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Things to Do this week


Macbeth, RST, Stratford, Tue March 13 – Sept 18

Photo by Paul Stuart

A contemporary version of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller with the fab Christopher Eccleston, brilliant in BBC 1’s The A Word, and revered Irish actor Niamh Cusack as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and directed by Polly Findlay. This is undoubtedly the must-see production of the RSC’s 2018 Summer Season!

Book here.

Rupi Kaur, Town Hall, Birmingham, Sat March 24

With almost 2 million followers the Canadian artist, is a global sensation, part of a new generation of Instapoets and a #1 New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author and illustrator of two collections of poetry, milk and honey and the sun and her flowers. She will be giving a special evening of performance poetry. Kaur writes about love, sex, rejection and relationships as well as darker material: abuse, beauty standards, racism.


Iain Stirling: U OK Hun?, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Wed March 21

Iain Stirling, who is selling out across the UK with his new tour, U OK Hun? Pic by Dominic Marley

BAFTA winning comedian Iain Stirling is back after a summer narrating smash hit Love Island and now you can actually see his face on new tour, U OK Hun? on Wed March 21.

Check out the full list of comedy performances here:

The Duchess of Malfi, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs March 1 – 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 modern dress version of The Duchess of Malfi in her own distinct style. Topically it’s all about gender politics and toxic masculinity! Stunning Cambridge graduate 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 the critically-acclaimed 2011 film, Weekend. Read Muddy’s Q & A with Joan here.

Tel: 01789 403493, rsc

Rae Morris, O2 Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham, Wed March 21
Feeling a bit sweaty in that rubber one piece Rae? The slightly Madonna-ish looking Rae Morris, a Blackpool singer songwriter who sounds a bit like Bjork and has been waiting in the wings for her big break for some time, comes to the Midlands to promote her second album, Someone Out ThereThe Guardian called it  a ‘supremely confident record’ and Morris’s vocals as ‘elegantly skittish, but commanding, too’. Make your own decision on that on 20 March.
Shop Front Theatre Festival, Coventry, Fri March 23 & Sat March 24

Nick Walker’s Made in Store

Award-winning Theatre Absolute will be hosting the UK’s first ever Shop Front Festival to shops, precincts, pedestrianised squares and even IKEA – bed department. It’s the first big cultural event since Coventry was announced City of Culture 2021 winner. There’ll be innovative pop-up performances, DIY Dance, The Empathy Museum where visitors are invited to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – while listening to the original owner ‘s story on headphones (39 Smithford Way,) a celebration of the Art of Queuing with Talking Birds’ The Q and Nick Walker’s Made in Store is a semi-improvised show made in collaboration with shopkeepers. Quirky fun!

See the full two-day itinerary here: theatreabsolute

Paloma Faith, Genting Arena, Birmingham, Wed March 21

The kooky Brit Award winner and ex-judge from The Voice is on a UK arena tour with songs from new album The Architect.


FarGo’s Independent Gin Mini-Festival! The Box, FarGo Village, Coventry, Fri March 23 & Sat March 24 

There’s so many new independent gins distilleries popping up. A great many will all be here under the one roof, so plenty of opportunity to try some new gins and learn about them from the distillers themselves, 6pm – 11pm on both days. Tickets £7.50.


Storytelling Corner, Slate Art Gallery, Leamington Spa, Thurs March 22

A special line up of storytellers will share their own April Fool tales at this vibrant local indie art gallery, which runs a host of events from Open Mics to comedy nighters and live music. Beverages (of all sorts) will be available on the night, with an opportunity to admire the art on display. You’d be a fool to miss it! 7.30-9.30pm


Mary Arden Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford, now open

Taking the kids for a walk at Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote.

The award-winning Tudor farm and childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother re-opened earlier this month. Located in the picturesque Warwickshire village of Wilmcote, new additions include a new outdoor play area, craft den, woodland trail and Tudor crop field. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of an organic working Tudor farm, meet the gorgeous new arrivals on this Rare Breed accredited farm including the incredibly cute Mangalitza piglets, fluffy goat kids and Cotswold, Portland and Norfolk Horn lambs bounce their way through the 23 acre farm. The café has received a Gold standard Food for Life Award from the Soil Association.

Book online to save 10% plan your visit here, shakespeare

The Fantastic Follies of Mrs RichSwan Theatre, Stratford, Fri March 23

Way before Madonna, Mrs Rich (played by Sophie Stanton) was a material girl in search of her man. A hysterical comedy of distinctly female wit. Unlike Aphra Behn, a fellow female playwright from the late 1600s, 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.

Sister Act, Avon Valley Theatre, Rugby, Tues March 20 – Sat March 24

This sassy musical comedy about an American lounge singer who’s put under protective custody in a San Francisco convent is brought to life by Interesting Theatre, a new Rugby-based all-adult amateur musical theatre group, led by volunteers and a registered charity. They have a cast of 28, including some of the best talent in the area ranging from 17 to 70 – with many travelling from Birmingham, Coventry, Leamington, Leicester, Market Harborough, Northampton and Rugby to take part! That’s celestial devotion…You may just discover the next Whoopi Goldberg!

Avon Valley Performing Arts College, Newbold, Ruby. Book here, interestingtheatre, and on the show’s Facebook event page

Young Fathers, O2 Institute2, Birmingham, Tues March 20

I love their stylishly stunning yet slightly freaky Voodoo in My Blood vid with Massive Attack starring Gone Girl actress Rosamund Pike. Following on from supporting Massive Attack and featuring on the Trainspotting soundtrack, this award-winning Edinburgh hip-hop trio are touring with material from their catchy new album Cocoa Sugar.

Book here.

Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship. English Artist Designers 1922-1942, Compton Verney, Sat March 17–June 10

The Greenhouse: Cyclamen and Tomatoes

Ravilious & Co will tell a story that has never been told before. This exhibition of the prolific artist and designer Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) also coincides with the 75th anniversary of his death in Iceland during the Second World War. One of 3 superb new exhibitions and accompanying events at Warwickshire’s finest art gallery and park as it opens this spring. See more below…


Created in Conflict: British Soldier Art from the Crimean War to Today, Sat March 17 – Sun June 10 

Private Thomas Walker, by Thomas William Wood courtesy of The Royal College of Surgeons of England

This exhibition brings together a rich variety of resonant items, including tankards made by troops in the trenches during World War I, game pieces carved by Prisoners of War during World War II, and toys and quilts made by convalescing soldiers. Created in Conflict features important loans from the V&A, the Imperial War Museum, and the Museum of Military Medicine. On Thurs March 22 there is a Curators’ Tour and Tea giving visitors greater insights into the two new exhibitions, between 2.30pm and 3.30pm, followed by an informal discussion over tea and cake.


The Play that Goes Wrong, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mon March 19 – Sat March 24


Back on the road by phenomenal demand, the multi-award-winning comedy crashes back onto the Belgrade after its sell-out success last Jan. Currently stumbling through its 4th catastrophic year in London’s West End, the show has been showered with praise by critics and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and won endorsements from celebrities including Joanna Lumley. The plot follows an ill-fated attempt by the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society to put on a 1920s murder mystery play.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade

British Folk Art Collection Reimagined, Compton Verney, opens Sat March 17 & Guided Tour on Sat March 24

Compton Verney Wallpaper Design © St Jude’s

To celebrate the re-opening of the gallery following a £100,000 renovation project, artist and designer Mark Hearld was commissioned to completely re-hang the pictures and objects. Mark who studied Illustration at Glasgow School of Art before completing a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Art, is renowned for his wallpaper designs. He has also produced many new works in response to the Folk Art collection. This Saturday (March 24), at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm, Mark will act as a guide around the new gallery, picking out interesting pieces and explaining the creative processes by his own artworks on display.


The Kite Runner, Birmingham Rep, Mon March 13 – Sat March 24 

The wedding scene, The-Kite-Runner, 2018. Photo by Betty-Zapata

Based on Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 international best-selling novel, this haunting and powerful story set in Afghanistan has been adapted into a stage production by Matthew Spangler. Review in Arts & Culture.

Tel: Box Office on 0121 236 4455, birmingham

Cov Uni Exposure Photo Festival, CET Building’s pop-up artspace & museum, Corporation St, Coventry, March 21- 26

A pop-up exhibition by 50 second year Coventry University BA Photography Students. More than 100 photographs will be on show in several gallery spaces on the first floor of the CET. Preview night with drinks reception (open to all) is Wed March 21 6-9pm. Times: March 22 – 24 12noon – 4pm; March 26 12noon – 2pm.

Open Mic Night, Shakespeare Centre, Stratford,Wed March 21

A special poetry open mic night where you can perform your own works, or stay and watch dynamic poetry readings.  Arrive by 7pm to register if you would like to read your work, 7.30pm – 9.30pm.

Julius Caesar: First Encounters, RSC, Stratford, Thurs March  22 –Sat March 24

Photo by Sam Allard

Great idea this. A new version of Julius Caesar for 8-13 year olds. Part of the RSC’s First Encounters with Shakespeare series, these engaging adaptations are 90 minutes long, use Shakespeare’s original language and ask audiences to participate in the story. Beats Lett’s Notes any day (come on admit it, you used them too).

Launch of three new exhibitions: Langlands & Bell, Rie Nakajima and Clément Cogitore, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Wed March 21 – June 3

Rie Nakajima, photo by Greg Pope

Join the gallery to celebrate the opening of their new exhibitions. There’ll be a live performance by Rie Nakajima, 6.30pmPay bar. 6–8pm – FREE.



Gwenno, Bullingdon Arms, Oxford, Fri March 23

The excellent Welsh psychedelic synth-pop artist who sings about cheese and minority languages is currently on tour, this week you can catch her in neighbouring Oxon! Previously an Irish dancer with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance in Las Vegas, she’s the daughter of Welsh and Cornish language activists. Her 2014 first solo album Y Dydd Olaf was in the Welsh language; and as one of the language’s few fluent speakers Gwenno felt it appropriate to record her second solo album Le Kov entirely in Cornish!  One song is a tribute to the St Ives painter Peter Lanyon, who died in 1964 while surveying the coastline from a glider. #LeKov

The RSC’s Hamlet on tour, London’s Hackney Empire, until March 31 

Photo by Manuel-Harlan, RSC

The RSC has been on a UK tour since Jan with its raved about West African production of Hamlet, originally seen in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016, starring the excellent Paapa Essiedu, described as “one of the most captivating Hamlets of the decade” by The Telegraph. It will then be heading over to the US capital, Washington. Catch it before it’s too late!


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.

Alexandra Buckle Exhibit, The Stables at Claydon Estate Courtyard, Bucks,  Mar 10 – 25

Alexandra buckle forest painting big tree

Bicester-based Alexandra Buckle is the first artist of 2018 to exhibit at The Stables in the beautiful Claydon Estate near Buckingham, and what a fab choice. Even better this is the linocut artist’s first major solo exhibition so snap up a classic while you can.

Michelangelo, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 6 Mar – 2 Apr

Nice earring! And, er, the drawing’s not bad either. Your chance to explore a remarkable group of drawings by Michelangelo, recently returned from New York where they were a central feature of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They’re only on show for four weeks so don’t miss your chance.

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V&A, London, until 17 Jun

v and a museum ocean liners exhibit empress of Britain poster white ship

These days the nearest I get to ocean-faring is a packed P&O ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg but in the early 20th century travelling by sea was fabulously glamorous and romantic. The V&A’s major Spring exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style celebrates the golden age of the big boats, looking at their design and cultural impact. Exhibits include Goyard luggage once owned by the Duke of Windsor, 1920s bathing suits and a door panel from the first class lounge of the Titanic.

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, National Portrait Gallery, London, March 1 until May 20

A major new exhibition brings together, for the first time, the works of four of the most celebrated figures in art photography, Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). These four artists would come to embody the very best in photography of the Victorian era and have influenced photographers ever since. Featuring striking portraits of sitters such as Charles Darwin, Alice Liddell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Thomas Carlyle, George Frederick Watts, Ellen Terry and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Find more ideas here

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