CANCELLED – DANCE: Shift, Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry, March 18 – 21
SHIFT is a new work created by acclaimed breakers and performers Marius Mates, Jamaal O’Driscoll and Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere. It’s the second commission as part of award-winning Theatre Absolute’s new three-year project Humanistan. The artists will explore human connections and the shift between those – whether they be wanted, or unwanted connections. Using break dancing as the main choreographic language, expect a blistering transformation of the Shop Front Theatre, 7.30pm.
Tickets £9 & £7 via http://www.theatreabsolute.co.uk/diary/shift-humanistan-2/
The Whip, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sat March 21
This provocative new play by award-winning playwright, journalist and University of Birmingham creative fellow, Juliet Gilkes Romero is set at the beginning of the 19th Century in London as politicians of all parties come together to abolish the slave trade. The price of freedom turns out to be a multi-billion pound bailout for slave owners rather than those enslaved. Two women navigate their way to the true seat of political influence, challenging members of parliament who dare deny them their say. Directed by the super-talented Kimberley Sykes (Dido, Queen of Carthage, 2017; As You Like It, 2019).
My Night With Reg, Warwick Arts Centre, 12-14 Mar
One of the WAC highlights this spring summer season is set to be Green Carnation Company’s revival of Kevin Elyot’s award-winning ’80s set dark comedy.
Once, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Tue 10 Mar – Sat 14 Mar
A multi-award-winning musical, based on the Irish indie film by John Carney that became a surprise cult hit. It’s got a heart-melting guy-meets-girl storyline, a fabulous cast of actor-musicians including Emma Lucia and Daniel Healy and live folk music alongside the Oscar-winning original music by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (which helped make Carney’s film such an extraordinary success). What’s not to love?
Book online or call the Box Office on 02476 553 055
Like There’s No Tomorrow, Belgrade Theatre, Mon 9 – Sat 14 Mar
The Belgrade’s Young Company brings together a group of talented young performers to give a voice to young people’s concerns about the climate, in a story about a girl who sees the destruction occurring in her own town and stands up to challenge the adults in her life.
Presented on the B2 stage. Tickets here
Blood Brothers, Belgrade Theatre, Tue 17 Mar – Sat 21 Mar
Willy Russell’s legendary musical tells the captivating and moving tale of twins separated at birth, who grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with tragic consequences. Lyn Paul stars in the iconic role of Mrs Johnstone for the very last time, after starring in the show in the West End for many years and becoming known as “the definitive Mrs Johnstone”.
The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Tues Mar 17 – Thurs Mar 19
After its sell-out premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome and successful tour in 2018, Open Theatre Company’s production sets off on a brand new our this spring. This quirky retelling combines live music and hilarious storytelling with inventive design to offer a fresh take on a familiar fairy tale. The Coventry-based theatre company is the leading promoters’ of learning disabled arts in the West Midlands and the production includes a mixed ability cast and crew, alongside Rishard Beckett, creator of his own one-man show Yellow Post-It Notes, who’d has also appeared in the BBC’s Doctors and Channel 4’s No Offence.
Tel 024 7655 3055, belgrade.co.uk
The Winter’s Tale, RST, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Mar 28-Fri Oct 2
Set across a 16-year span from Mad Men to the moon landings, this new production imagines a world where the ghosts of fascist Europe collide with horrors of The Handmaid’s Tale, before washing up on a joyful seashore. It will be cross-cast with The Comedy of Errors (from 25 April 2020) and Pericles (from 15 August 2020) and stars Joseph Kloska as Leones, McMafia star Kemi-Bo Jacobs making her RSC debut playing Hermione, Call The Midwife’s Ben Caplan as Camillo and A Very English Scandal’s Andrew French as Polixenes.
Book of Mormon, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed 4 Mar – Sat 28 Mar
Creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with Bobby Lopez, co-writer of Avenue Q and Frozen, bring us this outrageous musical. It follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent on a mission to a place that’s about as far from Salt Lake City as you can get. The show has become a global success, with sellout productions in London, on Broadway, North America and Australia.
The Caretaker, The Loft, Leamington Spa, Wed Feb 26 – Mar 7
Playwright Harold Pinter would have celebrated his 90th birthday in 2020 – it’s also the 60th anniversary of the first performance of The Caretaker. The Loft’s timely revival of Pinter’s most performed tragi-comedy centres around a homeless man and two brothers. A battle of wits begins as the brothers seek to manipulate the down-and-out to their own respective ends. But he has his own agenda and not everything is as it seems…
lofttheatrecompany.com, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tel the box office on 01926 830680.
The Children, The Loft, Leamington Spa, Mar 16-21
Lucy Kirkwood’s play about a couple in their 60’s trying to start a new life premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2016 before transferring to Broadway in 2017 where it was nominated for two Tony Awards, including Best Play. Now, for the first time it comes to the Loft Theatre in Leamington Spa.
Film Screening: Grace Jones – Bloodlight and Bami, Warwick Arts Centre, Thur 5 Mar
Directed by Sophie Fiennes, this intimate and electrifying film explores the fascinating world of the Jamaican pop cultural phenomenon.
Dementia Café, Compton Verney, Tue 10 Mar
Take part in Compton Verney’s monthly café for those living with or those supporting someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This month enjoy a rare opportunity to handle some of the ancient Bronzes from their Chinese Collection.
Admission: £13.50 (per person, per year), accompanying carers free, 10.30am-12.30pm, comptonverney.org.uk / 01926 645500.
Launch of new arts collective We Are Maokw, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Sat March 14
Spearheaded by Zimbawean artist and activist Laura Nyahuye, emerging local arts collective Maokwo was founded in Coventry with the aim of shining a spotlight on the work of marginalised and underrepresented artists, particularly those from BAME, refugee and migrant backgrounds. The official launch event We Are Maokwo kicks off with a day full of creative writing, drumming and dance workshops and artists’ networking opportunities, spoken word performances and visual art on display. There will also be opportunities to purchase some of the artwork exhibited on the day.
- The workshops will be followed by an invite-only panel discussion titled Not Another Tick Box, which aims to inspire creative solutions for marginalised artists within the arts industry, and explore ways of working towards meaningful diversity and inclusion. To register your interest in attending the panel discussion, please email email@example.com.
Spring Revel, RST, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat 14 Mar
Fancy a wild night of late night revelry? Immerse yourself in an evening of live music, dancing, feasting and creativity from exhilarating pop-up performances including RSC actors and SPARK! drummers, to face painting and craft workshops with fabulous food and drink.£25, including food,
Weave a Willow Hare, Charlecote Park, Sat 21 Mar & Sat 28 Mar
Wield your creative tendencies to weave a handsome March hare using ancient techniques. All materials provided and you will of course take your creation home.
Event takes place in Charlecote Village Hall, a short stroll from the Park. Meet at Charlecote Park visitor reception to walk to the village with the rest of the group. Book here; tickets cost £75 per person. 10am-4pm.
Mothering Sunday Afternoon Tea, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Sun 22 Mar
Treat your loved one to a delicious Afternoon Tea at Compton Verney this mother’s day. Served in their charming Wellingtonia room, indulge in a selection of cakes, scones and delicate savouries.
Price: Non- members £25, Members £19.50, Child £9.75, 2pm & 3pm, www.comptonverney.org.uk / 01926 645500
World Book Day, Charlecote Park, 5 Mar – 8 Mar
Family-friendly fun in the glorious country house and deer park. There’s a Hide and Seek with Puffling trail and a jungle-themed quiz. Plus, bring your World Book Day tokens and choose a book from the special collection in the shop.
Normal admission rates apply. Full info here
This makes That with These: Stop Motion Animation, Coventry Transport Museum, Sat 7 Mar
Children aged 7+ can join in fun STEM activities on the first Saturday of every month. This weekend celebrate World Book Day and the beginning of Science week with the Kineton STEM team. Create a film telling the story of the old being transformed into something new using Stop Motion Animation, between 10.30am – 12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm. £8 per child plus one adult.
Mary Arden’s Farm reopens for 2020 season, Sat March 14
Discover the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mum, experience the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor farm on a fantastic family day out. Meet the Tudors who run the farm just as Shakespeare’s mother would have known and watch demonstrations of traditional crafts.
STEAM fortnight for Schools, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Mar 2 – 13
Two weeks of STEAM based educational activities for Key Stages 2 & 3 is designed to coincide with National Science Week. The Museum will be offering immersive interactive activities including a high octane science show with the Museum’s resident mad scientists, Professor Pickle and Dr Pumpkin, who will help pupils solve the problem of how to be green and power the cars of the future. Students can also become car designers for a day expressing their creative sides as they design a Land Rover cut-out car for the 21st century. On certain dates STEM ambassadors from MoD Kineton will be joining the museum to give pupils the opportunity to collaborate and put their RVR Robots through their paces.
Schools can also benefit from the Museums Travel Support Fund supported by Arts Council England. This fund will cover the full cost of coach travel for schools booking a place during the STEAM fortnight. The STEAM programme costs £12.50 per pupil for a full day(10am – 2pm). Max number of pupils per day is 150 (5 groups of 30). britishmotormuseum.co.uk/schools or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01926 649649
Shakespeare Week, Mon 16 – Sat 21 Mar
Focused on giving primary-aged children enjoyable early experiences of the wonderful world of the Bard, the theme for this year’s annual Shakespeare Week is creativity. Over the weekend, the Shakespeare Week Art School runs across the Shakespeare Family Homes from Sat 21-Sun 22 Mar, offering kids loads of chances to discover new skills such as clay sculpting at Anne Hathaways’ Cottage, wet felting and dancing at Mary Arden’s Farm and graffiti stencilling at Hall’s Croft.
There’s also Shakespeare Week Super Saturday at The Shakespeare Centre on Sat 21 Mar – unfortunately the workshops by Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown and Ricky Martin from CBBC’s Art Ninja are fully booked, but there’s still the chance for children of all ages to drop into the Artist’s Lab with and illustrator Marcia Williams, who’ll be offering a range of make and take activities. Plus, there’ll be live performances from resident actors Shakespeare Aloud! and the Sonnet Man throughout the day.
Visit the Shakespeare Week website for more info.
Brick Built, Banbury Museum, 21 Mar – 5 Jul
Banbury Museum has a new exhibition Brick Built, with mini versions of world-famous landmarks made from LEGOⓇ including the Houses of Parliament and Empire State Building. There’ll also be plenty of opportunity for kids to build their own creations at hands-on stations dotted around the exhibition.
Meet Ozzy & Ola – the UK’s first and only Sea Otters, National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham, March
The UK’s first and only pair of Sea Otters, Ozzy and Ola, have been settling into their new, state-of-the-art and purpose built Marine Mammal Rescue Facility in Birmingham. Their residency is one of just three in the whole of Europe and of 17 collectives globally as part of a global education and conservation programme, visitsealife
Arabella Weir: Does My Mum Loom Big in This? Warwick Arts Centre, Tue Mar 10
The bestselling author and star of The Fast Show presents the mother of all confessional shows!
Irish sketch trio Foil, Arms and Hog: Swines, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri 13 Mar
Ireland’s top sketch trio bring some of their online mayhem to the stage with a night of scripted nonsense, twisted characters and unintentional improv’. They achieved critical acclaim last year with the best reviewed show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and are now hitting the road around the UK.
Ed Byrne: If I’m Honest, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat 14 Mar
The very funny, self-deprecating Irish stand-up takes a long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has ANY traits that are worth passing on to his children, 8pm.
Funk! – A Music Revolution, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon 2 Mar
If it’s dancing you want, unites one of the architects of the genre, James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, with a group of cracking musicians, including vocalists China Moses and Omar.
Supergrass, O2 Academy Birmingham, Wed Mar 3 and Thur Mar 4
They’re still young, they’re still free! Coinciding with the release of a career spanning best-of package, Supergrass: The Strange Ones 1994 – 2008, which also marks the 25th anniversary of their debut album, I Should Coco, the seminal British group head out on a headline tour of the UK.
Black Voices: Aretha: The Queen Next Door, Warwick Arts Centre, Mar 7
Celebrating the Queen of Soul, the inspiring all-female collective, Black Voices team up with a stellar four piece band to cover a range of Aretha Franklin classics. This globally celebrated a cappella group has opened concerts for the likes of Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Take 6.
Lee Scratch Perry, O2 Academy 2 Birmingham, Sat 21 Mar
One of reggae’s undisputed pioneers, Lee “Scratch” Perry, continues to break new ground with his rebel Rasta tunes and riveting live performances at 83 years old! He’s still charging forward with new music and will follow the release of new album, Heavy Rain, with a number of headline shows.
Blossoms, O2 Academy Birmingham, Fri Mar 27
The UK’s favourite Stockport indie band, Blossoms, kicked off 2020 with the release of their highly-anticipated third album, Foolish Loving Spaces, and an extensive headline tour.
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park Spring Season Sat 14 Mar – Sun 14 Jun
Compton Verney reopens its doors for the Spring season on Sat 14 Mar, with two thought-provoking exhibitions. Fabric: Touch and Identity takes us on a tactile journey, delving into the ways in which textiles conceal, reveal and seduce through art, design, fashion, film and dance. Pieces by the incredible Vivienne Westwood, Raisa Kabir and Cathy de Monchaux are featured, as well as a new, immersive installation by Reiko Sudo.
Cranach: Artist & Innovator features pieces on loan explores the fascinating innovations by ‘archetypal renaissance man’ German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, with pieces on loan from the National Gallery, British Museum and other collections. Contemporary works inspired by Cranach are also showcased, from the likes of Pablo Picasso, Raqib Shaw, Claire Partington and Michael Landy. You can discover more about the Spring exhibitions by joining the Curator’s Tour & Tea on Wed 25 Mar.
Both exhibitions run until Sun 14 Jun. Admission fees apply; see the website for details.
Coventry Open 2020, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, now until Sun April 19
An Indian ink drawing The Conversation, exploring “the emotional impact of changes to the body through menopause” has won this city art exhibition – now in its 11th year. Coventry artist Gabrielle Roberts-Dalton has submitted work for the biennial Coventry Open nearly every time since it first began and now the top prize – £1,000! More340 pieces of work were entered into the competition, with artists from across Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider region.
Sonia Boyce: In the Castle of My Skin, Eastside Projects, 86 Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth, Birmingham, until Apr 11
A solo show of new commissions and existing work by London-based artist Sonia Boyce, who is to become the first black British woman to represent Britain at the prestigious Venice Biennale next year. She has built what she described as a “crazy structure” in the gallery to show her wallpapers and the work of seven artists with whom she has collaborated including Anna Barham, Harold Offeh, Flora Parrott and Alberta Whittle. Open Wed – Sat, 12–5pm. Entry to all exhibitions, and many of events, is free, https://eastsideprojects
**Thur March 26, 6-8pm – Join artist Sonia Boyce and Osei Bonsu, Curator of International Art at Tate in conversation exploring the themes in Sonia’s exhibition. £5.£3**
Quinn: A Journey, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, Feb 14 – Sun May 31
An installation by Cornwall-based photographer, artist and writer Lottie Davies exploring ‘grief, loneliness and the human search for meaning’. Although a fictional story of a young man, William Henry Quinn, who walks from the south west of England to the far north of Scotland in post-Second World War Britain the work responds to the real-world experiences of young men and women post-trauma in the early 20th century and now. Her work has been described by former National Portrait Gallery Director Sandy Nairne as “brilliantly imaginative”. She uses large format photography, with Horseman or Wista 5×4 cameras.
* Sun May 17 – Quinn: Performance & In Conversation takes place at Coventry Cathedral, from 2pm
ART: Into the Woods, The Stratford Gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Mar 21
A new exhibition exploring the woodlands in all its natural wonder, beauty and stillness with new paintings from Melanie Goemans, Felicity Keefe, Laura Wade and debuting painter Kate Sherman. Also debuting exquisite works in wood by acclaimed Finnish artist Matti Söderkultalahti with new ceramic sculpture by Alison Coaten, thestratfordgallery
Tai Chi, Compton Verney, Sat 21 Mar
Get the full benefits of Tai Chi by experiencing it in Compton Verney’s beautiful parkland! The practice combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements, to reduce stress, improve posture, balance, and muscle strength.
£10; booking available online. Participants must also have an Admission Pass for the day they visit. Class begins at 11am.
EXHIBITION: Andy Warhol, Tate Modern, London, 12 Mar – 6 Sept
This major new exhibition chronicles the life and work of the pop art icon Andy Warhol and offers a rare insight into how Warhol and his work marked a period of cultural transformation. Images on display include his renowned pop images of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans, plus work never seen before in the UK, including the largest ever grouping of Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen series. A must see.
THEATRE: Time Machine, London Library, London, until 5 April
The Creation Theatre crew are heading to the Big Smoke! In this moving (literally) production, small audiences will be led through the vast London Library as Time Machine, which explores themes of neuroscience, big data, genomics and global connectedness, unfolds. Knowing Creation, it’s bound to be brilliant.
EXHIBITION: Herstory, Maddox Gallery, London, 2 – 24 Mar
To mark International Women’s Day, this new exhibition aims to redefine the conversation around women in art and raise awareness for brilliant female artists that champion women in their work. Artists exhibiting include Coco Davez, Sophia Tea and Lauren Baker.
EXHIBITION: BMW Tate Live, Tate Modern, 20 – 29 Mar
For the fourth annual BMW Tate Live Exhibition, three artists are taking over Tate Modern’s Tanks (the gallery’s dedicated space for live exhibits). Each artist’s work will be themed around how history is held in the body and explore e questions about shared memory. Very Cool.
EVENT: London Dog Week, various locations, 23 – 29 Mar
EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, until 11 May
I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty above. The show also coincides with McQueen’s latest artwork Year 3, on show at Tate Britain until 3 May. tate.org.uk
THEATRE: Pretty Woman The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre, London, until 2 Jan 2021
This month I’m excited for the start of Pretty Woman’s West End stint after it’s successful Broadway premier in 2018. The production has some major creds with choreography from two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray), and an original score from Grammy winner Bryan Adams (yes, really!).
BEEN & GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
EVENT: #March4Women rally, London, Sun 8 March
Gather up you gal pals, mums, daughters, sisters and grannies – because it’s time to celebrate the power and passion of women! It’s the annual #March4Women rally on Sun 8 March – organised by charity CARE International, and this year part of the WOW Festival (that’s Women of the World) at the Royal Festival Hall in London. This year’s march and rally will call for action on the double injustice of climate change and gender inequality. Some pretty impressive women will be there including singers Emeli Sandé and RAYE who will perform, as well as equality campaigner Helen Pankhurst, Bianca Jagger, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu and poet Nikita Gill who will all say a few words. Let’s be inspired, let’s stand together and let’s march for women. Hope to see you there! careinternational.org.uk
This is showing in 25+ venues around the UK, including the Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham. The festival is composed of eight films, shot around the world, that feature inspiring women from swimmers to activists (8 Mar).
If you haven’t been to see this yet, book soon! This exuberant, beautifully directed and moving new musical, based on the best-selling children’s novel by David Walliams, is only on for a few more weeks *sob. It features 16 original songs by Robbie Williams and his long-term writing partner Guy Chambers. You’ll be toe-tapping and singing the songs for weeks afterwards! Box Office: 01789 331111, RSC
A Monster Calls, Belgrade Theatre, Tue 3 – Sat 7 Mar
Olivier Award-winning director Sally Cookson presents the intense story of love, life and healing based on Patrick Ness’ novel A Monster Calls. Thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved away. But now his mum is sick and not getting any better. Then, one night, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It’s come to tell Conor tales from when it walked before. And when it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.