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What’s on This Week?


The Best of BE FestivalWarwick Arts Centre, Mon Feb 26

BE Festival is Birmingham’s international festival of performing arts. This year you can see 3 delicious 30-minute samples of mask, theatre, and circus all in one evening! Spanish company Kulunka Teatro present André and Dorine, an old couple who are forced to find ways to remember what once joined them together after the sudden onset of Alzheimer’s disease – a moving story, beautifully told through full masks. In What Does Stuff Do? bare-chested Bristol-based performer Robin Boon Dale will spend 30 mins, literally, tripping his way through a part guide, part motivational speech on juggling. And finally, Romain Teule’s show, Légende, unpacks the possibilities of language, and plays upon the (mis)interpretation of words, with amusing results. For ages 14+


LOL (Ladies of Laughter) with Noreen Khan, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mon Feb 26

Glam BC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan hosts a night of comedy with three quick-witted ladies:  Sukh Ojla, actress, writer, comedian and professional daydreamer who appeared in Victoria and AbdulBlack Mirror & EastEnders; stand-up comedian Annette Fagon the daughter of a Jamaican newsagent mother, whose odd jobs have included disability support worker, theatre house manager, comedy club waitress and award-winning British stand-up comedian and writer Shazia Mirza.  Limited availability. 16+


The Duchess of Malfi, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs March 1 – Aug 3

l-r Will Brown, Joan Iyiola and Richard Hurst in rehearsal. Photo by Helen Maybanks

After her inventive and critically-acclaimed production of Doctor Faustus in 2016, Maria Aberg returns to the RSC to direct The Duchess of Malfi in her own distinct style. Don’t miss this brutal – but darkly humorous – tragedy. Playing the title role is Joan Iyiola who returns to the RSC having performed in The Roaring Girls’ and World Elsewhere Seasons. Recent theatre performances have included Boudica (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Convert (Notting Hill Gate Theatre) and They Drink it in the Congo (Almeida Theatre). Her twin brother Ferdinand is played by Alexander Cobb – Indian Summers (Channel 4) and Ripper Street (BBC) – and their brother The Cardinal is Chris New, who was Glen in the critically-acclaimed 2011 film, Weekend.

Tel: 01789 403493, rsc

First Aid Kit: Ruins UK tour, Mon Feb 26 – Fri March 2

The melodic Swedish sisters have four UK dates – sadly not in Warwickshire – but definitely worth a trip up to Manchester’s Albert Hall or The Roundhouse, London this week before they jet off around Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and the US. Then they’ll be returning for the summer festival season playing Larmer Tree Festival in Salisbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, Bestival and Waterford’s All Together Now Festival in Ireland.


Spamalot, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue Feb 27 – Sat March 3

Lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this new UK tour by acclaimed producers Selladoor (Footloose, American Idiot, Avenue Q, Little Shop of Horrors) and Mercury Theatre Colchester,  follows King Arthur and his hapless Knights of the Round Table on a divine mission to locate the illusive Holy Grail. Don’t be a knight who says, “no” – grab your coconuts, head down to the theatre and hum along to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

Tel Belgrade Box Office team on 024 7655 3055, belgrade

Morrissey, Genting Arena, Birmingham, Tues Feb 27

Tix still available – the 58-year-old former Smiths frontman has sell-out gigs in Brighton and London later this week. He’ll be performing material from his 11th solo album Low in High School.


Ricky Lee Jones, Assembly, Leamington Spa, Tues, Feb 27

The straight-shooting jazz, rock and blues Grammy Award-winning artist comes to Leamington Spa following the release of her first new album in 10 years – The Other Side Of Desire, in which she pays homage to her home city of New Orleans. It’s one of only 3 UK shows this year – the other two being Edinburgh and London’s Barbican Centre so quite a coup!  Major mainstream success came early in the singer-songwriter’s career with the 1979 hit Chuck E’s in Love and in the 90s The Orb’s Little Fluffy Clouds controversially sampled an interview by Jones.

Theatre Ad Infinitum’s Translunar Paradise, Warwick Arts Centre,  Tue Feb 27 & Wed Feb 28

A poignant, life affirming tale without words, which gathered great acclaim at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe from critics and audiences alike. George Mann and Deborah Pugh are joined by Sophie Crawford to retell the story of widower William. From beyond the grave, his wife Rose returns to help him let go. The actors use intricate and lifelike hand-held masks – created by Madame Tussaud’s senior sculptor Victoria Beaton – to travel back and forth through William and Rose’s relationship, wordlessly conveying a lifetime of memories in 75 minutes.

Box Office: 024 7652 4524, warwickartscentre

Femi Keeling: How to Die of a Broken HeartWarwick Arts Centre, Thu Mar 1

Photo by Benji Reid

A solo theatre show about love, illness, and not giving up. Through stories of her failed relationships, Femi lays bare the desperation so many of us feel when it comes to love, and invites us to both laugh at her mistakes, and accept our own. Full of uncomfortable moments, truths and laughs. An intimate storytelling experience.


12 Crime/thriller authors from the UK, Norway, Iceland, Finland & Germany, Northgate Methodist Church, Warwick, Wed Feb 28

Join Warwick Books and 12 of Europe’s best crime / thriller novelists to discuss their work, their genre and their detectives. Authors include Louise Voss, Michael Malone (A Suitable Lie, House of Spines) Thomas Enger (Cursed, Killed) Antti Tuomainen (The Mine, The Man Who Died) Lilja Sigurdardottir (Snare) Steph Broadribb (Deep Down Dead, Deep Blue Trouble) Simone Buchholz (Blue Night) Su Bristow (Sealskin) Sarah Stovell (Exquisite) Louise Beech (How To Be Brave, The Mountain in My Shoe, Maria in the Moon) Matt Johnson (Wicked Game, Deadly Game, End Game). £5 tickets include refreshments from Oken Tea Rooms.

6.30pm for a 7pm start, Northgate Methodist Church, Barrack St, Warwick CV34 4SL, book in advance 01926 499939 or

Dance to the Music UK Tour, Albany Theatre, Coventry, Wed Feb 28

An all-new dance show created by and starring Strictly’s Kristina Rihanoff,  Robin Windsor and Chris Maloney.  But does it score a ten, darling? Discover dance through the decades: from the roaring twenties, with tap and Charleston, to Argentine Tango, Lindy Hop, Jive, Rock-n-Roll, Funk, Waltz, Disco, Breakdancing, Street, Contemporary Ballet, and Salsa to modern day Ballroom and Latin – two hours of breath-taking dance. Suitable for ages 5+ plus VIP Meet the Cast tickets available (subject to availability) for super fans!


Paul Weller, Genting Arena, Birmingham, Fri March 2

The Modfather will be joined by special guests The Strypes. This summer Weller’s headlining Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival on Aug 25 with The Libertines and The Prodigy.


Tactile Textiles, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat March 3 & Sun March 4

A weekend all about textiles from crotchet to weaving. Join in one of the workshops and learn a new skill if that takes your fancy. More info here.

Elbow, Genting Arena, Birmingham, Sat March 3

Elbow are now bona fide members of rock’s A league. This is an extension of the Manchester band’s recent No 1 Little Fictions’ album tour following a run of sold out theatre shows in March 2017. The band has re-recorded a version of the album track Kindling, which sees the song transformed into a duet between lead singer Guy Garvey and John Grant.  John Grant and his band will also be the very special guest on tour.  In 20 years and seven albums, Elbow’s gentle music has rarely steered from its understated, low-key, emotional vibe and self-effacing Garvey works the crowd like “a virtuoso standup comic”.


Satinder Sartaaj, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Sat March 3

After the huge success of the highest grossing Punjabi feature film in the UK, The Black Prince, a story of Queen Victoria and the Last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh, Sufi singer, composer and poet, Satinder Sartaaj is back performing live at Symphony Hall straight from the Cannes red carpet and IIFA Awards 2017.


Big-ups to Warwickshire’s British Motor Museum, Gaydon

The British Motor Museum in our neck of the woods has been awarded a VisitEngland Gold Accolade, the highest quality achievement available to British attractions. It’s only only awarded to a small percentage of venues each year as part of the Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme – woo hoo!

Handbagged, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Wed Feb 21 – March 3

Two female icons born six months apart: Margaret Thatcher and the Queen. One was destined to rule, the other to lead. But when the gloves came off, which one had the upper hand? Moira Buffini’s Olivier award winning comedy, Handbagged, looks behind the closed doors of the palace to speculate what really happened when two of the most powerful women in the world clashed.

The Loft Theatre, Victoria Colonnade, Leamington Spa 7.30pm & 5pm Sunday Feb 24, Tel: 01926 800360 (answer phone service). 

The Winslow Boy, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Wed Feb 21 – SaMarch 3

A major new revival of Terence Rattigan’s gripping masterpiece directed by Olivier award-nominated Rachel Kavanaugh, Rattigan’s family drama stars Tessa Peake-Jones, who famously played Del Boy’s long-time girlfriend Raquel in Only Fools and Horses, Aden Gillett and Timothy Watson.

Box Office: 0121 236 4455 Online Booking:

Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, until April 15

More than 80 modern and contemporary artworks by internationally renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas, Grayson Perry, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Steve McQueen, Derek Jarman, Sunil Gupta, Chila Kumari Burman and Gillian Wearing exploring themes of gender, sexuality and identity in art.

birminghammuseums, free

Made in the Middle, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, Rugby, now to March 10

 An exhibition celebrating the best contemporary craft and applied art from the Midlands including jeweller Dauvit Alexander, Aimee Bollu, who creates beautiful minimal ceramic vessels,  John Grayson the creator of whimsical, humorous and decorative metal objects and Karina Thompson, who pushes the boundaries of digital embroidery! Free.

The exhibition runs Jan 20-March #madeitm30 #madeitm;

The Lights of Leamington, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, until April 15

During the ’50s an annual autumn festival known as The Lights of Leamington drew 300,000 visitors to the town. Thousands of coloured electric lights turned Jephson Gardens into a wonderland until the switch was turned off in 1961. This new exhibition curated by Birmingham-based artist Stuart Whipps illustrates the diverse ways light runs through the gallery collection. Lights used during the historic festival will be on display alongside light emitting objects linked to Leamington’s history, such as lights used in medical spa treatments, plus paintings and photographs depicting or utilising light. Free.

Clare Woods: Reality Dimmed, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, now – Sat March 10

Clare Woods, Creeping Eruptions, 200 cm x 150 cm, Oil on Aluminium, 2017

Mead Gallery’s Spring exhibition will see renowned Hereford based painter, Clare Woods, exhibit a solo show of never seen before paintings in Reality Dimmed. Her work is held in many international collections and this major exhibition will see her exhibit her raw and powerful painting, which are frequently vast in scale.

Mead Gallery, free 


Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until June 3

I love Barbara Hepworth’s work – if you’re ever in St Ives, be sure to visit her gorgeous house/studio, with its striking sculptures dotted all around the pretty garden. So I’m very excited about this – and what a coup for Henley’s little museum. This retrospective covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see.

Live Lambing every day @Cotswold Farm Park until April 15

Live lambing takes place every day in the state-of-the-art animal barn right up until Easter. Established in 1971 and the home of rare breed conservation, Cotswold Farm Park offers a fun day out for visitors of all ages. cotswoldfarmpark

Ric James, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, Wed Feb 28 to Sat March 24

Strongly inspired by the New York arts scene, multi-media artist Ric James’ work takes a journey across the Atlantic with a mixture of reality-based and abstract work referencing Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Mark Rothko. Fantastic work on canvas and in sculpture – bring your credit card fully flexed!

Amadeus, the National Theatre, London, until Tue April 24

After a critically lauded sell-out run in 2016, Michael Longhurst’s production of Peter Shaffer’s play returns with the brilliant Lucian Msamati – who played Iago in the RSC’s 2015 production of Othello – as composer Antonio Salieri, who strikes a deal with God and is overtaken by a jealous vendetta against his musical rival, Mozart.

National Theatre, SE1,

National Theatre Posters, National Theatre, South Bank, London,  until March 31

Theatre posters advertising National Theatre productions from 1963 to the present day are on display in a free exhibition at the building until March. Curated by Rick Poynor, professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading. it explores changing promotional styles and features some famous productions.

Another Kind of Life – Photography on the Margins, Barbican Centre, London, Wed Feb 28 – May 27

Paz Errázuriz:_From-the-series-La-Manzana-de-Adán-Adam’s-Apple-1983. Copyright: Paz Paz Errázuriz, courtesy of the artist

Touching on themes of countercultures, subcultures and minorities of all kinds, the show features the work of 20 photographers from the 1950s to the present day. Featuring communities of sexual experimenters, romantic rebels, outlaws, survivalists, the economically dispossessed and those who openly flout social convention, the works present the outsider as an agent of change. From street photography to portraiture, vernacular albums to documentary reportage, the show includes the includes the Casa Susanna Collection, Paz Errazuriz, Pieter Hugo, Mary Ellen Mark and Dayanita Singh.

Book here

Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London,  now – March 11

Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.

Snowdrop Time, Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, until Wed Feb 28

snowdrop flowers field

It’s snowdrop time! Choose a dry day (there must be one coming soon, surely?) and wander through drifts of snowdrops, aconites, crocuses and hellebores in the arboretum. Batsford are predicting this as the time to see the snowdrops, but advise calling first on 01386 701441 in case the weather has put the snowdrops in a grump and they’re late flowering.

Pots With Attitude, British Museum, WC1, now to March 11

Bonaparte Dethron’d April 1st 1814. Creamware jug, Cambrian Pottery, Swansea, Wales, transfer-printed in black and painted in enamels, 1814. On loan from a private collection.

In the Georgian age, satirical art really did include images on the inside of chamber pots. Pioneering transfer techniques allowed caricatures to be reproduced on jugs, bowls and other ceramics, piss pots included, taking  contemporary art of the day to a popular audience in alehouses and inns. One reviewer described it as “like Grayson Perry on snuff”.

Modigliani, Tate Modern, now – April  2 2018

The Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is quite a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.

Find more ideas here

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