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Superflashy newsflash! The latest local goss

Nothing happens during lockdown, right? Erm… not quite. Cov & Warks still have some life in them yet. Here are the latest whispers on the grapevine.

Foodie news

Best of luck to super-talented ex-Coventry College catering student Burhan Ahmed who’s cooking up a storm on BBC One’s MasterChef: The Professionals next Tuesday, Nov 24. The 23-year-old was one of 32 candidates selected from more than 4,500 applicants – and is one of the youngest. Since he was chosen to be on the show Burhan, a Chef de Partie at Drayton Manor Hotel for the last three-and-a-half year, has been conducting various food tutorials on his Insta account which now has 7,000 followers. His dream is to open one of the UK’s first Michelin star Bangladeshi restaurants in Coventry…so watch this this space!

Burhan originally wanted to train to be a veterinary surgeon but that changed when he moved to Coventry from West Sussex in 2013. “I opted for the Professional Cookery course at Coventry College, and ever since then I just haven’t looked back”, he said. Coventry College’s catering lecturer James Brooke cites seeing Burhan win his silver medal from the prestigious World Skills cooking competition in 2016 after four solid days of competition as one of his career highlights. Amazing! Click here to follow Burhan on Instagram and see his tutorials.

Tune in to Masterchef at 9pm on BBC one on Tues.

Read all about it!

The Telegraph, Coventry’s former mid-century newspaper HQ, which has been transformed into a £15m Mad Men-style 1950s boutique hotel, has rescheduled its grand opening for December 4. A winter theme ties-in with the launch of a new ice-skating rink in the cathedral ruins. The rooftop bar, renamed St Moritz, has been dressed to reflect an après ski bar from the glam 950s where you can enjoy a glass of Gluhwein, hot chocolate or Paparazzi cocktails, dinner in Forme & Chase restaurant and a stay in one of the 88 individually-styled rooms. It’s been inspired by the old days of journalism where some of the best scoops were cooked up over a working breakfast, liquid lunch or after-work drink (allegedly).

Arts & culture news

Unbelievably, the show will go on for Birmingham Hippodrome’s annual panto but it’s changing venues this year to the nearby Alexandra. Thanks to the support of the National Lottery a socially distanced, one-act production of Robin Hood will play from Jan 15-31 2021 for a limited run. Starring Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham, panto funny man Matt Slack, Richard Cadell & Sooty and the Black Country’s Doreen Tipton. The temporarily change in venues is due to the Hippodrome currently hosting of the critically-acclaimed Van Gogh Alive experience. Tickets available from this week here or Tel: 0844 871 7615 (Calls cost up to 7p per minute).

London fringe comes to Coventry – for one night only

2020’s been a brutal year for live theatre, but you’ll be able to support London’s brilliant fringe company Proforca who are bringing their intriguing latest show, AAAAA, to Coventry’s Albany Theatre on Fri Jan 29 (specially produced for a socially distanced audience). In order to re-capture the mystery, tension and anticipation of the return of live fringe theatre, no further details about the production will be released before performances commence. You’re invited to join this critically acclaimed, award nominated production team for a brand-new brave piece of fringe theatre storytelling.

Jahmar Ngozi’s The Lost Generation live online theatre premiere, Nov 20 & 21

This week sees the live online premiere of a new play by award-winning emerging London playwright Jahmar paying homage to 80s New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Seven actors will live stream via Zoom from their own homes, to play some of contemporary culture’s most memorable controversial figures including Frida Kahlo, Gil-Scott Heron, Charles Bukowski and F.Scott Fitzgerald. The Lost Generation is foremost a celebration of Basquiat’s life based over one day and night made in collaboration with Oxford Playhouse and performed by Poetry House. The live play can be streamed on Facebook here:  or via YouTube on PoetryHouse’s website.

Stratford Lit Fest’s Winter Weekend starts TOMORROW

Find out why Coco Chanel was able to create the little black dress, why fabrics can trigger memories, how Victoria Wood could be a hard taskmaster and how to draw a crocodile. Headliners include Andrew Marr, Dame Hilary Mantel, Charles Spencer, Lemn Sissy, Matthew Parris, Roger McGough, Margaret Heffernan and loads more. Plus watch Juliet Stevenson, Sir Richard Eyre and violinist Shirley J Thompson discuss Covid and Culture: how will the arts survive? here (available for free until Nov 29).

Local graduate launches children’s wellbeing books – inspired by her 5-year-old sister!

Twenty-three-year-old Lucy Pearce, who studied Fine Art and Illustration at Coventry University has launched Youtopia – her own business producing, authoring and illustrating children’s books designed to support their mental wellbeing.

She’s created her first illustrated story book along with an activity pack, based around a fictional dinosaur character called Dexter, with the support of the university’s City of Culture project fund. The first book addresses feelings of nervousness, apprehension and excitement, enabling children to better understand and deal with different emotions while also encouraging perseverance and resilience.

Lucy’s inspiration for starting the business was her five-year-old sister. The funding and financial support she has received from the university has helped her to produce 50 activity packs, which she hopes to distribute to local schools free of charge. Lucy plans to produce a series of books, as well as delivering bespoke workshops for schools and other children’s institutions.

Warwick Books: 12 bundles of Christmas

Surprise! Surprise! This cool Muddy award-winning indie bookshop is introducing a novel new idea for Christmas. Teaming up with other local businesses in town, they’ve created mystery book bundles by various themes – each includes three books published in 2020, a bookmark, tea (courtesy of Golden Monkey Tea) and an edible treat all beautifully wrapped in Christmas paper. 12 themes range from Figgy Pudding (cookery books) to In the Bleak Midwinter (crime thrillers) and Jingle Bells (children’s books), priced between £50 and £22.

Luna Drive-in Winter Cinema

Looking for a family Christmas outing in the school holidays? Birmingham NEC is one of three UK venues for this outdoor cinema. Watch classic festive favourites such as Love Actually, Home Alone, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Holiday and Elf, as well as the Disney box office hit, Frozen 2 from the comfort and warmth of your car.

Luna’s brand-new in car wireless sound mean no need to have the car radio running and risk draining the battery. Traditional ticket scanning has been done away with, instead licence plate recognition cameras record your arrival and permit entry. There’ll also be Christmas- themed food and drink to pre-order with tickets, or ordered from the car on the night using a smart phone – and speedy staff delivering orders on scooters!

Luminate Coombe

This new illuminated one-mile trail around Coombe Abbey Park is still going ahead but in light of the government restrictions has rescheduled dates to run from Jan 20 – Feb 21.

Find more ideas here

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