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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

Don't miss the best cultural events in the UK during the month...


What’s on this week in the countryside and the UK beyond London? Wonder no more! Find out all the hottest show openings, new art exhibitions, restaurants to book into and more. Here’s your culture guide to the month ahead…


Looking for events in London? Check out our Town Culture Diary

What’s On in the Country this Month? March 2019

1 March

EXPOSED: THE NAKED PORTRAIT at Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle

Vulnerable, erotic, equalizing or innocent – the unclothed body takes many forms. Exposed explores the difference between being naked and nude – bare authenticity or idealized figures, be they sculptures from ancient Greece or artful poses on Instagram. Naked individual portraits – free from the markers of time or wealth – include 19th-century actress Nell Gwyn, Naomi Campbell, Gilbert & George, and Mick Jagger, alongside Testino photographic shots and work by David Hockney and Tracey Emin. An exhibition to explore identity and grasp its essential humanity. Until 3 March.

2 March

Yamato Drummers

Now in their 25th year, the world-renowned Yamato drummers are back with a new stamina-defying, hair-raising show. Jhonetsu (Passion) combines traditional Taiko drumming with spectacle and so much exertion that each performer loses two kilograms in water weight per show. UK tour from 15 February – 31 March.

3 March

We Made This at Turner Contemporary

Each piece selected for We Made This, an exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate this spring, was made in prisons, secure hospitals, young offenders’ institutions, immigration removal centres or by people on probation. Huge artistic potential is unbarred in a show of confusion, insight and humour, featuring 70 artworks from soap carvings to electronic music. 1 March – 19 May.

4 March

From Genesis to Nemesis at The Fosse Gallery

Imaginative, fanciful and vibrant new work by Royal Academician Mick Rooney will be on sale at his solo show, From Genesis to Nemesis, at The Fosse Gallery, Stow on the Wold. ‘The paintings talk in parables of the way society is gobbling up resources and regurgitating a load of nonsense,’ says Rooney. Sound familiar? 4 – 23 March.

5 March

When All Is Quiet: Kaiser Chiefs in Conversation with York Art Gallery’

Rock band the Kaiser Chiefs have curated a unique exhibition showcasing at York Art Gallery this month, exploring the boundaries of music, art, performance and creation. Expect performances by a forty-art choir, paintings from the gallery’s’ own collection and much more… 14 December 2018 to 10 March 2019,

6 March

Nigel Cooke: Painter’s Beach Club at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings

Cooke wears a surgeon’s goggles to draw minute details in his huge dystopian paintings. Figures stand in melting, derelict landscapes next to graffiti that references his artistic heroes such as Bacon, Velazquez and Goya. His home city, Manchester, feeds into this dreamlike work while shorelines and seascapes crop up, too, as Cooke returns to Hastings – where his career started. Mesmerising. Until 24 Mar.

8 March


An innovative double bill sees the award-winning dance troupe BalletBoyz performing ‘Them’ – the work of the company’s in-house talent – ingeniously balanced by ‘Us’, as choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and cult singer Keaton Henson. Touring the UK, including Exeter, Chester, Guildford and Glasgow, the production questions how we perceive ourselves in relation to the ‘other’. Until 28 April.

16 March

“What is Home?” Exhibition at Croome Court, Worcestershire

Credit: Jack Nelson

Taking inspiration from its grand 18th century venue, the art installation looks specifically at Croome’s past life as St Joseph’s School for Boys (1948-1978) to examine the question “what is home?”. A year in the making, the lead artist Kashif Nadim Chaudry has worked with ex-pupils and children currently in the care system. The process has manifested in a thought-provoking and powerful exhibition consisting of personal objects chosen by participants, accompanied by the real-life stories they tell. 16 March – 1 July 2020.

20 March

Louise Bourgeois at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

When Tate Modern opened in 2000, Bourgeois’ 30ft steel and marble spider, Maman, greeted its first visitors. The grande dame of autobiographical art, Bourgeois explored abandonment and sexuality until her death at 98 in 2010. As the conversation around gender and equality evolves, her work is as relevant as ever. 22 Jan to 24 March.

22 March

Bristol’s International Jazz and Blues Festival

Bristol’s International Jazz and Blues Festival is back for one weekend only. The line-up includes The Classical Ellington, whose album was chosen as one of The Sunday Times’ albums of the year, and China Moses, performing Billy Holiday’s album Lady in Satin to mark its 60th anniversary. 22-24 March.

23 March

Vegfest UK, Brighton

One of Europe’s leading vegan health food events, VegFest UK, is returning to the Brighton Centre this March to kick off the first of their 2019 UK dates. Guests can expect over 250 stalls, live cookery demonstrations, live music, yoga classes and more. Their food village is vegan heaven: think Southern fried seitan burgers and smoked tofu rinds at Feral Food Store, plantain vegan patties and jerk soya at Brownins, vegan tofish and chips at Simply Vegan and fragrant Indian street food at Simply Veg23-24 March 2019


Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,’ said William Morris, inspiring Harewood House in Yorkshire to name its inaugural biennial exhibition Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters. Hugo Macdonald, curator, investigates the importance of craft as an expression of humanity through a variety of makers, ranging from brands to designers. 23 March – 1 September.

24 March

George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field at Holburne Museum, Bath

Holburne Museum, Bath George Shaw always perceived beauty in his childhood home, Tile Hill, a council estate in Coventry. Instead of ignoring a derelict garage or rubbish- strewn forest, he saw suburban quietness and an overlooked wildness, capturing a child’s possibility of adventure. Dreamy. 8 Feb to 6 May.

25 March

Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things

Born in Kenya in 1950, Odundo moved to the UK in 1971 to attend art school. After choosing ceramics as her preferred medium, Odundo travelled to Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to study their ceramic traditions. Odundo’s desire to learn about vernacular crafts has taken her across the globe to Europe, Africa, Asia and Central America. This journeying has inspired Odundo’s own unique visual language – her hand-built forms are often asymmetrical, large in size and with dynamic silhouettes that often conjure the human body. The vessels are burnished rather than glazed and fired in ways that create her distinctive surfaces of vibrant orange, velvety black, or a dramatic interplay of the two. Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Farshid Moussavi OBE, the exhibition will situate Odundo’s work at the heart of a constellation of objects that Odundo has drawn inspiration from British studio pottery by Hans Coper and Lucy Rie; ancient vessels from Greece and Egypt; historic ceramics from Africa, Asia and Central America; ritual sculpture and objects from across the African continent; Elizabethan costume and textiles; as well as contemporary objects including a large work by artist El Anatsui. The exhibition will explore Odundo’s interest in her own diasporic identity and the charged role that objects have played, and continue to play, in intercultural relationships today. February 16 – June 2.

27 March

Jeff Koons at The Ashmolean

A major exhibition of Jeff Koons’ work (b. 1955) will be held at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in spring 2019. Curated with Koons himself together with guest curator Norman Rosenthal, the show will feature seventeen important works, fourteen of which have never been exhibited in the UK before. They span the artist’s entire career and his most well-known series including Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings. February 7 – June 9.

28 March

The Omission of the Family Coleman, Bath

Highly relatable, hilarious drama is always the best. Most family members experience the biting of tongues – or, worse, the passionate arguments that ensue otherwise – when intergenerational relatives find themselves cooped up under the same roof.  A global hit, The Omission of the Family Coleman tells this exact story and has won a number of prestigious awards including the Ace Award for Best Argentinian Play and the Best Original Play Award at the Fiesta Nacional del Teatro. The highly anticipated play takes to the stage at Theatre Royal Bath on 28th March. Until 27 April,

29 March

The Upside Down House, The Triangle Bournemouth

On November 10th, Bournemouth welcomed the wild and wonderful new the Upside Down House. Using the UK’s first inverted wooden structure, the experiential house is a mix of street art and immersive entertainment. The zero-gravity illusion means visitors can walk on the ceiling and go downstairs to go up throughout the two-storey building. Open until June 2019,

30 March

Hauser & Wirth Hazel Basket Weaving, Somerset

Whether you’re a beginner hoping to take your arts and crafts to the next level or an experienced artist looking to expand your repertoire, this Make Hauser & Wirth Somerset workshop is an idyllic way to spend a wonderful weekend in the countryside. The day will begin with a discussion on the history of basket weaving and its recent resurgence in popularity (summer bag anyone?) before guests have a go at crafting a basket themselves – guided, of course, by the hand of Lorna Singleton’s expertise. Tickets include all materials, refreshments and tuition, plus a two course lunch on both days. 30 March

MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

The new MK Gallery, designed by Award-winning architects 6a, will open in February 2019, doubling the size of the current building and creating a world-class centre for contemporary arts in the heart of Milton Keynes. The new building will include a flexible suite of galleries to accommodate a rich variety of works, historical and contemporary. It will also include a cinema/performance space, a new foyer and bookshop, an informal bar/café, a learning space, plus areas for reading and study. Until July 2019,


31 March

Insiders/Outsiders Festival

The Insiders/Outsiders year-long festival celebrates the cultural contributions of émigrés from Nazi-occupied Europe; a timely reminder of the long-lasting importance of cultural cross-fertilisation. Walter Gropius, Lucie Rie and Josef Herman all feature in exhibitions, performances, screenings and poetry readings taking place across the UK. Until March 2020.

Spring Family Raceday at Ascot

Kick off the spring season at Ascot’s first family race day of the year, taking place on Mother’s Day. Alongside top class racing, there will be plenty of countryside themed activities for children, including den building, foraging and cooking demos with James Wood, ferret racing and a petting zoo. Children can also enjoy an appearance from the Gruffalo, the Shetland Pony Grand National, entertainment from Bubble Joe & Anton the Juggler, a ’20 things to do before you’re 12′ experience and face painting. There are plenty of dining options to choose from, including the Horsewalk Restaurant in the King Edward VIP Enclosure, where mothers will be treated to a free main course.

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