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Shakespeare, music and strawberries: info.

June and July are good months for college concerts of classical music in old halls, and for Shakespeare and other plays outdoors, often in old gardens and courts, and with strawberries on sale. You might like some notes.

The Regents Park Open Air Theatre opened last week, nd has shows daily except Sundays and three matinees or so a week. Running now are Twelfth Night and The Merry Widows of Windsor, and at the end of July they'll add the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The Box Office is on 0044 486 1933.

Oxford plays and music of this kind run from now to 12 June, then 15 to 19 June and 22 to 26 June. Concerts and recitals are strong on Beethoven, Mozart, and the twentieth century. Theatre in the same periods offers Shakespeare, the twentieth century, touches of opera and dance. Oxford is an hour from Paddington, or 90 minutes on the Oxford Tube bus, which runs every 20 minutes or oftener and picks up at Victoria, Marble Arch, and Holland Park. Oxford events detail is on

June 12 to 19 is May Week in Cambridge -- sorry about that: they held it in May in the seventeenth century, and never got round to changing the name. Cambridge is an hour by train from Kings Cross. This year has William Walton, Mendelssohn, Shakespeare, Lorca, Thomas Shadwell, and the musical "Salad Days". Some detail is on

1 to 7 July is Kings Week at Kings School Canterbury. Children of this leading public school (by which we mean private school -- again, sorry) has a play or two, a concert or two, and a reading or two, all in the school's beautiful grounds and buildings (once the grounds of the medieval monastery). Canterbury is 90 minutes from Victoria by train. They'll happily send detail if you fax 0044 1227 59 55 89

4 to 6 July is the Catford Festival at St Dunstan's College in Catford, in London. This old-style grammar school for fee-paying boys runs Catford Arts Festival in the school builings and grounds. Catford is 20 minutes down the line from Blackfriars and Charing Cross stations. Their festival is home-grown, but at a standard well above that of "Our School Play". Great moments have included a "Midsummer Night's Dream" in which all the court were schoolchildren, and all the mechnicals were masters in DIY overalls, and a solo sitar recital by a small and able schoolboy whose grandparents were Asian. They'll gladly send a programm if you fax "For the attention of Mr D R Norris" on 0044 181 516 7300.

Please write if I can help further

Ben Haines, London

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