a ticketed attraction. Find out more at http://www.cogges.org.uk/

 

What's on at the Museums?

We have a great range of museums and exhibition spaces in Oxford nearly all free so we've gathered up what on this weekend in one place.

The Weston library (formally the New Bodleian) 

Marks Of Genius LogoThis magnificent building on Broad St re-opened with a smashing exhibition called The Marks of Genius showcasing the treasures of the Bodleian Library. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see original works by famous writers such as Shakespeare alongside scientists such as Copernicus, music by Mendelssohn, massively important documents such as the Magna Carta and more. Certainly too many to list here. The exhibition last until September 20th this year, but why wait?

Find out more at http://genius.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

The Museum of the History of Science

Staying on Broad St, as well as the normal exhibition on Alchemy and the Laboratory a collection of painting, prints and manuscripts illuminating the history of science in art there is a special event this weekend called My Memories of Science. Starts Saturday and finishes Sunday.

Come to the museum to learn about amateur science in the past, and to listen to fond memories of science in our everyday lives. Bring along your favourite scientific object, and share your memories with us as we attempt to give life to the long history of amateur science. Led by students from the University of Oxford’s MSc in History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Find out more at http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/events/

The Ashmolean Museum

Ashmolean MuseumJust north of Boswells on Beaumont St. Nothing special planned for the Bank Holiday weekend but we can highly recommend the regular Live Friday evening event. This is when the doors are opened between 7pm to 10.30pm for a after hours view of the exhibits with interactive events, workshops and talks. The dining room and cafe are also open.

Find out more at http://www.ashmolean.org/livefriday/

The current exhibition is Great British Drawings as the Ashmolan says "See the very best of British drawings and watercolours exhibited together for the first time. Great British Drawings showcases more than one hundred works by some of Britain's greatest artists." As the Times says "A treaure chest of gorgeous surprises".

This exhibition finishes on August 31st 2015 and is a ticketed exhibit, standard price £10. http://www.ashmolean.org/exhibitions/greatbritishdrawings/

Oxford University Museum of Natural History & The Pitt Rivers Museum

Boyle & HobbesAlso just round the corner from us on Parks Road are the double whammy of amazing and odd items at these complimentary museums. Both provide great entertainment for all ages. The Natural History Museum has a special event admittedly aimed at the adults called Leviathan and the Air-Pump: thirty years on on Friday May 1st 5pm, about the clash of two 17th century intellectual giants, Robert Boyle who was investigating the vacuum and Thomas Hobbes who had some concerns about the whole thing. The event consists of a lecture, discussion and drinks reception. The event is free but registration is recommended.

Find out more at http://torch.ox.ac.uk/airpump

Not technically on over the Bank Holiday, but of interest to young & old is the Lets' go fly a kite event on Thursday morning & afternoon. Make your own fish kite and test it out on the Museum lawn. No news about whether singing the song from Mary poppins is compulsory. For under 5s, drop-in.

Thursday 7 May, 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm Find out more at http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/visiting/whatson.htm

Like the Ashmolean the Pitt Rivers does After Hours Tours on some Fridays, although these are ticketed standard ticket £10. The next tour is this Friday the 1st and the 22nd of May.

Find out more at http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/specialevents.html

Museum of Oxford

In the Town Hall building on St Aldates the museum is working with Artweeks to show with Poseytude Gallery an exhibition of emerging artists and finalists of “Change the World” art competition displaying original contemporary art. Original paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture and mixed media art will be available to view and buy.

Find out More at http://www.oxford.gov.uk/museumofoxford

The Story Museum

Part of the May Morning celebrations May Morning Munchies is a chance to sample celebrity chef Sophie Grigson's breakfast treats. This is a ticketed event. Standard Price £4.

Find out more at http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/may-morning-munchies/

Although the museum does have the Pheonix Children's Comic Festival 2015 on for the weekend General Entry Tickets are now sold out, just in case you were wondering. Standard exhibits are closed for the weekend too!

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29th October 2014

Oxfordshire Firework Displays

Oxfordshire Firework Displays

Autumn is with us once again. The clocks have gone back and the leaves have started falling, which means Bonfire night is just around the corner. It’s the day when everyone gathers to celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes gun powder plot, warm up around the fire, and of course watch beautiful fireworks displays.

To help you plan your evening – or evenings – of fireworks gazing and candyfloss eating we’ve put together a list of some of the great events going on in and around Oxford.

1st November

Wallingford 1155 Fireworks Display 6pm

http://www.wallingford.co.uk/events_item.php?wnID=424

The annual RAF Brize Norton Station Bonfire & Fireworks 6pm-7:30pm

http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafbrizenorton/newsweather/index.cfm?storyid=58E5152A-5056-A318-A8E0FEA2C0AF190C

Marsh Baldon Fireworks and Funfair

http://www.sevenstarsonthegreen.co.uk/

Guy Fawkes Fireworks - Old Swan & Minster Mill Supporting Special Effect 6:30pm

2nd November

Witney Rugby Club annual community Fireworks and Bonfire Party 6pm

http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/witneyrfc/

5th November

St Michael’s Primary School Annual Fireworks Night and Bonfire 5.30pm

(You should definitely go to this one – we’re supplying the fireworks!)

http://www.st-michaels-oxf.oxon.sch.uk/2119/bonfire-night-celebrations-at-st-michaels-2/

Bonfire Night at the Plough , Fireworks and BBQ, The Plough, Wolvercote,

http://www.theploughoxford.co.uk/whats_on.html

Kidlington Fireworks Display Wed 5th November 6pm

http://www.kidlington-pc.gov.uk/

7th November

Matthew Arnold School Fireworks 6-8pm

http://www.maschool.org.uk/

Hanborough Musical fireworks, 7th November Time: Gates 6pm, Display 7.15pm

8th November

Oxford Round Table at South Park 4pm-9pm

www.oxfordfireworks.co.uk

(The biggest gathering of people in Oxfordshire all year)

Standlake Sea Scout Fireworks, 8th November 6pm

http://group.rn98.co.uk/home/news/fireworks-standlakevillagehall-81114

Don’t forget, if you’re planning on holding your own fireworks spectacular we have a great range of fireworks in store. Ranging from child friendly low noise fireworks to gigantic rockets, we’ve got you covered.

Are you holding a firework event or a bonfire evening in or around Oxford? If you are then get in touch with us over Twitter or by email and we’ll add your event to our list.

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22nd October 2014

Footsteps FUNdraising weekend at Boswells!

Footsteps FUNdraising weekend at Boswells!

Having some of our staff running in the Oxford Half Marathon for our 2014 charity Footsteps Foundation was a bit of an inspiration for us and this weekend we have a whole load of activities going on in store to raise as much money as possible money for them. Read more about Footsteps work with disabled childen here.

So take a chance with our "Lucky Dip" or our "Tombola". 

Make it a game of skill with "Pin the Tail On The Donkey" or educated guesswork with "How Many Packing Chips In The Suitcase" and win the Samsonite suitcase worth £155!

Or just join in with the fabulous Ghost Hunt and make a donation upon entry.

For the weekend we will also be asking for a donation of your choice, to take purchases away via our carrier bags.

Staff will be either in fancy dress or Footsteps t-shirts to celebrate.

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