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This week

Mon 15 - Sun 21 July

MUSIC: Thriller Live, Newmarket Racecourses, 19 July 

You don’t need to shlep all the way to London to see one of the West End’s best musicals. Thriller Live (the Lyric Theatre’s longest running show of all time) is coming to Newmarket Racecourses this week and it’s the perfect way to round off a successful (or not so successful if you’re as talented as me for betting on complete donkeys!) afternoon of exciting racing. Get practising that moon walking. And, it’s not just the show you can look forward to, but there’ll be 70s, 80s and 90s-style activities to transport you back to your favourite era too. Challenge your friends to a Pacman or Space Invaders battle in the retro Arcade area, dress up in the photo booth, dance the night away in the silent disco room and get a zombie makeover from the stylists on site. The best news? All experiences are free of charge!


THEATRE: Shakespeare Festival, various Cambridge colleges, 8 July to 24 August 

Something wicked this way comes… and I mean ‘wicked’ in the used-to-mean-awesome-circa-1998 way – it’s Cambridge’s Shakespeare Festival from the 8 July – 24 August at various university college gardens throughout the city (how posh is that sentence!). There’s a Shakespeare play every night this week!

FESTIVAL: Latitude, Suffolk, 18 – 21 July 

This is the Radio 4 of festivals – refined, civilised and cultured but still up for a party, with its line-up of literary readings, theatre, comedy and Sadlers Wells ballet performances. They don’t skimp on the live music easier – this year Lana Del Rey, Underworld and Primal Scream are on the bill.


KIDS: Riddle of the White Sphinx Book Launch, Heffers, 20 July 

Loved The Da Vinci Code? Then you’ll want to give this brand new reading concept a go. Riddle of the White Sphinx is the first book in the Hidden Tales series, illustrated adventure books funded by the Arts Council of England for children 8+. In true Dan Brown style readers have to solve mysteries in a fantasy world by following a trail of clues to local museums to discover a secret artefact hidden somewhere in their city. Naturally, our amazing city of Cambridge was chosen for the first book because of its many museums and colleges. Want to get to find the hidden artefact first? The book launch is on 20 July at Heffers and there are weekly craft activities with special guest appearances from four of Cambridge’s Museums and their collections in August.


MUSIC: The Ronnie Scott’s Story, Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, 20 July

If heading to London’s famous jazz club is on your bucket list, this could just be the next best thing. Join Ronnie Scott’s All Stars at Saffron Hall on the 20th to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of one of the world’s most iconic music venues. As well as live jazz performances, there’ll be rare photos from the archives on display, plus video footage documenting the club’s glittering history.


MUSIC: Cambridge Summer Music Festival, 12 – 27 July

Various venues, various dates – there’s something for every classical music lover at the classy Cambridge Summer Music Festival, from 12 – 27 July, that has been running for over 40 years. Themes this year are: music by female composers and music by Johann Sebastian Bach – with the launch event being the St John Passion and a performance of the complete Brandenburg Concertos. Be prepared to be blown away by the musical talent of some of our residents. Time to resurrect that school trumpet talent for next year perhaps (or was it just me that got stuck with the trumpet!)?


THEATRE: The Rocky Horror Show, Cambridge Arts Theatre, 15 – 20 July 

Image credit: Richard Davenport 2019

If you’re not one of the 30 million people that have already seen the incredible Rocky Horror Show then you’d better hot foot it down to the Cambridge Arts Theatre from the 15 – 20 July. Featuring toe-tapping classics like Time Warp and men in leopard print budgie smugglers (ooh, errr!), it’s an absolute must-see.

THEATRE: Hotbed Theatre Festival, Cambridge Junction, 19 – 21 July 

If you like to be the one to discover the hot, new and downright unmissable in your area (of course you do, that’s why you’re reading Muddy Stilettos!) then you’ll love the Hotbed Theatre Festival at the Cambridge Junction from 19 to 21 July. This annual festival of new writing for the stage is an entire weekend’s worth of world premieres, international guest performance, new plays and workshops. A theatre-lover’s dream.


MUSIC: Jazz and Brass in the Parks, Nightingale Recreation Ground, 21 July

Jazz and Brass in the Parks is taking place at Nightingale Recreation Ground on 21 July. Just turn up with your picnic and a rug for a relaxing evening of music from the Soham Comrades Band.


ART: Open Studios, Cambridge, 20 – 21 July 

July is a bumper month for art lovers in Cambridge, because every weekend the community of over 350 artists in the area open up their studios for us nosey parkers to come and snoop around. Entry is free and it’s the perfect way to combine a walk around our beautiful city with discovering some talented local craftspeople.



OPEN-AIR THEATRE: Shakespearean plays, Blenheim Palace, 8 July – 7 Sept

Tis the season to dodge the rain and enjoy some outdoor thespian action so grab your rug, brolly and, of course, a sneaky hipflask as Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre is pitching up at Blenheim Palace with Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet– the 13-sided scaffolding theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’, will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows.


EXHIBITION: First Animals, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, from 12 July

This new major exhibition will look back on the origins of life as we know it on earth with fossils and specimens, some of which are over hundreds of millions of years old (woah!), loaned from museums around the world. Highlights include an interactive, 360-degree diving installation, digital reconstructions and virtual reality.


FESTIVAL: Pennfest, Penn, Bucks, 19 – 20 Jul

With an impressive line-up of rebel-rousers, this year’s Pennfest sees ’90s indie favourites, Suede, headlining, plus turns from Happy Mondays (always hilariously shambolic live) and New Order’s Peter Hook.


Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection above, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated  by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives (until Sun 1 Sept). Or you can check out Beasts of London, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals which are brought to life using video projection mapping.
Muddy visited the Mary Quant retrospective (until 16 Feb) above at the V&A recently and it’s definitely worth checking out- over 200 items from the iconic ’60s designer’s career, from miniskirts to her make up range, accompanying images and a strong feminist undertone (girl power!) Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.

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