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What’s on this May?

Diaries ready! From festivals and carnival parties to awesome gigs and the UK's first immersive digital gallery, we've rounded up all the hottest happenings on our patch this month.

EXHIBITIONS

We love an art gallery here at Muddy, and we’re super excited that the UK’s first immersive digital gallery ‘The Reel Store’ will be right here in Cov – eek! It’ll open on 13 May and will be a new permanent visitor attraction in the former Cov Evening Telegraph building. The main exhibition space will include a room for projectors and an immersive sound system. The first exhibition is all about space and has ties to NASA.

Head to the Herbert Art Gallery from 13 May to see pieces by Coventry communities following last year’s Turner Prize, which was presented in the city. The display includes banners inspired by winners Array Collective, which scooped the top prize for their ‘hopeful and dynamic artwork’ addressing urgent social and political issues ‘with humour, seriousness and beauty’.

Warwick Art Centre’s recently-revamped Mead Gallery will host an exhibition inspired by George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch. From 7 May to 26 June the Prophecy exhibition will include paintings and self-portraits inspired by themes covered in the book including fear of a potentially fatal epidemic. Sounds familiar?

Car mad kid? Or partner? Head to the Gaydon Land Rover Show on 7&8 May at the British Motor Museum. There’s hundreds of the 4x4s on show from 1948 to the present day. There’s chance to take on obstacles in a Land Rover and go for a spin in one of the new Defenders.

On 14 May Coventry’s City Centre will be taken over by This is the City, a carnival-style parade featuring some of the City of Culture’s greatest hits from the last 12 months. And if you’re in the Memorial Park the following day (15 May) make sure you look up – there will be 360 drones featuring in a live show (got to be seen to be believed, right?). Our Wilder Family will see the sky become the stage for an epic story inspired by the biodiversity of the living world and celebrating our connection with it. Expect the display to shape-shift to mimic murmurations of flocks of birds, accompanied by music from BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones. 

THEATRE

The author behind War Horse penned this award-winning novel, Private Peaceful – so you know you’re onto a winner (but probs take some tissues). It’s being performed at The Belgrade from 17-21 May and is set against the backdrop of WW1. It’s about 18-year-old Private Tommo Peaceful in the trenches and goes on a journey through his most cherished memories and tells his story of courage, devotion, family and friendship.

Also at The Belgrade this month is Nothello from the 7-21 May which is an absurdist, anarchic, insightful and witty new play. It takes a deep-dive into Shakespeare’s Othello, from the perspective of Othello and Desdemona’s unborn twins, exploring the play’s legacy and what it means to be of mixed-heritage.

This one will have you on the tips of your toes. Birmingham Royal Ballet is taking over The Rep for a week-long residency from 8-14 May. There’s a performance featuring more than 200 former and current dancers, a behind the scenes look on taking performances from the studio to the stage, an introduction to ballet for little ones and a concert of music and ballet. 

If you haven’t been to see the RSC’s Henry VI: Rebellion or War of the Roses yet, fear not there’s still time. Henry VI runs until 28 May and War of the Roses until 3 June. While you’re in town make the time to go on a Theatre Tour. It takes around an hour and for the first time includes public access to the newly developed Costume Workshop – the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre, so worth a peek! The tour takes in the public and backstage areas of the building and is full of loads of facts about the RSC and its buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

There’s a reason Mamma Mia! is still one of our fave musicals 20 years after it was first released. This tour celebrates its anniversary and includes a stop at the Birmingham Hippodrome from 3-14 May.

FESTIVALS

Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, Fontaines D.C and Disclosure are just some of the acts on the line-up for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend on 27-29 May. It’s being held in Cov’s Memorial Park and tickets are already sold out (you can catch it on the radio though if you haven’t been lucky enough to bag any).

The Flatpack Festival is returning to Digbeth from 17-22 May for a series of ‘unexpected’ experiences. Expect live performances alongside archive shorts and feature films, highlights include Joe Lycett’s Curiosities with Shaun Keaveny which see the pair discuss filmmaking. There’s also a mix of live music and installations by Belgian band Frankie’s Laguna Beach. Oh, I nearly forgot the beach party, cocktails and punk puppet show. Here’s the full listings. 

MUSIC

FarGo Village always has some great events planned over the bank holiday, and this one’s no different. There’s a free, family-friendly silent disco on 1 May with playlists packed full of 90s classics. Expect garage hits to acid house, trance and euphoria. There will also be a dedicated kids channel throughout the event, but all music stations will be child-friendly.

Heading to Brum’s Utilitia Arena is Blondie on 7 May, with Bryan Adams performing on the 14 May and A-ha on 28 May. Elsewhere in the city at the O2 Academy, Bonobo will play on 4 May followed by Bloc Party on 26 May, Alt-J on 27 May and Lorde on 30 May. Head to other venue the O2 Institute on 24 May to watch Miles Kane.

The Killers are headed to Coventry Building Society Arena (formerly the Ricoh Arena) on 28 May. They’re supported by fellow rockers Manic Street Preachers – what a double whammy.

FOOD & DRINK

Fancy sipping wine and tucking into a meal cooked by current reigning champion of Masterchef: The Professionals, Dan Lee – of course you do! Wine Freedom in Digbeth is hosting a pop-up event on 19&20 May with dishes being paired with the venue’s in-house natural wines.

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