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16 great things to do in Northants!

Pinch punch first of the month. This week’s What’s On has us running from one side of the county to the other like a March Hare.  We’ve got gorgeous gardens, beautiful spring bouquets and should it get a bit nippy out there we’ve got plenty of Northants arts and culture to keep us company. We’ve even got a Northants to London day planned. Goodbye February – Spring has almost sprung. Yippee.

Status Update, Royal & Derngate, Friday/Saturday, 8pm, 24-25 Feb

Oooh – Technology just got interesting. I may have to lay off Facebook for a while

We know facts. We know secrets. We have opinions. We have intuition. That’s enough about me, Status Update is an unflinching and funny catalogue of the things we learn and believe about the world. From the ridiculous to the highly charged, all these truths and half-truths are laid bare before us. Directed by Tom Fox (Remote, National Theatre), this production features a cast of 20 young performers and will leave you questioning what you do, how you do it and more importantly why can’t we do more? Royal & Derngate’s Young Company present Status Update as part of Connections 2017, ahead of the festival.

Royal and & Derngate, 19-21 Guildhall Rd, Northampton, NN1 1DP

Higham Ferrers Farmers Market, Market Square, 9am-1pm, Saturday, 25 Feb

It’s fresh, it’s on our doorstep, and it’s all about local produce. No it’s not Muddy Stilettos Northants (although the same could be said), but it is one of the county’s best farmers markets.

Market Square, Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire NN10 8BT

Northampton Symphony Orchestra with Jess Gillam Saxophone, 8pm, Saturday, 25 Feb

Erm, I think you have to blow into it Jess. Far be it for me to say so…

Northampton has talent. Lots of it. The Northampton Symphony Orchestra are joined by 18-year-old saxophonist Jess Gillam who, in 2016, made history as the first-ever saxophonist to win the Woodwind Final of the BBC Young Musician Competition. Jess will be performing “Escapades” from the Grammy and Academy award nominated John Williams score of the film ‘Catch Me If You Can’. As part of the Orchestra’s season featuring great fifth symphonies, the evening will also include the exciting Russian Symphony No.5, B-flat major by Alexander Glazunov, Fuga Solemnis by Franz Schmidt for brass, percussion and organ, and the ever popular Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi. That’s a lot to squeeze in for one evening. Adults: £14 Concessions: £12 Children: £1

Northampton Symphony Orchestra, Christ Church, 3 Christchurch Road, Northampton, Northamptonshire NN1 5LL

National Gardens Scheme opening in Northampton – Sunday 26 Feb

Let’s get outside and marvel at beautiful Northants gardens of all shapes and sizes. This weekend the NGS open gardens appear all over the county.  Since its foundation, the National Gardens Scheme has donated over £45 million to nominated beneficiaries, of which nearly £23 million has been donated within the last ten years. Check out these two contrasting but worthwhile gardens to visit this weekend (three of the gardens below).

67-69 High Street, Finedon, NN9 5JN

A fantastic fauna found in Finedon

Constantly evolving ⅓ acre rear garden of C17 cottage (not open). Mixed borders, many obelisks and containers, kitchen garden and herb bed, and rope border. Spring garden with snowdrops and hellebores, summer and autumn borders all giving varied interest from Feb through to Oct. Home raised plants for sale. Well behaved dogs welcome. Open Sunday 26 February (11am – 3pm). Admission £3.50, children free.

Boughton House, Kettering, Northamptonshire NN14 1BJ

Burgeoning Boughton borders

The Northamptonshire home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. The garden opening incl opportunities to see the historic walled kitchen garden and herbaceous border incl the newly created sensory and wildlife gardens. The wilderness woodland will open for visitors to view the spring flowers or the autumn colours. As a special treat the garden originally created by Sir David Scott (cousin of the Duke of Buccleuch) will also be open. Admission £6.00, child £3.00. Light refreshments in C18 Stable Block.

Jericho, 42 Market Place, Oundle, PE8 4AJ

Inspired by Vita Sackville-West 60 yrs ago, the 100 metre, s-facing, walled garden is divided into a series of secret spaces. The house is clothed in wisteria, clematis and roses. A plant-led garden with massive hornbeam hedge, clipped box and lavender. A hosta courtyard. Over 50 labelled species roses, a chamomile lawn, plus a hot border. Snowdrops, crocuses and hellebores in early spring.  Open 12 – 5pm – admission £3.50, children free.

The National Garden Scheme

I Claude Monet, Savoy Cinema,  6.30pm, Monday 27 February

Wrap up warm I get the impression it’s foggy out

In this striking film from award-winning director Phil Grabsky, we get to take look at arguably the world’s favourite artist – through his own words. Using letters and other private writings I, Claude Monet reveals new insight into the man who not only painted the picture that gave birth to impressionism but who was perhaps the most influential and successful painter of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Savoy Cinema, Parkland Gateway, George St, Corby, NN17 1QE

Jamie Raven live, The Castle Theatre, Tuesday, 28 Feb

Jamie Raven – Don’t look into his eyes

Jamie Raven burst onto an unsuspecting world during the 2015 series of Britain’s Got Talent. Jamie has been perfecting his craft over the past 11 years working as a magician around the world and his ambition was always to take it a wider audience and BGT finally gave him that chance. His online videos from Britain’s Got Talent have now been seen over 100 million times, making him one of the most viewed magicians in the world. So, sit back, relax and let Jamie Ravens show you some of the magic that he has astounded audiences with around the world.

The Castle theatre, 10 Castle Way, Wellingborough NN8 1XA

Return to La La Land, Errol Flynn Filmhouse – Tuesday 28 February

Is there anything this pair can’t do?

Hurry Hurry, this may be a last chance to see an award winning epic on the big screen.  With most shows now sold out, the EFH brings us a last opportunity to gaze into the eyes of Ryan (swoon) and Emma (also swoon, actually). If you’ve been living on the moon these last few months you may not know that this is an original musical written and directed by Academy Award-nominee Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), telling the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Tickets from £6-£8.50

Errol Flynn Filmhouse, off Derngate, Northampton, NN1 1UD

Flower Arranging for Beginners, Bay Tree cottage, 7-9.30pm, Wednesday 1 March

Ready, steady, arrange

Worried how to start flower arranging? BTC’s chief arranger extraordinaire, Linda will take you through the basics and give you confidence to start flower arranging. Spaces available for £37.50.

Bay Tree Cottage, Maidford Road, Farthingstone, Nr Daventry, NN12 8HE Tel: 01327 361 720

Storytelling at the Feast of Fools – Open Mic, Royal and Derngate, 7.30pm, Wednesday, 1 March

Words come to life in The Crown Room

Northampton’s own Storytelling Club for traditional and contemporary storytelling. Feast of Fools showcases excellent professional tellers while promoting and developing local storytellers on the first Wednesday of each month (apart from August). March is Open Mic – with the usual twist that there is no microphone – but there will be a good selection of stories and storytellers to listen to.  £5.00 admission

The Crown Room, 19-21 Guildhall Rd, Northampton, Northamptonshire NN1 1DP

Art in the park – enter your submissions now, and see them displayed in April and May 

Northamptonshire’s artists are being invited to submit their artwork for Abington Park Museum’s popular open air art exhibition, which returns for its 56th year on 29 April. Submissions for the Art in the Park exhibition are now being accepted and are open to all artists living in the county. Interested artists can submit artwork of all kinds including prints, landscapes, seascapes, animals, collages, flowers, abstracts and pictures of Abington Park.

Application forms for submissions can be found here

Looking ahead – Corby Mardi Gras, Saturday 5-9pm, 4 March

Made in Corby have been working with the East Carlton community panel to create Corby Mardi Gras, a spectacular illuminated walk through East Carlton Park where members of the Corby borough can journey through the woods at twilight, discovering beautiful light sculptures as they go! Expect to find enjoyable entertainment by local musicians and dancers and be immersed in the magic by live performances! As it may be a bit cold, there will also be food and hot drinks available to purchase throughout the evening.  Make sure to wear sturdy shoes and wrap up warm as we expect it might be a bit cold! While you’re at it why not dress up? It is Mardi Gras after all!

Made in Corby Mardi Gras, East Carlton Park, LE16 8YF

Kinky Boots: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre, London until January 2018

AKA “Saturday night in Northamptonshire”.

It’s Northampton but transported to London.  Since winning the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Kinky Boots is the winner of every major Best Musical award and is the hottest show in town! With songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this fabulous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. Kinky Boots takes you from the factory floor to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price, played by David Hunter (Once, One Man, Two Guvnors), is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the shoe factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, played by Olivier award-winner Matt Henry, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.  There are loads of great of great ticket deals to be had so check out the official site for more details. Here’s a flavour. You and 5 friends can save up to 40% with the 6+ group rate – put your best foot forward and book today! Book 6 or more & get Band A £69.50*/£72.50* seats for £42.50* per ticket for Monday – Friday 7.30pm/Wednesday 2.30pm & £49.50* for Saturday at 2.30pm (Subject to availability). Evening performances are Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

The Adelphi Theatre, Strand, London WC2R 0NS

Searcys Champagne Bar – St Pancras

And finally, if you are in the mood for a night/weekend out in London and you’re travelling in from the east of the county how about a pit stop at the lovely Searcys Champagne Bar? It would be rude note to – wouldn’t it (in the old days of my London commute, I’ve been known to spend a good proportion of my salary in this place)?

How refreshing?

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Northamptonshire