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What’s On: arts, TV and culture in & around Warwickshire

From the RSC's new virtual interactive Shakespeare play using video game software to Forensics: The Real CSI filmed in the West Midlands, here's a round-up of the best local lockdown culture to know about this week and beyond.

TV: Forensics: The Real CSI, BBC Two, starts Tues Feb 9

Filmed across the West Midlands, this intricate science of crime-scene forensics is back for a new series after a camera crew were granted a rare opportunity to follow serious crime investigations with West Midlands Police in real time. The first episode at 9pm looks at how forensic evidence helped detectives piece together a brutal double murder in the affluent Birmingham suburb of Moseley. Available on iPlayer.

ONLINE THEATRE: Dream, RSC, Fri March 12 – Sat March 20

Dream – Audience of the Future rehearsal. Photo by Stuart Martin, RSC

Tickets have just gone on sale for Dream, a cutting-edge new online performance combining theatre and gaming software that sounds amazing and will allow audiences worldwide to directly influence the live event. The RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, is collaborating with Manchester International Festival (MIF), Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) and Philharmonia Orchestra to stage 10 live performances using motion capture.

Set in a virtual midsummer forest, this live 50-minute performance is inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It builds on tech used in the RSC’s 2016 production of The Tempest, harnessing live performance, virtual production and gaming technology performed with seven actors.

Dream also features two contemporary orchestral works recorded last March marking the last full-scale Philharmonia orchestral recording, involving 100 players, before the first lockdown.

Audiences can either choose to buy a £10 ticket to take part or watch the performance for free. Bookings are now open here #DreamOnline21

STREAMING: Orchestra of the Swan’s Wind, Sand & Stars part of a series of digital concerts

This highly acclaimed Stratford-upon-Avon based orchestra has ventured into the realm of digital concerts during the pandemic. Their new concerts are a mixture of music and narrative, from moon landings to French poet explorations – and Muddy readers can receive 10% off a £10 ticket for Wind, Sand & Stars (using the code MUDDYWIND) here.

This online concert interweaves extracts from the autobiography of daring French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of Le Petit Prince, Wind, Sand and Stars, narrated by Graham Padden, with music from 20th century France including Satie to Ravel, Debussy and Montmartre Chanson.

Also available from Fri Feb 12 is another digital concert, Doubles, exploring duets through the double concertos of J.S. Bach and Astor Piazzolla featuring acclaimed guitarist Craig Ogden and classical accordionist Miloš Milivojević. Tickets cost £10 here.

LISTEN ALONG: to new audio recording of The Whip, RSC, Thurs Feb 11

The Whip

Don’t forget this Thursday (Feb 11) at 7pm, the RSC will be hosting a special listen-along of its award-winning 2020 production of The Whip, Juliet Gilkes Romero’s urgent and provocative play, which places Britain’s slave-owning past in the spotlight. It features the original cast, who recorded their parts at home, using whatever devices they could. Listen along here.

ONLINE CABARET: Heartbreak@home, Love Matters, Sat Feb 13

Join Leamington Spa’s fab national touring theatre company Heartbreak Productions for a celebration of lurve this weekend. During lockdown the company has been working on a special virtual outreach project hoping to reach people who may be self-isolating, or living alone, and will find Valentine’s weekend a little bit tough.

On Saturday they will be staging a cabaret style evening featuring songs, poems, original writing, talking head interviews, and country walks all filmed remotely and edited together with photographs and original artworks. Collectively they cover experiences of love, loss, grief, giddiness, pain, and passion. 
The event is on twice at 6.30pm and again at 9pm. Tickets are £10 per login per household. Book here

FILM: Welcome in the Chinese New Year with Birmingham Hippodrome

2020’s Chinese New Year celebrations in the city

Birmingham Hippodrome will be sharing a series of films from Fri Feb 12-Thur Feb 18 to welcome in Chinese New Year and celebrate The Year of The Ox. The venue has commissioned filmmaker Craig Bush and Artist Frances Yeung to create a series of short films reflecting the cultural celebrations and traditions that take place during Chinese New Year.

Made in collaboration with the Chinese Community Centre Birmingham, the films will be shared over a seven-day period and explore how the local community in Southside have adapted their celebrations in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Find out more here.

HURRAH! Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre’s ‘at risk’ UK City of Culture programme receives £510,000 grant

VIRTUAL TOUR: Last September Emma Rice’s new musical Romantics Anonymous was broadcast live from Bristol Old Vic to the Belgrade. It starred Emma Carly Bawden and Marc Antolin above. Photo by Steve Tanner

The Belgrade is delighted to have secured a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund. It will support its existing programme of work, including talent development and educational schemes, together with lots of brilliant activities planned for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture. Without this grant, this work was at risk because of the ongoing Covid crisis undercutting the theatre’s normal earning ability.

A range of new activity for which this grant is essential includes a collaboration with D(d)eaf and disabled artists to build on existing relationships with Refugee and Migrant communities and supporting work with people who suffer from mental health issues and homelessness.

Other new activities include an inter-racial and mixed-heritage project and utilising a digital ‘basement’ space provided by the old Jaguar Pub on Corporation Street for young people.

Next up is award-winning Adam Woodyatt (EastEnders’ Ian Beale) in Peter James’ new play Looking Good Dead from May 10-15.

Book now here.

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