What’s on in September
As autumn approaches there's a resurgence of post-lockdown arts, culture & family fun across Warwickshire, Coventry and further afield. Here's 28 of our top picks.
Emma Rice’s Romantics Anonymous virtual tour, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Sept 23
Emma Rice is sprinkling some post-lockdown fairy dust on Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband’s 2011 comedy film Les Émotifs Anonymes, a deliciously funny and painfully awkward love-story between nervous boss Jean-Rene and ace-chocolatière Angélique who work at a gourmet chocolate factory.
The critically acclaimed musical will be performed live at Bristol Old Vic for a week and broadcast to homes across the UK and overseas, with performances tailored to different regional audiences each night. Enjoy the show broadcast live to your homes at 7.30pm on Wed Sept 23 as part of a virtual UK tour with tickets now available via the Belgrade here.
POP-UP OUTDOOR THEATRE: RSC Snapshots, Dell Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon, extended until end of Sept
The RSC’s popular socially-distanced pop-up programme of outdoor performances is to run throughout this month from Friday to Sunday for 45 minutes at 1pm and 3pm each day. Delivered by actors from the company’s postponed 2020 productions, performances featuring a mix of socially-distanced speeches and scenes inspired by Shakespeare’s best-loved plays as well as exciting new works and contemporary pieces. The line-up includes:
- Fri 7 – Sun Sept 9 RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman (who was due to direct the RSC’s postponed production of The Winter’s Tale this Autumn) will join forces with Assistant Director Aaron Parsons to curate The Truth and Nothing but the Truth – an epic yet intimate celebration of truth and self-hood combining Shakespeare with excerpts from a selection of new works produced by the RSC including Can Dundar’s #wearearrested, Anders Lustgarten’s The Seven Acts of Mercy and Alice Birch’s implosive Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again among others.
- Fri 11 – Sun Sept 13 an open-mic afternoon with a difference.
- Fri 18 – Sun Sept 20 Hal Chambers – assistant director of the RSC’s postponed production of The Comedy of Errors – invites audiences to revel in the royal history of Kings and Queens past.
- Fri 25 – Sun Sept 27 RSC actors Kemi Bo-Jacobs and Assad Zaman will curate a celebration of new writing produced under lockdown to wrap up RSC Snapshots.
Performances are on a first come, first served, with space for up to eight household groups (max 6 people each), plus some standing spaces.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coventry Cathedral ruins, Tues Sept 2
Touring musical-theatre company, the Three-Inch Fools, bring their riotous, three-hander to Coventry Cathedral before heading on to abbeys, castles and village greens across the country on their post-lockdown UK tour. Tickets here. Bring your own blankets, cushions, and camping-chairs and come prepared for the weather. Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start. Running time: 2.5 hours with a 20-minute interval.
Talking Shakespeare online with Antony Sher, David Suchet, Juliet Stevenson and Paterson Joseph, RSC, Sept 7-28
An exclusive online conversation series led by the RSC’s charming Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, in which RSC Alumni, Associate Artists and Honorary Associate Artists discuss their experience of performing Shakespeare at the RSC and beyond. This live, online events series runs weekly on Mondays from 5-6pm and is open to subscribers, members and patrons of the RSC.
Dates: Antony Sher, Sept 7, Poirot actor David Suchet, Sept 14; Juliet Stevenson, Sept 21 & Paterson Joseph, Sept 28.
Other contributors to the series include Judi Dench, Ray Fearon, Harriet Walter, Patrick Stewart, Alexandra Gilbreath, David Tennant, Adjoa Andoh and Simon Russell Beale.
Events are free but with a suggested donation of £10 per session. All donations received will go towards the Keep Your RSC campaign.
Jekyll and Hyde via virtual reality, Albany Theatre, Coventry, available from Fri Sept 11
A night out is now a night in! This month you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a virtual theatre performance of the classic novella by Victorian writer Robert Louis Stevenson seeing everything from floor to ceiling using VR headset via your smartphone. This ingenious adaptation by the critically-acclaimed National Production Company was filmed over two days at the city theatre.
Suitable for ages 13+ it can be enjoyed anywhere from the sofa to beach, wherever your mobile device can go, so can this show! Available to pre-order now, the package includes a cardboard VR headset and production programme.
Ralph Fiennes in Beat the Devil, Inua Ellam’s An Evening With an Immigrant & Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Bridge Theatre, London, throughout Sept – Oct
In the capital, London’s Bridge Theatre, near Tower Bridge, has a repertoire of 12 impressive one-person plays with a superb line-up in September and October, including David Hare’s Covid-19 monologue Beat the Devil, performed by Ralph Fiennes and directed by Nicholas Hytner (until Oct 31); Inua Ellams’s autobiographical An Evening With an Immigrant (Sept 18 – Oct 15); and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads (Sept 7- Oct 31), with a top cast including Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati and Imelda Staunton. The Bridge’s flexible auditorium has 250 socially distanced seats.
FAMILY: The RSC’s new socially-distanced, self-guided family trail inspired by Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, Bancroft Terrace, Stratford, now open
Designed by Andrew Lock and Fiona Barlow – whose previous work for the RSC includes The Swirl and Inside Out – this fully immersive family trail has been specifically designed with social-distancing in mind and takes its inspiration from the plot, themes and characters of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors – due to run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this Spring but postponed in March.
Featuring a series of interconnected colourful floor-based vinyls, this new work builds on the RSC’s Inside Out programme, a new area of free events and activities on the Bancroft Terrace aiming to bring the world of theatre from inside to the outside. You can continue to enjoy a daily takeaway service from the RSC’s Riverside Café and ‘Rocket’ Ice Cream which is open from 10am to 4pm daily. See more RSC family activities here.
West Midlands Weekenders, Sat Sept 5 & Sat Sept 26
West Midlands Culture Response Unit (WMCRU)’s second Weekender is produced by Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces (OPUS) and takes on the theme of ‘firsts’. Audiences will navigate their way through an afternoon and evening of firsts from artists around the West Midlands, culminating in a special centenary celebration from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
The closing Weekender on September 26 rounds the trilogy off with a day festival celebrating and platforming some of the regions young creatives under the theme of Democratising Creativity & Culture. Not only will themes of democracy be explored (in its broadest sense) throughout the programme, but audiences and participants will get an opportunity to be a part of steering the festival content with three regional young producers, Aksana Khan, Diandra McCalla and Paige Jackson. Get ready to turn the tables!
More information on the two remaining West Midlands Weekenders, including full line-ups and running times will be released on makeitwm.com.
London Design Festival, various locations, Sept 12 – 20
Now in its 18th year, this cool festival features commissions and installations across the city, including The Hothouse, located in the newly coined International Quarter (Stratford). The glasshouse installation provides a controlled habitat for cultivating plants that would not ordinarily grow within the UK’s climate.
BOOK TALK: An evening with Helen Cullen, Hill Close Gardens Trust, Warwick, Wed Sept 9
Indie bookstore Warwick Book’s first event since lockdown is a celebration of Helen Cullen’s new novel The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually , a poignant Irish love story. Hear all about it with the author herself, a glass of wine and a walk around the beautiful Hill Close Gardens. Helen, who’s debut novel The Lost Letters of William Woolf , saw her nominated as Best Newcomer in the Irish Book Awards in 2018. The event will run 6.45pm- 8.30pm.
Best-selling author Lee Child in conversation hosted by Stratford Lit Fest – Reacher, Prospero and Me, Sept 28
Timed to coincide with publication of Lee’s authorised biography, Stratford Literary Festival is hosting an exclusive one-off interview with best-selling Coventry-born author Lee Child and his biographer, Dr Heather Martin. The New York-based writer will be talking about the influence Shakespeare has had on his life and work. Reacher, Prospero and Me, will be broadcast on Sept 28 via the Eventbrite platform for audiences from all over the UK and beyond
This event, in association with Kenilworth Books, will be accessible via Eventbrite with a link at stratlitfest.co.uk, with a suggested Pay-What-You-Can ticket price from £5 upwards.
Making Histories: New responses to the Ceramics Collection, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
One of Leamington’s best-loved attractions, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum in the Royal Pump Rooms, has received an incredible response to its post-lockdown reopening with hundreds of visitors particularly enjoying the postponed exhibition Making Histories: New responses to the Ceramics Collection.
Due to open in March 2020 seven ceramic artists from across the Midlands were invited to select and respond to objects from the gallery’s ceramics collection. Works range from Rupert Brakspear’s ceramics inspired by ancient Roman pottery, and Warwickshire’s landscapes and geology to Rose Wallace’s Staffordshire tortoiseshell wares and figurines illuminating the social and medical history of the Royal Pump Rooms.
Visitors can pre-book onto either a Thursday-Sunday morning (10am – 12pm) or afternoon slot (1pm – 3pm/ 1pm – 4pm weekends) through the gallery website.
Cranach: artist and innovator, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until Jan 21
The house and gallery reopened on July 7, in addition to the parkland following a new socially distanced model. You can see the latest exhibition celebrating the portraits of Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, one of the most successful German artists of all time. A new system of pre-bookable timed tickets has been introduced. The gift shop is open and refreshments available in The Garden Shed at Compton Verney horsebox (open Tue-Sun, 10am -4pm).
MK Calling, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 11 Sept – 1 Nov
MK Gallery reopens its doors on September 11 and will be extending its pre-lockdown exhibition MK Calling. The show features work from over 130 contemporary artists, both established and up-and-coming, with one third of the pieces produced by local talent.
Young Rembrandt, Ashmolean museum, Oxford, until Nov 1
The Ashmolean in neighbouring Oxon has opened it’s doors once again to show it’s major exhibition Young Rembrandt, a chronological journey through the artist’s early career beginning in his native Leiden with paintings, prints and drawings and ending in Amsterdam when his career rocketed to stardom. You’ll get to see 34 paintings by Rembrandt, along with a further 90 drawings and prints including the newly discovered Let the Little Children Come to Me, which is making its public debut at the exhibition.
Never Alone, Bletchley Park, until Feb 2 2021
Did you know there are now more devices connected to the internet than there are people on the planet? This exhibition in Hut 12 investigates the stories behind the rapidly expanding ‘Internet of Things’ and invites visitors to think about the choices they make while connected to the internet.
Aubrey Beardsley, Tate Britain, until Sept 20
Here’s the last call to see this awesome retrospective exhibition of Aubrey Beardsley’s work, from his early medievalist and mythological subjects to his bold illustrations covering themes of sex, death and humour.
Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until Feb 14
From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages.
Andy Warhol, Tate Modern, London, extended until Nov 15
Get ready for a night of culture as extended hours from Sept 4 mean you can book timed slots every Fri & Sat evening until 10pm. This retrospective exhibition takes a new look at the work of this American pop art sensation. It’s the first Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern for almost 20 years. As well as his iconic pop images of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans, it features works never seen before in the UK, including 25 portraits from his Ladies and Gentlemen series – of black and Latinx drag queens and trans women.
Timed tickets must be booked online before visiting.
Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, until May 2021
Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.
Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, until Sept 6
This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career, including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty (above).
MUSIC:Voices of the West End, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Sept 25, 26 & 27
A new 90-minute outdoor concert performed live over three nights starring some of theatre’s most illustrious singers who will perform award-winning hits from the West End’s greatest musicals. They include including Earl Carpenter (pictured above) who played Javert in Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th Anniversary Tour of Les Misérables, along with John Owen-Jones, who played Jan Valjean. The pair will be joined by two of the best female Voices of the West End: Kerry Ellis and Katie Hall.
The box office for the concert is managed by Birmingham Hippodrome and tickets can only be booked via their website: birminghamhippodrome.com
FOOD: Coventry Cathedral Dining Club, every Fri & Sat until Sept 18
Tempted by some of the regions top street-food vendors? Birmingham’s award-winning Digbeth Dining Club has returned to the stunning setting of Coventry Cathedral ruins for five weekends from Fri Aug 21 – Fri Sept 18. Tickets are booking fast see what’s available here.
Weekend Autumn Makers Markets, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sept 26 & 27
The very best independent makers and designers from the region and beyond, with something for everyone from jewellery to prints, ceramics to brownies, ironwork to skincare. All the makers and designers champion creativity, celebrate handmade, and are fiercely independent.
The last few months have been tough for everyone, but especially small independent creatives, so this is your chance to show them some love, by exploring their work and treating yourself while supporting an independent creative from 11am.
(Free) Tuesday Night Gaydon Gatherings, British Motor Museum, Tues Sept 15
Know a car fan who’s looking for an early week alternative to staying at home watching TV with like-minded people? Classic, veteran, vintage and modern classic car owners alike are invited to grab a burger and beer at a new series of informal monthly evening gatherings aimed at motoring enthusiasts. At 7pm the Museum will present a ‘Gaydon Garage’ feature when the Museum’s workshop doors will be opened to reveal one of the vehicles from the collection rarely seen out of the Museum.
The first ‘Gaydon Gathering’ takes place outdoors on the Museum’s arenas Tues Sept 15 from 5.30pm-8pm and the next on Tue Oct 13. It’s then set to be a regular part of the 2021 events programme, on the second Tuesday of every month starting on April 13 2021.
Classic Car Drive In Weekend, Bicester Heritage, Oxon, Sept 18-20
Ten of the best loved driving movies of all times will top the bill at a newly announced Classic Car Drive In Weekend. Two giant drive in cinemas will be at the heart of the festival and, with three screenings every day at 11am, 4pm and 8pm, and 18 different screenings including The Italian Job, Fast & Furious,Senna, Rush and Oscar-winning Le Mans ’66.
Big Batsford Bug Hunt, Batsford Arboretum, Sept 6
For some reason, children seem to love creepy crawlies (let it be known that I definitely do not) and this bug hunt around Batsford’s pretty arboretum is a dead cert for spotting them. Head to the Garden Terrace Café afterwards for a bite of homemade food.
Bushcraft Activities, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until Sept 7
This one’s all about getting a little bit muddy so, naturally we’re on board! The Bushcraft Company are running two sessions for children: Bushcraft Activities, which involves building shelters, learning how to camouflage (Bear Grylls type stuff), and Tomhawk and Archery sessions. There are only 16 spaces per session so booking is a must.