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What’s On This Week


RADIO: 6 Music – Art is Everywhere with Mary Anne Hobbs, Tate Britain, London, Sat Dec 1

Luke Willis Thompson, autoportrait, 2017, installation view, Tate Britain, 2018. Courtesy: Tate Photography

This sounds amazing – if you’re an early riser! To celebrate the 2018 Turner Prize Mary Anne Hobbs will be hosting her BBC 6 Music Saturday breakfast show, live from Tate Britain. You can be in the audience for three hours of live guests including Davey Newington of Boy Azooga, who will be performing an intimate session for the show a month after winning the Welsh Music Prize, Anna Calvi, who will be playing tracks from her latest album Hunter and talking about how David Hockney has influenced her song-writing. Mary Anne will also be joined by iconic graphic designer Malcolm Garrett (Buzzcocks, Duran Duran), the 2017 Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, radical set designers Block9 (Glastonbury, Banksy’s Dismaland), and artist and designer Blondey McCoy. If you win tickets you’ll need to be in London for 6am!!

You can apply for a maximim of two tickets before 1.30pm on Tues Nov 27, here or far easier, tune in on Saturday morning.


MUSIC: Christine & The Queens, Birmingham O2 Academy, Mon Nov 26

Hurray for the French singer’s new album, Chris. If the ridiculously catchy ‘80s-grooved single Girlfriend is anything to go by, it should be a doozy for everyone who managed to get tickets! **Now sold out!**


DANCEKamala Devam Company’s Ankushka and Other Mysteries, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon Nov 26

Does fate or free will have a greater hand in shaping the course of our lives? A question asked in three distinctive classical and contemporary South Asian dance solos set to the music of UK indie band Alt J. This work and a multi award-winning dance film,  The Art of Defining Mecombines classical roots of South Indian dance with  the explosive qualities of urban dance and acrobatic movement.Running times: 1hr 40min, 8pm. Studio£13 (£11) Under 26s £10.



PANTO: Sleeping Beauty, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Nov 21 – Sat Jan 6

Iain-Lauchlan as Dame Nanny McWheeze. Photo by Robert-Day

The fab writer and director Iain Lauchlan, who wrote BAFTA-winning series The Tweenies, returns this Christmas as Nanny McWheeze. He will be joined by partner in crime Craig Hollingsworth as Muddles the Jester. Together the comedy double-act will be helping Prince Valiant on his quest to rescue the sleeping princess through a sci-fi Stranger Things (Netflix) inspired time-portal.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


SCIENCE: The Warwick Christmas Lectures:Take a Closer LookWarwick Arts Centre, Mon Nov 26

The University of Warwick’s Faculty of Science’s Warwick Christmas Lectures are an annual festive extravaganza not to be missed. A night of family-friendly science and spectacle, featuring the University of Warwick’s finest minds, explosions, demonstrations and experiments galore. Ages 8 – 108. £3.50.



MUSIC: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary World Tour at Arena Birmingham, Tues Nov 27

Another biggie. 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.



FESTIVE MARKET: Warwickshire’s Etsy Made Local Festive Pop-up market, Fargo-Village, Coventry, Sat Dec 1 & Sun Dec 2

It’s back – bigger and better than ever! Come along to this wonderfully festive pop-up market, featuring some of the best handmade gifts, vintage goods, art and craft supplies available on, Sat (11am – 6pm) and Sun (11am – 4pm).  Fargo’s Vegan Festival is also on the Saturday. Free entry. With more than 50 free artisan goodie bags available on each day, be sure not to miss out! facebook


**LAST WEEK** THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until  Sat Dec 1

An actor in gold armour playing a warrior

Jude Owusu as the king of Persia, Tamburlaine Photo by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

Watch Jude Owusu’s chillingly charismatic portrait of Christopher Marlowe’s violent 14th century warlord, who started life as a shepherd, before conquering Asia. Directed by former RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd, who stepped down in 2012. A big critical hit.



ART: Haroon Mirza: reality is somehow what we expect it to be, Ikon, Birmingham, Nov 30 – Feb 24 2019


UK artist Haroon Mirza recently displayed two new artworks at Frieze London in response to French Fashion house, Louis Vuitton. Imitation, featuring Louis Vuitton bags and wallets, are installations created by the artist, “in response to window displays in various cities by the French fashion house that Mirza says are ‘blatant appropriations’ of his solar-powered sculptures,”. The artists’ new show is the most comprehensive exhibition of his work in the UK to date. The Ikon’s exhibition space will be filled entirely with moving imagery, sculptural installation and electronic sound.


BEAUTY EVENT: Hampton Clinic Open Evening, Hampton Manor, Hampton-in-Arden, nr Solihull, Thur Nov 29

Fancy coming to a pre-Christmas open evening at this Scandinavian-looking lodge and beauty clinic in the grounds of boutique hotel Hampton Manor and Peel’s Michelin-starred restaurant? Think champagne & canapes courtesy of Hampton Manor, fire pits, treatment demos, special offers and an informative talk from owner Dr Lorraine Hill as well as small group taster sessions of Life Coaching and Functional Medicine/Nutrition. 7-10pm, hamptonclinic

Guests are kindly requested to email clinic manager Cherie Rhodes asap if you’d like to attend:


**LIMITED AVAILABILITY ** COMEDY: Dara O’Briain – Voice of Reason, Warwick Arts Centre, Thu Nov 29 – Sat Dec 1 

Dara O’Briain is one of our most popular comics and his new show covers such topics as his midlife hypochondria, fame and technology. His stories are so cleverly interwoven that as the show progresses the intricate structure of his show is revealed. Top-notch intelligent comedy seems on offer here so grab a ticket before it sells out. Ages 14+.



Winter Family Day, Warwick Arts Centre & The University of Warwick, Sun Dec 2

Fancy a festive day out with range of free arts, craft and sports activities? You can get cosy inside the theatre, studio and concert hall and enjoy new Christmas show Wilde Creatures (see above), Lord of Strut’s dance fantasy adventure, and a performance of Handel’s Messiah by the University of Warwick’s own Symphony Orchestra. And if you’re in the mood for a wintry walk  discover giant hares, acrobats and ancient trees on the newly-launched Art and Nature Trail. It follows the hugely successful Summer Family Day in June, 10am – 5pm. Full programme here: warwick


Vegan Festival, Fargo Village, Coventry, Fri Nov 30 & Sat Dec 1

More than 20 totally vegan stallholders will be based in the Box including Fargo’s very own vegan shop The Green Unicorn Vegan Store, vegan brewery Twisted Barrel Brewery and Tap House, and vegan café Totally Vegan, outside there’ll also be street food. The festival runs from 5pm – 10pm on Friday and 11am – 6pm on Saturday.



Spot Santa & Natural Wonders Tree Decorations, Compton Verney, Sun Dec 2

Father Christmas and his faithful reindeer have taken time out of their busy schedule to enjoy a couple of days at Compton Verney (also Sun Dec 9).  Can you spot him as he wanders around this world-famous Capability Brown landscaped park between 1 & 3pm?  You can also explore the great outdoors before getting crafty in the warm to make your own beautiful decorations out of natural materials found in the grounds to hang on your own tree for the festive season, 11am – 4pm.

This event is included in standard Day Ticket admission (Free for Members and Annual Pass Holders), comptonverney


FESTIVE: Magical Lantern Festival, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Fri Nov 23 – Jan 1 2019

This year’s Christmas themed Lantern Festival will illuminate the gardens turning it into a spectacular fusion of dual culture, vibrant colours and life-size artistic sculptures. See some of the most impressive and artistic lantern installations outside of China! It is open Thurs – Sun each week and every day during the school Christmas holidays from Fri Dec 21, 5pm-10pm each day.




THEATRE: Tartuffe, Swan Theatre, Stratford, until Feb 23

Asif Khan as Tartuffe and Sasha Behar as Amira. Production photos by Topher McGrillis (c) RSC

BAFTA and Emmy-Award winning TV writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto – creators of The Kumars at No. 42, Goodness Gracious Me, Citizen Khan and The Office – have reimagined Moliere’s great French comedy in modern-day Birmingham. The result is a sharp, vigorously funny and topical comedy set within the home of a well-to-do Brummie Pakistani family. It cleverly blends themes of religious hypocrisy, #metoo “victim shaming”, Brexit jokes and music styles including a freestyle beatbox rap battle. Review here.



Warwick Victorian Evening and Craft Fair, Market Hall Museum & Warwick town centre, Thurs Nov 29

Get ready for Christmas, browse stalls throughout the museum selling crafts, gifts and art. Visit Father Christmas (£4.50 per child) and take part in a children’s craft activity. Warm up with a mulled wine and mince pie and enjoy hot drinks and cakes and savouries in the museum cafe. Free entry, 5 – 9pm.


Tall Stories’ Wilde Creatures, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University campus, Coventry, Wed Nov 28 – Sun Dec 30

From the company that brought you The Gruffalo, a motley crew of storytelling musicians bring Oscar Wilde’s classic fairy tales to life in Tall Stories’ magical 65-minute new show, direct from London’s West End. Characters from The Happy Prince and other stories spring to life as the pompous mayor, the petulant princess and the love-sick student compete to become the new town statue. A perfect festive treat for everyone aged 5 to 105. Tickets: £15.50 (£13.50),



Over the Top, B2, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat Dec 1 – Sat Dec 29

This has to be one of the funniest and silliest Christmas shows. Each year Coventry-based playwright Nick Walker outdoes himself with a new script inspired by the main stage panto such as his Beauty and the Beast-inspired comedy horror Vampomime, film noir spoof Private Dick Whittington, panto comedy crime caper Oh No It Isn’t! and 2017’s spaghetti Western-style The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sisters. His sixth show deals with #FirstWorldWarProblems, following a group of fearless suffragettes who find themselves stuck behind enemy lines in 1918. A fab all-female cast directed by leading UK actor Katy Stephens.

Tel: Box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade


The Wizard of Oz, Birmingham REP, until Sun Jan 13

Follow the yellow rick road to the REP this Christmas!  Directed by Liam Steel, a core collaborator at Regents Park Open Air Theatre and choreographer on the Oscar-winning film version of Les Miserables he’s bringing a fresh, authentic take and a bit of sass to this glorious family musical. Chisara Agor plays a cool urban-style denim dungaree and Doc Martin wearing Dorothy. Tickets from £15, previews from £10 (subject to availability, £2.50 transaction fee applies) Box Office: 0121 236 445,


Christmas Wine Tasting, Leamington Wine Company, Fri Nov 30

Can you think of a better way to spend your Fri evening? More than 100 wines and spirits will be available to sample at this festive showcase of the store’s favourite drinks to help you decide what you would like to be drinking over Christmas  Staff will be  taking festive orders on the night for collection before Christmas Day, 6.30 – 9pm.

Tickets £35 available in store on 01926 888994.


ART: Whistler and Nature, Compton Verney, until Dec 16

James McNeill Whistler, Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

An autumn ‘must-see’. Warwickshire’s Compton Verney is casting a new light on the work of the great late-Victorian painter, James McNeill Whistler, in respect of his family’s army background. Whistler and Nature (Sat Oct 20 – Dec 16), curated in partnership with The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow. The exhibition, which includes 90 oil paintings, explores the artist’s revolutionary attitude towards the natural world.

Compton Verney


Handcrafted Festive Market & Santa’s Grotto, Catthorpe Manor Estate, Lutterworth, nr Rugby, Dec 2 

A charming festive emporium of beautiful handmade gifts all under one roof at Catthorpe Manor’s annual Handcrafted Festive Market made by artists and craftspeople from across the Midlands, organised in partnership with Handcrafted Delights. Breakfast with Santa, 9am – 10am, & Afternoon Tea with Santa,  4-5pm (booking required), plus choirs, face-painting and hog roast. Free admission, 10am – 5pm.



Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome, Fri Nov 23 – Thur Dec 13

This world-famous BRB production by Sir Peter Wright, with exquisite designs by John Macfarlane has been part of the city’s Christmas tradition for more than 27 years. Enjoy Tchaikovsky’s fabulously festive ballet score, gigantic sets, lavish costumes, 60 dancers and a full orchestra.

Tickets from £20birminghamhippodrome


ART: Chawan: International Teabowl Exhibition, The Stratford Gallery, Stratford, until Dec 5

stoneware Japanese teabowl in white and green

Akido Hiral, Stoneware Isu wood ash glaze with engobe, 2018, £280 (available online)

An exhibition showcasing 41 makers from Japan, Korea, America and Europe of Japanese teabowls or Chawen.



Christmas Markets, Hatton Shopping Village, every weekend from Sat Nov 24 – Dec 16 & every day Dec 21 – 23

Back by popular demand are the Christmas Markets (10am – 5pm) at this quintessentially English Victorian shopping village, home to a myriad of independent retailers. For those after a unique and special gift, there will be a diverse range of stalls from local suppliers. At the weekends visitors can also enjoy festive singing, mulled punch, mince pies and a great festive atmosphere.


BOOK NOW: A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Dec 4 – Jan 20

Bah, humbug! With a new cast for 2018 including Aden Gillett replacing Phil Davis as Scrooge and all the magic and cosiness of last year’s smash new adaption by David Edgar, this ‘magnificent & wonderful’ (Daily Telegraph) show is selling quickly and now only has best availability for January performances. A wonderful Victorian festive treat!



Dick Whittington, Royal Spa Centre & Town Hall, Leamington Spa, Sat Dec 1 – Sun Dec 30

Panto favourites JP McCue and Sean Dodds will be returning for a fifth year. JP will be donning his fabulous frocks and killer heels as Dame Dolly  Fitzwarren and Sean will be starring as Silly Simon in this festive family production by Imagine Theatre. With some performances already sold out book early  to avoid disappointment.

Tel: 01926 334 418, royalspacentreandtownhall


FESTIVE MARKET: Christmas Fair, Upton House, near Banbury, Sat Dec 1 & Sun Dec 2

Courtesy of the National Trust, photo by Peter Young


Vintage crafts and fantastic food from local producers. Expect more than 30 stall holders and warm up with a coffee or a glass of mulled wine while you shop. The House, which opens to visitors at 12 noon, will also be decorated to reflect Christmas in the 1920’s, 11am – 4pm. This event is free, but normal admission charges apply for the venue. You can also see the house decorated for a 1920s Christmas.



FESTIVE MARKET: Frankfurt Christmas Market, Victoria Square & New Street, Birmingham until Sun Dec 23

Prost! Bratwursts, tankards of German beer and hot Glühwein – it can only mean one thing… Brum’s Frankfurt-style market is back, now attracting more than 5.5million visitors a year! It’s the largest outdoor Christmas market in the UK, and the biggest German market outside Germany and Austria, open 10am – 9pm.  thebfcm


FESTIVE MARKET: Christmas Floating Market, Brindley Place, Birmingham Sat Dec 1 & Sun Dec 2

Something a bit different as this colourful city canal market returns for one weekend only, 10am – 4pm. 



FESTIVE: Ice Skate Birmingham, Eastside Green, Birmingham, now until Sun Jan 6

One of the best outdoor skating rinks in the UK, it can accommodate 300 people per 45-minute session on the ice. You don’t have to be Tonya Harding but private skating tuition can be booked ahead if required! This year the rink has been relocated from Broad Street to Eastside Green, off New Canal Street. It’s open, 10am – 10pm, with the last skating session at 9pm (need to arrive 30-mins before). Next door is The Ice Lounge with festive food and drinks.






FESTIVE: Christmas Carnival, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, now until Wed 2 Jan

Using the amazing artworks in the Waddesdon collection for inspiration, the house and grounds are a feast for the senses this Christmas. The house is decorated beautifully, inspired by the Venetian carnival and 18th century fancy dress, and the manor is hosting its biggest Christmas fair ever with food and gifts on offer from charming wooden chalets (until Sun 16 Dec). There’s also a light show by the Guildhall School, this year projected onto the stables, and featuring Waddesdon’s objects, gardens and architecture until Wed 2 Jan. Muddy Bucks/Oxon went to the opening night – read our review here.


FESTIVE: Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail, Blenheim Palace, Oxon, Fri Nov 23 – Jan 1 2019

Blenheim’s Christmas light shows are pretty spectacular and this year’s trail has even more lasers, projections and thousands of pea-lights. There’s a new Field of Light, the scented Fire Garden, a Canopy of Light and Singing Trees. Santa and his elves will also be popping up along the way too. The house opens up this Sat decorated with the theme of Cinderella and the Christmas Market begins in the Great Court with rustic wooden chalets selling all sorts of festive gifts.


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Kew Gardens, London, Thurs 22 Nov – 5 Jan

Photo: RBG Kew

A spectacular winter trail with over a million twinkling lights and thousands of laser beams, Kew’s light show is awe-inspiring. You can be mesmerised by the Fire Garden, walk through the moonlit woods and check out the laser garden. Mulled wine, hot choc and spiced cider will help keep you warm and the kids can whizz round on vintage fairground rides whilst looking out for Santa and his elves.


THEATRE: True West, Vaudeville Theatre, London,  until Sat Feb 23 2019

Head to town for the West End Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard’s ferociously funny, modern classic, True West, which opens today. Directed by Matthew Dunsteran Olivier-nominated director, playwright, actor and Associate Director at Shakespeare’s Globe, and starring Kit Harington (of Game of Thrones fame) and Johnny Flynn (Genius) as warring brothers, this sure sounds like a goodie.


THE RSC’s UK SCHOOLS & THEATRE TOUR: First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors until Dec 7

Wondering what’s the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for 7 – 13-year-olds? The RSC’s fab First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errorsa 90-minute abridged version just for kids, is touring several partner schools and theatres across the UK including Northampton, Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Kent, York, Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent. A lovely, interactive experience for families. See our review and where it’s heading here.



ART: Klimt/Schiele, Royal Academy of Arts, London,  until Feb 3

Courtesy of the Royal Academy of Arts, London and the Albertina Museum, Vienna.

This is going to be hugely popular. Both Viennese artists, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele died in 1918 – the same year as the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in which they lived. See their work side-by-side including 100 portraits, sketches and erotic nudes.



THEATRE: The Wider Earth, The Natural History Museum, London, now until Sun 30 Dec

Exciting news – there’s a theatre in the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum for the European premiere of award-winning drama The Wider Eartha play about the young Charles Darwin. Puppets, an original score and cinematic animations make this theatrical event a great draw for kids plus they’ll learn a helluva lot in the process.


DESIGN: Home Futures, The Design Museum, until March 24 2019

Immerse yourself in a series of dreamlike passages and rooms designed by New York-based architects SO-IL and exploring yesterday’s visions of the future – as avant-garde speculations are displayed alongside contemporary objects and new commissions including a ‘televised house’ where TV screens are integrated into every piece of furniture, giant cactus coathangers (1972) and a 60’s mobile office in the form of a transparent bubble!

Open daily 10am-6pm (last admission 5pm.)  Adult £16, Child (6 – 15 years) £8  Student/concession £12,


FESTIVE: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, now until Sun 6 Jan

hyde park winter wonderland illuminated heater skelter and fairground ride London

Go big or go home when it comes to festive fun, London’s Winter Wonderland is huuuuge. Free to enter but once inside, prepare to sell a kidney. The costs can get out of control – particularly if you hit the glühwein a little too hard. What to expect? Winter markets, fairground rides and ice skating. Major attractions this year include the Magical Ice Kingdom Secret Forest, an immersive showcase of woodland animals and mythical creatures created from ice and snow; a Bavarian village offering an authentic Oktoberfest experience; karaoke cabins, ice sculpting workshops, the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club, immersive screenings of The Snowman and plus Peter Pan on Ice.

Find more ideas here

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