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11 Fun Things to Do This Week in Warwickshire & Beyond

Exciting news for your diary, contemporary dance, an off-Broadway musical, live music, Caroline Quentin at the RSC and a Gin Festival so turn off Netflix, grab your coat and head out for some fun…

Newsflash! Emma Watson is announced as one of the guest curators for Unsilencing the Library, Compton Verney, Wed June 28

Emma Watson and her co-star Dan Steven’s in the new Disney remake of Beauty and the Beast, in cinemas now.

Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast actor Emma Watson is one of the guest curators to choose reading material to put on the now-empty bookshelves of a re-imagined Victorian Women’s Library at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park. The library was originally installed by Georgiana, the wife of the 17th Lord Willoughby de Broke in the mansion’s Morning Room c.1860. Georgiana was an enthusiastic advocate of women’s reading and education, and her library is a very rare surviving example.

The project has been developed in collaboration with the Department of English at Oxford University who will invite curators as diverse as Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and cultural critic Margo Jefferson to former Gardener’s World TV presenter Alys Fowler, pupils at nearby Kineton High, and members of prison reading groups to ‘unsilence the library’ by highlighting an aspect of our reading life that they feel needs to be heard. The books they choose will be freely available to read in the room and/or buy in the museum shop.

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed April 5-Sat April 15

A cheeky and satirical coming-of-age musical by Kirsten Childs, first seen off-Broadway 17 years ago. It opened at Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London, last month. Viveca, also known as Bubbly, is a young African American girl who dreams of becoming a dancer in New York. We follow her journey from school in 1960s L.A., through to auditions on Broadway. Growing up during the civil rights movement, Viveca chooses to face the realities of racism and sexism with optimism. An original score fuses Motown, pop and R&B – think Sondheim meets Beyoncé! For ages 13+

BOOK NOW! Rosalind: James Cousins Company, DanceXchange, Birmingham Hippodrome, Friday April 7 & Sat April 8

Japanese dancer Chirhiro Kawasaki performs Rosalind

Set in a Seoul – conservative by day, a wonderland by night –Rosalind is a 60-minute modern take on Shakespeare’s As You Like It inspired by the US election. The witty, resourceful heroine Rosalind, who has to dress like a man to survive in a hostile world, embarks on a journey of self-discovery, fuelled by love and oppression. Created in collaboration with Korean dancers and artists, Matthew Bourne’s 28-year-old protege James Cousins takes Rosalind’s passion and eloquence beyond words, to somewhere only movement can take you. Suitable for ages 12+ Check out this cool trailer too:

Spring Masterclasses: Make an Authentic Style Japanese Kimono & more, Warwick Arts Centre, April 2-May 14

This spring unearth a new skill or nurture an existing talent with a fab programme of masterclasses guided by industry experts at Warwick Arts Centre. These range from Drawing in Still Life with artist Brenda Wood (Sun April 2) to Make an Authentic Style Japanese Kimono (Sun 23 Apr) with designer /pattern cutter Bobbie Seagroatt who runs her own design business Atelier in rural Oxfordshire and Working with Felt: Hand-made felt bags.  Workshops in May include Silk Painting, Chocolate Painting and Nature & Travel Photography.

Jorja Smith, Sat April 1, O2 Academy2, Birmingham, Sat April 1

The sensitive, streetwise soul of 19-year-old Midlands singer Jorja Smith earned her 4th place on the BBC Sound of 2017 list.  Jorja, from Walsall, started making waves a year ago with a song about police injustice that sampled rapper Dizzee Rascal. For her next track, the musician borrowed from another English musical icon – 17th Century composer Henry Purcell. Her beguiling voice takes in Corinne Bailey Rae’s wounded soul, Amy Winehouse’s quivering, colloquial jazz and ends up at Rihanna’s sultry siren. She’s gonna be BIG!

The Great Leamington Spa Gin Festival, Leamington Assembly, Sat April 1

120 different gins from around the world to tantalise your tastebuds. Enjoy an indoor Garden Party vibe inside Leamington’s Art-Deco former dance-hall re-designed in 2008 by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen. Tickets include a free GIN bag, Gin Bible, Gin Glass, Gin Sampling Card, Talks & Presentations from some of the finest Gin producers, Cocktail Demos, Make your own Gin Distillery workshop and
Live Entertainment. You can choose between an afternoon slot, 12-4pm; or evening 4-9pm. Suitable for ages 18+

The Hypocrite, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri March 31-April 29

Caroline Quentin and in The Hypocrite

Star of Jonathan Creek and Men Behaving Badly Caroline Quentin joins actor Mark Addy, (Robert Baratheon in GoT and The Full Monty) in Richard Bean’s bawdy gag-heavy 17th Century Cavalier comedy set in Hull. Penned by the Hull-born playwright, whose mega-hit of 2011 One Man, Two Guvnors starred James Corden, it has been staged as part of Hull’s 2017 City of Culture., Tel: 01789 403493

Jesus and Mary Chain: Damage and Joy tour, Birmingham O2 Institute, Fri March 31

Damage and Joy the first album in almost 20 years, by brothers Jim and William Reid, was out last Friday (March 24) – the same night as their extraordinary set at the BBC 6 Music Festival in Glasgow. Depeche Mode, Belle & Sebastian and Goldfrapp were also on the line-up. A new generation discovered JAMC’s classic Psychocandy thanks to Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation – Just Like Honey was the opening track.

A 1920s Made-to-Measure Home, Upton House, near Gaydon, Warwickshire, now open

Dappers and Flappers:: 1920s fashions

In 1927 Lord and Lady Bearsted viewed Upton House with ‘the eye of imagination’ and soon architect Percy Morley Horder set about transforming the Victorian country house into an elegant ‘made-to-measure country home’. It had tasteful mod-cons, home comforts and a place to showcase Lord Bearsted’s growing art collection. Come for a viewing. In the County Life room see the influences the fashionable interiors magazine had on home owners at the time and the latest 1920s fashions.

A season of 1920s-inspired events will definitely put a spring in your step from a 1920s Weekend with Solo Charleston Taster sessions (Sat May 20 & Sun May 21) to Family Jazz Dancing in May Half Term and the Upton Jazz Club (starting Sat April 8).

Winnie & Wilbur, Birmingham Rep, Fri March 31-Sat April 22

British playwright Mike Kenny, whose adaptation of The Railway Children won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment, this bestselling children’s picture book by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul, for Birmingham Rep. In this new family-friendly adventure, Winnie the witch and her black cat, Wilbur are getting ready for Winnie’s birthday party – sending invitations, choosing decorations, deciding upon their outfits, and planning party games. Perfect for young children aged 3+. Expect songs, spells and slapstick fun., Box Office: 0121 236 4455

An Evening with Adam Henson Cotswolds Farm Park owner & Countryfile presenter, Stratford Artshouse, Thurs April 6

Adam Henson,

Adam Henson is perhaps the best-known farmer in the UK, presenting his own section on BBC TV’s Countryfile to around 7m viewers every Sunday evening. He’ll be sharing stories about his farming life, his TV career, and the running of the Cotswold Farm Park, together with his thoughts on British Agriculture.  There’s a Q&A and a book signing after the show.

LAST CHANCE TO SEE: Ulla’s Odyssey, The Belgrade, Coventry,  until Thurs March 30

Thursday night is the last performance of award-winning OperaUpClose’s first ever opera for families and children – Ulla’s Odyssey. Set to a stunning musical score, this nautical adventure follows 14-year-old Ulla and her cat Binnacle on a mission to sail around the world. Aimed at ages 7 +, this show is the perfect introduction to opera for children inspired by the story of Homer’s Odyssey., Tel: 024 7655 3055 

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