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Reader Treats Just For You!

June 2018

JUNE 2018

Suzanne Vega, Leamington Assembly, Wed June 27

Widely regarded as one of the best songwriters of her generation, Suzanne emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival in the early 1980s. Since her debut 25 years ago she has sold more than 7 million albums and been nominated for 7 Grammy awards. Her song, Tom’s Diner, was used in the refinement of the MP3, earning her the nickname, The Mother of the MP3. It’s since been remixed nearly 25 times by artists including Will Smith, Tupac and Destiny’s Child. Doors – 7pm.

Tel: 0844 478 0898,  seetickets


Warwickshire Open Studios, Sat June 16 – Sun July 1

Artist Rhian Malin at The Ceramics Studio, Ettington Park Granary, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 8BT

Looking for some original art? See a record number of more than 270 artists at work across 138 venues in this diverse celebration of visual arts across Coventry and Warwickshire. The event attracts around 30,000 visits a year. Excitingly WOS’ has a new patron for 2018 – the screenplay writer and novelist Andrew Davies, best known for House of Cards and TV adaptions of War & Peace, Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair and Middlemarch. This year WOS is taking over Temperance (33, Bath St) Leamington Spa as a central info hub. Drop in from June 9 – 30 to see a showcase of artists’ work, grab a drink or bite to eat.

Find out more about the artists, locations, opening times & facilities available, wostudios


10th Stratford River Festival, Sat June 30 & Sun July 1

This award-winning free family-friendly nautical spectacular returns to the banks of the River Avon. It is the largest family-friendly free event held in Stratford with more than 70,000 visitors expected to enjoy events on and off the river including global foods, local ales, Pimms & Prosecco, artisan crafts, entertainment and spectacular fireworks display at 10.15pm.



Also Festival 2018, June 29-July 1

This boutique Warwickshire-based UK festival of ideas and foodie feasts on a lakeside farm in Compton Verney (near the art gallery) is now in its fifth year. Highlights include a pop-up roller disco – think Studio 54 on wheels – guided nature swims and award-winning comedian Robin Ince’s who will be closing his Pragmatic Insanity tour here. Other big ideas include award-winning business psychologist Margaret Heffernan on how to make the most of one’s time on this planet and be altruistic; Oxford Uni Prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt explaining us humans as The Digital Ape and my personal fave, Boiling Water – Tea and Theoretical Physics. Plus, get to grips with the science behind your favourite films with the presenters of Science(ish): Dr Michael Brooks and Rick Edwards.

See who else is on the line-up here: also-festival


Real Bodies The Exhibition, Hall 4, The NEC, Birmingham, Fri June 8 – Sun Aug 19

A powerful and thought-provoking exhibition of human anatomy taking visitors on a  journey, exploring the human body through physiology, culture and emotion by displaying real, perfectly preserved human bodies and over 200 anatomical specimens.



Miss Littlewood, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri June 22 – Aug 4 

With book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon and directed by the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, Miss Littlewood tells the story of Joan Littlewood, the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre whose theatre workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage. Clare Burt makes her RSC debut as Joan Littlewood. Aretha Ayeh, Sandy Foster, Amanda Hadingue, Dawn Hope, Emily Johnstone and Sophia Nomvete also play Joan at different stages of her life.



HOT MUSIC NEWS – Book Now! The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary World Tour, Arena Birmingham, Tues Nov 27


OMG – this is one of the most exciting bits of music news I’ve heard in ages!  The multi-platinum former Fugees singer and took the world by storm two decades ago as a solo artist with singles from the album including Doo Wop (That Thing) and Everything Is Everything. It won her 5 GRAMMY®  wins. One of the definite must-sees of the autumn! Am still whooping with joy and loving the stripy socks and heels look!

Tickets on sale now, theticketfactory or Tel 0844 33 88 222 *Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge. 


SOLD OUT: LeamGinton Festival, The Leamington Wine Company, Victoria House, Leamington Spa, Fri June 29

Join our double Muddy award-winning Wine Merchants for their annual festival with more than 50 gins to tempt your taste buds, distilleries and Fevertree supporting LeamGinton. A fab evening and a great way to try gins that you may not have even heard of, 6.30pm – 9pm.

Tickets £35 (non-refundable) available in store or over the phone on 01926 888994. Limited availability.


BOOK NOW: Outdoor Yoga & Brunch, Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, July 15

Held in the beautiful grounds of Hilltop Farm, overlooking scenic countryside views, yoga instructor Kerry Palmer will guide you through an energising 75-min yoga practice (10am -12.30pm). All levels including beginners are welcome, yoga mats are provided though feel free to bring along your own if you have one. Having worked up an appetite, you’ll head inside to the Hilltop Cafe where you’ll be treated to freshly prepared smoothies, a meat or veggie option breakfast plus teas and coffees, £21.50.

Book here.



Merge Festival, Bankside/Tate Modern, London, Fri June 8 – July 1

Book an appointment at The Feel Good Institute. Photo cred Merge Festival

The annual arts/music festival this year aims to brighten up your day with a  ‘feel good’ theme. A quirky, fun-packed and eclectic programme includes The Feel Good Institute – a multi-sensory series of installations by various artists, ‘Dr Leon – Neural Enhancement’ a theatrical experience where ‘Patients’ are seen by surgery staff for a 20-minute implanted happy chip, ‘Happy Mondays’ at bars & restaurants, look out for Bankside Smileys, Time to Make Merry installations on the Friday commute and the Great Get Together Bankside street party!

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A, London, June 16 – Nov 4

A photo of artist Frida Khalo in a blue satin blouse with pink flower in her hair

Frida Kahlo in blue satin blouse, 1939. Photograph Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

This summer, the V&A will explore how Frida Kahlo (b. 1907), one of the most recognised and significant artists and women of the 20th century, fashioned her identity. More than 200 previously unseen personal objects will be on show including her eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony,’ still within its original packaging, which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow, her favourite lipstick, Revlon’s ‘Everything’s Rosy’ and red nail varnish, outfits, medical corsets and a painted prosthetic leg! They were discovered in 2004, 50 years after being sealed in the Blue House, Mexico, by her husband Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, following her death in 1954.



Ocean’s 8, nationwide, Fri June 22 

Oceans 8 poster

A line up of Hollywood A list actresses (Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina and Rihanna), a robbery at The Met Ball and the familiar crime caper format has a Muddy girls’ night out written all over it.


On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach

For a more intense and emotionally charged night out, Ian McEwan’s adaptation of his novel On Chesil Beach explores love, sex and marriage for newly weds Lady Bird star Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle (Dunkirk) before the Swinging Sixties were in full swing.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 

Guernsey Literary potato peel pie

A book club founded in Guernsey during the Nazi occupation doesn’t sound like the most exciting premise for a movie and I laugh every time I see the name of this movie – BUT an all star British cast lead by Lilly James and produced by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel lot, is enough to lure me off my sofa to the big screen.

Jurassic World:Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic world

The blockbuster franchise returns and this time the dinosaurs need saving from an erupting volcano – easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.


Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, April 21 – Sept 21/ Live in Cinemas: Jul 18

Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teen lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime in this present-day production.



Macbeth, RST, Stratford, March 13 – September 18

Photo by Richard-Davenport-

This compelling contemporary version of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller with the fantastic Christopher Eccleston, brilliant in BBC 1’s The A Word, and revered Irish actor Niamh Cusack as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Directed by Polly Findlay has the eerie feel of a modern horror film. Brilliant for students studying Macbeth on their GCSE or A level syllabus!

Book here.


The Duchess of Malfi, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 3

Pic credit: Helen Maybanks

After her inventive and critically-acclaimed production of Doctor Faustus in 2016, Maria Aberg returns to the RSC to direct a critically-acclaimed modern dress, blood-soaked version of The Duchess of Malfi in her own distinct style. Topically it’s all about gender politics and toxic masculinity.  Joan Iyiola stars as The Duchess, her twin brother Ferdinand is played by Alexander Cobb – Indian Summers (Channel 4) and Ripper Street (BBC) – and The Cardinal is Chris New, who was Glen in 2011 film, Weekend. Read Muddy’s Q & A with Joan here.

Tel: 01789 403493, rsc



Talk: Audience with Antony Sher, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thur June 7

Photo by Paul Stuart, RSC

The excellent South African born actor will be discussing his new book, Year of the Mad King, based on his experience performing  King Lear in Gregory Doran’s 2016 production at the RSC. A first-hand insight into the research, rehearsal and development of his Lear, followed by a book signing, £8, 5.30pm-6.30pm.


Urban Culture Coventry, FarGo Village, Coventry, Sat June 9 & Sun June 10

Coventry’s first festival dedicated to street art. See world class local and national street artists creating fresh work on walls and boards around the city centre, outside the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and at Fargo. Headline artists include Astek, JPS, My Dog Sighs & Snub23, Gnasher, Rumah & Crom, Daub, Jim Vision, Posea and Tom Sly from SUAS running screen printing workshops. Fargo will also host Coventry Skatepark Project’s pop-up skatepark – have-a-go with coaches on hand, or watch skateboarders show off their skills, 12-6pm.


Broadway Arts Festival, Broadway, Worcs, June 8 – 17

A biennial celebration of this beautiful Cotswold village’s unique artistic heritage and its enduring relationship with a world-famous colony of American artists and writers, who visited and worked here in the late 19th century. An impressive, eclectic programme includes talks, workshops, theatre, family events, exhibitions, demos and live music including two directors of the V&A In Conversation: Tristram Hunt (current) and Sir Roy Strong, pot throwing and decorating, charcoal portraits, Tweedy – the slapstick star of Gifford’s Circus – Takes a Detour!, Heartbreak Productions’ Pride and Prejudice, Roald Dahl’s The Twits by storyteller John Kirk and a New Orleans Mardi Gras Party with Dom Pipkin.


The Great Outdoors, Warwick Arts Centre Family Day, Sun June 10

Now in its fifth year, families can join in lots of exciting creative activities, games and sports including a 50-minute theatre performance for ages 4+, The Carnival of the Animals, featuring the much-loved music of Camille Saint-Saëns combined with the visual magic of Drew Colby’s hand shadow animals. Look out too for free screenings of family favourites in the cinema and, in The Goose Nest, discover how theatre technicians can make the four seasons come alive on stage. Make a stained-glass window or a giant beach collage inspired by the John Piper exhibition in the Mead Gallery, drop by the WMG building to design your own ice-cream using CAD software and get active at Warwick Sport.

10am – 5pm, warwickartscentre

Hilltop Beer and Cider Festival, Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, nr Leamington Spa, Fri June 8 & Sat June 9

The 5th annual Beer & Cider Festival at this scenic family-run hilltop farm with wide-reaching views over the Warwickshire countryside and sensational sunsets!  A family-friendly festival with entertainment including live music from many great local bands, Tractor Ted activities, children’s activities and heaps of locally-sourced delicious food. Camping is available on both Fri and Sat night.

Tickets here.

Trying it On, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, Thur June 7 – Sat June 9

David Edgar’s debut as a performer. When the 70-year-old prolific director is confronted by his 20-year-old self. Do they share the same beliefs? If not, is it the world that’s changed, or him? Why did his generation vote Brexit? Has he sold in or sold out?  7.45pm, 1hr 10mins. Age 14+

Tickets here.

The Fantastic Follies of Mrs RichSwan Theatre, Stratford, ends Thurs June 14

Aretha Ayeh and Sophie Stanton as Lucinda and Mrs Rich. Photo by Helen Maybanks

A critical hit, this comedy of distinctly female wit has been described as like ‘a Restoration Ab-Fab’. Unlike Aphra Behn, a fellow female playwright from the late 1600’s, Mary Pix has been almost lost to history. But like Behn’s The Rover, an RSC hit early last year, Pix’s comedy of manners combines mind-bending plot twists and mischief.  Sophie’s also been in Ink (Almeida and West End), Made in Dagenham (West End), ITV’s The Halcyon, E4’s My Mad Fat Diary and the BBC’s New Tricks.

Book here

About Face, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, until Sat June 16

Man in Paper Drawer, Man in Pencil Drawer, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Copyright Lubaina Himid

2017 Turner Prize Winner Lubaina Himid and her contemporary Claudette Johnson – both founders of the British Black Arts Movement, founded at Wolverhampton Poly in the late 70s – have artworks in the gallery’s excellent portraiture About Face exhibition, which also includes paintings on loan from the National Portrait and Lowry Gallery. Ends soon.


The 75th Kenilworth Show, Sat June 9

Expect horses, an unaffiliated dog-show, livestock, sheep and the UK’s top freestyle motocross riders (they perform a trick flying 35ft in the air!). A traditional family-friendly country show with more than 100 trade stands, a home craft marquee and locally produced food, as well as archery and mini-Land rovers to keep younger children entertained.


Bright Smoke: Travis Alabanza, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs June 14

The London-based performance artist and LGBTQ right activist will be performing at the RSC’s monthly free poetry night. FREE, no booking required, 6.45pm – 7.15pm.
*This event contains strong language and adult themes.


The OVO Energy Women’s Tour, Fri June 15

Britain’s premier women’s cycle race returns to Warwickshire for a record-breaking third year. The tour will take riders across beautiful landscapes throughout the entire county. Last year 95,000 spectators watched the event. Starting in Atherstone it will weave its way in a 151k route ending in Royal Leamington Spa – making the Warwickshire stage the longest of the 2018 event.


Reggae at the Rialto! Coundon, Coventry, Fri June 15

Three top female reggae artists are on the bill at the Mackabee Crew sound system’s summer shindig – Janet Kay, Susan Cadogan – over from Kingston, Jamaica – and Sandra Cross. Adv tickets £20 are available from Camelia@Stylistics (Corporation St, Coventry); the Two Tone Café/Simmerdown Restaurant, or Tel 07957 264226.

Rialto Reborn, Moseley Avenue, Coventry, 9pm – 2am. 

Angela Barnes: Fortitude, Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat Jun 16

Following another sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Mock the Week regular and host of BBC Radio 4’s Newsjack, Angel Barnes is taking her “beautifully structured show” (The Scotsman) Fortitude on the road, 8pm. Age 14+.

Tickets here.

Pugstock Music Festival & Street Party, The Fat Pug, Leamington Spa, Sat June 17

Looking to do something fun with the kids and your partner on Father’s Day? This live music event in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind features Mark Woodyard, The Retrobaits, State of Play, Chimp on a Bike and more. The road will be closed off to cars and there’ll also be outside bars, a bbq, street food and some small stalls for children.

23 Guy Cliffe Road, Leamington Spa, Cv32 5BZ, 01926 420 390, thefatpug

World Naked Bike Ride, Cambridge, Sat 16 Jun

Okay, forgive me, this is included with tongue firmly in cheek. But hey, could be fun?!

Cambridge WNBR 2018, Park Entrance Victoria Ave, Cambridge CB5 8DH

Rufus Wainwright, Coventry Cathedral, June 22

Coventry’s ‘Summer of Music’ continues with the legend that is, Rufus Wainwright, performing live in the beautiful, atmospheric setting of Coventry Cathedral as part of his 2018 UK Summer Tour.

Tickets available here.

RSC Mischief Festival, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs May 31 – June 23

#WeAreArrested rehearsal photos, 2018, Photo by Ellie Merridale (c) RSC

This innovative month-long festival features two new plays #WeAreArrested and Day of the Living. Led by Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman, the festival will include:

  • Double-bill: #WeAreArrested, the true story of Turkish journalist Can Dündar’s commitment to expose the truth in the face of huge personal risk; Day of the Living, inspired by the events in Ayotzinapa, Mexico 2014 when 43 students were forcibly taken and disappeared, Thur May 31 – Sat June 23.
  • Written and performed by Nell Leyshon, Three Letters, is one woman’s story of how her reinvention of herself after having had children is halted by illness, Wed June 6 and Fri June 8, 1.30pm, £5.
  • Research & Development work-in-progress public reading of Redefining Juliet, Fri June 22, 2.30pm, £5.

Book on 01789 403493, rsc

Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Fest, various locations, Sun June 17 – 24 

Christopher Eccleston, currently starring in the RSC’s Macbeth with Niamh Cusack

The 65th Poetry festival this summer commemorates the centenary of the end of the First World War, Peace and Reconciliation. It opens with Washed With Such a Peace: Readings by Christopher Eccleston & Niamh Cusack (The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, 7pm-9.30pm). Other highlights include an Open Mic Night on Mon June 18, An evening with Tony Harrison (Fri June 22), Midsummer Day Poetry and Bonfire (Sat June 23, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage) and Wilfred Owen: Readings by Dame Dian Phillips & Alex Waldermann (Sat June 24, The Shakespeare Centre).


Oddsocks’ The Tempest, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue June 19 – Thurs June 21

Prepare to boldly go where no Shakespeare has ever been before with Oddsocks Productions’ sci-fi rendition of The TempestThe renowned Shakespeare innovators will be transporting the action to a distant galaxy via spaceship. Experience close encounters with madcap aliens and an out-of-this-world contemporary soundtrack in this family-friendly space-age romp.

belgrade, Tel: 024 7655 3055

Walkabout Wine Tasting with Vin Neuf, Hillers Garden Restaurant & Rose Garden, Alcester, Fri June 22

Taste more than 50 wines from across the world, cheeses from Hillers Cheese Shop and canapes with Stratford-based Muddy Award finalists 2018, Vin Neuf Wine Merchants in Hiller’s rose garden, 7pm – 9.30pm. Tickets £25 available at Hillers Garden Restaurant.

Dunnington Heath Farm, Alcester, Tel 01789 772771,

Midsummer Madness Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, June 22 & 23

Families can join the resident Tudors as they get up to midsummer mischief in celebration of the longest day of the year. Learn circus skills, have your face painted, take part in hands-on crafts and don’t miss a special appearance of their very own unicorn! PLUS at 12 noon and 2.30pm follow the Tudor storyteller around the farm as she tells enchanting Tudor tales while you gather materials to make your very own fairy garden, 10am – 5pm.


Shakespeare in Song, University of Warwick Chamber Choir, Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri June 22

Classic choral settings of Shakespearean texts for a cappella choir including these by Mäntyjärvi, Vaughan Williams and Bob Chilcott, 7.45pm. 1hr 15 mins.

Book here.

Grand Medieval Joust, Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden, Sat June 23 & Sun June 24 

Soak up medieval life in the colourful encampments and be entertained by the court jester while young knights can have their strength and skills tested.


Midsummer Jazz, Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, Sat June 23

Picnic in the gardens from 6pm. The Roy Forbes Quintet are playing an outdoor jazz set in the gardens from 7pm. Tickets: Adults £13.50; under 16s and over 65s £11.


 RSC Midsummer Dance Party, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Sat June 23 – Sun June 24

Kinetika dancers RSC

Photo: Kinetika

Remember the scene in the Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes Romeo and Juliet where they meet at a party and fall in love? So magical and romantic with no hint of what is to befall them. The RSC have joined forces with artists from Kinetika to create a spectacular dance party for the midsummer weekend, inspired by this scene. Join in with making costumes and decorations for the party and learn dance routines so that your ARE ON IT for the climax of the weekend when the dance will be filmed.

Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival, London’s South Bank Centre, June 15-24 

Disappointed to have missed out on tickets for The Cure’s 40th anniversary concert in Hyde Park, London, on Sat July 7? You can always catch the next best thing – Robert Smith’s all-time favourite artists of the last 40 years in this 10-night extravaganza. The first acts confirmed are Deftones, The Libertines, Manic Street Preachers, Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo, The Psychedelic Furs, The Church, 65daysofstatic, Alcest, The Anchoress, Kristin Hersh, Kathryn Joseph, MONO, and The Notwist. Further info here.

Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse, Tues 19 – Sat 23 June

Grab your hat, keep the hemlines long, the fake tan light and enjoy a day of sunshine (fingers crossed), celeb spotting and apparently there are few horses running too. It’s the perfect place to people watch, just don’t overdo the bubbles for fear of making it into the Daily Mail.

Turn of the Screw, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London, Fri 22 June

Photo: Feast Creative

Hurrah for a bit of spooky excitement courtesy of The English National Opera and the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in this reworking of Henry James’ classic novella by Benjamin Britten. The suspenseful story of a young governess trying to protect her children in a remote country house will certainly get the hairs standing up on the back of my neck at this outdoor venue.

Find more ideas here

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