It’s July! So what’s on in Northants this month?
July already?! The weather might not have noticed, but the social calendar's full and celebrating summer. From international sporting events to bold exhibitions and ground-breaking theatre, here's what's on.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
GRAND OPENING Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, Saturday 10 July
This month sees the loong awaited re-opening of Northampton Museum and Art Gallery after its massive re-development project and we are telling you guys it is set to be one of our favourite hangouts from here on in. Shoes, peeps, shoes. The museum will house the largest collections of shoes and shoe heritage in the world, representing Northamptonshire’s historic shoe industry. There are more shoes here than in Carrie Bradshaw’s closet – a whopping 15,000 plus loads more historic collections, modern art and a fab new cafe and shop. The museum and gallery will be open daily and is free to visit. We can’t wait.
FESTIVALS & FAIRS
The Handmade and Vintage Fair returns to Rushden Lakes on 3 and 4 July in celebration of Independents Day, expect a bevy of gorgeous makers and sellers taking over the Central Boulevard, plus street food a-plenty.
The F1 Grand Prix is well and truly ON at Silverstone Circuit this month, with the usual spectacular array of fairs, fun and entertainments including performances from Rudimental DJ, Anne-Marie and Becky Hill and a Saturday night Tiki Party to accompany the car stuff from 16-18 July this is much much more than a race.
Strictly star and funder of Soo Yoga in Northampton Kristina Rihanoff will be hosting a Family Wellbeing Fair on Saturday 18 July in Becket’s Park alongside Professor Pilates, to raise money for The Lewis Foundation cancer charity. Book in advance for a day pass for all classes and talks or you can give a donation to browse the stalls. Expect face-painting, yoga and dance classes sound bath and lectures on how to get better sleep from the brilliant Kerry Davis aka The Sleep Fixer.
We are absolutely loving Pleasure Garden at Fermyn Woods Contemporary Art, which runs until September. Exploring the friction between desire in the natural and human worlds and investigating landscapes, textures and burning questions, all set in the glorious surroundings of Deene Park.
Challenging Perspectives is the inaugural exhibition at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, looking back at the life and work of notable and prolific local artist Chris Fiddes, who also bears the mantle of former Head of Art at Northampton High School. Running from Saturday 10 July.
VisualISE at 78 Derngate in Northampton is an exhibition of textile art by the Visualise Textile Group harnessing a wide variety of media to create abstract, realist and figurative art using stitch work and drawing particular inspiration from Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his designs at Northampton’s 78 Derngate, the only house in England to be designed by Mackintosh. Running until Sun 18 July.
Running on 9th and 10th July at the Royal and Derngate, The Masks We Wear is a brand new musical compilation of scenes, songs and ideas written and performed by young artists exploring the complexities of who we really are and the masks we hide behind.
Core Create, the young theatre makers at the Core at Corby Cube have put together an exciting production called Hopes and Dreams, which is inspired by their ambitions for the future. Looks set to be optimistic and uplifting – exactly what we’re all in need of right now. Wednesday 7 July at 6pm.
Shakespeare comes to Wellingborough on 13 July at 7.30pm with a slapstick and feel good performance of The Comedy of Errors at The Castle Theatre, in which a downward spiral of chaos finally gives way to a gloriously happy ending. Just the way we like it.
Folk fusion musical maestros Bupadest Cafe Orchestra will be playing their beautiful gypsy-flavoured tunes at the gorgeous Oundle School Chapel on 16 July at 8pm, led by jazz violin superstar Christian Garrick.
Head to Northampton’s Royal and Derngate for the brilliantly disturbing Gin Craze running Saturday 17 to Saturday 31 July. Set at a time in the 18th century when the average Briton drank 1.5 litres of gin every day, this sounds like a fairly average evening here at Muddy HQ (kidding!). We reckon you’ll love indulging in the excesses of Hogarth’s Britain in this anarchic, ingenious and irreverent new musical.
More Shakespeare incoming on 17th July at 6.30pm, with Illyria performing their uplifting production of Much Ado About Nothing on the beautiful lawns at Lamport Hall, with further fun following on the afternoon of Sunday 18th with the annual Traditional Jazz In The Gardens. Music from Tame Valley Stompers Allstars at 2pm – bring a folding chair or blanket, picnic hampers are available to order in advance.
Superstar Jimmy Carr‘s latest show, Terribly Funny, arrives at Royal and Derngate on Wednesday 21 July. Be warned, as Jimmy argues, having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo. He’s not holding back.
Channel your inner Jessica Fletcher and get interactive on 25 July at The Castle Theatre, with cult camp crime-quiz TV mystery mash-up Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote with games, prizes and plenty of audience participation.
Back to Lamport on Friday 30 July for Immersion Theatre’s production of The Jungle Book at 4pm. These guys are always bang on the money for entertaining the kids and the oldies too. Suitable for ages 4 and up.
The Widgeon Theatre Boat (above) moors at Stoke Bruerne on 31 July and 1 August to perform the musical play Grit of Life, weaving a tale through history and music with plenty of social commentary and comic brilliance.
Grease is the word! Bring a picnic and spread out on a blanket at Stanwick Lakes for another jam-packed summer season of open air, lakeside film fun with Movies By The Lake. This month choose from Grease (obvs), Mary Poppins, Bohemian Rhapsody, Mama Mia and Moana.
FOOD & DRINK
Bite Street is back at Franklin’s Gardens on 9-11 July for their brilliant street food pop-up that is fast becoming something of a Northampton institution. There’ll table service and a huge array of amazing food from local craft beers and wines to world foods from Cambodian to Caribbean and everything in between.
Rockingham Castle will host their annual Food and Drink Fair on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18th July from 11am-4pm, with artisan food producers and plenty to tuck into from stalls will weaving around the spectacular surroundings of the formal gardens.
Celebrate Grand Prix weekend with Silverstone Distillery from 15-18 July. The distillery bar will be open (for the first time ever!) for table service, plus you can snag yourself some street food from Meat Wagon UK and Santina’s Wood Fired Pizza Co while you’re there.
Evenley Wood Garden host their second monthly supper club this month on Thursday 22 July, following on from a sell-out success in June. Expect a selection of foods celebrating the best of the season in the beautiful woodland surroundings. A bar will be available on the night and advance booking is essential.
Oundle Food Festival takes place on Saturday 24 July with over 80 independent food and drink producers as well as makers of kitchenware gather to share their passions and tantalise your tastebuds, all set in the gorgeous surroundings of Oundle.
KIDS & FAMILY
Inspired by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s family favourite The Snail and the Whale, this heart-warming tale of adventure on the open seas comes to life through live music, storytelling and jokes a-plenty. On stage at the Castle Theatre in Wellingborough on 13th and 14th July and suitable for ages 4 and up.
The Whisper Tree is a free audio performance, running until 3rd September, that guides you and your children as you take a walk through nature in Becket’s Park in Northampton. Starting out at the Royal and Derngate theatre, you’ll follow a beautifully illustrated map, created by the brilliant Fridge Street, as you’re immersed in the story of Rory and Tilly’s adventure to find the Whisper Tree. You can also book online workshops (available for 7-8 or 9-13 year-olds) to accompany your adventure.
T-Rexstasy! Dinosaurs are set to take over Northampton town centre and market square on Saturday 24 July. Yes you read that right. This free family fun day in Northampton will give kids the chance to meet some larger than life VIP guests and get involved with entertainment throughout the day.
FURTHER AFIELD – BOOK NOW
Moving on from its triumphant regional tour, Northampton Royal and Derngate and Theatre Royal Bath’s seminal production of Four Quartets will transfer to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End for 36 performances from 18 November to 18 December. Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this hotly anticipated stage adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s moving poetry, addressing the universal themes of faith, spirituality and nature. We’re totally here for Ralph working that serious thespian thing he does so well. Also showing at Cambridge Arts Theatre 28 June – 10 July, Southampton MAST 12 – 17 July, Malvern Theatre 19 – 24 July and York Theatre Royal 26 – 31 July 2021.