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What’s On this week


**OPENING NIGHT** THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs Aug 16 – Dec 1

Watch Jude Owusu’s portrait of Christopher Marlowe’s extremely violent yet charismatic 14th century emperor as directed by former RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd, who stepped down in 2012.


FLASHBACK! FILM: Heathers 30th anniversary Re-issue, Everyman Cinema, Stratford, & Showcase Cinema De Luxe, Coventry Tues Aug 14 

Omg is it really 30 years since this seminal dark 80s teen movie with Winona Ryder and Christian Slater? The film is being re-released by Arrow Films in a new 4K restoration, with picture as sharp as the cutting dialogue. Also showing at selected Vue Cinema, The Mockingbird Cinema in Birmingham (until Aug 15), Cineworld, Picturehouse, Stratford (Mon Aug 13, 8.30pm)


** PRESS NIGHT** THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Aug 4 – Sept 22

Photo by Paul-Stuart – design by RSC Visual Communications

Not to be missed! Fiona Laird has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Lester (lucky lady!). She not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it! A glamorous suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over inflated egos starring a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison, Charlotte Josephine and RSC Associate Artist David Troughton. (In cinemas Sept 12).


Muller Grand Prix Birmingham, Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, Sat Aug 18

British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith

See the likes of the amazing sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, who won three golds in the European Championships, newly crowned European 400m champion Matt Hudson-Smith, Zharnel Hughes, Reece Prescod and Holly Bradshaw, as well as some of the world’s best athletes in one of the highlights of the 2018 outdoor season. Last year Sir Mo Farah brought the house down as he raced on the track in the UK for the very last time…


Fizzy Moon’s Gin Festival, Fizzy Moon Brewhouse, Regent Street, Leamington Spa, Fri Aug 17 – Sun Aug 19

Fizzy’s Gin & Fizz festival is fast approaching and guess who’s making a special appearance – Eastender’s Ian Beale, actor Adam Woodyatt who has created his own gin, NEAT. Enjoy a range of classic, modern and new introductory Gins, Prosecco, Sparkling Wines and Champagne. Other brand ambassadors will also be popping in. 


BOOK NOW! FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENT: Summer night-time spectacular, Dragon Slayer,Warwick Castle, Fri Aug 24-Mon Aug 27

Photo by Andy Sallis

Looking for something to entertain kids aged 8+? This is Warwick Castle’s first night-time experience telling the tale of 10th Century warrior Guy as he battles foes and dragons in a bid to gain a knighthood and win the heart of his one true love Princess Felice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick. It’s an explosive epic tale depicted over the course of an evening using live action, animation, equestrian acrobatics, fire and pyrotechnics. Boom! Only 5 more scheduled performances left! There’s also War of the Roses, the regular birds of prey demos, the Mighty Trebuchet, archery and ramparts for day time fun.

Tickets start from £15 for show only with immersive dining packages also available,

BOOK NOW Limited Availability! Janelle Monáe, Manchester Academy & London Roundhouse, Sept 10 – 12

A very welcome return for the quirky US R&B star, who returned in April with her first album in five years, Dirty Computer, and now you can see her perform live at these three gigs – the only ones booked in the UK so far. She hasn’t been twiddling her thumbs for the past five years, by the way. She starred in Oscar-winning coming-of-age tale Moonlight and Hidden Figures, the movie that told the story of NASA’s pioneering black female scientists in the 1950s.

OPEN-AIR THEATRE: The Winter’s Tale, Hall’s Croft, Stratford, Sun Aug 19


The Festival Players, an all-male theatre company will be performing The Winter’s Tale in the beautiful walled-garden, 7.30pm.

Matilda The Musical, Birmingham Hippodrome, until Sat Sept 8

Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderfully witty RSC musical while it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it! Next up, Manchester…


ART: The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Sat June 30 – Sun Sept 30

A rare opportunity to see an exhibition devoted to kinetic art and the history of automata. Almost 60 works, dating from 1625 to the present day, will – quite literally – come to life before your very eyes. The show includes loans from across the UK, including the smallest – a 4cm tall Fabergé elephant loaned from the Queen and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley (above) by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang designer Rowland Emett. You can also enter the magical world of mechanical toy model maker and children’s author/ illustrator Rodney Peppe.


OPEN-AIR THEATRE: The Dell, Avonbank Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon, every weekend in Aug

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

Every weekend during August, there is free live theatre at the RSC’s open-air theatre close to the river, The Dell, hosting a range of lively student, community and semi-professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays. They include Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group’s Much Ado About Nothing on Sat Aug 18.

Check out the full schedule herersc

BOOKING NOW: Pop-up Supper Club, with chef James Goodyear, Hampton Manor, Hampton-In-Arden, over 9 dates in September

The Manor’s walled garden

Already there is a waiting list with only one table for four remaining. James Goodyear, formerly of Maaemo (3 star), Le Manoir (2 star) and Dabbous (1 star), will be bringing the very best out of their garden produce while in-house mixologist Loic Cretel will be creating the cocktails. Enjoy an evening of “refined but soulful food and drink” inspired by autumn in the Victorian Walled Garden. The pop-up will be fully supported by Head Chef, Rob Palmer, and his Michelin team. Roam the garden, join the chefs at the pass, or kick back in the lounge between courses.


THEATRE: Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, until Sept 21

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.

Nature Days, Upton House and Gardens, nr Banbury, Thurs Aug 16

Meet Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Warwickshire Hedgehog Rescue, Give It A Grow and Warwickshire Badger Group who will be helping to keep children entertained with pop-up stands filled with fun activities including making a mini-composter and clay hedgehogs. They can also enjoy fresh air on Upton’s outdoor nature trails.


THEATRE: Macbeth, RST, Stratford, until Sept 18

The Macduff family with Poldark’s Edward Bennett on right. 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!

KIDS: Family Fun Day, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, Thurs Aug 4 – 23

Jewellery making demo

Every Thursday between 1 and 3pm join the Learning officer for a family-friendly guided tour of the Smith and Pepper jewellery factory and craft activity, £8 adults & £4 children.

BOOK NOW! The Big Feastival, Alex James’ Farm nr Kingham, Fri 24 – Sun 26 Aug

This posh nosh extravaganza from cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James hosts top chefs including Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc, Pierre Koffmann, Ashley Palmer Watts, and music from Professor Green, Clean Bandit, Paloma Faith, Basement Jaxx, James Arthur and Tom Odell. There’s various camping options with glamping bolt-ons and lots of fun for the kiddos too, including appearances by Paddington, Peppa Pig & George and Justin Fletcher (Mr Tuuuumbleee) plus a creche for under 5s provided by Nipperbout.

FAMILY: Meet the Jacobean Barber Surgeon, Hall’s Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wed Aug 15 

Pic credit: (c) Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:

Visit Hall’s Croft in Old Town and help Physician John Hall prescribe Jacobean cures to his patients. Discover what it was like to be a Jacobean Barber Surgeon with the Live’n History team. See and touch the tools the surgeon would have used and hear the grizzly tales of the procedures they would have carried out, 12pm – 4pm.


FAMILY-FUN: The Duck Race 2018, Coughton Court, Wed Aug 15

Plastic yellow ducks lined up on a pond in the grounds of a stately home

Courtesy of Coughton Court

Celebrate the summer holidays by getting all the family together to sponsor a duck on Coughton’s traditional duck race down the River Arrow at 2pm, plus traditional games for families.


EVENT: Shakespeare’s New Place Celebration Party, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sun Aug 19

Pic credit (c) Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:

Join us as we mark the second birthday of Shakespeare’s New Place opening. To celebrate there will be face painting, a magician, live music and a dressing up competition where there will be a prize for the best dressed. Stratford-upon-Avon residents (CV37) and emergency services employees*and their families can visit New Place for free. *(proof of address required),  12pm- 4pm.


EVENT: Pizza Making, Foundry Wood Outdoor Classroom, Leamington Spa, Sun Aug 19

Drop-in and make a pizza on the wood-fired pizza oven at this community woodland, £4 a slice, 12 – 2pm.



SPORT: Oxford Royal Regatta, Oxford, Sat 18 – Sun 19 Aug

Couldn’t see a thing at Henley Regatta? This smaller, popular Oxford regatta on the Isis river is organized annually by the City of Oxford Rowing Club. Racing is over a 1000m course on Saturday and a 500m sprint on Sunday with the usual array of tight lycra, bulging muscles and, um, great technique. Fun all round!

FILM: Film4 Summer screen, Somerset House, London, until Weds 22 Aug

If you can make it into London, head for the popular Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Featuring a mixture of premiers, old classics and recent hits, the venue’s fountain courtyard is a corker of a setting on a balmy summers evening in the capital. Highlights include the opening night premiere of The Wife introduced by Glen Close, Call Me By My Name on 20 Aug and Selma on 21 Aug.

Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy, Tate Modern, until Sept 9

Pablo Picasso The Dream (Le Rêve) 1932, Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2018

Enter rooms that burst with colour and creativity, filled with paintings, drawings, and sculptures from a single prolific year in the artist’s life. This critically-acclaimed exhibition is selling fast. You can make a day of it and go crazy ordering two courses from the Picasso-themed menu in the gallery restaurant with exhibition entry…


Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018, until Aug 27

Image of Glasgow-based artist Mele Broomes in Void by Jack Wrigley

Take a leap into the unknown at the world’s biggest arts festival. Highlights range from Void, a one-woman dance version of JG Ballard’s 1974 novel Concrete Island to Four Go Wild in Wellies a dance show for children aged 3 – 5 directed by children’s theatre hero, Anna Newell and a limited run of 2017 festival award-winning Woke Apphia Campbell’s monologue fusing the lives of two women, told with gospel and blues songs. There’s humour from eccentric Irish stand-up Dylan Moran, Welsh comic Kiki Pritchard-McLean, Luisa Omielan, Kieran Hodgson and even a Bon Jovi musical, We’ve Got Each Other!

Full line-up of shows: edfringe

FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until 9 Sep

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft (9 double decker buses!) above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the tube any day of the week. What we’ll do to avoid our faces been wedged in someone’s sweaty armpit. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. Suitable from 8+

THEATRE: Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August

This August, children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.

CULTURE: Family Museum, Libraries and Gardens Trawl, Oxford, all summer

Want to encourage your kids to visit all the great museums, libraries and gardens in Oxford this summer? If they’re of an age where stickers and prizes are enough to get them through the door then take part in this family campaign. Grab a passport from the information desk at The Ashmolean, Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers, Museum of the History of Science, Harcourt Arboretum, Bodleian Library or Botanic Garden and each time you visit get a sticker. Three stickers equals prizes equals happy kids equals smug parents.

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.

THEATRE: Little Shop of Horrors, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Fri Aug 3 – Sept 15

This off-beat musical about florist shop assistant Seymour who pines for his work colleague Audrey but doesn’t know how to win her heart or what to do to sate the appetite of a human-eating plant looks great fun. Matt Willis from Busted fame, drag queen Vicky Fox from the USA support Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin star in an OTT show that seems perfect for summer in the lovely setting of Regent’s Park (bonus fact – the theatre boasts the longest bar in the West End!).

Find more ideas here

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