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COMEDY: Tim Minchin: BACK, Birmingham Hippodrome, Fri 15-Sat 16 Nov

Tim Minchin

The absurdly talented award-winning comedian, actor and composer bursts back onto stage for his first tour since 2011. Expect his trademark eclectic amalgam of incredibly clever and funny musical material.

Book last remaining seats here.


THEATRE: The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Company, Fri Nov 8 – Mar 8 2020

The RSC’s highly anticipated brand-new Christmas musical kicks off in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST). Based on David Walliams’ children’s novel, it’s a celebration of smashing stereotypes following 12-year-old Dennis, who’s fanatic about both football and fashion since his mum left the family home. With new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.


COMEDY: Shazia Mirza: Coconut!, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun 17 Nov

Shazia Mirza

Shazia Mirza brings her critically-acclaimed Coconut! To Warwick Arts Centre on Sun 17 Nov, asking questions along the lines of: What’s going on? Why does everyone hate each other? Why are there no women left with real eyebrows?

Book online.


ART: Where Light Falls, Coventry Cathedral, Thu 14 Nov-Sat 16 Nov

Coventry Cathedral

Coventry Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral in London become canvases in this stunning after dark light projection display from Double Take Projections. Working in conjunction with Historic England and the Poetry Society, stories are told of two iconic buildings with different fates; St Paul’s survived the Blitz of the Second World War largely intact while the medieval Coventry Cathedral was destroyed. Vibrant multi-coloured installations transform the façades and precincts of the structures after dark, combining new poetry with powerful visuals and archive photography. Visitors are immersed in atmospheric light and sound, unique to each location, as they travel around the buildings witnessing the poems unfurl. Free.

Every evening from 5pm-9pm. Full info here.


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Leamington & Rugby Lights Switch-Ons, Sun 17 Nov

The annual Christmas lights party begins at 1pm on Sun 17 Nov, with an afternoon of fairground rides, market stalls, live music and a carol service outside the Town Hall before the button is pressed at 5pm. Singer Becky Hill, who appeared on The Voice, will be will be the headline act at Rugby’s Christmas Lights Switch-On party on Sun 17 Nov, where the fun begins at 12pm and the lights are illuminated at 5pm.


COMEDY: Jack Whitehall: Stood Up, Arena Birmingham, Fri 15 Nov-Sun 17 Nov

 **New floor seats released for all dates!** Award-winning comedian, actor and writer Jack Whitehall storms Brum with his brand new show 2019 show, Following two complete sell out arena tours, Jack Whitehall Gets Around in 2014 and Jack Whitehall: At Large in 2017, Jack Whitehall: Stood Up promises to be the most hilarious yet from one of comedy’s most electric talents. Jack says: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be going back out on the road. There’s no feeling like standing up on stage in front of an arena full of strangers, and still being able to hear your dad heckle you.”

Tickets here.


THEATRE: PortraitsWarwick Arts Centre, Wed 13-Fri 15 Nov

A minu series bringing together three urgent shows about identity, power, race, gender, sexuality, society, politics, and life: Queens Of Sheba (pictured) and Travis Alabanza’s Burgerz.


THEATRE: A Museum in Baghdad, the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sat 25 Jan

A Museum in Baghdad production photo by Ellie Kurttz c RSC.

A new original compelling tale of two women, living decades apart; Gertrude Bell is founding a museum in Iraq’s capital in 1926 and Ghalia Hussein is attempting to reopen the establishment following looting during the war. They share a goal: to create a fresh sense of unity and nationhood. But in such unstable times, questions remain. Who is the museum for? Whose culture are we preserving? And why does it matter when people are dying?


BALLET: Russian State Ballet and Opera House triple bill, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thu 14 Nov-Sat 16 Nov

Swan Lake

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has a triple-bill of ballet this month, as the internationally acclaimed Russian State Ballet and Opera House return to the city after a successful run last autumn. They will be starting the Christmas season early with their version of The Nutcracker on Thurs 14 Nov directed and choreographed by the award-winning former Bolshoi Ballet soloist Konstantin Uralsky. On Fri 15 Nov, Don Quixote will introduce a dash of Spanish passion to the programme, and finally there’ll be another opportunity to experience the ever-enchanting masterpiece, Swan Lake on Sat 16 Nov. This spectacular trio of classic ballets will be accompanied by a live, 30-piece orchestra. Tickets can be booked on Tel: 024 7655 3055 or belgrade where prices are cheaper. (Book for two or more performances together to enjoy 20% off).


FAMILY: Lantern Workshops, Pump Rooms Gardens, Leamington Spa, Sat 16 Nov

The magical sight that is the Leamington Lantern Parade takes place in the Royal Pump Room Gardens on Sun 1 Dec; and why not do the messy bit outside of  your home by taking the children along to one of the free lantern-making workshops on 3, 9, 16 & 24 Nov?  

COMEDY: Lenny Henry: Who Am I, Again?, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun 17 Nov

Legendary Sir Lenny Henry embarks on a brand new UK tour this autumn, with a show that’s split into two distinct parts; in the first half of the evening, he takes the audience through a jam session of funny and sad memories and stories – from growing up in the Black Country, puberty, school, friendship, family secrets and unashamed racism. In part two, Lenny’s friend Jon Canter, broadcaster and author, interviews him further insights into his life and career.

Only a few seats remain – book now.


THEATRE: King John, RSC, now until Fri 20 Mar

Rosie Sheehy in the RSC’s new gender fluid King John. Photo by Steve Tanner

Catch one of Shakespeare’s rarely-performed works as director Eleanor Rhode makes an “engrossing” debut in the Swan Theatre. Stirring an uneasy semblance to the present day, King John tells of a nation in turmoil and a preening king, played by Rosie Sheehy, who will stop at nothing to keep the crown. The Guardian says the production “tingles with a tangible sense of spontaneity”.


CLASSICAL: Travel around the World in 80 minutes with Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sun Nov 17

A family-friendly concert inspired by travel, conducted and introduced by the WSO’s Associate Conductor, Paul Leddington Wright, familiar to many through his work on BBC Songs of Praise, as well as his long-standing role as director of the Coventry Cathedral Singers. Works include the Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg and Out of Africa by John Barry, Sibelius’ Karelia Suite and the Triumphal March from Verdi’s opera, Aida.

Ticket:£14 & £18 for adults, concessions for students and children half price plus a Family Ticket for £30, £30, and 


SHOPPING: Festive Gift Fair, NEC Birmingham, Thu 14 Nov-Sun 17 Nov

Gloomy weather putting you off embarking on Christmas shopping? Opt for the fairweather choice and head to Birmingham this weekend. Over 300 stalls offer everything you need, from stocking fillers to decorations to larder staples. Take breaks from browsing to enjoy a festive bite and tipple; Mingle with Panto Dames, The Grinch and Father Christmas; and be catapulted into the seasonal mood by the dulcit tones of The Basetones’ Motown-style festive harmonies.

Full info and tickets here.


EXHIBITION: Magnum Manifesto, Compton Verney, now until Sun 15 Dec

Leonard Freed, Martin Luther King, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 1964 © Leonard Freed /Magnum Photos

Compton Verney is the only UK destination for this magnetic exhibition, charting the world through the lens of some of the most iconic and influential photographers of the past 50 years. The Magnum Photo Agency captures the influence of events and emotions on human rights and the experience of life. Rarely seen emotive images dating from 1947 through to the 21st century document the rise of the Taliban and the impact politics, war and terrorism has had on people and relationships with work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Olivia Arthur and Robert Capa.


ART: Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, now until Sun 24 Nov

2 Masks – Pollux – Castor Sculpture-Artwork by Lorsen Camps 2018 Photo by John-Bodkin

Only a couple of weeks left to catch the Coventry Biennial before it departs on Sun 24 Nov.  The title this year is The Twin, exploring relationships. Coventry has 26 twin cities around the world and is known as an international city welcoming migrants and refugees. Embedded in the wider Coventry Biennial 2019 programme are opportunities to speak to or eat with the artists, to learn a new skill, to warm yourself by a fire, to dance through the night or to ease yourself into the day with a yoga session, marking this as ‘the UK’s social biennial’. An exhibition remains at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum until Sun 26 Jan featuring the work of 25 artists. Check out what’s happening this week here including a pot-luck lunch on Fri 15 Nov to meet up with others and discuss the art you’ve admired.


TALK: Shakepeare’s Sunday School, Shakespeare’s New Place, every Sun from Nov 3-February 2020

Discover more about Shakespeare‘s work, life and times in our 15 minute talks about the archaeological dig, films inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, guided tours of the 3D house model, the surrounding buildings known to Shakespeare, a fun examination of Shakespeare’s poems, and his influence on the sci-fi genre, 3pm


ART: Barry Flanagan, Ikon Gallery, until Sun 24 Nov

Barry Flanagan, installation Ikon (2019). Courtesy The Estate of Barry Flanagan and Ikon. Photo: Stuart Whipps.

Two floors of gallery space are entirely filled with Flanagan’s most inventive sculptures; including his iconic bronze pieces from the 80s and 90s to earlier works. The exhibition represents his fascination with ontology, movement and the physicality of the various materials with which he worked. Flanagan studied at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts and one of his bronze hares, Large Troubador (2004), lives permanently outside Ikon’s premises in Brindley Place.

Full info here.


EXHIBITION: Radical Drawing: Works from Coventry and the Courtauld, The Herbert, until Sun 19 Jan

Three Witches from ‘Macbeth’, Johann Heinrich Fuseli (1741 – 1825), Image:  © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

Head to the Herbert this week for the unveiling of remarkable drawings by artists who have pushed the boundaries of what it means to draw. The exhibition includes art from the collections of The Courtauld Gallery in London, the University of Warwick and the Herbert’s own collection. Expect works by George Romney, Camille Pissarro, Pablo Picasso, Barbara Walker and Miriam de Búrca. Also on display are objects from the gallery’s collections linked to the Courtaulds factory in Coventry.



TALK: Simon Yates – Touching the Void, Albany Theatre, Coventry, Mon 18 Nov

As one of the most accomplished exploratory mountaineers of all time, Simon Yates is best known for his role in the harrowing expedition to the Andes documented in Touching The Void where he found himself in a desperate and unenviable position – slowly being pulled off the mountain face by his injured partner dangling on the rope 50 metres below. His decision to cut the rope saved both their lives. Full of wit and dry humour, Simon’s engaging, entertaining and inspiring talk features spectacular images and film of the most remote and rarely explored mountain ranges throughout the world, 7.30pm. Tickets: £ 15. Suitable ages 12+

Box office: 02476 998 964albanytheatre



ART & EXHIBITIONS **NEW** Steve McQueen: Year 3, Tate Britain, London, Tue Nov 12 – May 3

Year 3 Project, Steve McQueen, Tate Britain. Tyssen Community Primary School, Hackney

The artist and film-maker, who directed, 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Widows (2018), invited every Year 3 pupil in London to have their photograph taken by a team of specially trained Tate photographers. They included children from state primaries, independent schools, faith schools, special schools, pupil referral units and home-educated pupils. These class photos are brought together into a single large-scale installation, capturing tens of thousands of Year 3 pupils in a milestone year in their development. Free.

  • Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane work is the subject of a new V&A exhibition (until 8 March). Tilda Swinton Björk and, er, Sir David Attenborough are among his subjects and he’s also created 10 new works for the show.
  • Meanwhile this autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.
  • Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots.
  • Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span. 


OPERA: Glyndebourne Opera, Milton Keynes, Tue 12 – Sat 16 Nov

We have a taste of Glyndebourne opera at Milton Keynes Theatre this week with performances of L’elisir d’amoreRigoletto and Rinaldo.


INTERIORS: Country Living Christmas Fair, Business Design Centre, London, Wed 13 – Sun 17 Nov

It’s Christmaaaaas! Well, not just yet, but head London’s Business Design Centre this month and you’ll find heaps of festive stalls from hundreds of British designers, makers, food artisans and crafters. As well as shopping there’ll also be live workshops and talks, plus Prue Leith will be chatting to Country Living’s Editor about all things food at Christmas time on Wed 13.

Find more ideas here

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