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

Vikki Stone performs in Stony Stratford
Vikki Stone performs in Stony Stratford

From half-term family fun to the sheer power of Japanese drumming, there's plenty to enjoy...

1 FAMILY

National Youth Music Camps, July 28 to August 17

The summer holidays may seem a long time off, but booking has just opened for young musicians to sign up for this year’s National Youth Music Camps, run by Wavendon venue The Stables. Now in their 49th year, the residential summer holiday camps offer young people aged eight to 17 the chance to come together and take part in an inspiring and varied musical experience, led by experienced musicians and teachers.

Leaving their mobile phones and tablets behind for a week in order to fully immerse themselves in the experience, campers can expect to try anything from orchestral playing to jazz improvisation, ukulele sessions and steel pan groups to music theatre production, choirs and rock bands. Everyone also works together to stage a musical as part of the end-of-week showcase for parents.

Previous camps have all taken place at The Stables, with camping in an adjoining field, using The Stables’ facilities for the many activities.

This year for the first time, the camps move to a new location at Pipers Corner School in Great Kingshill, near Great Missenden. The school has extensive grounds and green space, with a range of buildings and facilities used to support the camps’ activities, including a new arts centre with a professional-standard theatre space.

Camping is in the school grounds, with all campers provided with tented accommodation close to all the main facilities.

All campers and tutorial staff eat, sleep, practice and perform on site. The arts centre provides a venue for evening performances and a final presentation for family and friends. The grounds and woodland offer the chance for outdoor practice and performance, campfire, games and other activities. The week-long camps are available in two age groups – 13 to 17 and eight to 12.

For full details, see stables.org/learning/national-youth-music-camps

2 FAMILY

Milton Keynes Museum, Wolverton, February 11 to 22, 11am to 4.30pm

Half term will soon be upon us, and Milton Keynes Museum is inviting youngsters to Capture the Colours. The museum will be delving into the science of colour with fun experiments and emotion potion making.

There will also be a colour scavenger hunt through the galleries.

Half term week at the museum boasts something for everyone, with all the usual museum attractions on offer too, from sending Morse Code to making hot buttered toast over the range in the traditional farmhouse kitchen. The fun Connected Earth Gallery offers dialling delight, step back in time with a walk through the street of shops, or check out the way lessons used to be in the Victorian schoolroom.

Motoring enthusiasts will love the Hall of Transport, or you can take part in parlour games or show off your skills on the pianola.

www.miltonkeynesmuseum.org.uk

3 LECTURE

Milton Keynes Aviation Society, Tuesday February 12, 8pm, Kents Hill Community Centre.

Jim Nicolson presents a lecture about his uncle, Flt Lt James Nicolson VC, who was the only fighter pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross, not just in the Battle of Britain, but in the whole of the Second World War. In fact, his was the only award to a Fighter Command pilot for the whole of its existence.

The talk focuses on Nicolson’s service life before the war, the award of the medal during the Battle of Britain and the impact of the award on him, his wife and family. Doors open at 7.30pm, lecture begins at 8pm.

www.mkas.co.uk

4 MUSIC

Isla St Clair with Danny Prendergast, The Song Loft, Stony Stratford, Friday February 15

Isla St Clair, the Scottish singer who won acclaim for folk albums like 1979’s Isla and 1993’s Inheritance, is a longstanding friend of Stony folk club The Song Loft and has performed there many times over the years. A welcome return sees her accompanied by seasoned guitarist Danny Prendergast.

Isla was also the co-host of the BBC game show The Generation Game, for which she won TV Personality of the Year. Doors 7.30pm, performance starts at 8pm.

Book via www.thesongloft.co.uk

5 ANIMAL ENCOUNTER

Valentine’s Afternoon Tea and Giraffe Mini VIP Experience, Woburn Safari Park, Saturdays and Sundays until February 24

Woburn has created a very special experience to celebrate Valentine’s Day. One ticket includes admission to the park, a Valentine’s-themed afternoon tea and a Mini Giraffe VIP Experience.

Enjoy a selection of sandwiches, cakes and pastries washed down with a pot of tea at the Lookout Café, while taking in the

panoramic view of Farmyard Friends, Himalayan Heights and Penguin World.

The experience also includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes guided tour of the giraffe house where you’ll learn about the care and welfare of the giraffe herd and have the opportunity to

hand feed them. Not suitable for children aged under eight.

Book online at woburnsafari.co.uk/valentinesafternoon-tea

6 FAMILY

Robotazia, Milton Keynes Central Library, Mondays to Saturdays until March 31

By popular demand, this free robot event and exhibition in MK Central Library’s Event Space has now been extended until the end of March.

Robotazia is an exhibition of extraordinary robot creations by artists from all over the UK. Most are lifesize and up to 3m high. There are also some smaller model robot exhibits and some well-known robots, plus short robot movies and a robot-themed coffee shop with robot waitress Amy.

7 TV DEBATE

Question Time, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Thursday February 14

The popular BBC political debate programme Question Time is to be recorded at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre next Thursday. Hosted by Fiona Bruce, the weekly current affairs programme invites local audience members to

pose questions to a panel consisting of representatives from the government of the day and the official opposition party, as well as representatives from other political parties.

The rest of the panel will be made up of political commentators and well-known public figures – panellists to be confirmed.

Audience members are selected to ensure political balance. Successful

applicants will be contacted on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, and are asked to come up with two questions to be considered for the programme.

To apply to join the audience, see goo.gl/oJhGWN

8 THEATRE

Yamato: The Drummers of Japan, Milton Keynes Theatre, Saturday February 16

Yamato: the Drummers of Japan return to the UK following their hugely successful 2017 tour, combining traditional Taiko drumming with spectacle and athleticism.

Yamato formed in 1993 with the aim of preserving the tradition of Taiko drumming whilst exploring new possibilities for the majestic instrument the wadiako. Recognised as trailblazers in the Taiko world, Yamato has broken from tradition by including female drummers in the troupe from the start.

Perhaps more physically demanding than any other drumming style, performers must engage in an intensive endurance training programme. Taiko drums can weigh up to half a ton and to strike them effectively requires the full strength of a well-trained body.

Yamato’s 12-strong troupe starts each day with a 10km run and vigorous weight training.

In this brand new show, Passion, or Jhonetsu, the drummers will challenge themselves to their absolute limits both musically and physically.

www.atgtickets.com/milton-keynes-theatre

9 THEATRE

Shivers: The Book of Darkness & Light, Roxburgh Hall, Stowe, Wednesday February 13, 8pm

A co-production between Harrogate Theatre, Square Chapel Arts Centre and LittleMighty brings a trio of delightfully thrilling new ghost stories, set to the haunting sounds of the violin. The Book of Darkness & Light contains within it some of the most chilling tales ever told. Supernatural mysteries stir from its pages.

You feel a prickle on your neck, your blood stills, a monstrous thing creeps in the shadows. Is it all in your mind? A trick of the light? Or something far more sinister?

One thing is for certain – these stories will give you shivers. Age guideline 14-plus.

www.artsatstowe.co.uk

10 COMEDY

Vikki Stone, the Comedy Cow, Stony Stratford, Thursday February 7

Comedy club The Comedy Cow, at The Crown in Stony Stratford, welcomes musical comedian Vikki Stone. You may have seen Vikki on TV on The John Bishop Show, This Morning and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here... Now. Vikki is also a talented musician and presents the Proms Podcast for BBC Music. But she is probably best known for her comedy songs, which have become an internet sensation.

The evening will provide a first opportunity to see work in progress on Vikki’s new Edinburgh show. Vikki will be supported by Katie Pritchard and Comedy Cow favourite Harvey Hawkins.

Tickets from www.thecomedycow.co.uk