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Reader Treats Just For You!

This Month


Edited by: Rhiannon Pursall


FESTIVAL: Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick School, Thu 25 Jul-Sun 28 Jul

Photo by Murdo-McLeod

It’s the 40th year of this most friendly of festivals! International folk stars including Billy Bragg, Skerryvore, Karan Casey, Eddy Jay, Will Pound, Breabach and heaps more take to the stage to soothe your soul via your ears…and if you fancy getting jiggy, join in the dance workshops from Morris to Latin and absorb the joy from the rising English Ceilidh scene. Also check out the fringe, on the adorable streets of Warwick, for traditional folky fun. Full info and tickets here.


THEATRE: Measure for Measure, RSC, Stratford-Upon-Avon, now until 29 Aug

Lucy Phelps and Sandy Grierson as Isabella and Angelo. Photo by Helen Maybanks (c) RSC

No, it’s not The Sound of Music but Gregory Doran’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s dark comedy about a young novice nun compromised by a corrupt official! The Guardian has already declared it “the best RSC show of the summer..”a perfectly judged portrait of public hypocrisy and seething sexuality”.  An unmissable rarely performed 400-year-old tale set in early 1900 Vienna, it stars the excellent Worcester-born Lucy Phelps as Isabella, and Sandy Grierson as Angelo, (above) and remains astutely relevant today.  rsc 


**NEW** THEATRE: Annie, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tue 23 Jul-Sun 11 Aug

Jodie Prenger in Annie. Photo by Matt Crockett

Flame-haired feisty fun explodes into the Hippodrome for 3 weeks only, so we’re hot-footing it over to Brum! Direct from London’s West End, the smash-hit production of Annie stars Jodie Prenger (winner of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything; Oliver!; Spamalot and Calamity Jane) as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan and was marvelled by The Times as a “glorious revival”. A Tony® award-winning book and score gets your feet tapping and heart singing.

Tickets on sale now.


DRINKS: Craft Beer Festival, Fizzy Moon, Leamington Spa, Thu 19-Sun 21 Jul

Trot on down to Muddy Award 2019 winners Fizzy Moon and treat your taste buds to some hoppy delights! They know their stuff here, as they brew their own beers onsite, so their selection for the craft ale festival is bound to be lip-smackingly spot-on. 12pm-12am Sun-Thu, 12pm-2am Fri-Sat. 


**NEW** THEATRE: The Colour Purple, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues July 16- Sat Jul 20

Photo by Manuel-Harlan

Tinuke Craig, winner of the 2014 Genesis Future Directors Award, directs a solid rendering of this inspiring musical, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film and the Tony® Award-winning production on Broadway. Told over the course of 40 years it follows the story of tormented heroine Celie and celebrates female empowerment with a profoundly evocative score drawing inspiration from jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. The 17-strong cast includes T’Shan Williams as Celie, Joanna Francis as Shug Avery, Ako Mitchell as Mister, Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Mister’s son Harpo, Karen Mavundukure as his wife Sophia, Danielle Fiamanya as Celie’s sister Nettie and Delroy Brown as Pa.


OPEN AIR THEATRE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coughton Court, Alcester, Fri 19 Jul

Shakespeare’s enchanting comedy told in the grounds of an imposing Tudor residence by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all-male theatre company, who celebrate their 15th year, 7.30pm-10pm.


THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


Actor/Director/Writer Prasanna Puwanarajah, who recently appeared in Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose, directs a dark, dystopian production of this rarely-performed Restoration cross-class love story by Thomas Otway, playing in the intimate setting of the Swan Theatre. Tickets here.


EXHIBITION: A Tea Journey – From the Mountains to the Table, Compton Verney, Sat 6 Jul – 22 Sep

Kazuhiro Yajima, Umbrella Tea House, © Nacasa & Partners Inc

Ever wondered how the nation’s favourite brew goes from plant to pot? Or how this Chinese tradition became to be to treasured by British society? Learn all about the humble cup of tea, from history to ecology. Be absorbed by The Tea Sensorium – a multi-sensory experience incorporating olfactory and visual exploration, plus workshops, discussions and a modern Japanese bamboo Umbrella Tea House being shipped especially from Japan for the exhibition! Rare teaware from China, Japan and India is on display, with responses by contemporary artists including Robin Best, Adam Buick, Phoebe Cummings, Charlotte Hodes, Takahiro Kondo, Ian McIntyre, Bruce Nuske, Selina Nwulu, Bouke ve Vries, Hetain Patel, Paul Scott, Julian Stair and Edmund de Waal. To find out more see here.


HISTORY: Lunt Roman Festival, Lunt Roman Fort, Baginton, Sat 20 Jul-Sun 21 Jul

Take a break from 21st Century pressures and throw yourself into a day of raucous Roman fun! This is the biggest event in the Lunt calendar – so a perfect chance to see, hear and breathe history in all its gory glory. Britannia – as seen on BBC’s Horrible Histories, Blackadder Back and Forth and Sky Atlantic’s Britannia – bring their glorious Gladiator display, along with their Late Roman soldier demo. There’s a Living History Village to experience the hardworking 1st Century life, complete with activities including festival mask making, mock Battle Drill for youngsters and an archery stand. The Coventry and District Archaeological Society are on hand to discuss your burning Time Team-inspired questions and chat about their latest project at the Broomfield Tavern. Open 10am-5pm each day. Adult £5, children £4, family (2+2) £15, under 4s free. Full details here.


OPEN AIR THEATRE: A Midsummer Night’s DreamMary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, Fri Jul 19 & Sat 20 July

Shakespeare’s tale of magic and mayhem is brought vividly to life by Oddsocks Productions in an energetic and musical, festival-themed production, 7.30-9.30pm.


PICNIC: Annual picnic at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Sat 20 Jul

While away a delightful afternoon in Anne Hathaway’s charming cottage gardens and tuck into good old barbeque food. A puppet theatre, games, face painting and magic tricks bolster the feelgood factor of a family day out. Cost included in the general admission fee, which you can book online. Entry is free for CV37 residents (proof of address required).


AUDIENCE WITH THE AUTHOR: David Nicholls, Levi Fox Hall, Stratford upon Avon, Fri 19 Jul (Part of Stratford Literary Festival)

Can you believe it is 10 years since the release of One Day starring Anne Hathaway?! Since then, multi-million selling author and screenwriter David Nicholls has melted our hearts with Us, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and now he’s back with brand new novel Sweet Sorrow. In this one-off event, David will discuss his new book about first-love set over one life-changing summer, against a backdrop of rehearsals for a production of Romeo and Juliet.  Nicholls, who was awarded a BAFTA this year for his screenplay of the brilliant TV drama Patrick Melrose, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, will be sharing the background to this much-anticipated new novel which brings teenage angst and the clumsiness of first romance beautifully to life. Starts at 7pm. Tickets are £10, or £25 including admission to the event and one discounted copy of the book. Student tickets are £8. Call 0333 666 3366 or book online.


FESTIVAL: Solihull Summer Fest, Tudor Grange Park, Solihull, Sat 27-Sun 28 Jul

The Vamps, Scouting for Girls, The Proclaimers, Go West, The Human League and Trevor Nelson will be headlining alongside Heather Small and Ms Dynamite. A fab line-up for Summer Fest, returning for in its 4th year to Tudor Grange Park in Solihull.  A Hedkandi stage satisfies your inner raver, whilst outdoor cinema helps you unwind. Amazing street food ranges from fish ‘n’ chips and mac ‘n’ cheese to curries and noodles and there’s even a VIP area. Each day runs from 12pm to approximately 10.30pm. Tickets and full line-up info here.


EXHIBITION: The Imagination Statues, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-AvonJul-Sep 

Be inspired by the Greg Wyatt statues in the Great Garden at Shakespeare’s New Place and act out your own versions of the plays that they represent using props, costumes and scripts provided. Opening times: 12pm-4pm.


EXHIBITION: The Move and Play exhibition, Coventry Transport Museum, until Nov 10

A good one to visit with the kids during the summer holidays, this exhibition, created by Heureka Overseas Productions – a division of the Finnish Science Centre – has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors during stints in Bangkok and Hong Kong, as well as Germany and the Netherlands. It consists of 19 different physical challenges designed to put your senses to the test. From disco donuts to nostalgic tennis, thermal cameras to tightrope walking – activities encourage visitors to be active through collaborative, non-sporting activities – the majority of which are accessible to visitors of all abilities. Team up in activities such as Team Stomp, a game where the more enthusiastically you stomp your feet, the faster your virtual character will advance in the competition. There are also individual activities, such as ‘How Accurately Can You Kick?’ where you must kick a ball at electronic targets to score maximum points and see if you have what it takes to be the next football star!

If you are a Coventry resident make sure you sign up to a GoCV card for free entry,   


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Various Performances at The Dell, Stratford-Upon-Avon, weekends now until 1 Sep

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

Part of the 2019 summer series at The Dell, July offers a spectacular array of a range of lively student, community and semi-professional productions in this serene location on the banks of the River Avon. To kick us off, the first weekend in July includes Julius Caeser (6 Jul 12pm) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (6 Jul 3pm), both performed by The Brit School. The following day, if you’re still in the mood for another day of lounging on a blanket grazing a picnic (who wouldn’t be?), your appetite for all things theatrical is be stated by Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) (7 Jul 12pm) and Troilus and Cressida (7 Jul 3pm). All performances free – grab your sun hat and refreshments and you’re good to go.


THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


Comedians Rufus Hound and Les Dennis, are joining Alexandra Gilbreath (Lady Brute), Caroline Quentin (Lady Fancyfull) and Jonathan Slinger (Sir John Brute) in a riotous new production of the outspoken restoration romp that shocked 17th century society, directed by Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Merry Wives of Windsor),


THEATRE: Scenes from a Brummie Iliad, Birmingham REPFri 19 JulSat 20 Jul

This adaptation of Homer’s Iliad by Roderick Smith is epic poetry as you’ve never heard it before! The REP’s own Smith (previous performances include I Knew You and Tartuffe at the REP; Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost at the RSC) sweeps the Ancient Greek story of heroes and gods into the modern age with his distinctive Brummie accent. “They’re gonna mek somebody pay…”. Directed by Madeline Kludke and Philip Morris. Tickets from £10.


THEATRE:The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31

Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles has been largely very well received. National critics said:  a “landmark production” (Evening Standard ****);  “an interesting but underpowered exercise in gender-swapping” (Daily Telegraph ***) and “Getting their hands on the best and biggest parts for once, the female performers savour every syllable”, (The Times, ****), rsc


THEATRE: The Thrill of Love, The Loft Theatre, Victoria Colonnade, Leamington Spa, Wed 17 July 17 – Sat 27 July

Julia Findlay as Ruth Ellis. Photo by Richard Smith Photography

In 1955 Ruth Ellis was found guilty of murdering her lover, and became the last woman in Britain to be sent to the gallows. Now, 64 years after her execution, the Loft Theatre stages Amanda Whittington’s vivid dramatization of Ellis’ life and the events leading up to the murder of her lover David Blakely.

Tickets on, Tel: 01926 830680.


THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31


Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It has fabulous critically-acclaimed performances by Worcester actor Lucy Phelps as Rosalind and David Ajao as Orlando, also look out for LAMDA-trained Leamington Spa actor Amelia Donkor as Silvia! Read our review here,, Tel: 01789 403493.


EXHIBITION: The Aerodrome: An Exhibition Dedicated to the Memory of Michael Stanley, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, now until Sun 8 Sep


Michael Stanley was Curator of Ikon before becoming Director of Milton Keynes Gallery and then Modern Art Oxford. He died tragically in 2012 and this exhibition is a tribute to a much-adored man. Co-curated with David Austen and George Shaw, the exhibition is loosely based on a novel that had a strong impact on Michael – Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome, published in 1941.The novel painted the struggles faced by a young war hero and had great impact on writers including Orwell, Burgess and Ballard. Given that it explores modern dystopias, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments, it seems pertinent to revisit this novel in the current turbulent times we live in. Events guide & workshops here



EXHIBITION: Living with History, Hall’s Croft cafe, Stratford upon Avon, now until Sept 29

Photo © William Mulryne

Fourteen photographs by William Mulryne offer a fresh perspective of Stratford-upon-Avon – after the tourists have gone home! They include this lovely portrait of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s honorary president, Professor Stanley Wells in his office. Professor Wells is a Shakespearean scholar, writer, editor and professor emeritus at the University of Birmingham. Stratford-born William, who has Asperger Syndrome studied photography at Stratford-upon-Avon College and documents everyday life in the town. He said: “Stratford-upon-Avon is an amazing place with a special feeling. Asperger Syndrome made growing up a series of experiences, everything was 100% interesting. I experienced cars, music, elevators: the sounds and the way they moved, working out how they worked and being mesmerised by the visual movement.” Living with History at Hall’s Croft café is free,



FESTIVAL: LatitudeSuffolk, 18 – 21 July

The Radio 4 of festivals – refined, civilised and cultured, with its line-up of literary readings, theatre, comedy and Sadlers Wells ballet performances. They don’t skimp on the live music easier – this year Lana Del Rey, Underworld and Primal Scream are on the bill.


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, 8 Jul – 7 Sept 

Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre pitches up for summer, with Blenheim being its second venue following a successful inaugural season in York last year. The 13-sided scaffolding theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’, will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows. Showing this summer is MacbethA Midsummer Night’s DreamRichard III and Romeo & Juliet (8 Jul – 7 Sept).

EXHIBITION: A new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection, London,  until Sun 1 Sept

Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection above, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives. Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.


ARTPaula Rego: Obedience and DefianceMK Gallery, Milton Keynes, until Sept 22

Over at Milton Keynes’ mega new MK Gallery you can see the largest retrospective of the political artist’s work in England for 20 years with pieces focusing on gender discrimination, violence, slavery, abortion and political tyranny.



FESTIVAL: The Libertines headline Coombe Weekender, Coombe Abbey, Coventry, Aug 3 – 4

The Libertines headline this new two-day festival with a rare set (ahead of their UK Christmas tour taking in the O2 Academy Birmingham, Dec 14) alongside Faithless, Kelis and Mark Kinchen. Also on the bill is singer-songwriter Tom Grennan, Circa Waves, Reverend & The Makers, The Futureheads, Good Cop, Bad Cop and local support by Athens, Candid and BLVFF while over in The Big Top Tent will be Crystal Waters. Day two sees Sigala, Toploader, The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show and The Big Top sees a performance from Crazy P Soundsystem and disco legend Joey Negro. Beyond the stage, there’ll be Raver Tots and the Food Village.

Book here


Professor Brian Cox – Universal: Adventures in Space and Time, Arena Birmingham, Sep 21

Champion of the lay explanation, Professor Cox, brings his brand new stellar show back to Birmingham Arena. He was here in February and achieved (yet another) Guinness World Records title for ‘Most tickets sold for a science show’ – so now, due to popular demand, he’s coming back to Brum in September!  Book up for a brainy, awe-inspiring out of this world experience here.


EVENT: Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle, Wed 7 Aug – Mon 26 Aug

You can read our review of the castle’s inaugural digital projection installation, Dragon Slayer here. It was pretty spectacular and jaw-dropping in parts! It’s returning with even more projection breathing fire into late summer evenings this August in a family-friendly show of jousting, pyrotechnics, stunt riding and stunning fireworks. The show stars live actors and an epic light projection onto the grandiose walls of the magnificent Warwick Castle.  There’ll be a choice of catering vans Tickets start at £20 for the show only, or various packages are available to include food and drink. Gates open 7pm; show time 8.30pm-10pm.


THEATRE: Season of Love and Belonging, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, new autumn/winter season

Forgive me for thinking of autumn already, but I’m eagerly awaiting a whole host of new shows to get my teeth into! The Belgrade Theatre has unveiled its full programme for the Season of Love and Belonging, which has a heart-warming theme of ‘family, friendship and finding love’ and bookings are now being taken. Perfect for those chilly nights! Hard-hitting drama Holding the Centre written by Brum writer Joan Carty kicks us off, followed by New Bollywood breath-taker Stardust from Phizzical. Next, we come over all gothic with Rona Munro’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. One of the highlights of the stonking season is Club 2B, a unique experience of live music, food, drink, and immersive drama, which is the explosive collaborative effort of Strictly Arts and the Belgrade. Check out the full programme with your diary at the ready!



FESTIVAL: Pub in The Park, St. Nicholas Park, Warwick, Fri 5-Sun 7 Jul

Tom Kerridge’s popular pub roadshow rolls into Warwick this weekend. Hosted by the popular chef, the foodie fiesta includes a dazzling array of pop-up eateries, from premium gastropubs to Michelin-starred restaurants, including The Hand & Flowers (Kerridge’s own), The Churchill Arms, The Cross at Kenilworth, Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu, Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano and more. There’s also be artisan stalls galore and roaring music including Tom Odell, Razorlight, Will Young, Stereo Mcs, Scouting for Girls. Tickets and full details of the splendid programme can be found here. 

Book Club LIVE! Also Festival, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Thurs July 4

From 6pm the gates to this glorious 50-acre lakeside parkland will be thrown wide open for local book club groups to host their July group on the Also Festival site – the evening before the festival opens. This year writer and broadcaster Natalie Haynes will be at the festival’s second Book Club LIVE to talk about her novel A Thousand Ships. Natalie, the author of three novels including The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, also presents the BBC Radio 4 Show Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics.  She was awarded the 2015 Classical Prize and in 2018 took on Boris Johnson and won. After 10 years as a stand-up comedian, she’s a highly entertaining performer.

Book Club LIVE is held in a beautiful canvas marquee with a bar with wines and beers, bar snacks and, tasty wines and non-alcoholic drinks. Registration is here: 

THEATRE: Be Festival, Birmingham REP, Tue 2 July – Sat 6 Jul 

Birmingham’s European arts festival celebrates its 10th anniversary (2 – 6 July) with a fabulous programme of performances, talks, live music, workshops and visual arts. Along with consuming culture, you can enjoy delicious food in a theatrical setting with ‘Interval Dinner’ – every night, ticket holders can enjoy a dinner served on the REP’s main stage after the first half of the evening performances at approximately 8.15pm, lasting an hour. Tickets and full programme here.

FESTIVAL: Also Festival,  Park Farm, Compton Verney, Fri 5 Jul-Sun 7 Jul

Ditch all preconceptions that a festival is basically live music in a field; the Also festival, back for its 6th year, specialises in the ‘and the rest’ side of things. An amazing array of over 200 cool, kooky and spontaneous activities await, including Salon London style talks, ‘Campestre’  style communal feasts, supper clubs (including Northampton’s infamous Clatter Club) and sustainable dining with Cabrito founder and ethical dining expert James Whetlor. Plus, wild swimming, fabulous new bands, artists and audio adventures, wine tastings and cocktail makings, a disco bunker, dining delights, forest bathing, and have-a-go workshops. Opting to stay in the ’Hippy Heights Hotel’ pops a posh cherry atop of your seriously classy festival experience. The ‘hotel’ is a network of spacious bell tents, complete with everything you need (proper beds! Bedding!) and dreamy views of the lake. All the stargazing, nature-connecting goodness of camping…without the need to actually camp. It’s like this was made for Muddy. Tickets are available for separate days or the whole weekend, with various accommodation options – book online.

FESTIVAL: Godiva Festival, War Memorial Park, Coventry, Fri 5 Jul-Sun 7 Jul


This my friends is ‘boy’ band Busted – who else feels 8,000-years-old now?! They are one of the bands headlining Godiva, a highlight in Coventry’s calendar. This annual free Festival promises multicultural fun and a family-friendly atmosphere with everything from sport to a petting zoo. Live music comes from the likes of Feeder, The Levellers and the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Melle Mel, plus Coventry’s own Two-Tone legends The Selecter! Tix costing £2 have been introduced for the first time, book online here. Children under 5 free but will still need a ticket.

FESTIVAL: Stratford River Festival, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Sat 6 Jul-Sun 7 Jul

Roll up for a rollick by the river! This annual family knees-up is in its eleventh year and its popularity never dwindles. Along with the array of festooned narrowboats to admire, there will be a wealth of stalls and a craft area to explore, live music and a great range of food on offer, and more importantly local beers, cider, and a Prosecco & Pimms bar. The riverside location provides a gorgeous backdrop, but the fun doesn’t end there; Bell Square, up in the town centre, is transformed into an English seaside paradise. Once you’ve wandered into the town centre (a short walk from the river), you have Stratford’s plethora of shops, restaurants, and cafes to potter around. The firework finale gives a glittering finish to a wonderful free family day out! Find out more here.

GIN: Stratford upon Avon Topiary Gin Festival, Billesley Manor Hotel, Stratford upon Avon, Sun 7 Jul

Set in Billesely Manor Hotel’s 100-year-old Topiary garden is a celebration of local regional artisan gins run in partnership with Stratford-based Shakespeare Distillery. You’ll be able to meet and taste gins produced at six local gin distilleries including Puddingstone Distillery, home of Campfire Gin (Tring, Herts), Wood Brothers (Oxon), Sovereign Spirits (Mansfield, Notts), British Polo Gin (Bishop’s Norton, Glos) and Locksley Distilling Co (Sheffield), alongside chef’s selection of locally sourced food. A fantastic live music line up includes the return of last year’s talented Andrew James – winner of the Cotswold Musician Award – plus, female singer and acoustic duo, Three’s a Crowd, and popular local acoustic trio Wired.  £20 tickets include a souvenir branded gin glass, Gin Menu detailing all flavours & cocktails available, plus a welcome Gin & Tonic supplied by Shakespeare Distillery. Ages 18+.

Tickets here: eventbrite

OUTDOOR THEATRE: Pride and Prejudice, National Trust Coughton Court, Fri 5 Jul 

An evening with Mr. Darcy in the grounds of a country Tudor mansion? Just try and stop us! Chapterhouse Theatre Company celebrate their 20th year of touring in 2019 and this adaptation of Jane Austen’s loveable tale, by award-winning writer Laura Turner, is a long-established favourite of Chapterhouse audiences. Join feisty Elizabeth Bennet as she meets Mr. Darcy, initially unimpressed but eventually discovering there’s a loyal, caring soul behind his surly exterior. 7.30pm-10pm. Adults £16, children £10, families £40 (2A+2C); £46 (1A+3C); £50 (2A+3C) Tickets here.

GIN TASTING: World of Botanicals gin tasting, Leamington Wine Co., Fri 5 Jul 

A Friday evening in beautiful Leamington, journeying through the intricate flavour profiles of a host of new gins. We’re there with bells on! Try up to 30 specially selected gins from around the world, from delicate floral numbers to heady ‘navy’ specimens. The event takes place between 7pm-9pm. For tickets call 01926 888994.

SINGALONG THEATRE: Grease Singalong, Gin & Jive, MacCready Theatre, Rugby, Fri 5 Jul

Fancy dress and singalong…a summer night of ultimate cheesy pleasure with gin! You’ll be transported back to the fun old days of Sandy and Danny in this classic musical. Afterwards, boogie on into the night in the bar to all those favourite tunes.

Tickets £10, showtime 7.30pm.

CHILDREN’S OUTDOOR THEATRE: Gangsta Granny, Caldecott Park, Rugby, Fri 5 Jul

Take the kids on an after-school adventure and start the weekend with the cheeky charm of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. Friday nights at Granny’s were Ben’s boring nightmare…until he discovered his Scrabble-playing, cabbage-munching grandmother was an international jewel thief! Get swept away with Leamington-based UK touring theatre company Heartbreak Production’s impish antics – the perfect elixir after a busy week. Performance time: 6.30pm. Tickets: adult £13, child/concession £9, family (2+2) £39. Book here or call 01788 533217. Suitable for ages 7+.

POETRY/COMEDY: A Poet’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse/Poetry in your Pants, Temperance, Leamington Spa, Fri 5 Jul 

Inject your Friday night with a wry riot in Temperance, a forerunner in Leamington’s emerging Creative Quarter. The evening is part of the Leamington Poetry Festival and features two acts: firstly, A Poet’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse – an Edinburgh preview show – explores a strategy for coping with political meltdown and a crumbled economy, with lefty poets Emma Ireland, Spike Pike, Sophie Sparham and Mike Took. The second sees a poetry tag-team comprising Heather Bryson-Banks, Dan Webber and Black Country legend Spoz for a stand-up evening of “irreverent rhyme and comic rudery”. Showtimes: A Poet’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse 7pm-8pm; Poetry in your Pants 8.30pm-10.30pm. Tickets.

WILDLIFE: Bat Walk, Charlecote Park, Sat 6 Jul (plus 9 Aug & 7 Sept)

Courtesy of Charlecote Park & The National Trust

As dusk descends, don your walking boots and discover the elusive world of these captivating creatures. Warwickshire Bat Group experts leads the tour, flinging fascinating facts over their shoulders as you meander around the magnificent Charlecote park. Detecting equipment is available, to get even more up close and personal! 9.30pm-11pm, £7.50 – booking essential. 

NATURE: Wilder side of Compton Verney Day, Compton Verney, Sun 7 Jul

The 120-acre Capability Brown masterpiece that forms the grounds is Compton Verney’s largest work of art! Lakes, lawns, meadows and woodlands make for the ultimate English summer paradise and a wealth of activities and events are sure to mean you visit more than once this season. To begin your wildlife-tastic summer, join the celebration of National Meadows Day on Sun 7 Jul to discover more about the importance of these natural beauties in our countryside ecosystems. Hushwings the Owl takes you on a virtual reality experience high above the grounds, while the Pollination Station and Forest School are educational, creative places to learn about insects and produce artwork. Follow badger trails, settle down at the bird hide or go pond dipping. Be inspired by the art of nature! Activities are included in the admission cost and take place between 11am-4pm.

EVENT: Henley Royal Regatta, Henley, Wed 3 – Sun 7 Jul

The biggie this week across the border at Muddy Bucks Oxon is Henley Royal Regatta, straw boaters on, eyes on the lunch box (sarnies or Lycra bulges… they’re not mutually exclusive) and watch the rowing brawn from the riverbank. There are over 200 races to watch the smoking–hot rowers and enjoy your Champagne picnic.

 THEATRE: Annie The Musical , Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 1 – Sat 6 Jul

Looking, erm, good Craig?! Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood dons a wig and tights to play tyrannical Miss Hannigan in Tony Award-winning Annie The Musical.

Cornbury Music Festival, The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, Fri 5 Jul-Sun 7 Jul

festival tent sunshine

Billed as a ‘very English open-air party for the whole family’, the very civilized Cornbury Music Festival returns for its 16th year with The Specials, Keane, KT Tunstall, The Beach Boys and Beverly Knight heading the bill. Dedicated teen and kid zones should keep everyone happy, as will a range of camping and glamping options. There’s also a pop-up wood-fired restaurant hosted by The Hairy Bikers. Call the ticket hotline on 0844 249 1000 or book online.

TALK: Shakespeare’s Language of Gender, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wed 10 Jul 

Part of the research conversation series at Shakespeare’s New Place, celebrated actor Dame Harriet Walter explores to what extent Shakespeare’s language designates the gender of a character, and asks how far can we regard it as gender-neutral, Free. Booking not required – just turn up. Time: 5pm-6pm.

OPEN-AIR THEATRE: Heartbreak Productions‘ Wuthering Heights, Caldecott Park, Rugby, Wed Jul 10 

This hugely popular, engaging and interactive Leamington-based theatre company are touring across the whole of the UK. including Ireland with Romeo and Juliet,  Noel Coward’s Private Lives, David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights in Summer 2019. You can catch them in Rugby’s Caldecott Park as part of the town’s Festival of Culture at 6.30pm.

MUSIC: Madeline Peyroux, The Glee Club, Birmingham, Thur 11 July

It’s 22 years since her debut Dreamland, but American jazz singer-songwriter Madeleine Peyroux, who started her career on the streets of Paris, continues to challenge the confines of jazz. New album, Anthem, finds the singer-songwriter collaborating with writers/musicians Patrick Warren (Bonnie Raitt, JD Souther, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Brian MacLeod (Sara Bareilles, Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Ziggy Marley) and David Baerwald (Joni Mitchell, David and David, Sheryl Crow), who are also the basic rhythm section players on the album. Together, they cast a sober, poetic, and at times philosophical eye on the current state of the world. Tix here:

OUTDOOR CINEMA: Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, nr Leamington Spa, Fri Jul 12

Enjoy an idyllic spot for an al fresco movie with Film on a Farm plus delicious locally-sourced food & drinks, from 28-day matured beef burgers, locally sourced hog roast with all the trimmings to sweet potato falafel wraps, as well as popcorn, sweet treats and ice cream. There’s a large free car park, lovely loos, and if you don’t want to leave – check out the glamping site, Hilltop Hideaways.

HISTORY: Elizabethan Pageant, Kenilworth Castle’s Garden of Love £70k re-launchSat 13 Jul-Sun 14 Jul

As part of its 10th birthday celebrations, the Elizabethan Gardens at Kenilworth Castle have been rejuvenated by a £70k project in time to mark the anniversary of the famous 19-day visit to the castle by Queen Elizabeth 1 in July 1575. This one-acre walled garden was created by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester as a love letter to Queen Elizabeth 1 and no expense was spared! This weekend put on the pomp and pull out all the stops – it’s a party fit for a Queen! 444 years since Elizabeth I visited Kenilworth Castle, the fanfare is recreated – and this time, you’re invited. Join the excited throngs as the Queen makes her monumental entrance, then look out for her as she tours the Castle and its ground for the rest of the day.  Plus, flamboyant horse displays, Raphael Historic Falconry and visit the bustling Tudor camp which offers plenty of children’s activities. Suitable for all ages. 

Book online before Fri 12 Jul and save 10%! Open 10am-5pm.

FAMILY: Alcester Duck Race, Recreation Ground, Alcester, Sat 13 Jul

Spend a day in quintessential Alcester, for traditional fun and frolics in Shakespeare’s rolling countryside. The annual duck race raises money for the town’s Christmas lights and bunting…very worthy causes to compliment the beautiful architecture of the place! Ducks are on sale in High Street and Morris Mica in Swan Street until 3.50pm on race day. Race begins at 4pm from the Old Recreation Ground on Gas House Lane and ends by Overslay Bridge. First prize £100, second prize £50, third prize £25. More info and maps here. 

THEATRE: Crooked Dances, RSC, Stratford-Upon-Avon, until Sat 13 Jul


A compelling, modern play that addresses time and attention in our rapidly evolving, ever-frantic digital age by award-winning playwright and screen-writer Robin French, co-writer of BBC3 sitcom Cuckoo. Joining Crooked Dances is Beware the Cat, a one-hour performance inspired by the first ever English novel by William Baldwin on Sat July 6 at 5pm. It’s a tale of witchcraft, religious controversy and talking cats. Tickets here.

CHILDREN’S THEATRE: Bureau of Untold Stories, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Sat 13 Jul 

Hilarious, interactive, family-friendly detective drama for ages 4+! As part of Macready Theatre’s buzzy events programme and Rugby Festival of Culture this interactive improvised detective drama is an Edinburgh Festival preview show.  Filled with outrageous accents, live sound effects, and unbelievable antics, The Bureau Of Untold Stories combines the silly, sleuthing adventures of ‘The Pink Panther’ with the unpredictable hilarity of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway? Showtime: 2.30pm-3.30pm; café and free craft from 1.30pm. Adults £10, concessions £10. Plus cafe and crafts for children from 1.30pm. Book online.

ALE: After Hours: All Hail the Ale! Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat 13 Jul

We all associate ale with the Tudors, right? Discover just why it played such an important part of 17th Century life during this informative and tasty evening. The evening kicks off with a tour around the Swan and Maidenhead Inn, then retire to the quaint garden of Shakespeare’s Birthplace for an ale sampling session. Hosted by Bob Yates from Tunnel Brewery, there’s a range of drinks to enjoy including hand-crafted ale, traditional beers and mulberry ale. Tickets: £15 (adult); £12 (concession); £10 (Friends of the Trust) – purchase from any of the Shakespeare’s family homes, online, or by calling 01789201806. From 5.30pm-7.30pm. Part of a glorious season of events from the Shakespeare family homes.

FETE: Summer Fete, Coughton Court National Trust, Sat 13 Jul

The simple things are often the best: a gleeful gala with old-fashioned favourites including face painting, lucky dip, and handmade crafts. There’s also be a woodturning demo and sports day activities along with gentle entertainment including Jacaranda Recorders, Ex Urbe Chamber Choir, Evesham Concert Band and Dynamix Harmony Group. The barbeque, local cider, cakes and other produce keep your stomach happy, whilst the glorious garden setting of the Tudor estate provides a breeze of nostalgic warmth. 12-4pm; admission to gardens free of charge. Information and tickets here. Profits go towards local causes.

FESTIVAL: Henley Festival, Oxon, Wed 10 – Sun 14 Jul 

Henley Festival is for people who’re too posh for festivals! The genteel shebang is a black tie event which takes place over five days with some mega headline acts this year including Boy George, Jessie J and Tom Odell. There’s also a line up of comedy, arts and loads of food stalls to soak up the Champers.

FESTIVAL: The Cotswold Show and Food Festival, Glos, Sat 13 – Sun 14 Jul

For a red trousers and champers-type affair there’s the 30th anniversary of The Cotswold Show and Food Festival, just over the Glos border, with stalls, trade stands, falconry, dog show and Bathurst Arena with equestrian antics.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Warwickshire