ART: Painting Childhood, Compton Verney, opens Sat March 16 – June 16
Compton Verney opens its doors this year with Painting Childhood boasting a wealth of masterpieces. Key loans include Van Dyck’s The Five Eldest Children of Charles I (1637) from the Royal Collection, Hogarth’s The Graham Children (1742) from the National Gallery, and Millais’ Bubbles (1886) from National Museums Liverpool. This is the first time these iconic paintings will be paired with the preparatory sketches that informed them. Alongside ‘Painting Childhood’ is the sister exhibition ‘Childhood Now’ with 3 contemporary artists who have used their own children or childhood to depict modern youth – Chantal Joffe, Mark Fairnington and Matthew Krishanu. comptonverney
FAMILY THEATRE: In the Willows, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Mar 20 – Sat Mar 23
Coventry audiences are among the first to experience this brand new British hip hop musical packed with familiar faces including CBBC’s The Story of Tracy Beaker star Clive Rowe, an Olivier Award winner, The Greatest Dancer’s Chris Fonseca and X Factor 2015 finalist Seann Miley Moore. Hip hop songwriter Keiran Merrick has teamed up with award-winning musical composer Pippa Cleary with choreography from Rhimes Lecointe, which impressively incorporates British Sign Language. Inspired by Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, the show sees the best-loved children’s novel vividly re-imagined in a modern-day secondary school. It’s Mole’s first day in “The Willows” and some of her classmates look a bit rough…
Tickets here, Tel: 024 7655 3055.
GIN TASTING: Whitley Neill Gin Club evening, Fizzy Moon Brewhouse, Leamingotn Spa, Thur Mar 21
This is the popular Muddy award-winning bar’s second Gin Club where you’ll be able to sample Whitley Neill’s newest handcrafted gin flavours, enjoy food pairings, free tasters, a free gift for everyone and live music for £20 per ticket. Have you tried their Blood Orange Gin? It’s delicious! One of the latest flavours is Pink Grapefruit Gin. Upcoming Gin Clubs include tasting sessions by Salcombe Gin (May 23), Chase (June 27) and Burleighs (July 25). There’s going to be a Gin Festival from Aug 23 – 25 fizzymoonbrewhouse
FILM: If Beale Street Could Talk, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Fri Mar 22 – 28
An adaptation of James Baldwin’s beautiful novel set in early 1970s Harlem, about a young black couple, pregnant Tish and her boyfriend Fonny (KiKi Layne and Stephan James), whose love story is interrupted when Fonny’s jailed on a false rape charge. Regina King has won the Oscar for best supporting actress. Book and check times here.
THEATRE: Kunene and the King, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Thur Mar 21 – Apr 23
.The world premiere of a moving two-hander about a renowned but ailing actor taking on the role of King Lear. His new nurse is not what he expected. Can he overcome his prejudices and accept the help that’s offered? Written and performed by renowned South African actor, John Kani, opposite Antony Sher, the play marks 25 years since the first democratic elections in South Africa. A co-production with Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre, it’s directed by the ‘doyenne’ of South African theatre Janice Honeyman.
MUSIC: KT Tunstall, Birmingham Town Hall, Wed Mar 20
Award-winning Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall performs as part of her European and US tour. The BRIT Award winner’s hit songs include The Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, and Suddenly I See, which was used in the opening credits of The Devil Wears Prada – if Miranda Priestly approves, so do I.
SPOKEN WORD: A Grown-up Evening with Michael Rosen, Birmingham, Town Hall, Thur Mar 21
Hear the stories, hilarious anecdotes, performance poetry, and his views of life, politics and education of one of Britain’s best-loved writers and poets, a super-lovely, very funny man. All proceeds will go directly to fund outreach events at Bournville BookFest, helping to bring fantastic storytelling event to children from across the city.
MUSIC: Sharon Van Etten, The Mill, 29 Lower Trinity St, Digbeth, Birmingham, Thur Mar 21
Catch the American singer-songwriter and actress from New Jersey who starred in Netflix series The OA while she’s visiting our shores. A torchbearer of American folk, she is known for writing complex songs about the dark side of love. Her latest fifth album, Remind Me Tomorrow, written during her recent pregnancy and the birth of her first child, and deals with the impact of parenting.
MUSIC: Martin Kemp – The ultimate back to the 80’s DJ set, Leamington Assembly, Fri Mar 22
The former Spandau Ballet pop idol and actor will be taking to the decks and spinning his fave hits from the 80’s. Spandau Ballet sold millions of records worldwide in their 80’s hey-day and Martin is still a huge TV personality starring in The Krays & Eastenders. If you were a fan back in the day, be still your beating heart…and remember the mullet!
NEW INDIE LAUNCH: Foreverlie Everlasting Floral Design, 44 Oxford Street, Leamington Spa, Sat Mar 23 & Sun Mar 24
This weekend sees the launch of a gorgeous new shop in Leamington run by Rebecca Black, specialising in the most realistic, botanically accurate artificial flowers, plants and trees. Mum-of-two Rebecca was on a trip following her roots back to Asia when she was introduced to high end artificial flowers that looked anything but fake. She then attended a Japanese Master Flower preservation and arrangement course in Hong Kong. Check out her Instagram page and website to see the amazing results for yourself. #Inlovewithlocal
HOME-WORKING? **New Co-worker Hub and Cafe launch** The Kitchen Farnborough, Mon to Fri
Some fab news! This friendly and vibrant rural Warwickshire gastro pub restaurant is this week embarking on a pioneering new mid-week venture which could be seen as a blue print for other rural pubs. It’s opening its doors to the home-working community, inviting people to come and enjoy meeting other like-minded individuals at their new co-working hub and café. A brilliant idea! So, if you fancy taking your laptop and enjoying a delicious deli style grazing lunch do pop along – think Ottolenghi meeting the best sausage roll you will ever taste! It will be open to visitors and members Mon to Fri, 9-5 ongoing, with pancakes and coffee and their customary welcoming smile. Located between Banbury and Warwick in a National Trust village near Farnborough Hall it’s a lovely, peaceful spot yet easily accessible.
THEATRE: The RSC’s As You Like It, Feb 14 – Aug 31 & The Taming of the Shrew, March 8 – Aug 31, at RST, Stratford,
THEATRE: Approaching Empty, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Mar 20 – Sat Mar 23
Award-winning Middlesborough playwright Ishy Din returns to the Belgrade Theatre following the success of his 2016 World War I drama Wipers with a brand new show about working class lives in post-industrial North East England, set in the 1980’s. Based in a scruffy minicab office in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death, it’s the story of Mansha, a taxi driver who decides it’s time to take control of his own destiny and offers to buy the business from his lifelong friend, Raf. It stars Nicholas Khan, Karan Gill, Rina Fataina, Nicholas Prasad, Maanuv Thiara and Kammy Darweish.
Tickets here, Tel: 024 7655 3055.
MUSIC: Nao, O2 Institute Birmingham, Fri Mar 22
The East London singer, who studied vocal jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, has written a critically acclaimed second album, Saturn, fusing R&B and jazz to explore what it’s like to be a modern-day black woman. According to NME it’s “full of beautiful, intricately unique songs that could never be imitated”. For ages 14+. Tickets here.
FAMILY: Mary Arden’s Farm reopens, Wilmcote, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, now open (from Sat Mar 16)
A revamped children’s play area, rare breed Ryeland sheep, and a peasants’ hovel are among the new additions at the 23-acre Tudor working farm this spring. Ryeland sheep are one of the oldest English breeds – and their first lambs are expected in March! Throughout the season there will be the usual daily activities, including geese herding, archery and bird of prey displays. Two new events have been added to the Tudor calendar: on Aug 1 to make your own mini lammas loaf out of salt dough reviving the tradition of Lammas Day, with storytelling and music. And at Harvest Home on Sept 15, try your hand at traditional crafts, like candle-making, willow weaving and wool crafts, while enjoying puppet shows and Tudor music. The popular Woolly Week takes place from May 25 – June 2, and on June 23 celebrate the longest day, Midsummer Day where you might even meet the farm’s own magical unicorn!
COMEDY: Stephen Bailey’s Our Kid, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Mar 23
Named one of Attitude Magazine’s Top 100 Bachelors of the Year in 2017, stand-up comedy star, rising star Stephen Bailey, the host of C5’s Celebs On The Farm is back on tour with his friendly brand of gossipy humour, following a sell out month at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last summer. He’s a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, supported Katherine Ryan & Jenny Eclair on their UK tours and is a a black belt in Tae Kwon-Do!
KIDS: Meet the creator of Horrid Henry – Francesca Simon, Albany Theatre, Coventry, Sun Mar 24
Lovely indie book store Kenilworth Books has teamed up with their friends at The Albany Theatre in Coventry to bring Horrid Henry creator, Francesca Simon, to Coventry! Join author Francesca Simon to find out what Henry gets up to in his latest mischievous adventures in Up, Up and Away – a brand new collection and containing the 100th Horrid Henry story, 3 – 4.30p, albanytheatre.co.uk
MUSIC: The Sleaford Mods, O2Institute, Birmingham, Sat Mar 23
I really like Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods – their songs on new fifth album Eton Alive are so sarky and full of absurdist political humour. They’re one of the most politically charged and thought-provoking post-punk bands around. Tickets here.
EXHIBITION: Rossetti Pre the Pre-Raphelities, Wightwick Manor and Gardens, Wolverhampton, on now
Celebrating the acquisition of early Rossetti sketches see a new exhibition featuring 52 of the artists’ early work at this home where Victorian art and design were passions of the former owners, the Mander family. All of the drawings are from between 1844-48 during a time when Rossetti was receiving his art education, when still a teenager, 12noon – 4pm, nationaltrust
DESIGN: See two hand-crafted pieces of bespoke furniture designed by Lee Lapthorne Hall’s Croft and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon, from Mar 11 – Sept 15
Go and see The Bard’s Rest a pop-up sofa designed with bespoke textiles; and The Love Settle, a weather-proof outdoor garden lounger bearing digital, screen-printed and embroidered fabric designed by“Fashion’s Wild Child” by Lee Lapthorne, one of the UK’s top textiles artists. He’s the new Artist-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust doncha know! These two pieces are currently on display at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Hall’s Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon.
BALLET: Giselle, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Mar 26
Vienna Festival Ballet’s Giselle will be danced by Rachel Victoria Hernon. Originally from Greater Manchester, Rachel trained in Russia and danced soloist roles with the Romanian National Ballet. She returned home early this year and joined Vienna Festival Ballet in February. Giselle is a story of innocence, love, betrayal and madness with music by 19th Century composer Adolphe Adam, and choreography by the late Nicholas Beriosoff, royalspacentreandtownhall
TV: Fleabag, series two, BBC1 & BBC 3, now available
Yay! Phoebe Waller-Bridge, fresh from writing mega-hit Killing Eve, is back with a new, darker season of Fleabag, one of the best things on TV in 2016. It starts at 10.35pm on BBC 1 on Mon March 4 – and is available on BBC 3.
DESIGN EXHIBITION: The Ideas behind Design: Vintage Heal’s Posters Exhibition, Upton House, Warwickshire, on now
Coinciding with the final year of Upton’s Made-To-Measure story, the exhibition will illustrate the inter-war vogue for modern living and furnishing. London’s 200-year-old Tottenham Court Road furniture store Heal’s employed the talent of British modern artists to promote the store’s designs. You will be able to see an exclusive collection of their original advertising posters and ephemera, which showcase the range of commercial art created for the store from the early 1920s to the 1980s, 11am – 4.45pm, nationaltrust
GIN SCHOOL EXPERIENCE LAUNCH: Hatton Shopping Village, Hatton, near Warwick, now open
Fancy tasting a new local speciality gin distilled in Warwick or having a go at making your own? Martin and Lorraine Moore, the couple behind Moores of Warwick, will be moving into their new premises at Hatton Shopping Village this weekend. After receiving his cancer diagnosis former accountant Martin thought “Bugger it! I want to have some fun” so booked himself on a distillers’ course in order to follow his dream of making his own gin. It’s a hand-crafted gin using a selection of 12 botanicals including Honeysuckle, the flower emblem of Warwickshire and for citrus notes a scented pelargonium called “Lemon Fancy” sourced from a local nursery which holds the national collection and is by Royal appointment to HR The Prince of Wales.
WORKSHOP: Palette & Paper Day, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, Sat Mar 23
Feeling creative? Pop along to a spring themed drawing workshop for adults – or treat your mum for Mother’s Day! Learn to draw real spring flowers. £18, all materials provided.
MOTHER’S DAY, Sun March 31
Enjoy a rural Mother’s Day lunch taking in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside at Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, a Sparkling Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea at Upton House including a glass of bubbles in a vintage 1930s kitchen, a Mothering Sunday Afternoon Tea and a walk at Coughton Court, Alcester. Like Vintage tearooms? Orangemabel, Alcester, Vinteas, Leamington, The Fourteas, Stratford (winner Best Cafe/Bistro – The Food Awards England 2018) or Fargo Village’s Little Vintage Cake Company in Coventry. Children can make Mother’s Day Posies for their mum at Canons Ashby near Daventry. Or how about a relaxing mother and daughter simultaneous 30-minute massage at Hampton Clinic in Hampton-in-Arden?
ART: Launch of Compton Verney’s second ‘eyecatcher’ art installation in the grounds, open from Sat March 16
Green Dwelling has been imagined by Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, and will consist of a collection of differently-sized green blocks ranged across the Old Town Meadow. The blocks highlight the history of the land: once the site of the medieval village of Compton Murdak, the meadow was planted with elm trees in the 18th century, lost due to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. Like a modern Stonehenge, the blocks playfully reference these lost histories. Paths and picnic benches are integral to the design, transforming the meadow into a destination to explore and enjoy. An exciting opportunity to re-frame familiar views of the Grade-I listed mansion house.
EXHIBITION: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Family Store Tour & Kids Art Workshops, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, now until June 2
See more than 100 breathtaking images from the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year as part of an international tour. Over half-term, there’s also 30-minute behind-the scenes Family Store Tours on Mon Feb 18 (10.30am-3pm). Children can also have their faces painted like animals and be creative in drop-in workshops exploring the Earth’s Environments – they’ll be kept busy making clay volcanoes, ice cave lanterns and marbled moonlight scenes (£2.50, under 2’s free), theherbert
NEW HOTEL: Hotel Indigo, Stratford-upon-Avon, now open
This restored 93-room boutique hotel, formerly The Falcon Hotel, officially opened on Thursday Feb 28 after a major multi-million pound restoration project. The Grade 2 listed historic building, which dates to the 16th century, has been painstakingly restored over an 18-month period and is the biggest refurbishment in the hotel’s long history. Mike Robinson, who owns London’s only Michelin starred pub, The Harwood Arms, is bringing the best of British seasonal ingredients to Stratford at the new Woodman Restaurant, including wild deer and game from the Cotswolds.
Check out the latest news on: hotelindigo
COMEDY: Kieran Hodgson’s 75, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Wed Mar 27 & Birmingham MAC, Thurs Mar 28
The super-endearing and very funny Kieran Hodgson, who frequently gets mistaken for David Tennant, returns to the Midlands. The actor and character comedian was nominated for the 2015 Edinburgh Comedy Award for his show, Lance about Lance Armstrong, in 2016 for Maestro, about his teenage attempts to write a symphony, and again in 218 for ’75, about Britain’s historic relationship with the EU.
EXHIBITION: Peter Rabbit: Mischief and Mayhem, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, now until April 27
This exhibition tells the story of the creation of Beatrix Potter’s most famous story character. It includes original, rarely exhibited artworks and manuscripts. Younger children will enjoy the activity play room where they can help Mrs Tiggy-Winkle hang up the laundry, plant carrots in Mr. McGregor’s garden, visit Mrs. Rabbit in her burrow or curl up with one of the books in the story corner. A Peter Rabbit themed spring activity family programme runs through to Easter with events including Mr McGregor’s welly hunt through the gallery and town centre in Feb half-term and The Wonderful World of Hedgehogs with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Senior Hedgehog Officer on April 5. See here for the full spring programme.
ART: Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Fri Feb 1 – May 6
12 of the Renaissance master’s drawings from the Royal Collection will be displayed at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as part of 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. Revered in his day as a painter, Leonardo completed only around 20 paintings; he was respected as a sculptor and architect, but no sculpture or buildings by him survive. Drawings on display will include the Head of an Old Bearded Man (c.1517-18), and A Map of the Valdichiana (c.1503-4). Free, birminghammuseums
NATIONAL TRUST CALL OUT TO CRAFTERS : Can you help furnish a Doll’s House replica of Warwickshire’s Upton House?
Are you good at making doll’s house furniture or figures in period costume? The team is appealing to volunteers to make replicas of key items, plus everyday household items and to complete the project the team also need figures to populate the house, all dressed in authentic period clothing. The four rooms completed so far are Lady Bearsted’s bedroom, the dining room, entrance hall, a maid’s room and – most recently – Lady Bearsted’s bathroom. They hope it will be ready for Christmas 2019. If you’d like to help out email: UptonDolls’House@nationaltrust.org.uk
KIDS: AniMalcom, Bridge House Theatre, Warwick, Sun Mar 31
Story Pocket Theatre dramatises Brit comic and award-winning children’s author David Baddiel’s AniMalcolm. The show uses physical theatre and live puppetry to tell the comical tale of Malcolm, a boy who hates animals, as he inhabits the bodies of several farm creatures on a school trip, bridgehousetheatre
ART: Forward: New Art From Birmingham, Ikon Off-site at Medicine Bakery and Gallery, until March 24
A group exhibition proving just how Birmingham’s artistic community is thriving. It features work by 28 artists living and working in the city, highlighting the depth and vitality of a wide range of practices, including this piece by Tereza Buskova, a UK-based Czech artist, who re-interprets Slavic rituals, traditions and customs with performance, print & video. Taking place in Medicine, the old gallery space of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, from which sprang the young generation that founded Ikon more than 50 years ago, it opens with artist Kevin Atherton’s live performance, In Two Minds at 6.15pm on Wed Jan 23. The work premiered in 1978 at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Since then there have been a number of re-engagements by the artist where he directly communicates with his younger self. ikon-gallery.org; medicinebakery.co.uk
THEATRE: Wise Children, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, April 2 – 6
Exciting news ahoy for Cov! Wise Children Artistic Director Emma Rice will take on a starring role in her critically-acclaimed production of the same name when it arrives in Coventry next month. Together with Richmond Theatre, the Belgrade Theatre is one of just TWO tour venues to see her step into the shoes of showgirl Nora Chance, taking over the role from Etta Murfitt. Based on the classic novel by Angela Carter, Wise Children is the first production by Emma Rice’s new company, formed following her departure from Shakespeare’s Globe. Tickets on 024 7655 3055, belgrade
FESTIVAL: Stratford Literary Festival, from April 28
Former ballet dancer and ‘Strictly’ judge, Dame Darcey Bussell, Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis , Bake Off judge Prue Leith, actress Juliet Stephenson and Warwickshire screenwriter Andrew Davies, whose BBC 1 hit Les Misérables recently graced our screens, are among the top names visiting this illustrious 8-day spring festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. Award-winning writers including Ali Smith, John Lanchester, Tessa Hadley, best-selling novelist, Patrick Gale and Booker-prize winner Ben Okri will be discussing their latest work, as well as some of the most exciting debuts of 2019. Children’s Day this year rounds off the Festival on May 5 with Jacqueline Wilson, Francesca Simon and illustrators Lydia Monks and Nick Sharratt, along with stage shows of The Rainbow Fish and Aliens Love Underpants.
MUMS: Midlands Mummies Pregnancy and New Mummy Showcase, Best Western Plus Manor Hotel, Meriden, Sat Apr 7
An event for new mums and mums-to-be sharing advice and information from qualified experts. It’s supported by a wide range of local businesses in Warwickshire with live demos and workshops including On the day Baby Scanning, Meet the Midwife and Health Visitor, Pregnancy Fitness, Mum & Baby Classes, Car Seat & Pram advice and much more. See Midlands Mummies Facebook page for more deets.
WORKSHOP: Arm Knit A Merino Wool Throw, Squirrel At Wellsborough, nr Nuneaton, Sun May 12
Join Kati in this relaxed workshop to turn 2 x 1kg cocoons of the softest merino* wool into your very own chunky throw in just 2hrs. These workshops are lots of fun & previous knitting experience is not required. *Vegan friendly yarn also available as a Merino alternativr, 10.30am – 12.30pm. Cost: £65pp to include 2 x 1kg cocoons of merino wool, tuition, soft drinks & a slice of homemade cake. For enquiries & bookings, please do message on FB or Instagram or text/call Tony on 07818 554502.
MUSIC: Christina Aguilera’s X tour, Resorts World Arena, tickets available from Mar 8
Multi-Platinum singer-songwriter Christina Aguilera has announced her first U.K. tour in 13 years, the X tour,. The six-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter know for her hits “Dirrty”, “Genie in a Bottle”, “Ain’t No Other Man” and “Fighter” comes fresh from her Las Vegas residency on a four date UK tour which includes a date at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham on Nov 14
Tickets are on sale 9am on March 8 via theticketfactory Tel: 0844 33 88 222 *Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge
MUSIC: Dido, Arena Birmingham, Thur Nov 28
Following the release of new album Still On My Mind, on March 8, Dido has announced her 2019 Nov/Dec tour opening at Arena Birmingham on Thursday November 28. The announcement marks Dido’s first return to touring in 15 years, and will see her performing material from the new album, as well as classic tracks such as Thank You, Here With Me, White Flag and Life For Rent,
Tickets go on general sale from Fri Mar 15 at 9.30am via www.theticketfactory.com or Tel: 0844 33 88 222 (*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge)
FESTIVAL: WOW – Women of the World, Southbank, London, Fri Mar 8 – Sat Mar 9
Girl power! Women of the World fest returns for it’s ninth year with a fabulous line up of debate, discussion, performance and activism all celebrating female achievement. Highlights this year include conversations with Angela Davis, Fri 8, and renowned journo and activist Naomi Klein, Sat 9.
INTERIORS: IDEAL HOME SHOW, Olympia London, Fri Mar 22 – Sun April 7
There’s a couple of interior shows popping up in London this month if you’re thinking of sprucing up your gaff. First up is London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, Sun 10 – Fri 15 Mar, with 120 showrooms and over of 600 luxury brands- the biggest of its kind in Europe. Later in the month the whopper Ideal Home Show rocks up at Olympia London, Fri 22 Mar – Sun 7 April, with hundreds of free talks, 600 companies and the latest tech. This year the theme is Best of British so expect loads of UK companies. Does anyone else feel a splurge coming on?
THEATRE: Betrayal, Pinter at the Pinter, London, opens Tue March 5
Golden Globe and Olivier Award winner Tom Hiddleston, Fresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox star in Jamie Lloyd Company’s revival. Betrayal charts a compelling seven-year romance, thrillingly captured in reverse chronological order. Described as “the greatest, and the most moving, of all Pinter’s plays” (Daily Telegraph), this production marks the culmination of the Jamie Lloyd Company’s ground-breaking Pinter at the Pinter season. Tickets here.
MUSIC: BBC 6 Music Festival, Liverpool, Fri March 29 – Sun March 31
If you listen to 6 Music you’ll have heard that their brilliant annual music festival line-up has been announced for Fri Mar 29 – Sun Mar 31 at this year’s chosen city, Liverpool (yay!) Artists include The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bodega, Little Simz, Julia Jacklin and Idles to name but a few. There’s also poetry from Roger McGough, Jess Green and Amina Atiq.
Tickets online here or 08444 77 1000.
EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun July 14
Tickets are selling like hotcakes for this! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.
ART: Jeff Koons at The Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun Jun 9
Jeff Koons is curating his own exhibition in collaboration with Norman Rosenthal. Spanning Koons’ entire career and showcasing seventeen works, most of which have never been shown in the UK before, the show will include his popular series Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings.
EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum, until Sun July 14
This exhibition focuses on how the Thames influenced Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxfordshire, where he loved to boat and fish, ergo the influence of the river in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics.
BEEN & GONE
FESTIVAL: Oxford International Women’s Festival, Thurs Feb 28 – Sun Mar 17
A series of events celebrating women’s successes, strengths and solidarity. This year’s theme is We Will Survive and Thrive and there will be a panel on International Women’s Day on 8 Mar to talk about their experiences around this theme. Guests so far confirmed are Eleanor Smith, MP for Wolverhampton, and Margaret Greer, Unison National Officer for Black Members. Festival events include screenings, talks, workshops, theatre and networking events. Check out the full programme here.
CIRCUS/THEATRE: The Cat in the Hat, Birmingham Rep, until Sun March 3
DANCE: to a simple, rock‘n’roll . . . song, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University campus, Coventry, Wed Mar 6
One of two fabulous contemporary dance performances here this month. Described by London’s Evening Standard as “an adrenaline shot that sends you away buzzing”, the latest work by Michael Clark is acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. Enjoying its world premiere at the Barbican, London in 2016, this Olivier Award-nominated masterpiece comprises a triple bill of gorgeously arresting choreography, set to music by David Bowie, Patti Smith and Erik Satie for ages 12+, 7.30pm, warwickartscentre
WEDDING FAIRS: across Warwickshire Sat Mar 9 & Sun Mar 10
BOOKS TALK: Author Gaby Koppel, Warwick Books, Warwick, Thur March 7
In Reparation TV journalist Elizabeth is pursuing a story of child abduction in the Hassidic community. In the wake of her father’s sudden death and her mother’s increasing obsession with wartime Hungary. It was inspired by BBC series producer and writer Gaby Koppel’s own relationship with her mother and also her experience of growing up as a second-generation holocaust survivor (and refugee) and having to bear the emotional burden of her parents’ experiences. She explores themes including inherited trauma, family dysfunction during and after the holocaust, the mother/ daughter relationship and emotional forgiveness. Tickets £5, including refreshments. Booking essential on 01926 499939 or email@example.com
THEATRE FOR LITTLIES: Nest by Anna Beecher and Rachel Lincoln, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun 10 Mar
Gentle, surprising and magical. This 40-minute multi-sensory experience for pre-walking babies and their parents and carers up to 14 months sounds really sweet. Unfolding in a custom-built performance tent, Nest takes audiences on a journey through the seasons, using playful poetry, sound and song, captivating movement and tactile and sensory play, 11.15am & 12.30pm, 40mins, £12 adult and baby pass, warwickartscentre
World Book Day & Weekend Storytelling, across Warwickshire and the Midlands, Sat March 9 & Sun March 10
At Rugby Art Gallery and Museum there’ll be the chance for pre-schoolers to hop along and delve into the world of their lovely Peter Rabbit, ‘Mischief and Mayhem’ exhibition for free stories, parachute games and crafts on Tues Mar 7 from 10.30 – 12pm. Charlecote Park near Stratford-upon-Avon has stocked up on new World Book Day titles in the Servants’ Hall Shop from Thur Mar 7 – Sun Mar 10 where children can spend their £1 voucher. At Canons Ashby on the Northamptonshire border near Rugby there’s Family Storytelling for children up to 7 years with a guest storyteller on Sat Mar 9. Slightly further afield children can celebrate World Book Day by dressing up as their favourite storybook character and a weekend of fun stories in the Story Gallery at Sudbury Hall & The National Trust Museum of Childhood, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, between 11.30am and 3.30pm. There’s also a Ten Little Bookworms trail and a second-hand bookshop in the Stable Yard. A free event, normal admission prices apply.
KIDS THEATRE: Romeo and Juliet – Mad Blood Stirring, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sat Mar 9
Fab Coventry writer Nick Walker has adapted Shakespeare’s tragedy for children aged nine – 13. Narrated in modern English, this is a great introduction to this devastating love story commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre, Z-arts, Oxford Playhouse and The Core at Corby Cube. Gripping storytelling, live music and striking visual effects, 11am & 2.30pm, 1hr 10mins, Tickets warwickartscentre
THEATRE: Under the Umbrella, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mar 2 – Sat Mar 16
Telling the story of a young Chinese woman studying for a PhD in Coventry, Under the Umbrella explores the pressures around marriage, dating and family faced by women in both Britain and China today, in partnership with Yellow Earth Theatre as part of Tamasha’s IGNITE programme. Tickets on 024 7655 3055, belgrade
DANCE: Fagin’s Twist, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University campus, Coventry, Wed Mar 13 & Thu Mar 14
Avant Garde Dance mix contemporary hip hop, music and story to re-tell this much-loved classic. Presenting Dickens’ Oliver Twist in a new light, Tony Adigun’s choreography flips your expectations of five familiar characters, in a world that’s not so far from our own, for ages 8+. The production has received a raft of 4-star reviews. Choreographer Tony has previously worked with Cirque du Soleil, Sky One’s Got to Dance, Whitney Houston, Usher, Ashanti, Janet Jackson, and Cheryl Cole, 7.30pm, warwickartscentre
BOOK NOW! In Bloom Mother’s Day Hand-Tied Bouquet Workshop, Farnborough, Warks, Thur Mar 28
Want to surprise your mum with a hand-tied bouquet? Mum-and-daughter team Alex and Diane are running a workshop in their stunning farmhouse surrounded by fields of new Spring lambs, in a fun, friendly and relaxed environment! What could be lovelier? While enjoying fizz & nibbles, learn to make your very own beautiful hand-tied bouquet. The workshop is £55, or £100 for two people! If the date doesn’t suit, feel free to get in touch, they may be able to offer other dates. To book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Truth, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Mar 13 & Thur Mar 13
Singer songwriter Helen Chadwick joins forces with Olivier award-winning and Tony nominated Steven Hoggett to create this beautiful and thought-provoking show which explores the once-simple notion of Truth in our messy modern age of fake news, warwickartscentre.
AFTERNOON TEA TALK: An Intimate Look at Upton’s Art Treasures, Upton House & Gardens, nr Edgehill, Thur Mar 14
The Shell oil fortune enabled Walter Samuel to assemble one of the finest private art collections in England. Join house guide Barbara for a close look at four of Upton’s treasures: the 17th-century Brussels tapestries; the desk with ties to Napoleon and to Shell; El Greco’s El Espolio painting, and the stolen Sèvres porcelain that returned to Upton. The talk will be followed by a traditional cream tea in Iris’ tea room, Upton’s converted old kitchen, 2.30 – 4pm, £10, nationaltrust
MUSIC: The Coral, Leamington Assembly, Fri Mar 15
This Mercury-nominated Wirral indie band with their catchy tunes and melodies like Dreaming of You, Jacqueline and In the Morning are on the line-up at BBC 6 Music’s Festival in Liverpool, along with former guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones – and already completely sold out. Although it seems like they’ve been around for years they’re still only in their 30s! Their ninth album, Move Through the Dawn, has been getting great national press reviews.
Rock on baby! Strictly winner Kevin Clifton dons distressed denim, leather and some very questionable wigs in this smash hit musical about an LA love story, featuring over 25 classic rock songs on the musical’s mega tour.
Tickets belgrade Tel: 024 7655 3055.
THEATRE FOR LITTLIES: Twirlywoos Live! The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Mon Mar 11
Inventive puppetry and a cast full of characters from this Cbeebies fave for babies and young children, 1.30pm & 4.30pm, Tickets Tel: 02476 99 89 64 (open 10.30 – 13.30 Monday to Saturday) albanytheatre
GUIDED WALK: 8.5m Walk from Edge Hill, Shenington (Tysoe village church) to Upton House and Gardens, including soup, Mon Mar 11 & June 10
Put your walking boots on and discover some of the history of the stunning countryside, huge vistas and big skies surrounding Upton House and Gardens on this strenuous round walk. There will be a pause for lunch at Upton House before walking a different route back to Tysoe. A bowl of hot soup along with a cup of house tea or coffee is included. Run in association with the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens. Arrive from 9.30am for a 10am departure ends 3pm, £6.50, nationaltrust
COMEDY: Andrew Maxwell, Showtime, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Fri Mar 15
A memorable cocktail of personal stories, astute political observations and the odd surprise foray into character cameos from the devilish voice of MTV’s Ex On The Beach if you’re under the age of 25, 7.45pm, Age 14+ , warwickartscentre
THEATRE FOR TEENS: Blankface, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Fri Mar 15
Innovative London-based youth led creative platform, My Runway Group, uses choreographed drama, movement and artistic language to explore the racial and political themes surrounding youth culture and knife crime and issues that are increasingly in the headlines. Tickets: £11 adult & £8 concession, suitable for ages 13+, albanytheatre.co.uk
KIDS: Make It Saturdays! Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, Sat Mar 16
A chance to try traditional crafts led by our creative team and experiment with science, art and construction (STEAM) activities including Willow Weaved Dreamcatchers on Mar 16, Decorate a Birdbox on April 20 and every kid’s favourite, Make Slime! on May 26, £3.50 per person. Pay on the day but book in advance at the Gallery Desk or ring 01788 533217.
KIDS: Lydia Monks – The Girl, The Bear and The Magic Shoes, Birmingham Town Hall, Sat Mar 16
Long-time Julia Donaldson collaborator, multi award-winning illustrator Lydia Monks takes part in this amazing live draw-along show!
MUSIC: Georgie Fame in Concert, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat Mar 16
A rare performance by a genuinely cool, dapper musician. Blending jazz and rhythm & blues, Georgie Fame’s impressive career includes more than 20 albums, 14 hit singles and collaborations with some of music’s most famous names including Muddy Waters, Gene Vincent, Bill Wyman, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. For this performance, audiences will be treated to Georgie’s hits, music from artists that have influenced him and personal stories and anecdotes, 8pm
Discover Your Irish Family History, Birmingham Back to Basics, Sat Mar 16
Celebrate St Patrick’s Day by tracing your Irish Family History with expert Maggie Loughran at this National Trust restored 19th-century courtyard of 4 back-to-back houses. This beginners talk will guide you through sources to help determine your ancestor’s place of birth and also look at some of the more easily accessible records. The advanced session will guide you through how to locate what pre-1865 information has survived and where to access it. This workshop is aimed at those who are already familiar with the basics of genealogical research. 10.30am – 12noon 1pm – 3pm, £12 (adult). Tel: 0344 2491895.
Melissa McCarthy, is Oscar nominated for her turn as Lee Israel, a failing writer making money selling forged celebrity letters in this amusing true-crime bleak comedy with Richard E Grant – also Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor – reliving his Withnail & I days as her drinking buddy.