Ten of the best things to do in and around Milton Keynes in the next seven days

From a family musical favourite to a much-loved comedian, there's plenty to enjoy...

Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 5:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 5:17 pm
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Picture: Pamela Raith Photography

1 THEATREJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Milton Keynes Theatre, April 9 to 13Being part of a big family comes with its own rewards – but it also comes with challenges. For Joseph, son of Jacob, life got tough when his 11 brothers decided thathis coat was too fancy and their father favoured him too much, above all of them.It didn’t help that he kept telling them about his dreams, predicting that he was destined to rule over them. That was when they nicked his coat and sold him as a slave to a passing band of traders. After that, life was to become something of a rollercoaster ride for Joseph.For a show based on a biblical story, which started out in 1968 as a 15-minute pop cantata written for a London school, the success of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoatmust seem like something of a dream for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. A stage version was performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1972, its first West End run came in 1973 and now an estimated 26 million peopleworldwide have seen it.The show returns to Milton Keynes Theatre with Union J’s Jaymi Hensley in the lead role. Having risen to fame on The X Factor, Union J went on to have a top 10 album and a major UK tour, and Jaymi appeared on hit TV shows including Celebrity Masterchef.Jaymi said: “I cannot describe how excited and honoured I am to be stepping into the prestigious coloured coat. When I think of iconic roles in musical theatre, Joseph was always one that I dreamt of playing. It’s a dream come true.”Full of life and colour, the musical features unforgettable songs including Any Dream Will Do, Jacob and Sons and Close Every Door To Me.atgtickets.com/MiltonKeynes

2 EXHIBITIONSamurai: Warriors of Ancient Japan, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury, April 6 to July 13Discover stunning examples of historical Samurai armour and weapons, from complete suits to beautiful swords and ornate helmets. Entry by donation.Families can try some Japanese-themed crafts inspired by the new exhibition on April 9, 10 and 11.Drop in between 10am and noon or 1pm to 3pm. All children must be accom-panied by an adult. Price from £4.www.buckscounty museum.org

3 TALKRSPB North Bucks Group indoor meeting, The Cruck Barn, City Discovery Centre, Bradwell Abbey MK13 9AP, Thursday April 11At the next indoor meeting, Martin Kincaid will present Five Go Mad in Dorset. Martin has lived in MK all his life and is a very keen naturalist with a particular interest in butterflies and moths. Since 2012 he has been biodiversity officer for The Parks Trust.With its great diversity of habitats, from chalk downland to lowland heath, ancient woodland and, of course, the sea, the county of Dorset is among the most beautiful and wild in England. Martin has been visiting it for many years and will tell and show what makes it so special in his eyes. He will also talk about the adder, pictured inset, atDurlston.Doors open 7.15pm for a 7.45pm start. Non-members welcome, £4, children £1.www2.rspb.org.uk/groups/northbucks/events

4 FAMILYThe Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, from April 6With over a million LEGO bricks, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo adds The Great Brick Safari to its 3,500 live animals and 600 acres of glorious countryside this Easter.Discover realistic LEGO brick beasts and huge LEGO brick creations at the UK’s largest zoo.The silverback gorilla, Gorman, took four people 480 hours to create, while Linus the Lion, made up of a 65,440 bricks, can be found watching over his two playful cubs. The LEGO masterpieces also include meerkats, kangaroos, panda cubs, penguins and a mammoth one-tonne elephant called Earl Grey, which took six experts 1,600 hours to create from 271,739 LEGO bricks.Once kids have completed their Great Brick Safari adventure, they can make their way to the Brick Pits, where they can build their own favourite creatures.The Great Brick Safari is included in the entry price.Book at zsl.org

5 MUSICJohn Lodge of the Moody Blues, The Stables, Friday April 12, 8pmJohn Lodge, legendary bass player, songwriter and vocalist of The Moody Blues, and recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, brings his 10,000 Light Years solo tour to the UK. This is an opportunity to see John perform his Moody Blues’ hits and some of his solo work, plus a few special treats to delight fans and music lovers alike.This is a fundraising concert in aid of The Stables Theatre Ltd.stables.org

6 FAMILYEaster Treats Trails & Things to Do, Cowper & Newton Museum, April 5 to 27, 10.30am to 4.30pmEaster Family Fun is on offer at the Cowper & Newton Museum. Try the Easter Egg Maze in the gardens, Animal Easter in the house, and be crafty at the craft table in the Dressing Up Room. On Tuesday, April 9, there’s an extra craft activity, from 10.30am to 3pm. Get your prizes and enter the prize draw. £1 per child – usual adult admission applies.cowperandnewtonmuseum.org.uk

7 COMEDYLucy Porter: Pass it On, The Stables, tonight, Thursday, 8pmLucy Porter takes in The Stables tonight, on the UK tour of her stand-up show Pass it On, following its debut at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The show explores the concepts of heritage and tradition. What have we received from our parents and what will we pass on? Lucy inherited global warming, dodgy knees and a terrifying collection of glass clowns from her mum and dad. Now she is thinking about the legacy she is going to leave to her children and the world at large. Lucy is a regular face and voice on TV and radio panel shows. On BBC Radio 4, she has been heard on The News Quiz, The Now Show, Dilemma and The Unbelievable Truth.www.stables.org

8 FAMILYSpring Babies at Green Dragon Eco Farm, Hogshaw, April 6 to 22Green Dragon Spring Babies is a family-friendly event with a variety of educational and fun experiences and activities. During the school holidays, there will be a full programme of animal encounters with lots of new babies to get close to, such as Oxford Sandy & Black piglets, goat kids, ducklings and chicks. And lambing season has begun, so there will be plenty of new born lambs to bottle feed. They’ll come in all shapes and sizes as there are seven different rare breeds of sheep on the farm.During the holiday, Green Dragon will be running Spring Babies-themed arts and craft activities and competitions.There will be a Spring Babies Quiz Trail with each completed quiz going into a prize draw. Winners will be announced the week after half term. First prize is a Green Dragon Family Day Pass.Local wildlife organisations, the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and the RSPB will be providing activities and information about native species and their young to inspire visitors.The indoor and outdoor play facilities will be open, Pets’ Corner will have animal encounters running as normal. Both cafés will be open, serving ‘Farm to Fork’ breakfasts and lunches in the Soft Play Barn and woodfired pizza in the Eco Centre Cafe.Activities are included in the admission price.greendragon ecofarm.co.uk

9 TALKRAE Bedford’s Contribution to Concorde, Milton Keynes Aviation Society, Kents Hill Community Centre, Tuesday April 9, 8pmOn the 50th anniversary of the prototype Concorde’s maiden flight, MKAS member Barry Tomlinson, a former research scientist at RAE Bedford, outlines the work carried out there. He will review the results of hundreds of hours of wind tunnel testing and describe highlights of the flight research programme using unique research aircraft and flight simulation. Overall, RAE Bedford’s work was crucial to Concorde’s technical success. Doors open 7.30pm.www.mkas.co.uk

10 FAMILYNick Sharratt’s Right Royal Drawalong, Roxburgh Hall, Stowe House, Wednesday April 10, 2pmJoin acclaimed children’s writer and illustrator Nick Sharratt and draw along with him. Nick will be showing you how to sketch favourite characters like Tracy Beaker and Timothy Pope, sharing ways of creating fantastic creatures like dragons and unicorns, and giving loads of top tips. And to celebrate his latest book, Nice Work for the Cat and the King, everything will have a special ‘royal’ twist.Nick has illustrated close to 260 books. He has worked with authors including Julia Donaldson, Michael Rosen and Kes Gray, and his books include You Choose, Shark in the Park and Pants. He is also the illustrator of Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s phenomenally popular children’s novels. Bring pencils, paper and something to lean on, and expect plenty of chances to join in, and allow plenty of time to meet Nick after the performance.Running time 75 minutes, no interval. Suitable for age four and above.Book at www.artsatstowe.co.uk