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June 2019

June 2019

FESTIVAL: Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, June 15-23

This year’s galvanising festival features exciting new writing from Ted Hughes Award winner Raymond Antrobus (pictured above), Julia Copus and Michael Rosen, as well as new music by Nancy Kerr and Will Pound, workshops led by specially-commissioned poet-in-residence, Romalyn Ante, Young Warwickshire Poet Laureate Hannah Owens, and opportunities to learn more about the craft of writing and speaking poetry in new weekday workshops.

Check out the full programme and ticket details here: shakespeare


THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sept 7

Photo by Helen Maybanks (c) RSC

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.


ART: Warwickshire Open Studios, in 151 venues across Coventry & Warwickshire, June 15 – 30
More than 300 amateur and professional artists are this month opening up their studios, workshops, garden sheds, spare rooms, caravans and canal barges (!) to the public. The emphasis is on making art accessible to all and although participants make sales and take commissions, they are also just as happy to have a cuppa and chat about their work. A wide variety of disciplines on showinclude illustration, ceramics, jewellery and silversmithing, photography and textiles, warwickshireopenstudios

EVENT: Royal Ascot Racing Live In Aid of Breast Cancer Care, Bedford Street Bar, Leamington Spa, Fri June 21

One of the most anticipated events in the British summer sporting and social calendar, one day of world-class racing, excitement, fashion and most importantly, drinks. Royal Ascot is always a stylish affair, high fashion and high stakes add to the atmosphere of this, so spend your day at Bedford Street. They’ll be Fizz on arrival, a Gourmet Lunch with Evening Canapes, live music throughout the day, all races shown on big screens, bookie Runners and the Best dressed lady receives a bottle of champagne. Tickets: £35. Limited tickets available so you’ll need to book early via email: concession rate on tables of more than 10


THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7

Caroline Quentin in The-Provoked-Wife. Photo-by-Pete-Le-May

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), 


WARWICKSHIRE: Art in Dunchurch, Fosse House Gallery, The Old Post Office and Inglenook Dunchurch, nr Rugby, June 15 – 30

Art in Dunchurch

This historic Warwickshire village, famous for its connection with the Gunpowder Plot, will be the venue for the largest gathering of local artists in this part of the county as part of Warwickshire Open Studios 2019 –  26 in total! Three fab venues include the lovely Fosse House Gallery, which opened nearly three years ago, where artist/owner Shenac Rogerson will be showing her own original prints and ceramics. Across the road, at the Old Post Office, are artists Jo and Adam Sheridan of Mud and Wool. Jo weaves beautiful freestyle Japanese Saori cloth, while Adam creates ambitiously grand terracotta and stoneware pots in his idyllic garden studio. They’ll be working alongside 4 more artists. Then at Inglenook, a fascinating house dating back 400 years, next to Fosse House Gallery, Julia Sanders, will be exhibiting her innovative textile work which redefines recycled raw sheep fleece into both useable and visual pieces, alongside the work of 15 more artists in her wonderful walled garden. Check out their art on Insta: art_in_dunchurchfosshousegallerymudandwooljuliasandersartist 

Dates: Saturday June 15, 22, 29Sunday June 16 & 23Wednesday June 19 & 26, 10am-4pm. Email:  Jo Sheridan:, warwickshireopenstudios


CHILDREN: The GruffaloBirmingham Hippodrome, Tue June 25 & 26

There’s plenty of fun for all of the family as the classic children’s book The Gruffalo stomps on to the main stage packed full of fantastical creatures. Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Songs, laughs and monstrous fun for children aged 3+ and their grown-ups. Tickets from £15.


FESTIVAL: Festival on the Close, Rugby, June 24 – 27

Motionhouse: Gravity

This summer, Rugby School’s historic Close will once again be transformed into a buzzing hub of culture and creativity with the iconic, 2,000 seat outdoor Cemex Performance Arena on The Close playing host to comedian Jason Manford fresh from his current sell-out arena tour Muddle Class, plus special guests; Showstopper! the Olivier Award-Winning West End improvised musical, Showstopper!; My Kind of Michael written and performed by Nick Cassenbaum and a dance double bill – Gravity & Gibbon by Leamington Spa based top UK contemporary dance company Motionhouse. The festival is supported by an A-list line-up of patrons including Dame Judi Dench and author Anthony Horowitz in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Jason Mansford

Built on a programme of educational workshops for local school children, the festival is a celebration of creativity and culture in the local community with a full range of creative activities for school groups running throughout the week – from learning to dance flamenco to live sports commentary; from creative writing to Chinese dance; from fashion to stage combat. Hundreds of children from local schools and Rugby School will demonstrate their wealth of talent with free plays, concerts, dance shows, art exhibitions, poetry readings and much more. Festival Director Dr Tim Coker says: “Judi has always been very generous with her support of the festival and the work we are doing to offer opportunities to young people, regardless of background, to engage with the arts. We thank her for her continued support.”
Open to the public, tickets for the main events are now on sale at thefestivalontheclose

TALK: The Industry – An evening with TV and filmmakers, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Mon June 24

Sex Education, Netflix

This free event organised as part of Rugby School’s Festival on the Close sees a panel discussion with leading industry figures including Laura Neal, writer on the brilliant British-set Netflix series Sex Education starring Gillian Anderson. While studying at Bristol Uni Laura won the Hull Truck Prize (2007) and was selected for the Paines Plough Future Perfect scheme and the Royal Court writers programme in the same year! At the time of writing, there are only 35 tickets left! A great event particularly for anyone interested in a career in TV or film. Doors open at 5.30pm and the panel debate starts at 6pm. More details here.


EVENT: Save the Children Centenary Celebration Lunch, The Warwickshire Golf & Country Club, Leek Wootton, CV35 7QT, Tues June 25

Join this local children’s charity branch for an entertaining and inspiring lunch to celebrate their founder Eglantyne Jebb and all the supporters who have followed her lead. Three inspirational speakers include Coventry’s Marilyn Payne MBE, fundraiser and volunteer; Anne Watts, a Paediatric Nurse and midwife on the front-line, and Tamara Lowe, Head of Humanitarian Communications at Save The Children Head Office in London. Tickets cost £40 and include a welcome drink, a live session by singer Kathy Morris, a three-course meal and coffee. Tables seat 10 – you can book individual tickets or secure an entire table for your group. The venue is set in beautiful grounds and there’s ample free parking.

Full details are available from or book tickets online at eventbrite


GIN CRUISE! Shakespeare Distillery & Avon Boating now offer a Gin Cruise, Stratford-upon-Avon

All-aboard for a 40-minute gin cruise! Sail down the beautiful Avon through Stratford-upon-Avon with a glass of Stratford Gin in your hand. See all the riverside sights including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare’s burial place, while enjoying a tutored tasting of the craft gins produced by the award-winning Shakespeare Distillery, finishing with a glass of Gin & Tonic to toast your captain & crew!  Book here.

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


MUSIC: Eddi Reader, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Jun 26

Celebrating her 40th year as a live performer, a career which started in 1978, singing on Scottish country rock tours, Eddi Reader performs her brand new studio album Cavalier, released worldwide by Reveal Records,

THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Feb 14 – 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,, Tel: 01789 403493.

MUSIC: Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Thurs June 20 – Sun 23

The biggie this month is Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, a festival for people who are too posh for festivals! This is more a series of chichi al fresco concerts in ridiculously elegant surroundings, with Gladys KnightMs Lauryn HillTears for Fears and Kylie (sadly sold out) on consecutive summer nights.


DRINK, Slurp Wines’ first ever Gin Festival, Slurp Wines, Tramway Road, Banbury OX16 5TU (Next to the train station), Fri June 21 

Banbury and Leamington Spa based Slurp Wines’ first ever Gin Festival with over 30 varieties and 10 local producers including Cotswolds Distillery, TOAD and Salcombe Gin,  Shakespeare Distillery, Pickerings Gin, Foxdenton Gin, Twisting Spirits, Spirit of TOAD, Capreolus Distillery and Pinnock Distillery.  On the night food will be freshly prepared by the Muddy Warks double award-winning restaurant, Dough and Brew, purveyors of wood fired soughdough pizza in Warwick. With live music from the swing and jazz trio The Bluebelles. Tickets for £30 will include gin sampling, 4 perfectly served G&Ts, soughdough pizza and live music.


ART: Compton Verney’s second ‘eyecatcher’ art installation Green Dwelling

Green Dwelling has been imagined by Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, and consists of a collection of differently-sized green blocks ranged across the Old Town Meadow. The blocks highlight the history of the land: once the site of the medieval village of Compton Murdak, the meadow was planted with elm trees in the 18th century, lost due to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. Like a modern Stonehenge, the blocks playfully reference these lost histories. Paths and picnic benches are integral to the design, transforming the meadow into a destination to explore and enjoy. An exciting opportunity to re-frame familiar views of the Grade-I listed mansion house. Great for kids to explore! comptonverney

EXHIBITION: Living with HistoryHall’s Croft cafe, Stratford upon Avon, until Sept 29

Photo © William Mulryne

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 presidentProfessor 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,


GIN: Stratford upon Avon Topiary Gin Festival, Billesley Manor Hotel, Stratford upon Avon, Sun July 7

Set in Billesely Manor Hotel’s 100-year-old Topiary garden is a celebration of local regional artisan gins run in partnership with Stratford-based Shakespeare Distillery. You’ll be able to meet and taste gins produced at 6 local gin distilleries including Puddingstone Distillery, home of Campfire Gin (Tring, Herts), Wood Brothers (Oxon), Sovereign Spirits (Mansfield, Notts), British Polo Gin (Bishop’s Norton, Glos) and Locksley Distilling Co (Sheffield) –  all supported by Fever Tree. These will be served alongside chef’s selection of locally sourced food. A fantastic live music line up throughout the afternoon includes the return of last year’s talented Andrew James – winner of the Cotswold Musician Award – plus, female singer and acoustic duo, Three’s a Crowd, and popular local acoustic trio Wired. Located in the heart of the UK’s best gin distilleries, this perfect chilled Sunday afternoon will not disappoint! £20 tickets include a souvenir branded gin glass, Gin Menu detailing all flavours & cocktails available, plus a welcome Gin & Tonic supplied by Shakespeare Distillery. Ages 18+.

Tickets here: eventbrite


LITERATURE: Book Club LIVE! Also Festival, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Thurs July 4

Fancy having your July book club meet-up in the ground of one of the UK’s top boutique festivals, immersed in nature? BookClub.LIVE is TheAlso Festival‘s event to celebrate the positive social role the Book Club plays in people’s lives and this year will be held on the evening before the festival opens on Thursday, July  4 at Park Farm, Compton Verney. From 6pm the gates to this glorious 50-acre lakeside parkland will be thrown wide open for you and your gang to make it the location for your summer book group. This year Also Festival is working with writer and broadcaster Natalie Haynes who will be at Book Club LIVE to talk about her novel A Thousand Ships (published early May.) Natalie, the author of three novels including The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, also presents the BBC Radio 4 Show Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics.  She was awarded the 2015 Classical Prize and in 2018 took on Boris Johnson and won. Ten years as a stand-up comedian mean you can expect a highly entertaining performer.

Book Club LIVE is held in a beautiful canvas marquee with a bar with wines and beers, bar snacks and, tasty wines and non-alcoholic drinks. Booking has just opened this week here! Warwickshire’s Also festival runs Fri July 5 – 7.


FESTIVAL: Pub in the Park, St Nicholas Park, Warwick, Fri July 5 – Sun  7

Get yer glitter and denim hotpants out as festival season is upon us! Tom Kerridge’s popular gourmet scran meets live music fandango, Pub in the Park, comes to Warwick for the very first time with Tom Odell, Razorlight, Stereo MCs, Toploader and Will Young in tow, as well as cookery demos and talks from winner of The Great British Bake Off 2016 Candice Brown, Jodie Kidd, Fred Sireix the French Maître d’hôtel best known for Channel 4’s First Dates and Adam Bennet from Michelin-starred The Cross in Kenilworth  and Nick Deverell-Smith, owner and head chef of The Churchill Arms, in the Cotswolds.


CHILDREN’S THEATRE: The GruffaloBirmingham Hippodrome, June 25 & 26

There’s plenty of fun for all of the family as the classic children’s book The Gruffalo stomps on to the main stage packed full of fantastical creatures. Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Songs, laughs and monstrous fun for children aged 3+ and their grown-ups. Ticketsfrom £15.



BALLET: (Un)leashed, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, London,  Tue June 25 – Wed June 25

Sense of Time: dancers Celine Gittens and Brandon Lawrence Photo by Ty Singleton. Courtesy of BRB

Birmingham Royal Ballet is doing its bit for gender balance with a triple bill by three female choreographers including former company dancer Ruth Brill and her brand new urban take on Sergei Prokofiev’s classic, Peter and the Wolf (amazing!) . Jessica Lang’s returns with the beautiful Lyric Pieces, originally created for the Company as part of International Dance Festival Birmingham 2012 and there’s the world premiere of Sense of Time, the third Ballet Now commission by Didy Veldman, with a score by Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of Sergei Prokofiev. Try to catch if you can.


NEW EXHIBITION: Manolo Blahnik, The Wallace Collection, London, Mon Jun 10 – Sun Sept 1

This new exhibit contrasts paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement with Spanish fashion designer Manolo Blahnik’s designs. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives and these gorgeous candy pink shoes designed for Sofia Coppola’s award-winning film, Marie Antoinette. There are also a few accompanying talks, Fashion or Art?, Fashion and Power, The Collector, The Interior World, but if you want to go get a ticket quick as they’re selling out fast. This exhibit is free.


NEW EXHIBITION:  Keith Haring, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, Fri Jun 14 – Sun Nov 10

Spot the little guys! A cool exhibit to check out that’s not over in the Big Smoke is this retrospective of Keith Haring, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene.  The exhibit will feature 85 artworks including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.


EVENT: Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse, Tues June 18 – Sat 22 

jockeys on horses racing

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.


BALLET: (Un)leashed, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, London,  Tue June 25 – Wed June 25

Sense of Time: dancers Celine Gittens and Brandon Lawrence Photo by Ty Singleton. Courtesy of BRB

Birmingham Royal Ballet is doing its bit for gender balance with a triple bill by three female choreographers including former company dancer Ruth Brill and her brand new urban take on Sergei Prokofiev’s classic, Peter and the Wolf (amazing!) . Jessica Lang’s returns with the beautiful Lyric Pieces, originally created for the Company as part of International Dance Festival Birmingham 2012 and there’s the world premiere of Sense of Time, the third Ballet Now commission by Didy Veldman, with a score by Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of Sergei Prokofiev. Try to catch if you can.


THEATRE: Offbeat Festival, various locations, Mon June  17 – Sat 29 

The brainchild of Oxford arts venues Oxford Playhouse and Old Fire Station, Offbeat Festival, kicks off this month with a cultural extravaganza of never seen before productions. Started three years ago, the festival is like a mini Edinburgh Fringe and only showcases brand new material with a jam-packed programme of theatre, comedy, dance, family shows and music. Full line up


EXHIBITION: Claudette Johnson: I Came to DanceModern Art Oxford, Sat 1 Jun – Sun 8 Sept

This powerful and moving new exhibition is an overview of artist Claudette Johnson’s life and features her early work from the ’80s when she joined the newly formed BLK Art Group at Wolverhampton University of black British art students, and the moving, political large-scale drawings of men and women she is best know for.


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Oxford Castle Quarter’s annual Shakespeare festival 

Go on, pack your picnic and breathe in the culture! Oxford Castle Quarter’s annual Shakespeare festival which kicks off this week with back-to-back abridged (me likey) Romeo & Juliet and Richard III from BMH Productions (17 – 29 Jun). Or there are two free shows on Gloucester Green, Oxford, We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat featuring cage diving, shark hunting in the small town community of Selsey (22 Jun) and feminist dance/theatre/puppet piece Jane (22 Jun), about pre-Raphaelite artists’ muse Jane Morris, part of Offbeat Festival.


EVENT: Flower Show, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Fri June 21 – Sun 23 

What could make Blenheim Palace‘s grounds even more lovely you ask? Hundreds of gorgeous flowers and Mr George Clark off the telly (The Home Show, The Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces). I’m a sucker for baby blues, sorry Mr M. Blenheim hosts its seventh Flower Show with a Grand Floral Marquee featuring flower art created by international artists, show gardens, shopping village and talks from professional gardeners. Chelsea who?




FESTIVAL: 6th annual Hilltop Farm Beer & Cider Festival, Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, nr Leamington Spa, Fri June 7 & Sat June 8

Finger’s crossed for sunshine this weekend! Enjoy a great few days celebrating the Midlands’ finest beers, ciders, locally sourced food and live music on this beautiful rural Warwickshire family farm  – a Muddy Award 2019 finalist and 2018 winner –  with its own glamping site, cafe, and farmshop. A fabulous family-friendly festival with super talented local bands, family activities and heaps of locally sourced delicious food. Live music will be provided by Jessica Rhodes & Band, Carl Sinclair and The Peas,

 DAY OUT: Open Farm, The Farm Stratford upon Avon, King’s Ln, Snittersfield, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 0QA, Sun June 9
Looking for less screen time and more mud this weekend? Have the whole family don their wellies for a frolic at our Muddy Award 2019 Best Farm Shop Winner, The Farm – Stratford-Upon-Avon’s hottest talking point. Once a treasured pick-you-own fruit farm, this brand-spankingly newly-developed destination is a collective of artisan food producers, Nourish, a wholefood café, farm shop and more. Open Farm Day promises irresistible countryside romping for everyone to enjoy, with a plethora of activities from tractor rides to welly wanging, plus displays and food demos. Rustic revelry with a gourmet flourish – weekend perfection! thefarmstratford

EVENT:Tythe Barn wedding day, Launton, nr Bicester, Sun 9 Jun 

wedding ceremony outside wooden barn doors bride and groom standing side by side

Ding dong, is that wedding bells I hear? A wedding fair but with a twist, the gorgeous 14th century wedding venue Tythe Barn (Muddy HQ’s Kerry Potter got married here!) is hosting a fictional wedding day with all the trimmings from flowers and different ceremony set ups to seating and lighting options. Contact to book a slot to run down the aisle.

TALK: Lucy Worsley –  Queen Victoria – Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon Jun 3

Queen Victoria: a little old lady, spherical in shape, dressed in black, perpetually grumpy. Right? Historian Lucy Worsley wants to make you think again, 7.30pm Tickets: £19,

FAMILY THEATRE: HONK! The Musical, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues June 4 – Sat June 8

After a critically acclaimed London run, Olivier Award-winning musical Honk! is finally flying the nest and soaring into Coventry! This exuberant egg-stravaganza reimagines Hans Christian Andersen’s heartwarming classic The Ugly Duckling in a spectacular production bursting with puppetry, magic, illusions – and water guns! It’s been created by award-winning British writer and composer duo Stiles and Drewe – the team behind musical theatre hits Half a Sixpence, Mary Poppins and The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium.

Tel: 024 765 5 3055, 

TALK: Ben Macintyre: The Spy and the Traitor, Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick campus, Coventry,  Tue Jun 4

A rare opportunity to see one of the greatest historians of our generation tell the tale that changed the course of the Cold War forever, 7.30pm Tickets: £21,

THEATRE: The Ladyboys of Bangkok – Greatest Showgirls Tour, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thur June 6

Cheekier, funnier and more spectacular than ever, this new production features 16 of the world’s most stunning showgirls – who just happen to be men. Packed with more big-scale musical numbers than you could point a perfumed glove at, The Greatest Showgirls combines the glamour of Hollywood with the glitz of Las Vegas and the humour and traditions of the British music hall in one glitzy night. The troupe have been touring the UK for 21 years since making their debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, drawing on a rich Thai cultural heritage. Expect flamboyant costumes, immaculate make-up and showstopping choreography!

**One night only** Tel: the box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade

OUTDOOR THEATRE: Romeo & Juliet, Coombe Abbey, Binley, Coventry, Fri June 7 

Picnic blankets at the ready for some outdoor theatre! Get swept away by the ultimate love story in the grounds of spectacular Coombe Abbey. The captivating Shakespearean classic has been adapted for a family audience, with music, dance and interaction making for an enchanting summer evening, from 7pm. £16; under-11s £11, coombeabbey

 Kenilworth Show, Stoneleigh Park, Sat June 8 

Am not saying it’s going to be muddy or anything! This annual agricultural shindig has an action-packed schedule to cater for all tastes, whether your thing is browsing the artisan trade stands and exhibitions, holding your breath watching Paul Hannam’s Quad Bike Stunt Show or absorbing fascinating facts in the educational zone. From rural crafts to ferret racing and classic cars, the farming fling is a wholesome day out for all the family, from 9am. Tickets: £12.50 advance; £15.00 on the door. Under 16s free.

Kenilworth Show

FESTIVAL: Coventry Pride, Fargo Village, Cathedral ruins, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum & University Square (opp Coventry Cathedral), Sat June 8 & Sun June 9

Parades, indoor and outdoor music stages, a Ghost Town day & night party – from 2pm – 4am  – and a sports day in the Cathedral ruins are some of the highlights of this 2-day free inclusive LGBT+ festival which has grown bigger and bigger over recent years. Advice and support will be readily signposted across the city, including Coventry University’s LGBTQIA+ society and Warwick Uni’s Pride and Prism LGBTQ+ for 13-21-year-olds. Coventry’s two LGBT+ bars, The Yard &  Glamorous will also be supporting the events with free live entertainment. This year’s theme is #SuperHeroesofPride.

DRINK: World Gin Day, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Sat Jun 8

As if you needed another excuse to sink a G&T (or five), the Ashmolean is celebrating World Gin Day with two local gin distillers pitching up outside on the forecourt with tipple inspired by collections at the museum and Oxford’s Botanic Gardens. Expect cocktails, tastings, snacks and deck chairs to crash into after too many free samples.

SHOW: Build It Live, Bicester Heritage Events Centre, Bicester, Sat June 8 & Sun 9 

Planning on building your own house, renovating or adding something a little bit extra? This weekender exhibition has you covered with hundreds of exhibitors. There are also loads of free workshops, demos, seminars to get stuck into, plus helpful advice from home building and DIY experts. Snaffle two free tickets with the code BICSC929 too.

MUSIC: The HEARD Collective, The Big Comfy Bookshop, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sun June 16

Singer-Songwriters Daisy Chute and Cerian co-founded the collective HEARD to promote and support women in music after they first met in the studio recording vocals for Radiohead album A Moon Shaped Pool in 2016 and then singing Ilan Eshkeri’s score for the Burberry fashion show shortly after. They quickly became friends and started performing together on the London circuit. On Sun June 16, the duo will be performing at Coventry’s Big Comfy Bookshop in Fargo Village. HEARD will be talking on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on the same day, so tune in and you can also look out for them at Glastonbury Festival. Three more female singers will be performing at the bookshop’s Comfy & Acoustic night the following Fri, June 21: Tilly Moses from Norfolk will be debuting her new album live supported by Sam Lyon from Cheshire who played over 250 gigs last year and Djana Gabrielle, a French-Cameroonian singer-songwriter.

Tickets for HEARD are £10 in advance HERE. Tickets for the  Comfy & Acoustic night: HERE. Check out forthcoming events here:

CIRCUS: Gifford’s Circus, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Thurs June 6 – Mon 10

Gifford’s Circus pitches up its Big Top once again at Blenheim Palace, on its summer tour with a brand new (and by the look of it, messy) show Xanadu– the theme this year is the Summer of Love, set in Hyde park 1973, so expect hippies, hipsters, rock stars and all-out grooviness alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated circus acts.

ONE-MAN SHOW: Woke, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat June 15 (two performances)


Rapper, writer and beatboxer Testament unpicks his own prejudices in an intimate production with a dose of wit, self-deprecation and a truckload of honesty. World record-holding beatboxer Testament (aka Andy Brooks) reckons he’s a pretty right-on sort of guy. He’s had his poetry featured on BBC Radio 4 and collaborated with well-regarded companies on critically acclaimed theatre shows like Blake Remixed and Black Men Walking. But when his daughter is born, he suddenly finds himself questioning his own “woke” credentials. Woke is an unflinching and often funny look at the gendered assumptions underlying our everyday interactions, fusing elements of beatboxing, rap, storytelling, music, comedy and conversation.
Woke runs at the Belgrade Theatre at 2.30pm and 8pm. Tickets available by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055,
Warwick Art Centre’s Family Day, University of Warwick campus, Father’s Day, Sun June 16 
Perfectly timed for Fathers’ Day, a great opportunity for the whole family to get together and experience sports, arts and creativity in one place, across the University of Warwick’s campus in Coventry, from 10am to 5pm. Enjoy a good old bop with Baby Loves Disco’s Baby Rave and Bhangra Tots, or jump on the Land Train to investigate what’s on offer at the campus’ incredible new world-class £49m Sports Hub, complete with indoor climbing and bouldering experience, and 25m 12-lane swimming pool. See the latest production from Strictly Come Dancing stars Candoco Dance CompanyA Graceful Act of Stupidity, or celebrate the 80th anniversary of The Wizard Of Oz with a colourful new all-singing all-dancing stage production of the iconic movie by Coventry’s acclaimed Three Spires GuildhallPop Chorus, vintage vocal harmony quartet The Boogaloo Babes, and The University of Warwick Flute Choir will be on the music stage. Look out too for Bubbleology, storytelling sessions, science talks for ages 6+, face painting, cupcake decorating, classic board games, a Sensory Zone for little ones to get messy(ish), rocket making, tennis, and much more. Kids can also shoot some hoops and bounce on the trampolines at the Claycroft Activity Zone. The day-long event is inspired by the theme of movement, so scooters, bikes and rollerskates are all welcome too. Full list of all events and activities here:

ART: Painting Childhood & Childhood Now, Compton Verney, until June 16

Chantal Joffe shrewdly depicts her changing the relationship with her daughter as she grows up through her paintings. Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate-2014-ⓒ-Chantal-Joffe-Courtesy-the-artist-and-Victoria-Miro-LondonVenice

Compton Verney’s new spring exhibition takes a fresh and moving look at childhood over the last 500 years boasting masterpieces such as Van Dyck’s The Five Eldest Children of Charles I (1637) from the Royal Collection, Hogarth’s The Graham Children (1742) from the National Gallery, and Millais’ Bubbles (1886) from National Museums Liverpool together with some of Queen Victoria’s sketches of her own children. This is the first time these iconic paintings will be paired with the preparatory sketches that informed them. Alongside Painting Childhood is the expressive, idiosyncratic sister exhibition Childhood Now with three contemporary artists – Chantal Joffe, Mark Fairnington and Matthew Krishanu – who have used their own children or childhood to depict modern youth.  comptonverney

ART: Bridget Riley, The White Room Gallery, Leamington Spa, ends Sat June 13

Coloured Greys, 1972, All images © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London.

 An icon of contemporary British art, Bridget Riley has work on display in many of the world’s most important collections. Her style is instantly recognisable, exploring the relationship between colour and form, creating images that almost dance on the paper. How fortunate for art lovers locally that this Leamington gallery is showing this fantastic collection of work spanning her illustrious career.

Further details here.

Words by Catherine Vonledebur & Rhiannon Pursall

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Warwickshire