Mon 12 - Sun 18
EVENT: Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle, Wed 7 Aug – Mon 26 Aug
You can read our review of the castle’s inaugural digital projection installation, Dragon Slayer here. It was pretty spectacular and jaw-dropping in parts! It’s returning with even more projection breathing fire into late summer evenings this August in a family-friendly show of jousting, pyrotechnics, stunt riding and stunning fireworks. The show stars live actors and an epic light projection onto the grandiose walls of the magnificent Warwick Castle. There’ll be a choice of catering vans Tickets start at £20 for the show only, or various packages are available to include food and drink. Gates open 7pm; show time 8.30pm-10pm.
FESTIVAL: The Cotswolds Distillery Festival, Shipston-on-Stour, Sat 17 Aug
Swan on down to Shipston for a chilled day of fabulous food, drink and live music. Local producers tempt you with fare including pizza, paella and BBQ and the distillery keeps your thirst quenched with their award-winning Outstanding Natural Spirits, from cloudy G&Ts to cocktails. If you prefer a cold beer, Hook Norton Brewery are joining the fun. The summer shindig is completed with incredible blues, jazz, swing and rock music from 7 different acts, including Kenny Young with 70’s band Yellow Dog; King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys; and Hipkiss fronted by Patsy Gamble and Muddy Manninen (ex. Wishbone Ash).
Fully juicy details here.
NIGHT OUT: Algorave with Antonio Roberts, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, Fri 16 Aug
Feast your eyes on freaky visuals and shake your techno booty…if the algorave movement has thus far passed you by, now’s your chance to catch up. Improvising musicians write and modify computer code to pump out continuous electronic beats and produce crazy imagery for an artistic, geeky, unpredictable ‘clubbing’ experience. One of the artists behind the Herbet’s WONDER exhibition, Antonio Roberts, is one of the coding geniuses.
Party from 8pm-11pm. Tickets here.
POP-UP: The Modist, Bicester Village, Bicester, 12 Aug – 24 Sept
Dubai-based luxury online brand The Modest pops up in Bicester Village this summer with its first European boutique (I need that pink dress, like, immediately). The brand will have pieces from contemporary labels as well as from its own brand LAYEUR. bicestervillage.com
SPORTS: Warwick Regatta, Myton Fields, Warwick, Sat 17 Aug
Attracting hundreds of crews from around the country, Warwick Boat Club’s annual regatta sees juniors, seniors and veterans pump their way up the River Avon to cheering spectators. The full course is a 500m sprint through St. Nicholas Park and Myton fields but there are special races for beginner crews too. A BBQ, tea tent, cakes and a bar complete a playful summer Saturday.
No need for a ticket – just show up, lie back and enjoy. More info here.
THEATRE: Measure for Measure, RSC, Stratford-Upon-Avon, now until 29 Aug
No, it’s not The Sound of Music but Gregory Doran’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s dark comedy about a young novice nun compromised by a corrupt official! The Guardian has already declared it “the best RSC show of the summer..”a perfectly judged portrait of public hypocrisy and seething sexuality”. An unmissable rarely performed 400-year-old tale set in early 1900 Vienna, it stars the excellent Worcester-born Lucy Phelps as Isabella, and Sandy Grierson as Angelo, (above) and remains astutely relevant today. rsc
Summer Screens Pop-up cinema: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Thur Aug 15-Sat Aug 17
THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7
Actor/Director/Writer Prasanna Puwanarajah, who recently appeared in Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose, directs a dark, dystopian production of this rarely-performed Restoration cross-class love story by Thomas Otway, playing in the intimate setting of the Swan Theatre. Tickets here.
EXHIBITION: A Tea Journey – From the Mountains to the Table, Compton Verney, Sat 6 Jul – 22 Sep
Ever wondered how the nation’s favourite brew goes from plant to pot? Or how this Chinese tradition became to be to treasured by British society? Learn all about the humble cup of tea, from history to ecology. Be absorbed by The Tea Sensorium – a multi-sensory experience incorporating olfactory and visual exploration, plus workshops, discussions and a modern Japanese bamboo Umbrella Tea House being shipped especially from Japan for the exhibition! Rare teaware from China, Japan and India is on display, with responses by contemporary artists including Robin Best, Adam Buick, Phoebe Cummings, Charlotte Hodes, Takahiro Kondo, Ian McIntyre, Bruce Nuske, Selina Nwulu, Bouke ve Vries, Hetain Patel, Paul Scott, Julian Stair and Edmund de Waal. To find out more see here.
EXHIBITION: The Imagination Statues, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Jul-Sep
Be inspired by the Greg Wyatt statues in the Great Garden at Shakespeare’s New Place and act out your own versions of the plays that they represent using props, costumes and scripts provided. Opening times: 12pm-4pm.
EXHIBITION: The Move and Play exhibition, Coventry Transport Museum, until Nov 10
A good one to visit with the kids during the summer holidays, this exhibition, created by Heureka Overseas Productions – a division of the Finnish Science Centre – has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors during stints in Bangkok and Hong Kong, as well as Germany and the Netherlands. It consists of 19 different physical challenges designed to put your senses to the test. From disco donuts to nostalgic tennis, thermal cameras to tightrope walking – activities encourage visitors to be active through collaborative, non-sporting activities – the majority of which are accessible to visitors of all abilities. Team up in activities such as Team Stomp, a game where the more enthusiastically you stomp your feet, the faster your virtual character will advance in the competition. There are also individual activities, such as ‘How Accurately Can You Kick?’ where you must kick a ball at electronic targets to score maximum points and see if you have what it takes to be the next football star!
If you are a Coventry resident make sure you sign up to a GoCV card for free entry, www.go-cv.co.uk
THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7
Comedians Rufus Hound and Les Dennis, are joining Alexandra Gilbreath (Lady Brute), Caroline Quentin (Lady Fancyfull) and Jonathan Slinger (Sir John Brute) in a riotous new production of the outspoken restoration romp that shocked 17th century society, directed by Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Merry Wives of Windsor), rsc.org.uk
THEATRE: The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31
Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles has been largely very well received. National critics said: a “landmark production” (Evening Standard ****); “an interesting but underpowered exercise in gender-swapping” (Daily Telegraph ***) and “Getting their hands on the best and biggest parts for once, the female performers savour every syllable”, (The Times, ****), rsc
THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31
Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It has fabulous critically-acclaimed performances by Worcester actor Lucy Phelps as Rosalind and David Ajao as Orlando, also look out for LAMDA-trained Leamington Spa actor Amelia Donkor as Silvia! Read our review here, rsc.org.uk, Tel: 01789 403493.
EXHIBITION: The Aerodrome: An Exhibition Dedicated to the Memory of Michael Stanley, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, now until Sun 8 Sep
Michael Stanley was Curator of Ikon before becoming Director of Milton Keynes Gallery and then Modern Art Oxford. He died tragically in 2012 and this exhibition is a tribute to a much-adored man. Co-curated with David Austen and George Shaw, the exhibition is loosely based on a novel that had a strong impact on Michael – Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome, published in 1941.The novel painted the struggles faced by a young war hero and had great impact on writers including Orwell, Burgess and Ballard. Given that it explores modern dystopias, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments, it seems pertinent to revisit this novel in the current turbulent times we live in. Events guide & workshops here
EXHIBITION: Living with History, Hall’s Croft cafe, Stratford upon Avon, now until Sept 29
Fourteen photographs by William Mulryne offer a fresh perspective of Stratford-upon-Avon – after the tourists have gone home! They include this lovely portrait of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s honorary president, Professor Stanley Wells in his office. Professor Wells is a Shakespearean scholar, writer, editor and professor emeritus at the University of Birmingham. Stratford-born William, who has Asperger Syndrome studied photography at Stratford-upon-Avon College and documents everyday life in the town. He said: “Stratford-upon-Avon is an amazing place with a special feeling. Asperger Syndrome made growing up a series of experiences, everything was 100% interesting. I experienced cars, music, elevators: the sounds and the way they moved, working out how they worked and being mesmerised by the visual movement.” Living with History at Hall’s Croft café is free, shakespeare.org.uk/visit/halls-croft/living-history
Green Man Festival; Breacon Beacons, Aug 15 – 18
CULTURE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, ends Aug 26
Edinburgh’s cultural fandango kicks off this month and is well worth the trip way (way, way) up north with the whole city buzzing with creativity, comedy, theatre, arts, crafts and street performances. Far too many shows to list in detail (over 1,200 groups perform across the city each day!) but highlights include Ian Stirling (of Love Island voiceover fame), Russell Howard, Frank Skinner, plus loads more familiar faces. Full programme here. Check out the Muddy best of guide here.
COMEDY: Lynn Ruth Miller Presents I Love Men, Underbelly Southbank, London, Sun 18 Aug
Roll up for a hilarious reminder that you are never too old to have a lot of naughty fun. The world’s oldest stand-up comedienne, the Stripping Granny Lynn Ruth Miller is headlining Underbelly Southbank to ask the pertinent question: does the perfect man exist…and, if he does, is there any point looking for him at age 85? Cue a storytelling, side-splitting cabaret that is a call to all women to listen to their hearts and choose the life that suits them. It’s a reminder that all of us – men, women and every gender in between – have the right to carve out a unique and satisfying life. Just like Lynn Ruth Miller herself did: ‘I have spent 16 years fighting an uphill battle to do the shows I love about the life I have managed to create’, she says. ‘I have slammed against every glass ceiling you can imagine and only smashed through one or two’.
Miller’s performance begins at 7.15pm. Book tickets here.
SPORT: Family cycling day, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sun 18 Aug
Pedal power! Blenheim’s annual cycling event offers two routes around the pretty parkland of the World Heritage Site- one around Queen Pool, the other around the Park perimeter. Bring the fam, your bikes, and don’t forget your helmets. blenheimpalace.com
WILDLIFE: Rhino Month, Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, throughout Aug
Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, is a guaranteed hit with kids who love all things furry, creepy and crawly. It has the little fellas – penguins, lemurs and reptiles – as well as the big guns, including lions, rhinos (FYI Aug is Rhino month with daily talks) and giraffes (try out the Giraffe Walkway where you can stroll up to eye-level with the animals). There’s also a cute railway, adventure playground and children’s farmyard.
EXHIBITION: A new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection, London, until Sun 1 Sept
Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection above, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives. Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.
ART: Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, until Sept 22
Over at Milton Keynes’ mega new MK Gallery you can see the largest retrospective of the political artist’s work in England for 20 years with pieces focusing on gender discrimination, violence, slavery, abortion and political tyranny.
Professor Brian Cox – Universal: Adventures in Space and Time, Arena Birmingham, Sep 21
Champion of the lay explanation, Professor Cox, brings his brand new stellar show back to Birmingham Arena. He was here in February and achieved (yet another) Guinness World Records title for ‘Most tickets sold for a science show’ – so now, due to popular demand, he’s coming back to Brum in September! Book up for a brainy, awe-inspiring out of this world experience here.
THEATRE: Season of Love and Belonging, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, new autumn/winter season
Forgive me for thinking of autumn already, but I’m eagerly awaiting a whole host of new shows to get my teeth into! The Belgrade Theatre has unveiled its full programme for the Season of Love and Belonging, which has a heart-warming theme of ‘family, friendship and finding love’ and bookings are now being taken. Perfect for those chilly nights! Hard-hitting drama Holding the Centre written by Brum writer Joan Carty kicks us off, followed by New Bollywood breath-taker Stardust from Phizzical. Next, we come over all gothic with Rona Munro’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. One of the highlights of the stonking season is Club 2B, a unique experience of live music, food, drink, and immersive drama, which is the explosive collaborative effort of Strictly Arts and the Belgrade. Check out the full programme with your diary at the ready!
Tix include food and drink. Gates open 7pm; show time 8.30pm-10pm.