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This month

APRIL 2018


Wicked, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed April 4 – 29

This witty West-End musical re-imagining of the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz casts its spell in Birmingham. Titanic the musical, the RSC’s Matilda the musical and War Horse to follow.



Stratford Literary Festival 2018, venues in-and-around Stratford-upon-Avon

Wow what an amazing line-up! Speakers range from RSC actress Harriet Walter on Brutus and Other Heroines to actor Greg Wise with palliative care expert Dr Kathryn Mannix and Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones on her first novel. Then there’s Alistair Sawday, the founder of Sawdays Travel Guides, writer Jon McGregor (winner of the Costa Novel Award 2017) and Amanda Craig, Diana Evans with Libby Purves. Other highlights include top UK poet Wendy Cope, Jeremy Vine, Harriet Harman and Jess Phillips with Jane Garvey, Simon Mayo and BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin. Loads of brilliant festival workshops and wonderful children’s events including Harry Hill and Aardman Model Workshops to look forward to. Tix are sure to get booked up pretty quickly – make haste!



The Duchess of Malfi, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until 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 critically-acclaimed modern dress, blood-soaked version of The Duchess of Malfi in her own distinct style. Topically it’s all about gender politics and toxic masculinity.  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 2011 film, Weekend. Read Muddy’s Q & A with Joan here.

Tel: 01789 403493, rsc


BOOKING NOW: Arctic Monkeys, Arena Birmingham, Sept 15

Photo by: Zachery Michael

Fans of the band will be able to book tix from 9am on April 13 for their September gig! It follows news that their new album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino will be released on Fri May 11.

theticketfactory or Tel: 0844 33 88 222.



Macbeth, RST, Stratford, March 13 – September 18

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, and 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!

Book here.


What the Ladybird HeardBelgrade Theatre, Coventry, April 13-14 

Matt-Jopling as Lanky, Len-Rosamund-Hine as Farmer, Emma-Carroll playing Lily and the Ladybird-Edward-Way

One little ladybird will be embarking on a big adventure this Easter as Kenny Wax Family bring their colourful new kids theatre production of Julia Donaldson’s 2009 bestselling children’s book to the stage for ages 3+ with lots of laughs, live music, audience participation and eye-catching puppetry inspired by Lydia Monks’ distinctive illustrations.

belgrade, Tel 024 7655 3055


Giovanni Pernice: Born to Win, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thurs April 12

Only a few tickets remaining for BBC Strictly favourite 26-year-old ‘Italian Stallion’ Giovanni Pernice who returns to The Albany with a brand-new show. Expect glittering costumes, amazing routines and a beautiful dance story bursting with energy, passion and scorching heat, dahling! 7.30pm

albanytheatre, Box Office: 02476 99 89 64 (open 10.30 – 13.30 Monday to Saturday


The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed April 11 & Thur April 12

Photo credit: Kate Green

The very first show to be produced in-house at the Hippodrome, in partnership with Open Theatre Company and Metro-Boulot-Dodo, with learning disabled artists taking centre stage. Coincides with the Easter holidays and featuring a cast packed with young talent from Coventry and the wider West Midlands. Coventry-based actors include Rishard Beckett as Hansel, Kimisha Lewis as Gretel, and Charles Craggs as the Mockingbird.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


Stellar Comedy line-up for 2018, Warwick Arts Centre

The season continues with Robin Ince (Fri Apr 13), critically-acclaimed stand-up Tiff Stevenson’s Bombshell (Tue Apr 24) in which she oscillates wildly between Sylvia Plath and Beyoncé, John Robins’ The Darkness of Robins (Wed Apr 25), Radio Active with Angus Deayton, Helen Atkinson Wood, Michael Fenton Stevens and Philip Pope reuniting to take classic scripts from the award-winning BBC Radio 4 show (Tue Apr 26), Jason Manford’s Muddle Class (Sat Apr 28) and Shazia Mirza’s With Love From St Tropez (May 11). Much more throughout the year.

Check out the full comedy line up here.


Leamington’s Tame Hare collaboration dinner with Shipston-on-Stour based Cotswold Distillery, Wed April 11

Cotswolds Distillery will be matching boozy cocktails and drinks from their collection to chef Johnny Mills’ experimental, season food. Dishes include a Cornish Crab ‘Cocktail and Duck, Whisky Mash Sausage with Rhubarb and Broccoli. It’s £55 pp, all matching drinks included. Booking is essential and may only be made through the restaurant via email: or Tel: 01926316191.

Aracde Fire, Genting Arena, Birmingham, Sun April 15

One of the alternative Canadian powerhouse’s only six dates in the UK following the release of their critically-acclaimed Everything Now album of killer tunes.



The Fantastic Follies of Mrs RichSwan Theatre, Stratford, until June 14

Aretha Ayeh and Sophie Stanton as Lucinda and Mrs Rich. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Way before Madonna, Mrs Rich – Sophie Stanton – was a material girl in search of her man. A critical hit, this comedy of distinctly female wit has been described as like ‘a Restoration Ab-Fab’. Unlike Aphra Behn, a fellow female playwright from the late 1600’s, 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.


BOOKING NOW: Barry Manilow’s new Arena UK show, Arena Birmingham, Sept 4

The star is worth a cool £55m!

Totally on another scale is the one and only Barry Manilow, whose hits include Looks Like We Made It, Can’t Smile Without You and Copacabana. The 74-year-old GRAMMY®, TONY®, and EMMY® award-winning singer, who came out last year revealing he’s been in a relationship with his manager Garry Kief since 1978, was overjoyed by the reaction of his fans. He kept his sexuality secret for years in fear of “disappointing his fans”.

Tix on sale from 9am April 13, theticketfactory or Tel: 0844 33 88 222.


Arts4AllWeek, Henley-in-Arden Guild Hall Trust, Mon April 23 – Sun April 29

An interior shot of the 600-year-old Guild Hall

For the second year running this lively arts festival will take place in this Grade II listed timber-framed architectural treasure including a gig featuring Ocean Colour Scene’s Andy Bennett (Thurs); Jazz Musician of the year Ralph Allin (Sun lunchtime);  family Wartime Experience with travelling museum, a Vaudeville Theatre evening featuring 1940’s war singer Madeline Brown and a Barbershop Quartet. You can also make a Liberty fabric necklace, see new comedy theatre  Lucky Dip and two monologues  – H to He (I’m Turning into a man) and a pre-Edinburgh Festival showing of Proxy. Saturday is a family day with storytelling and workshops including The Hundred Mile per Hour Dog, Traditional Tales and Shakespeare Made Easy.

Check out the full itinerary here: eventbrite


Spring Spectacular, Hatton Adventure World, until Sun April 15

Visit the New Arrivals Marquee at this Muddy award-winning family attraction with its super cute lambs, kid goats, piglets, bunnies, ducks and baby chicks. Children can get the chance to feed and handle the animals too. There’s also an Easter Egg Hunt, the springtime Tractor Safari return of the Famous Sheep Racing for visitors to watch and place their bets and Masters of the Skies Falconry Displays.

hattonworld, Tel 01926 843411


Indigo Launch Night, The Parade, Leamington Spa, Wed April 11

Check out this Aveda hairdresser’s brand new salon, Nail Bar and Beauty Therapy Room at 110 Parade Leamington Spa on their launch evening, 6-8pm. You’re all invited for fizz, nibbles and a nosy round.  Seriously cool interiors too, to inspire a new spring do. Meet their fab team and discuss your hair goals.



Gin Supper at The Rose & Crown, Warwick, with That Boutique-y Gin Company, Wed April 18

Rose & Crown Warwick / refurb

The Rose and Crown, 30 Market Place, Warwick, is teaming up with their friends at That Boutique-y Gin Company for a one-off evening combining a 3-course supper and gin tasting. Dinner, arrival drink and gin tasting is priced at £35pp. Call to book on 01926 411117.


Wines of South America, Leamington Wine Company, Thurs April 19

Vineyard in Mendona, Argentina

An evening with Lee from Condor Wines walking you through wines from South America, 7-9pm, £30.



Joan as Police Woman, Town Hall, Birmingham, Thurs April 19

See this thrilling live performer and starkly honest lyricist, who this month gave a stunning live session on Lauren Laverne’s 6 Music performing  songs from Damned Devotion, her rawest album yet. Famously a collaborator and muse to artists as diverse as Anohni, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and Beck, since the release of her last album Joan has worked alongside fashion designers Viktor & Rolf as well as a growing list of musicians including Sufjan Stevens, Lau, RZA and most recently Daniel Johnston.



Private Lives, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs April 19 – Sat April 21

Olivia-Beardsley-as-Sibyl-Photography © Sheila Burnett

Relive the glitz and glamour of the jazz age in London Classic Theatre’s new production of Noël Coward’s sparkling comedy about an unexpected encounter between two honeymooning couples with a tangled romantic history. It’s remained Coward’s most popular and enduring stage play since opening to packed houses in August 1930.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


Shakespeare’s Birthday Weekender, Sun April 22 & Mon April 23

Mimbre performance, Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary event, Stratford-upon-Avon 2016. Photo by David Tett, c, RSC

This year’s birthday commemorations include a new community carnival as well as the traditional procession led by the Head Boy of Shakespeare’s old school, King Edward VI Grammar, the unfurling of flags and birthday banner and parade to Holy Trinity Church. Throughout the day further events will be announced by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company including a Shakespeare’s Birthday Knights & Nymphs Garden dressing-up party for children in Hall’s Croft with sweet bites & fizz for grown-ups (12 – 4pm).



Border Tales, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, Tue Apr 24  

Border Tales is a thought provoking, poignant commentary on multicultural Britain, presented through dance, live music and dialogue, compiled from the performers’ personal experiences. Post-Brexit Britain is looked at through the eyes of an international cast who gaze satirically on stereotypical thinking about migrant outsiders and bigoted homelanders,  7.45pm, (1hr 15mins). Age 12+



The Carnival of Light, Empire Coventry, Far Gosford St, Fri April 20 – Sat April 21

An 18+ club concept playing garage, techno & bass night from 10pm – 4am with giant lantern installations, a Neon balloon drop, Chinese dragon performances, psychedelic body paint dips, professional glitter painters and acrobats. Guests encouraged to come in light inspired costumes.



Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship. English Artist Designers 1922-1942, Compton Verney, now until 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…



Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, April 21 – Sept 21/ Live in Cinemas Jul 18

Erica Whyman’s Romeo and Juliet opens at the RSC on April 21 and runs until September 21.

Shakespeare’s epic story of love and loss starring Bally Gill as Romeo and Karen Fishwick as Juliet in the RSC’s Summer production directed by Erica Whyman. Check out the cool trailer:



Created in Conflict: British Soldier Art from the Crimean War to Today, until 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.



Teen Direct: Hints, Tips & Tricks to Connect with Your Teen, The Oken Tea Room, Castle Street, Warwick, Fri April 27

12.30pm – 2.30pm, £10.



The Sneaky Supper Club, an undisclosed location in Oxford, Fri April 27

supper club long dining table with glasses and cutlery and chairs

They’re hitting their stride aren’t they?! The Sneaky Supper Club at the Isis Farmhouse was a roaring success despite the Beast from the East turning up uninvited and there’s a new one popping up at an undisclosed location in Oxford. Keep an eye on the facebook page to snaffle your tickets early.

Emily Barker and Dan Whitehouse Live at the RSC, The Other Place, Stratford, Sat April 28
 An evening of live music with Australian-born singer-songwriter Emily Barker, UK Artist of the Year 2018 (UK Americana Awards), who penned the award-winning Wallander theme, starring Kenneth Branagh, and Wolverhampton-based singer-songwriter Dan Whitehouse, whose music has been described as ‘Black Country Soul’.
Nigel Planer’s The Game of Love & Chai, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, April 24-28
French farce meets vibrant Bollywood song and dance in Tara Arts’ sparkling new comedy. Penned by actor and comedy legend Nigel Planer (TV comedies The Young Ones and Filthy Rich & Catflap) who has been hooked in Indian cinema since the 1970s, this new show sees the Marivaux classic The Game of Love Chance retold in a contemporary British Asian context featuring a cast of six, directed by Jatinder Verma.
belgrade, Tel: 024 7655 3055
Birmingham Lit Fest, Fri April 27 – Sun April 29

Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray

Speakers include journalist/author Sathnam Sanghera, on adapting The Boy with the Topknot for TV, Alexei Sayle, Kit de Waal and the presenter of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Jenni Murray, who’ll be revealing a new history of Britain told through the stories of 21 women you’ve never (but should have) heard of. Other highlights: Is 2018 The Year of Publishing Women? #MeToo: A Movement in Poetry  and writing workshops on screenwriting and memoir.

Last Resort, Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts CentreMon 30 Apr – Sat May 5  

Last Resort is an alternative future for Guantanamo Bay where the military base has been reclaimed as a holiday destination. Join 2Magpies Theatre as they take you through the
tropical haze on a unique multi-sensory package holiday. Last Resort is a menacing fiction, made entirely of unimaginable fact. 7pm (Tue May 1 9pm). 1hr / Age 12

Rie Nakajima’s Cyclic, Ikon, Birmingham, Wed March 21 – June 3

Rie Nakajima, photo by Greg Pope

Japanese artist Rie Nakajima is one of the most experimental artists working in the UK fusing sculpture and sound. She lives and works in London, and is very active especially in sound art and her music project O Yama O with Keiko Yamamoto. Rie will be giving a series of special live performances as part of her new exhibition beginning on Wed March 31, 6.30pm – 7.30pm, drop in. Also Sat April 21 as part of Flatpack Film Festival, Tues May 1, Tue May 22 and Sun June 3.






CADA Antique Fair, Blenheim Palace, April 19-22 

World-class art and antiques by over 30 dealers come together at at the seventh annual Blenheim Palace CADA Fair, featuring everything from furniture to clocks, textiles to garden ornaments. Prices go from a passable £100 to a choke-on-your-breakfast £100,000+. Still, it’s free to look.


Taste of Science, National Space Centre, Leicester, Sat April 21

A food festival with a science twist. Enjoy a night out surrounded by the very best food available to try and buy. An evening dedicated to eating, drinking, learning and discovering something new and exciting around every corner. The Centre will be filled with a market of food stalls, workshops, talks, demonstrations, experiments, music and an outdoor food court. GBBO finalist Andrew Smyth, will bring together baking, engineering and space in his ‘bakineering’ shows and will show crowds ‘how to use honeycomb in space’ and create a ‘heat shielding spacecraft with meringue’. Fascinating! Tickets are £10.

National Space Centre, Exploration Dr, Leicester LE4 5NS


Chipping Norton Lit Fest, Thurs April 26 – Sun April 29

Loving the sound of this eclectic festival. Reggie Yates and Gorky Paul rub shoulders with Terry Waite and Lionel Shriver in various venues throughout this elegant Cotswolds town in North Oxfordshire. 


Heather Small, O2 Academy Oxford, Fri April 27

I love the fact that this gig starts at 6.30pm – just in time for the M People front woman to get home into her onesie for the 10 o’clock news (have to ‘fess up, that’s my kind of night too). She’s on a UK-wide tour to remind people of her greatest hits including Moving On UpHow Can I Love You More? and One Night In Heaven – and at a steep £68 a ticket she’d better make a good show of it!


Gregory Porter, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Thur April 5 & Fri April 6

The double Grammy Award-winning American jazz/soul singer returns to the Midlands for the first two nights of his 2018 UK tour.


Ready Steady Lift Off! Helen Martin Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon Apr 2 – Sat Apr 7

All aboard the Space Station!  Fantastic for kids who love anything space related. They can train to be an astronaut, make their own rocket, colour it in and Lift Off! Families can take part in a weird and whacky astronaut programme. This immersive experience will get the family colouring and creating together, and once you’ve decorated your rocket, you will orbit around space. Finally, fly your rocket home! 11am, 1pm & 3pm, 50 mins / Ages 3 – 8 (not suitable for under 3s).


Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues April 3 – Thurs April 5

Little Angel Theatre’s Artistic Director Sam Lane with some of the creations appearing in the Islington-based company’s Red Riding Hood & the Wolf

A new retelling of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by top Islington-based puppetry company Little Angel Theatre. Recommended for ages 7+, this radical re-imagining recasts Robyn and the misunderstood Wolf as a couple of misfits just trying to fit in.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade

45RPM: Christian Furr and Gered Mankowtiz, Snap Galleries, 50 Warwick St, Leamington until Tue April 3

Artwork Images from the 45RPM FurrMankowitz Art Exhibition

If you’re a music fan don’t miss the last weekend of this super-cool exhibition. A collaboration by Royal portrait painter Christian Furr and legendary rock n roll photographer Gered Mankowitz it features limited edition artworks. Furr has applied his pop-art painting style to image’s captured by Mankowitz of artists including The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Marianne Faithfull and Kate Bush.


The Embroidery Girl, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thurs April 5 – Sat April 7

This four-night run of an off-Broadway show is the biggest show to grace the stage at Coventry’s beautiful Art Deco community-run theatre. Don’t miss this spectacular international dance-drama which has been wowing audiences across the world! An epic love story rooted in Chinese culture.

albanytheatre, Tel 02476 99 89 64 or pop in person 10.30am – 1.30pm, Mon-Fri

The Breaking Bad Cocktail Experience with award-winning mixologist Rob Wood, Birmingham, Fri April 6 & Sat April 7 

Molecular cocktails at Heisenbar

Wearing goggles and a protective suit, you’ll be whisked into a scene straight out of the award-winning series – a science lab in a custom-made RV is where award- winning mixologist Rob Wood will take you on an interactive cocktail masterclass at pop-up The Heisenbar, 9 Milk St, Digbeth, Birmingham. A four-course cocktail menu is£30 per head, Eventbrite

Teen Direct: Revision Planning Session, The Heart of England Language Session, Sat April 7

Is your teenage son or daughter struggling to put a revision plan together at homeThis innovative specialist careers service for teens aged 13+ in the Coventry and Warwickshire area runs Revision Plus Life sessions for teens sitting exams in the summerIt includes: * A Personalised Revision Plan *A structured approach to studying *The confidence to start, 9.30am – 4pm, £35


Ghosts by Henry Ibsen, Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Wed March 28 – Sat April 7

Pic credit: Richard Smith Photography

Loft actor Robert Lowe not only makes his directorial debut with Ibsen’s 19th Century classic but is also playing one of its pivotal roles – the puritanical and self-righteous Pastor Manders. Robert is joined by Loft regulars Julie Godfrey (Mrs Alving), Jeremy Heynes (Engstrand) and Leigh Walker (Regina Engstrand), while Janeks Babidorics makes his Loft debut as Oswald, Mrs Alving’s artist son.

 loft-theatrebox-office@loft-theatre, Tel: 01926 800360 (answerphone service). 

If The Hat Fits! Birmingham REP’s Grand Sale of Theatrical Costumes, Sat April 7

A one-off costume sale. You could be the proud owner of iconic costumes including Dorothy’s gingham dress from the 2005 production of The Wizard of Oz, Cruella de Vil’s fake fur coat from last Christmas’ The Hundred and One Dalmatians or Lady Bracknell’s frock from the 2011 production of The Importance of Being Earnest. All cash from the sale will help the REP’s first £1m fundraising campaign towards staging new productions and more training opportunities 11am – 5pm.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP, birmingham-rep

Easter at Shakespeare’s Family Homes, until Sun April 15

Children can take part in Easter activities every day from 12-4pm from crafting their very own Easter bonnet or crown in the family activity marquee at Anne Hathaways Cottage, to making ornamental whirling whirligigs for the garden at Mary Arden’s Farm. And at Shakespeare’s Birthplace there’s a kids treasure hunt in the gardens with music and comedy by in-house actors Shakespeare Aloud.


Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop Food Fair, Chatsworth House, nr Bakewell, Derbyshire, Fri April 6- Sun April 8

Pic credit: Chatworth House

The award-winning Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop, has been voted Britain’s best. Sample a selection of the finest food and drink from the best of their British suppliers. Free event and free parking, 9am to 5.30pm (11am to 5pm on Sunday). There’s Easter activities for the kids too in the garden, farmyard and playground including an Easter trail, face-painting and Trailer discovery tour included with admission to the house/grounds.

The farm shop post code for sat nav systems is DE45 1UF,  chatsworth

Find more ideas here

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