Ten of the best things to do in and around Milton Keynes in the next seven days
From world-class opera to a Mothering Sunday treat, there's plenty to enjoy...
1 OPERAWelsh National Opera, Milton Keynes Theatre, March 27 to 30Welsh National Opera is once more bringing its world-class operatic talent to Milton Keynes Theatre next week, with three different operas on offer. In Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, love, power and politics collide. The show is based on the real-life assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, who was shot at a masked ball in 1792.Riccardo (Gustav) adores Amelia, but when her husband discovers their love affair, he plots against the king, leading to murder on the dancefloor. The ever-popular Magic Flute contains some of Mozart’s most recognisable and beautiful music. The mysterious Queen of the Night coaxes Tamino to rescue her beautiful daughter Pamina from the grip of the evil enchanter Sarastro. With a magic flute and a set of magic bells for protection, he sets off on his journey aided by Papageno, the bird-catcher. But as they overcome a series of challenges, it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems.Roberto Devereux contains some of Donizetti’s most spine-tingling melodies. Roberto Devereux has been accused of treason. In order to gain his freedom he simply has to present the ring his lover, Queen Elizabeth I, has bestowed upon him. But Devereux is secretly in love with Sara, who he refuses to renounce, leaving Elizabeth heartbroken and compelled to sign his death warrant.atgtickets.com/MiltonKeynes
2 FAMILYCirque Berserk! with Zippos Circus, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, March 27 to 31Britain’s biggest theatre circus spectacular returns by popular demand. Combining contemporary circus artistry with hair-raising stunts, all designed specially for staging in a proscenium arch theatre, the show thrills audiences young and old.This year’s Cirque Berserk! sees the return of the Globe of Death, in which five motorcyclists defy gravity inside a spherical steel cage at speeds of up to 60mph.The talented international troupe includes over 30 jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers and daredevil stuntmen. www.royalandderngate.co.uk
3 EXHIBITIONHERstory in Objects, Milton Keynes Museum, March 23 to July 28In 2018, to celebrate the centenary of the first British women getting the vote, Milton Keynes Museum asked local women to suggest objects representing their lives.The stories that accompany those objects are now being told in a thought-provoking new exhibition.HERstory in Objects is an incredible large-scale collection of loaned and donated objects which offer a fascinating insight into the lives of women through time, from medieval punishments to the hard-fought battle to win the vote, and today’s modern woman. HERstory will show women in industry, women as mothers, and how women have been perceived, judged and treated throughout history. The show, which is being housed in one of the museum’s two new galleries, also celebrates the achievement of local women.Items include a medieval ducking stool and a scold’s bridle – picture inset – both used as punishment for women who spoke out in centuries past, and a judge’s robes.Items that come with remarkable stories include a hairdryer taken by its owner when she fled Syria with her husband and family. They lost nearly all their possessions in their haste to leave, but keeping the hairdryer was a conscious decision. Iman said: “My hairdryer reminds me of Syria but it also reminds me that I am not just a refugee – I am a hairdresser and one day I will work professionally again, here in the UK.”Interactive elements include a historic dressing-up area for youngsters, and objects to handle, including the scold’s bridle.HERstory will be open during usual museum opening hours (Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4.30pm) and also every Thursday evening from 6pm to 8pm. miltonkeynesmuseum.org.uk
4 WRESTLINGCrowning a King, APEX Wrestling, Bletchley Youth Centre, Saturday March 23, 5.30pmBilled as live pro wrestling for all the family, the Top of the Mountain tournament reaches the final. Who will be lifting the brand new Apex Heavyweight title? Marcus Antony makes his return, with Jay Garner, CJ Carter and a debut from Tengu.Tickets from apexprowrestling.bigcartel.com/category/tickets
5 MUSICMK Sinfonia, Chrysalis Theatre, Japonica Lane, Willen Park South Saturday March 23, 7.30pmAcclaimed Russian pianist Alexander Karpeyev is the soloist in Milton Keynes Sinfonia’s French-themed concert. He will be playing Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto in G minor. Also featured are Gershwin’s An American in Paris and the monumental Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz. www.mksinfonia.org.uk
6 FAMILYRoom on the Broom, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, March 28 to 31Renowned theatre company Tall Stories has adapted the bestselling book of the same name by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler for the stage.The Olivier Award-nominated production tells the story of a friendly witch, her cat and three lovableanimals who take to the skies on a broom and face a fearsome dragon in this magical musical adventure.With enchanting puppetry, original sing-along songs and scary fun, Room on the Broom is ideal for families with children aged three and over.www.royalandderngate.co.uk
7 ARTDemonstration and workshop, Milton Keynes Society of Artists, March 27 and 28At its evening meeting on Wednesday, March 27, Milton Keynes Society of Artists (MKSA) is hosting a demonstration by David Newens on A Portrait in Oils from Life.This is followed by an all-day workshop with David on Thursday, March 28, on creating a portrait from life in any medium. David Newens’ works have frequently been selected for hanging in major open exhibitions in London such as the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. MKSA holds its monthly meetings on the last Wednesday of the month, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at Windmill Hill Golf Centre, Tattenhoe Lane, Bletchley MK3 7RB. Non-members welcome, £5 temporary membership at the door. Workshops are held on Thursdays from 10am to 4pm at Little Brickhill Community Hall, MK17 9LY. Book and pay in advance, non-members £35. www.mksa.org.uk
8 GILBERT & SULLIVANWolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society presents Iolanthe, Stantonbury Theatre, March 27 to 30, 7.30pm Considered by some to be the funniest of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas, Iolanthe tells the story of a shepherd boy’s attempt (with the aid of some feisty Goth fairies) to overthrow the privileges enjoyed by the nobility. The 1880 satire is not wasted even today. The director is the experienced and talented Graham Breeze, and the production is accompanied by the Wolverton Light Orchestra under the leadership of Mike Crofts. Friday, March 29, is Goth Night and the audience is invited to dress Goth style. www.stantonburytheatre.co.uk
9 MOTHER’S DAY Pin Curls and Prosecco Vintage Experience, The Siren Vintage, Stony Stratford, Sunday March 31Vintage retailer The Siren Vintage invites you to step back in time with a Pin Curls & Prosecco vintage experience.On Mother’s Day, guests will enjoy a vintage pin curl hair tutorial and style, a private shopping experience of the vintage collection dating from the 1920s to 1960s and a glass of bubbly, accompanied by classic songs on the record player. They will also take home a Mystery Vintage Box including an authentic vintage item or accessory for their wardrobe. An additional extra of a Polaroid photograph styled in a vintage outfit is also available.Time slots need to be booked in advance. The experience is also available to purchase as a gift voucher for another date.www.facebook.com/TheSirenVintage or call 01908 721594.
10 FAMILYLeighton Buzzard Railway opens for spring seasonThe Leighton Buzzard Railway’s spring season will begin with the departure of the 10.30am train from Page’s Park Station on Sunday, March 24. As is traditional, the first train will be flagged off by the Mayor of Leighton-Linslade, Clive Palmer, who will then enjoy a return ride to Stonehenge Works. Further trains will depart at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.This marks the start of the centenary year of the line, which opened in November 1919 to carry sand from the local quarries. Many special events are planned for the anniversary year, including two galas as well as the return of a Father’s Day Whisky Festival, visits by characters from Paw Patrol and PJ Masks, and the annual Vintage Vehicle Rally.On Sunday, March 31, treat Mum to a train ride at the railway’s Mother’s Day event. Hourly trains from 10.30am to 3.30pm, with a goody bag and a printed family photo included in the ticket price. The onsite Buzzrail Café will be serving cream teas.Book at www.buzzrail.co.uk