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What’s on this week

As April draws to a close there’s plenty to enjoy ranging from retro-loving Uptown Funk singer-songwriter Bruno Mars to hip hop at The Belgrade, a fab new Sip+Supper Club to Ed Sheeran, The Shires and Mark Murphy’s genre-defying theatre.

Bruno Mars, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, Tue April 25 & Wed April 26

Rolling Stones described Bruno Mars third album 24k Magic’ as “a Lush Nineties Throwback”.  It follows 2010’s Doo-Wops & Hooligans, 2012’s Unorthodox Jukebox – both multi-platinum chart-toppers – and the exuberant electro-funk globe-conquering Mark Ronson collaboration, Uptown Funk. The Hawaiian-born retro-loving showman will be bringing his 90-minute stellar show to Birmingham for two nights this week. Last week his London O2 gig received some great reviews – The Telegraph said: “Showband showmanship of the very highest order”; The Guardian “Perspiration, musical education and at least a little inspiration” and the Financial Times “An old-fashioned funk and soul revue writ large”.

Mark Murphy’s Out of This World, Warwick Arts Centre, Tue April 25 & Wed April 26

Out Of This World is set in the mind of a woman in a medically induced coma. Set within a world of projected film and animation, it combines writer and director Mark Murphy’s signature mix of ground-breaking choreography, original text and explosive special effects in a show that is both intense psychological thriller and heart-rending, medical drama. The cast includes Sarah Swire, Catherine Cusack, Itxaso Moreno and Anwar Russel. It was researched with a Consultant Neurosurgeon, a Consultant Anaesthetist and the clinical lead for the West Midlands Air Ambulance., Box Office: 024 7652 4524

The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, now until Sun April 30

Celebrating its 10th year, expect an exciting mixture of debate, ideas, celebrity author events, workshops and humour. This festival attracts some big political, academic & literary hard-hitters. Andrew Marr has already sold out. Girl with a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier, historian Alison Weir, Mary Berry and Guardian journalist Gary Younge are among the guest speakers. They join the likes of Lord Roy Hattersley, Terry Waite and Ken Livingstone. I like the sound of Salon London’s 300 Books You Won’t Need to Read– a serious short cut to the most important books you can’t find the time to read. There’s also a brilliant Children’s Day on Sun April 30 with literary themed workshops, a Big Draw Challenge with top illustrators, authors and children’s show Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.

Gardening for the Soul – Alys Fowler, Allan Jenkins and Hollie Newton, Stratford Artshouse, Mon April 24 

 It’s been proven that weeding and propagating is good for our physical health, but how can we make it work for our well-being? Alys Fowler who writes the gardening column for Guardian Weekend, Allan Jenkins, editor of Observer Food Monthly, and Hollie Newton, advertising industry award winner who turned to a window box to escape the pressures of her job, talk about how they came to gardening and how we can make soil nurture the soul,4.30pm (£9). Part of Stratford Literary Festival., Tel 01789 207100

Walking with Bluebells

Enjoy a sea of shimmering bluebells in forests across Warwickshire. See 9 of the most scenic here.

The Shires, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Tue April 25

2016 Glastonbury headliners and UK country music duo The Shires will be performing songs from their new album My Universe which was the fastest-selling UK country album of all time., Box Office: 024 7652 4524

Ed Sheeran, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, Fri April 28 & Sat April 29

Ed Sheeran has made it into TIME magazine’s most influential list! Best-mate Taylor Swift wrote, his was “one of the most impressive self-made careers in music.” Congrats are definitely in order!He’s touring with new album Divide.

The Legend of Mike Smith in B2 The Belgrade, Coventry Wed April 26 -Sat April 29 

UPRIZE presents an incredible staged performance of award-winning jazz and hip hop star Soweto Kinch’s album The Legend of Mike Smith. With jazz improvisation, a driving hip hop score and choreography from a pioneer of British Hip Hop culture, Jonzi D. Inspired by The Seven Deadly Sins and Dante’s Inferno, Soweto performs the story of Mike Smith, a young, aspiring MC caught in a world of temptation where the boundaries of reality and fantasy collide. Suitable for ages 13+

The Sip + Supper Club, The Rosebird Community Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri April 28

A super exciting new community event bringing together a vibrant bunch of local, independent businesses raring to share their finest produce and products once a month. Enjoy fresh produce, creative gems, street food and local tipples from amazing local businesses including The Little Gin Co’s Bar, Trailer Trash Street Food, The Olive Stall, Monsoon Estates Coffee, Scrawl Live Drawing by the Brothers McLeod, Blackmans Bakery, Paxon & Whitfield artisan cheese shop, Trunk Junkies Vintage, Talton Mill Farm Shop, Tara Osborne Jewellery, Vin Neuf wine merchants and lots more. So browse, buy, nibble (feast), sip (guzzle) to your heart’s content and there’ll even be local talented musicians to delight your ears! 6.30pm-9.30pm

The Rosebird Centre, Shipston Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 8LU,


To Sir, With Love, Birmingham Rep, Wed April 25-Sat May 6 

Immortalised in the classic film of the same name, starring Sidney Poitier, and brilliantly adapted for the stage by the writer of East Is East, Ayub Khan-Din, this brand new production will be brought to life by a company of talented young performers alongside professional actors. It follows last year’s sell-out run of The Rotters’ Club. Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Young REP, aged 15 – 21, from across the West Midlands will perform in this unmissable new production alongside Philip Morris as Rick Braithwaite. Based on E. R. Braithwaite’s autobiography, it tells the story of Rick Braithwaite, a Cambridge graduate and ex-RAF fighter pilot, has fought for his country but is still fighting for acceptance as a black man in post-war Britain  forced to take a teaching post in a tough but progressive inner city school.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP,


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