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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...

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Topics: Art / Cooking / Country / Culture / Design / Exhibitions / Little Black Book / Pack your bags / Sculpture / travel / Weekend breaks /

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? August 2019

1 August

Ruth Ewan and Oscar Murillo at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Muriel Pyrah Collection, 1972. Courtesy the National Arts Educaion Archive, YSP (1)


For their latest exhibition, the acclaimed Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be presenting works by Scottish artist Ruth Ewan alongside those by the shortlisted Turner Prize Colombian artist Oscar Murillo. Bringing together the former’s ‘Asking Out’ and the latter’s ‘Frequencies’, the two projects explore the role of creativity for the development of children. 13 July – 3 November 2019, more details at

A Feeling We All Share, Suffolk

A celebration of music, visual art and writing from criminal justice settings across the East of England, A Feeling We All Share bridges borders, shines a light on sights not usually seen and sounds not usually heard, interrupts stereotypes, ultimately finding a shared humanity between us all. The exhibition is a partnership between Koestler Arts (the UK’s best known prison arts charity and Snape Meetings, a leading centre of music in Suffolk). Many of the pieces will be on sale with prices ranging from £40 to £500, to be proportioned between the artist, Koestler Arts and the charity Victim Support. It will be a wonderful exhibition of shared connection and striking art pieces. 1 – 31 August,

3 August

The Truth About Tampons Comedy Show

YUCK Circus. Photo by Vicki Jones

Having enjoyed a storming premiere season at Adelaide Fringe, YUCK Circus has travelled from the other side of the world not to just break, but completely shatter gender stereotypes at Edinburgh Fringe. Their absurd high-flying acrobatics, hilarious confessions and a live Nutella binge critique society’s double standards and the stigma surrounding women’s issues. 3-24 August;

7 August

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre Recreated at Blenheim Palace


We love a Shakespearean inspired day out, and a trip to this full-scale version of the Elizabethan playhouse will be a winner for the whole family. Popping up for 9 weeks in the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site’s historic grounds of Blenheim Palace, guests can choose from an array of the bard’s greatest hits including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth. The theatre will house an audience of 900 with 560 heated on three tiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard. There’s also free admission to a Shakespearan-style village where wagon merriment, a glorious Elizabethan garden, Oxfordshire food and drink served in the reed-thatched Bear Arms pub, a village pond, farm wagons and carts evoke a bygone rural age, allowing guests to truly immerse themselves in Shakespeare’s day and age. 8 July – 7 September; theatre tickets from £12 for children and £15 for adults; ore information and tickets at

10 August

Ahoy There! Cowes Week

Cowes Week

Cowes Week has introduced a new racing class this year which promises more speed for your spend, especially if you splash out a little and take a spectator boat out on the water to be in the thick of it. Around 8,500 competitors, including Olympians, world-class pros and fair-weather sailors, stick their oar in the Solent this summer. 10–17 August;

12 August

Glorious Twelfth Celebration Dinner at The Woodsman

Feasting Room

A restaurant dating back to 1500s in the heart of Shakespeare Country, The Woodsman has long centred itself around British provenance and tradition, so naturally will be celebrating the beginning of Grouse season with a knock-out dinner hosted in its exceptionally beautiful 400 year old Feasting Room. A six-course menu has been specifically created by Head Chef Jon Coates showcasing Yorkshire Grouse, shot just hours before the feast takes place, straight from the Yorkshire Moors. The delectable meal will include the restaurant’s signature and beloved snacks like Muntjac Lollipops (which have become almost fabled in the area for their deliciousness). 12 August, dinner is £75 per person and can be booked via [email protected]; more information at

15 August

Lis Rhodes: Dissident Lines at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham

Lis Rhodes
Cutting and collaging chunks of film, Lis Rhodes jumps between political narratives and otherworldly poetry. Her surreal sequences make Gaza, gender inequality and the MP’s expenses scandal feel like a dystopian dream, or a satirical take on the politics we should have. An artist in her 70s, her work has a longitudinal perspective often rare in the art world. Relevant and raw. Until 1 Sept;

16 August

Talking Maps Exhibition at The Weston Library, Oxford


As if Donald Trump’s presidency could get any stranger, Bodleian Libraries have analysed the controversial figure’s tweets to find that the larger the country, the more tweets it features in. Bodleian Libraries have created a cartogram to offer a clearer visual representation of this absurd correlation, further demonstrating the use of Twitter by Donald Trump in his creation of global policy. The cartogram has been released ahead of the Bodleian Libraries’ Talking Maps exhibition which includes everything from the first modern map of Britain to Grayson Perrry’s contemporary tapestry map designed to express the state of the nation following the Brexit vote. 5 July – 8 March 2020, The Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford

18 August

Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

Cindy Sherman

The first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery and a member of the London Group where she exhibited with Hockney and Auerbach, Rego is a prolific figure in the art world. Now 84 and still working, this will be her first major retrospective in 20 years. She usually draws inspiration from fairytales by JM Barrie and Lewis Caroll, often looking at the stories from a dark and mysterious perspective, but here she will prove her solidly political outlook as she covers slavery in North Africa (1996-98), abortion (1998-2000) and female genital mutilation (from 2009), all in her signature precise use of pastels. Paula Rego is one of our most lovable and talented artists. Treasure the time spent with her. Until 22 Sept;

19 August

The Tempest, UK Tour

UK Tempest Tour, Illyria


Illyria, the only UK open air touring company to have won four international awards, brings The Tempest to life in Britain’s most atmospheric outdoor locations, including the castles of Thirlestane in Edinburgh and Arundel in Chichester. 21 June – 8 September.

BOOK IT NOW: Wellbeing by the Lakes, Dorchester

Sculpture by the Lakes, Dorset Search for Enlightment by Simon Gudgeon 1

Centred around finding mindfulness in the city – or rather wellbeing by the lakes – the three day festival explores how to live well in a fast-paced, stress-abundant modern world. You’ll spend your time between listening to expert talks (headlined by best-selling wellbeing authors Liz Earle and Gelong Thubtan) on everything from aromatherapy to creative journalling, to stretching it out in a yoga class or trying a sound bathing session, to being led on a guided meditation and listening to traditional Tibetan Folklore dance. A highlight will be the opportunity to witness the Tashi Lhupno Monks creating an intricate Medicine Buddha sand mandala over the three days before being ritually dismantled and offered to the River Frome at the festival’s end. 19 – 23 September; tickets form £20;

20 August

Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters, Leeds

‘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.

23 August

Manchester Pride, Manchester

Pride Parade, Manchester Pride 2018

This year’s Manchester Pride is on course to be the biggest yet with more events celebrating LGBT+ life than ever before. Manchester Pride campaigns for equality, looks to challenge prejudice and create opportunities that engage LGBT+ people. This year’s Pride Festival will be made up of Manchester Pride Live, the Candlelit Vigil, the Superbia Weekend, the Gay Village Party, Manchester Pride Parade, Youth Pride MCR and a number of BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) events also. Although Manchester Pride is renowned for its great parties, this year’s Superbia Weekend is also a must to attend; the charity’s alternative to traditional Pride celebrations, it will be an alcohol free space that offers a culturally rich weekend of premiers, art, conversation, cabaret, and community workshops.  Superbia Weekend is on 23 – 26 August, Manchester Pride Parade will take place on 23 August,

26 August

Beyond Faith: Muslim Women Artists Today at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Aida Fouroutan
Exploring identity, faith and memory, five Muslim artists trained or based in the North West are to present their work. Artist Usarae Gul describes herself as ‘Unglish’, the hybrid of Urdu and English her family spoke at home, and combines the two in bright joyful paintings of takeaways and terraced houses. Painter Aida Foroutan grew up in Tehran – ‘Women’s Life’ is based on interviews with Iranian women at different dramatic stages of their life and their struggle for rights. Shabana Baig’s layered works represent her identity as a second-generation Asian woman growing up in the 90s – complex, tangled and beautiful. Three cheers to the Whitworth for making different voices heard. Until 10 Nov;

27 August

Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53 at St Albans Museum


© Matthew Hollow

A newly explored phase in the life of Hepworth – her superb figurative drawings and community-based work in Hertfordshire – reveals a new phase of her development as Britain’s major post war artist. Until 8 Sept;

28 August

Ifeoma U. Anyaeji : Ezuhu ezu – In(complete), Newcastle

1269 Baltic

© Colin Davison

Plaiting plastic bags and bottles into sculpture, Anyaeji celebrates Nigerian folklore, fashion and poetry while highlighting society’s excess and throwaway culture. Recycling at its most beautiful. Until 22 Sept;


Yoko Ono: Sky Pieces

A retrospective of sculpture, music, film and performance will explore Ono’s love of the sky – a feature of her work that symbolises freedom, peace and our unknowable universe. A tiny gallery with big ambition. Until 6 Oct;

30 August

Grete Marks: An Intimate Portrait

Grete Marks_Untitled_n.d

Grete defied Bauhaus supremo Walter Gropius to forge her art her way. Deemed ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis, derided by Goebbels for her geometric shaped ceramics, this exhibition is a tribute to her originality and grit. Until 27 Oct;

31 August

Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud, Cumbria

RUSKIN Study of Rocks and Ferns, Crossmount, Perthshire JL

135 works spanning six galleries, the exhibition coincides with the 200th anniversary year of John Ruskin’s birth and takes place in the acclaimed artist home, where he found most inspiration. A leading English art historian of the Victorian era, watercolorist, prominent social thinker, draughtsman, art patron and philanthropist Ruskin is a name well known and well regarded. Through watercolours, drawings and more, this exhibition explores Ruskin’s relationship with Turner’s work and pertinently the influence he has in highlighting climate change. 12 July – 5 October; more details at


What’s On in London This Week? The Town Culture Diary / The Best London Musicals: What’s On in the West End

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