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.
FESTIVAL: Party in the Park, St. Nicholas Park, Warwick, Mon 26 Aug
All the ingredients for an idyllic bank holiday bash; bouncy castles, entertainment, traditional stalls, food and drink. If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a boat to sail up the river for the best view of Warwick Castle, or stroll into the town to cool off in a cafe.
10am-5pm; organised by the Leamington Carnival team.
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.
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!
TALK: Warwick Words History Festival Extra Event: Dan Jones – Crusaders, Bridge House Theatre, Warwick School, Sun Sept 8
In the run up to this year’s Warwick Words History Festival acclaimed historian and TV broadcaster Dan Jones returns to talk about his latest book, Crusaders. The Crusades were a sequence of religious wars fought from the late eleventh century to the late medieval period in which armies from European Christian states tried to wrest the Holy Land from Islamic rule. Warwick Words History Festival Executive Director Helen Meeke said, ‘It is always a pleasure to welcome Dan back to Warwick Words and this time he will be talking about one of the past’s most notorious periods of conflict. In Crusaders he charts the stories of not just popes and kings but gives voice to other sources usually pushed to the margins of history.’
Crusaders takes place at 7.30pm. Tix: £15, from www.warwickwords.co.uk and the Festival Box Office Box Office, Visitor Information Centre, The Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa 01926 33 44 18; Visitor Information Centre, Jury Street, Warwick CV34 4EW.
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.
BEEN & GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN:
FESTIVAL: Coombe Weekender, Coombe Abbey, Sat 3 Aug-Sun 4 Aug
Ornate architecture and stunning grounds contrast beautifully with the festival vibes of Coventry’s brand new big weekend. Organised by Midlive Entertainment, the party is billed to be ‘as diverse as the local area’, with acts ranging through funk, soul, disco, indie and pop. The stonking line-up includes The Libertines, Faithless, Kelis, Toploader, Reverend and the Makers, MK and so many more! Plus, there are the usual suspects of a food village, children’s activities and further festival fun.
Full info and tickets here.
HERITAGE: Battle of Evesham, Crown Meadow, Evesham, Sat 3 Aug-Sun 4 Aug
Experience 13th century life in all its action-packed (and often gory) glory. A 500-strong army of re-enactors ‘fight to the death’ four times over the weekend and the Grand Parade winds through the town on the Saturday, with mounted knights in full armour. For a more sedate window into the past, there’s a medieval camp with demos of cookery, medicine and weapons. There are also falconry and equestrian displays, treasure trails, face painting, arts and crafts and a range of food and beverage stalls.
The last Battle of Evesham was fought on 4 Aug 1265, 50 years after the Magna Carta between Prince Edward and Simon de Montfort. Over 4,000 soldiers were killed on Evesham’s streets and in the surrounding countryside.
WELLBEING: Yoga & Brunch, Hilltop Farm, Leamington Spa, Sat 3 Aug & Fri 23 Aug
Energising outdoor yoga with stunning views of the countryside, followed by delicious food…ticks all the boxes to set you up for a feelgood day! The gentle 75min yoga class, led by Amy from The Serenity Barn, wakes the body linking breath to movement and taking in the spectacular surroundings. The class focuses on mobility, strength and relaxation. Once you’re zen, at one with nature and have worked up an appetite, head inside to the Hilltop Farm Shop Cafe to be treated to freshly prepared brunch including green smoothies, a meat or veggie breakfast plus teas and coffees.
Tickets are £25 per person.
ART: Art in the Park, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa, Sat 3-Sun 4 Aug
This vibrant takeover sees the tranquil Jephson Gardens transformed into a dazzling art gallery, complete with music, dancing and artisan produce. Head for the festival headdress drop-in and complete your look with biodegradable face glitter, then dive into the array of adults’ and children’s workshops and browse the local artists’ stalls. Wiggle your cares away with a hula hoop; visit superheroes at Leam Comic Con’s stage and unleash your creative mojo with everything from bookbinding to modern embroidery…a homemade Christmas head-start, perhaps? The theme for this year is ‘water’ – a crucial part of Leamington’s history, as the natural spring revolutionised it from village to elegant spa town. Details here.
FAMILY: Party in the Park, Caldecott Park, Rugby, Sat 3 Aug
Grab your shades, hat and children and pop to the beautiful Caldecott Park for live music, food and entertainment. Along with the fabulous Rock Choir, you’re treated to acts including Kieran Taylour (the wonderful singer songwriter from our 2019 Muddy Awards Drinks, no less!), Lorna Dea, The Invisible Friends, Elan Marie, The Music Council and Saloni.
No need for a ticket – just turn up between 12pm-4pm
THEATRE: Annie, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tue 23 Jul-Sun 11 Aug
Flame-haired feisty fun explodes into the Hippodrome for 3 weeks only, so we’re hot-footing it over to Brum! Direct from London’s West End, the smash-hit production of Annie stars Jodie Prenger (winner of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything; Oliver!; Spamalot and Calamity Jane) as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan and was marvelled by The Times as a “glorious revival”. A Tony® award-winning book and score gets your feet tapping and heart singing.
Tickets on sale now.
THEATRE: The Addams Family, Rugby Theatre, Wed 31 Jul-Sat 3 Aug
This year, Rugby Theatre’s Summer Youth Project gone all goth on us with an ingenious production starring the mysterious, spooky, altogether ooky Addams Family. In this comedy musical, everyone’s favourite moody teenager Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love…which is, of course, her father Gomez’s worst nightmare. His plight is made even worse when she begs him not to say anything to Morticia; cue a hilarious romp through the trials and tribulations of traditional family life in a very unconventional family!
Buy tickets here.
FIREWORKS: Firework Champions, Stanford Hall, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Sat 3 Aug
Watch the summer night sky dance with a spectacular evening of firework displays…and vote for your favourite using your phone! Three of the UK’s best firework companies compete against each other with a 10-minute displays of professional-grade fireworks choreographed to music. Organisers MLE Pyrotechnics provide the grand finale with a larger-scale performance. Food vans, bars and children’s entertainment ramp up the party atmosphere.
Gates open at 5pm to enjoy food and drink; fireworks begin at 9.15pm. The finale begins at 10.30pm. Discover tickets packages and book online here.
Pinks and Fizz Tasting, Slurp, Leamington Spa, Fri 2 Aug
Slurp have decided that Rose, fizz and summertime are a trio made in heaven…and we aren’t going to argue with that! Sample 7 of their specially selected faves from both categories in the relaxed atmosphere always found at this Leamington drinks boutique’s popular tasting evenings.
7.30pm-9.30pm; £15 per ticket.
CHILDREN’S THEATRE: In the Night Garden Live, The REP, Birmingham, Wed 31 Jul-Sun 4 Aug
It’s Igglepiggle’s Busy Day…and you’re invited to join him! The kids’ favourite is brought to bright, bouncy (and slightly bizarre) life, with costumed actors, expert puppetry, magical music and the spectacular flying Pinky Ponk. This production, brand new for 2019, lasts approximately an hour.
Tickets: adults from £14.50, children from £11.50.
CHILDREN: National play day, Coventry Transport Museum, Thu 7 Aug
The joy of play takes over the Transport Museum for a day…music to the ears of those faced with the relentless pursuit of school holiday activities. They’ll tear through the museum dressing up, playing shops, being engineers and generally having a ball.
Free drop-in from 10am-4pm. Also see our full kid-tastic summer holiday guide for more inspiration.