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43 awesome things to do this April

The year marches on with more unmissable hits! From music festivals to big name comedians, we've got the lowdown on what's on near you this month.

ART & EXHIBITIONS

Calling all culture vultures! Compton Verney hosts its first After Hours sesh between 7pm and 9pm on 1 April and it’s jam packed with artists explaining how art and creativity help us understand the human experience. There’s music by the African Choir of Norfolk, short films and exhibitions; and meet 2020 winner of Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year Curtis Holder, who will be creating live portraits, short films and exhibitions.

At Cov’s Fargo Village there’s interactive virtual reality experience In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats which takes audiences in search of an illegal rave in the town in 1989. Expect to go from poster-strewn bedrooms to police headquarters and secret warehouses. It’s on until 1 May. Glow sticks optional.

Until 18 June the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square will host free photography exhibition ‘From City Of Empire To City Of Diversity: A Visual Journey.’ It focuses on documenting post-1945 migration from the Commonwealth and has been created from pictures by self-taught photographer Ernest Dyche and his son Malcolm, who had two studios in the city. If you’re closer to Cov check out Creative Connections at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum before 30 May. It includes images of celebrated cultural and political figures who were born or are associated with the city, including George Eliot, Philip Larkin and The Specials. There’s also two photos by Rankin on display if you don’t fancy making the trip to the Big Smoke.

Birmingham’s Art Gallery & Museum will reopen on 28 April – for the first time in over year. It’s coming back with a bang, with sensory exhibition In The Que, featuring footage, photos and artefacts from the city’s legendary Que Club music venue, notorious for its live music and all-night raves.

Listen up bookworms, there’s a talk at Astley Book Farm’s pretty yurt on 23 April at 4pm. It’s being held by author Sarah Jane Downing (who’s just released book Pastimes and Pleasures in the Time of Jane Austen doncha know) and is about life on the Home Front and insights into the birth of women’s fashion magazines. Tickets are £5, click here to book. 

FESTIVALS

Fancy seeing some big names for free? Course you do! Warwick Uni’s Resonate Festival is being held from 19-21 April and marks the closure of Cov’s City of Culture year. Gavin & Stacey co-creator Ruth Jones, former Cabinet minister and Strictly contestant Ed Balls, award-winning crime writer Mark Billingham, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay and Amazon adventurer, travel writer and film maker Pip Stewart will appear as part of the line-up. There’s more than 70 free events over the weekend including performances, talks, films, comedy, games and a family day so take a peek.

Farm Animal Rescue Sanctuary rescues animals on its Wooley Park Farm near Warwick. For the Easter open event on 16 & 17 April you can meet the four-legged locals, do some shopping on the stalls, play games and enjoy vegan refreshments. Your favourite Muddy editor (that’s me btw) will be working on the Lucas Helps Dogs stall selling gorgeous dog collars, so stop by and say hello!

If you’re about about spring blooms head to Morton Hall in Redditch, which is holding a Tulip Festival to raise money for costume making at the RSC. It’s from 30 April – 2 May and there’s more than 100 varieties on show, along with costumes from the theatre.

For music lovers there’s the New Music Biennial in Coventry from 22-24 April. It’s all about introducing people to new genres of music from classical and chamber opera, to jazz, folk and electronic. There’s music by local groups including Armonico Consort, and gigs are being held at venues in close proximity so you can finish at one and hot-foot it straight to the next. Also in the city’s is FarGo Village’s Vegan Festival on 9&10 April. Expect a weekend jam-packed with plant-based indie businesses from food, clothing and lifestyle. Make a day of it and grab drinks and dinner at one of FarGo’s awesome vegan eateries afterwards.

SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP 

Time to flex the credit card. Bicester Village’s exclusive Private Sale runs throughout April – and we’re putting you on the guest list! Just register for a Bicester Village membership (it literally takes seconds) to access savings on the Village price from tomorrow – up to 20% off the Village price in loads of participating designer boutiques, including Sweaty Betty, Soho Home, Manolo Blahnik and The White Company.

THEATRE

The stage adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm will be on at Coventry’s Belgrade from 12-16 April. Designs are by the four-time Olivier Award-winning Bunny Christie – known for Company and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – with puppetry design and direction from Toby Olié, who previously worked on War Horse – so you know you’re in for a jaw-dropping show.

There’s two new productions on the way from the RSC this month (lucky us!) Starting with Henry VI: Rebellion from 1 April – 28 May and War of the Roses from 11 April – 3 June – the climax to the Henry VI saga. We. Can’t. Wait.

At the Birmingham Hippodrome prepare for a singalong with musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamboat (don’t pretend you don’t know every word – just me?) Cast includes Alexandra Burke and Jason Donovan in the production from the London Palladium. It’s on from 5-16 April.

TURN UP THE MUSIC

For opera fans, the awesome Welsh National Opera is coming to the Birmingham Hippodrome from 20-23 April with its performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Puccini’s Madam Butterfly and Janácek’s Jenufa

If you love some classic rock 10cc is heading to the Symphony Hall on 5 April, with Goldfrapp playing the same venue on 13 April and Corinne Bailey Rae on 22 April. At Brum’s Utilitia Arena there’s Dua Lipa on 17 April and Foals on 23 April and just over the road at Resorts World Arena there’s the Stereophonics on 2 April and Grammy-award winning heavy metal-ers Ghost on 15 April.

Birmingham’s O2 Academy is coming in hot this month with Everything, Everything on 9 April, Bastille on 14&15 April, The Vaccines on 19 April and Skunk Anansie on 22 April. If you’re looking for a more chilled gig check out Metronomy on 30 April. The O2 Institute (also in the city) also has a stellar line-up with ska royalty Less Than Jake on 6 April and Wet Leg on 23 April. Well, I think that’s everyone covered.

HA HA, FUNNY

There is plenty to laugh about this month, but most notably, we recommend getting tickets for Rhod Gilbert who’s latest project The Book of John comes after a seven year break from stand-up. The QI and Would I Lie To You favourite will perform at the Symphony Hall on 9 April (psst, we already went to see it at Warwick Arts Centre – here’s what we thought.) On 11 April Jimmy Carr is also playing the Symphony Hall, followed by Nish Kumar on 15 April.

John Bishop will be performing at the Utilitia Arena on 1&2 April with Romesh Ranganathan at The Hippodrome from 24-27 April with The Cynic’s Mixtape which promises to be ‘his most brutally honest yet’. Ouch, we can’t wait. 

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