It's Alice's Day in Oxford - Story Museum Director Tish Francis shares what to do on this most surreal of days...

On 4 July 1862, three children, the Reverend Duckworth and an Oxford don by the name of Charles Dodgson set off on a boat ride along the river Isis.

The story which Dodgson Alice Liddell and her sisters hatched that day eventually grew into one of the nation’s most beloved children’s books featuring characters who have inspired artists all over the world. I am of course talking about Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Now, every year on the first Saturday of July, Oxford marks the anniversary of the boat ride with a city wide celebration of all things Alice, featuring live theatre, music, circus, lectures, crafting and more.

The theme for this year’s Alice’s Day is ‘Journeys and Adventures’ and I’m delighted to say that The Story Museum and Alice’s Day partner venues have put together a day of an adventure that even the White Rabbit himself wouldn’t want to miss!

Past Alice’s Day attendees will know to keep an eye out for some of their favourite characters popping up around town, and 2018 is no exception. Curious Company return this year with their hilarious human pack of cards, performing acrobatics to wow the crowds and, if you’re brave enough, why not join the Queen of Hearts for a game of croquet – but be careful – she’s a terrible loser…

The international appeal of Alice never fails to astound, and in the last few years this has been reflected more than ever in the eclectic programme.

This year is no exception - back by popular demand are The Grand Indian Circus, journeying to Oxford for Alice’s Day all the way from Rajasthan. Audiences should be prepared for jaw dropping performances brimming with music, daring, drama and laughter.

Continuing the international theme, The Story Museum has recently collaborated with Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and Publishers Association to host ‘It’s Always Tea Time’, a collection of work by 72 artists from 19 different countries all depicting the Hatter’s tea party scene (from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland).The Oxford Times:

Two of the artists involved in the exhibition will be journeying specially to Oxford to help us celebrate Alice’s Day. Artists Viive Noor & Gundega Muzikante will be presenting their beautiful river installation at Oxford Castle and Prison, and inviting visitors to create their own Wonderland characters.

As always the Alice’s Day partner venues have pulled out all the stops to orchestrate a festival that is truly encompasses the whole of Oxford. Whether it’s croquet in the Master’s Garden at Christ Church, craft activities and trails at Blackwell’s Bookshop and the Natural History Museum, lectures from the Lewis Carroll Society at the Western Library or walking tours from historian Mark Davies, there’s something for everyone. Oxford’s traders are also getting in on the action, with a trail across the city taking in some of the city’s favourite independent retailers and the chance win brilliant prizes.

This year’s theme of Journeys and Adventures is particularly fitting as The Story Museum will soon set out on an adventure of its own.

As the sun sets on Alice’s Day 2018 we will be giving the exhibitions and installations – which have delighted so many over the past four years – a well-earned rest.

This means that this year's event will mark the last day of opening for our exhibitions as we embark on an exciting period of building and redevelopment with plans to reopen fully transformed in Spring 2020.

In the mean time we’ll still be onsite at Pembroke Street with our fabulous Story Café and our Changing Room installation, offering a taste of what will be on offer when we reopen.

It would be my great pleasure if visitors to Oxford could join us to celebrate Alice and the end of The Story Museum’s first journey, and to follow us on a whole new and even more exciting adventure!

storymuseum.org.uk