Here is our guide to some of the events taking place in and around Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Literary Festival, Holiday Inn, Milton Keynes, September 21 to 24
Celebrating ‘everything bookish or wordy’, Milton Keynes Literary Festival returns for its second year with an even more impressive line-up of authors, poets and performers. Readers and theatregoers will recognise bestselling authors such as Mark Haddon, Stella Duffy, Adam Mars-Jones and Bryony Lavery. Fans of performance poetry will be able to see modern icons Lemn Sissay and Hollie McNish, and budding writers will be able to sharpen their skills with the Open University’s Creative Writing Team. The Holiday Inn in Central Milton Keynes will be transformed into a uniquely booky festival space, and all are welcome to come and mingle with the literary crowd, meet renowned authors, discover new favourites, get books signed or take part in a workshop to become wordsmiths themselves. Local talent is on offer too, including translator Joe Laredo, best-selling crime author Adam Croft and children’s book designer and writer Kate Milner. As well as all this, there are storytelling performances and workshops, an LGBT literary salon, a whole host of novelists, YA authors, biographers, short story writers and poets - and the breakfast launch of MK Foodbank’s heartfelt anthology, Tales from the Foodbank. With more than 30 events across the weekend, there is a title for everyone – and they’re all page-turners.
War Horse, Milton Keynes Theatre, until October 6
One of the most acclaimed theatre shows of the century so far has galloped in to Milton Keynes Theatre. War Horse has been seen by more than seven million people worldwide and completed its record-breaking eight year London run at the New London Theatre in March 2016. It has won 25 awards including the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway. Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s remarkable story of courage, loyalty and friendship, about a young boy called Albert and his horse Joey, set against the backdrop of the First World War, is the most successful play in the National Theatre’s history. The show features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company which brings breathing, galloping horses to life on stage.
Keith James: The Songs of Nick Drake, The Stables, Wavendon, September 27
Nick Drake is among the most revered of all this country’s songwriters. He recorded three albums between 1969 and 1972 but was almost entirely unknown in his day. After his death in 1974, aged 26, his music almost disappeared into obscurity. Now, following a massive resurgence of interest and a worldwide re-evaluation of his genius, Nick Drake has become a national treasure. Singer/guitarist Keith James was the first artist to bring this fragile and intriguing music to theatres in its pure live concert form.
The end result has been over a decade of highly acclaimed concerts amounting to thousands of shows in venues in the UK and across Europe.
Chastity Brown, The Stables, Wavendon, September 20
Based in Minnesota but with roots in Tennessee and described as “an artist who can plumb the depths of sadness in a single note, then release it in the very next breath”, Chastity melds folk, pop and soul. She is known as a songwriter of power and conviction who isn’t afraid to bare her heart as she sings of heartbreak, need and love.
Blackadder Goes Forth: The Final Push, Stantonbury Theatre, until September 22
The Milton Keynes Theatre of Comedy returns to the trenches of the First World War. Watch as Captain Edmund Blackadder prepares for the final push in the final three stories of the classic comedy – Private Plane, General Hospital and Goodbyeee.