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What's On: Music, drama and alfresco events

Want to see Rag 'n' Bone Man play live on a forest stage? Dame Judi Dench and Lemn Sissay share their life stories? Book now and you can


Keane play Thetford Forest, Picture Jon Stone (56251830)
Keane play Thetford Forest, Picture Jon Stone (56251830)

If you’re yet to experience a Forest Live gig, you’re in for an atmospheric and immersive treat like no other. Dancing beneath the boughs of shady trees to a soundtrack of phenomenal live bands as the sun dips towards the forest floor, you can’t help but soak up the feel-good vibe. Even more uplifting is the knowledge that ticket sales from the outdoor live music series, presented by Forestry England, fund conservation projects (around 8 million trees are planted each year throughout the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests).

Be part of this summer’s Forest Live gigs at Thetford Forest, near Brandon. Baritone-voiced Rag’n’Bone Man kicks off the series on June 16, with special guests Will And The People and guest support Charlotte Jane.

Making a triumphant return in 2019 - after a six-year hiatus - with studio album Cause and effect and subsequent sold-out tour, Keane will delight fans with much-loved tracks including Everybody’s Changing and Somewhere Only We Know from their seminal debut smash Hopes and Fears. They will share the limelight with special guests Flyte and support Michael Conryan on June 17.

The nutty sound of ska pioneers Madness closes the show on June 18, with special guests The Farm and guest support Emily Capell. We defy you not to goofy dance to iconic hits such as Baggy Trousers, House Of Fun and Driving In My Car!

Book tickets at forestryengland.uk/music


Poet Lemn Sissay, Picture Hamish + Brown (56251764)
Poet Lemn Sissay, Picture Hamish + Brown (56251764)

There’s two opportunities to catch incredible modern-day poet and playwright Lemn Sissay this month as his poignant show My Name Is Why tours to Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.

Lemn, whose life is described as ‘one of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph’, will read from his Sunday Times bestselling memoir, reflecting on a

childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, and exploring race, family and the meaning of home.

Powerful and moving, it’s ultimately a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity.

My Name Is Why is at The Apex, Bury, on May 4, and Cambridge Arts Theatre on May 22. More at theapex.co.uk and cambridgeartstheatre.com


Jane Walker, leading the Cambridge Junction Jubilee project, Picture Alexandra Cameron (56251785)
Jane Walker, leading the Cambridge Junction Jubilee project, Picture Alexandra Cameron (56251785)

Ever wondered what ingredients, qualities and values go into making the perfect Queen? The creative souls at Cambridge Junction have – and will reveal the answers in their Jubilee Community project, Recipe For A Queen.

The exciting initiative has been made possible thanks to Cambridge Junction being awarded £10,000 from the Arts Council’s Let’s Create Jubilee Fund by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.

Recipe for a Queen will be spearheaded by writer, poet and theatre maker Hannah Jane Walker and filmmaker Peter Harmer, and co-created with residents of Heathlands House Care Home and primary school children and community groups from Queen Edith and Cherry Hinton. It will explore people’s memories of the Queen throughout her 70-year-reign, the recipes we’d bake if Her Majesty came to tea and the incredible parties we’d throw for her coronation. The resulting film and poetry will be shared at a celebratory garden party for participants, families and friends over the Jubilee weekend in June.


Souled Out Summer at Wendems Ambo (56129929)
Souled Out Summer at Wendems Ambo (56129929)

What could be better than a summer festival, listening to live music, while you sip an ice-cold beer, soak up the sunshine and embrace the feel-good vibe? How about a festival that also raises money for charity? Well, Souled Out Summer Music Festival in Wendens Ambo does just that, promising original vinyl DJs, live bands and fun in the sun whilst collecting funds for various Addenbrooke’s Hospital charities. Taking place at The Bell Pub, and now in its 7th year, the family-friendly micro festival takes place June 24 – 25. Expect an uplifting mix of 60s beat, R&B, soul and mod revival music from the likes of Trojan Horses, The Mod Cons, The Mike Lemson Band and The Labrats. There will also be vintage vinyl and clothing on sale, kids’ entertainment including face painting and the option to camp in true festival style!

Find out more and buy tickets at eventbrite.co.uk (search for souled out summer 2022)


Michael Kiwanuka, Picture Olivia Rose (56251788)
Michael Kiwanuka, Picture Olivia Rose (56251788)

You may not be able to pronounce his surname correctly, but you’ll almost certainly recognise Michael Kiwanuka’s deeply soulful vocals. The haunting track Cold Little Heart, from his number one album Love & Hate, is the theme song to the HBO series Big Little Lies.

The former session guitarist, who cites his influences as Jimi Hendrix, Bill Withers and Pink Floyd, has an incredibly rich and expressive voice.

Signed to Polydor, Kiwanuka was named BBC’s Sound of 2012 before his debut album Home Again had even been released. His third album, Kiwanuka, came out in 2019, to rave reviews and a third Mercury prize nomination, it’s sound said to explore a world where psychedelic folk, jazz and soul co-exist in harmony.

Kiwanuka’s tour to support the album, rescheduled from 2021, arrives at Cambridge Corn Exchange on May 11, if you fancy immersing yourself in his seductive sound.

For tickets visit cambridgelive.org.uk


Dame Judi Dench at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds (56129921)
Dame Judi Dench at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds (56129921)

She’s the seven-time Olivier Award winning actress, famed for iconic stage performances and playing the role of M in the James Bond franchise. And this month Dame Judi Dench will be in residence at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, talking about her illustrious acting career and answering burning questions from the audience.

Dame Judi, who made her professional theatre debut as part of the Old Vic Company in 1957, holds the record for the most competitive Olivier Award wins by an actress. Her recent theatre credits include The Winter's Tale with Kenneth Branagh at the Garrick, and Peter and Alice at the Noel Coward Theatre.

“How lovely to be returning to Bury St Edmunds after such a long time,” says Dame Judi, a life patron of Theatre Royal. “Its historic auditorium is a magical place and its rich heritage must be preserved for generations to come.”

All proceeds from the Dame Judi in Conversation event, which takes place on May 29, at 3pm (and will also be live streamed) will go towards supporting Theatre Royal’s core fundraising target.

May also sees Theatre Royal’s first co-production, The Birds and The Bees, described as a raunchy local comedy set on an East Anglian farm. On stage May 3 – 7, it’s a collaboration with New Wolsey Theatre, Theatre Royal Norwich and John Stalker Productions.

Find out more at theatreroyal.org


The Shires announced as guests to Sir Tom Jones at Audley End (56129933)
The Shires announced as guests to Sir Tom Jones at Audley End (56129933)

The UK’s best-selling country act of all time – The Shires – has been announced as special guests for Tom Jones when he plays Audley End House & Gardens this summer.

The Shires, AKA Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earls, shot to fame a decade ago with their distinctive country pop sound. They’ve gone on to net four number one albums, headlined Glastonbury and just released new album 10 Year Plan, with lead single I See Stars.

They’ll join Sir Tom on August 14 for his outdoor show in the grounds of the magnificent stately home, part of this summer’s Heritage Live concert series.

Find tickets visit ticketmaster.co.uk

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