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Reader Treats Just For You!

MAY

MAY

FAMILY:  Woolly Week, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat May 25 – June 2

Check out the revamped children’s play area, rare breed Ryeland sheep, and a new peasants’ hovel at the 23-acre Tudor working farm this spring. Ryeland sheep are one of the oldest English breeds – and see their first lambs! 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! Two new events have been added to the Tudor calendar this year: 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. Open daily until Sun Nov 3, check out shakespeare.org.uk/visit/mary-ardens-farm. Book online.

 

THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri May 24 – Sept 7

Prasanna Puwanarajah in rehearsal. Photo-by-Helen-Maybanks-_c_-rsc

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

 

FAMILY THEATRE: Dinosaur World Live Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues May 28 & Weds May 29

Using large-scale puppetry to stunning effect, this interactive family show offers an experience like no other, transporting audiences back in time to the wilds of prehistory for a life-like encounter with Triceratops, MicroraptorSegnosaurus and Giraffatitan as paleontologists’ daughter Miranda introduces her favourite prehistoric pals – but not every dino is a docile one…The creative team have an impressive CV! Puppet design is by Max Humphries (National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Cirque du Soleil), puppet direction is by Laura Cubitt (Running Wild, Chichester Festival Theatre; Don Quixote, RSC; War Horse, NT Berlin), with Toby Olié (War HorseElephantomPeter Pan, The Light Princess and Hansel & Gretel, National Theatre) as puppetry consultant. 

Recommended for children aged 3+. Tickets are available on 024 7655 3055belgrade.co.uk 

 

KIDS: Morgan & West’sUtterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show for Kids & Childish Grown-Ups, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Tue May 28

More half-term fun with time-travelling magicians and festival faves Morgan & West, who mix brain boggling illusion and good old fashioned tom-foolery. For ages 5+. Café and FREE craft @ 1.30pm. The show starts at 2.30pm, macreadytheatre

 

CIRCUS XANTI: As a Tiger in the Jungle, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed May 29

These Nepalese artists perform their deeply personal story of being trafficked into the circus industry as young children. Circus, spoken word, movement and ceremony are used to show how, against all odds, Renu Ghalan and Aman Tamang survived their childhood and created their own destiny, warwickartscentre.co.uk

 

THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thur May 2 – Sept 7

Caroline Quentin in The-Provoked-Wife. Photo-by-Pete-Le-May

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), rsc.org.uk 

 

ENGLISH WINE WEEK (May 25-June 2) Summer Wines, Slurp Leamington, Fri May 31

Find your new Summer go to wine to enjoy in the sunshine! The team will be tasting a vintage Cava  by Segura Viudas, a lively and zesty Albarino from Vionta in Rias Biaxas Spain, a lovely light and fresh Rosefrom Demorgenzon South Africa, a Nerello Mascalese and Carricante from Cortesein Sicilly and a Californian Zinfandel by Cline Cellars which would make the perfect match for those steaks and burgers on the BBQ. Tickets, £15pp, here.

 

SINGALONG: Beauty and the Beast, Macready Theatre, Rugby School, Rugby, Fri May 31

The updated Disney singalong version is showing during May half-term if you’re looking to entertain little people. Screening starts 2.30pm. Tickets £5 (£3) Café and FREE craft @1.30pm, macreadytheatre

 

NEW EXHIBITION: Living with HistoryHall’s Croft cafe, Stratford upon Avon, May 18 – 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 presidentProfessor 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, shakespeare.org.uk/visit/halls-croft/living-history

TV: Homecoming on NETFLIX 

Beyoncé (Image: Instagram)

Have you seen Homecoming yet? It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan with pretty awe-inspiring choreography!  As the first African-American woman to ever headline Coachella, Beyonce said she wanted her show to be less about her: “When I decided to do Coachella, instead of pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.” She’s brought together 260 performers (acrobats, musicians, dancers), quotes from artists including Nina Simone and Beloved author Toni Morrison and backstage rehearsal footage. She also reveals that after a difficult pregnancy and giving birth to twins Rumi and Sir via C-section June 2017, she set about rebuilding her body and strength. She says, “I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth. I had to rebuild my body from cut muscles. What people don’t see is the sacrifice.” The ultimate backstage pass. Homecoming is now available on Netflix

ART: Painting Childhood & Childhood Now, Compton Verney, until June 16

Chantal-Joffe-Self-portrait-with-Esme-at-bedtime-2018-ⓒ-Chantal-Joffe-Courtesy-the-artist-and-Victoria-Miro-LondonVenice

Compton Verney’s new spring exhibition takes a fresh and moving look at childhood over the last 500 years boasting masterpieces such as 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 together with some of Queen Victoria’s sketches of her own children. This is the first time these iconic paintings will be paired with the preparatory sketches that informed them. Alongside Painting Childhood is the expressive, idiosyncratic sister exhibition Childhood Now with three contemporary artists – Chantal Joffe, Mark Fairnington and Matthew Krishanu – who have used their own children or childhood to depict modern youth.  comptonverney

 

GIN CRUISE! Shakespeare Distillery & Avon Boating launch their first Gin Cruise, Stratford-upon-Avon, from Sat May 18

All-aboard for a 40-minute gin cruise! Sail down the beautiful Avon through Stratford-upon-Avon with a glass of Stratford Gin in your hand. See all the riverside sights including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare’s burial place, while enjoying a tutored tasting of the craft gins produced by the award-winning Shakespeare Distillery, finishing with a glass of Gin & Tonic to toast your captain & crew! £20pp. Book here.

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

The reviews are now in after last week’s press night for Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles. It’s set in the 1590s and England is a matriarchy. 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: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Feb 14 – Aug 31

Photo-by-Topher-McGrillis-_c_-RSC

 What can you look forward to this season? Well, three Shakespeare gems, two Restoration classics and a stunning new two-hander! The new 2019 season opened with Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It with 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, rsc.org.uk, Tel: 01789 403493.

 

ART: Compton Verney’s second ‘eyecatcher’ art installation Green Dwelling

Green Dwelling has been imagined by Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, and consists 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. Great for kids to explore over Easter! comptonverney

COMEDY: James Acaster – Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, May 30 (sold out)

Photo by Edward Moore @edshots

Dang! Just so you know…the October date is already booked up too!

 

FAMILY: Host your own Glamping Pod Pizza Party at Wootton Park, Henley-in-Arden

This enterprising family-owned Warwickshire rural business, which recently launched the UK’s first luxe treepods with hot tubs, has now launched ‘pod pizza parties’. Groups of up to eight people can get together in 4 glamping pods (Mistral, Sirocco, Meltemi and Zephyr), make or bring their own dough and have their own pizza party in a kiln pizza oven on site. These pods are set on the ground among the trees in a group and ideal for 4 couples each with a double bed, bedding, towels and bathrobes. A shower and toilet are nearby as a BBQ, fire pit and outside seating area. Perfect for a birthday celebration, family get together, anniversary or hen night /weekend. Quote Campaign Code PIZZA PARTY – and the cost is £460 for the 4 pods sleeping 8 people for one night. That’s £57.50 per person including breakfast. Price includes use of the pizza oven for a booked time slot and wood, (pizza ingredients not included).

woottonpark.co.uk/stay

 

EXHIBITION: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, now until June 2

©-Isak-Pretorius-Wildlife-Photographer-of-the-Year

See more than 100 breathtaking images from the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year as part of an international tour, theherbert

 

FILM: Rocketman, in cinemas from May 24 

If you enjoyed the Freddie Mercury biopic, stand by for Rocketman, a film about Elton John, with Brit star Taron Egerton (above) donning the silly specs and Bodyguard star Richard Madden playing John Reid, the singer’s long-term manager and lover!

 

BOOK NOW! 

TALK: The Industry – An evening with TV and filmmakers, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Mon June 24

Sex Education, Netflix

This free event organised as part of Festival on the Close at Rugby School sees a panel discussion with leading industry figures including Laura Neal, writer on the brilliant British-set Netflix series Sex Education starring Gillian Anderson. While studying at Bristol Uni Laura won the Hull Truck Prize (2007) and was selected for the Paines Plough Future Perfect scheme and the Royal Court writers programme in the same year! At the time of writing, there are only 35 tickets left! A great event particularly for anyone interested in a career in TV or film. Doors open at 5.30pm and the panel debate starts at 6pm. More details here.

 

TALK: Margaret Atwood, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Mon Oct 28

To celebrate the launch of her new book The Testaments, a sequel to the totally brilliant The Handmaid’s Tale (which I am very excited to get my mitts on), author Margaret Atwood is going on a live tour- an evening of conversation, exclusive readings and special guests. She’s only touring for eight dates in the UK and our ‘hood is super lucky to secure a spot, so get booking if you fancy it as no doubt it will be a sell-out. The tour follows the book launch on Tues 10 Sept where Margaret will be speaking at the National Theatre – the talk will be screened to 1,000 cinemas worldwide with loads of West Midlands and Warwickshire cinemas taking part. Find your nearest screening here.

 

FURTHER AFIELD:

ART: MUDSKIPPER – the grand unveiling and live demo of British artist James Capper’s walking boat, Battersea Park, London, Thur May 30 – June 21

©James Capper

British artist James Capper is set to unveil his new large-scale mobile sculpture MUDSKIPPER – a fully-mobile sculpture (9.2 meters in length and 12 tons in weight) which has the ability to move across water and land on-shore through the use of two step-type propulsion legs on Thurs May 30. The launch and live demo will take place at The Thames Path by Chelsea Bridge car park from 6.30pm – 9pm followed by drinks and talk by James Capper at Battersea Village Hall. The Times carries a great article about MUDSKIPPER and you can find a short film about the making of the work hereThe walking ship will take up residency at Battersea Power Station Pier directly in front of the iconic riverside building and is making special public performances:

  • Sunday June 9, 12noon, Thames Path near The Riverside, Hamilton House, 5 St George Wharf, SW8 2LE
  • Monday June 10, 1pm, Thames Path near Nine Elms Pavilion (opposite US Embassy), Riverside Walk (off Nine Elms Lane), SW8 5DF

See here for map and further details. 

 

NEW EXHIBITION: Mechanical Circus, Banbury Museum, north Oxon, Sat May 25 – Fri May 31

This brand new exhibit explores entertainment before the age of iPads- optical illusions, over 40 automata and loads of interactive elements and games (you can even put your head in a lion’s mouth!). The exhibit also features the museum’s first ever international loans from Museum Boerhaave in The Netherlands. banburymuseum.org

 

EAT: Food Festival, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sat May 25 – Sun May 26 

Blenheim‘s sixth annual Food Festival is promising a gastronomic weekender packed with talks, demonstrations, family friendly activities and a hearty sprinkling of celebrity chefs, including Raymond Blanc OBE, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Celebrity MasterChef champion, Angellica Bell. There’ll also be up to 160 local and regional foodie and drink stalls with artisan bakers, craft brewers, gourmet burgers, international cuisine and, new for this year, the Vegan & Veggie Garden. Go stuff yourself silly. blenheimpalace.com

 

ART: 60 Years, Tate Britain, London

Tomma Abts, Zebe 2010. Tate © Tomma Abts

Several permanent (and free) walk through galleries have been dedicated to work made entirely by female artists over the last 60 years including Susan Hiller’s wild 60s installations, Bridget Riley’s abstract paintings, plus sculptures by Rachel Whiteread, Phyllida Barlow and Sarah Lucas. Recent Turner prize winners are also featured – Tomma Abts, Charlotte Prodger, Lubaina Himid alongside Mona Hatoum and Gillian Wearing, tate

 

FLOWERS: Covent Garden In Bloom, Covent Garden, London, until Sat 15 Jun

Miller Harris window display

Following their London debut in Covent Garden’s iconic Central Avenue last year, floral artists Fleurs de Villes will return to showcase the best floral designs in the Big Smoke and return Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. Covent Garden retailers and restaurants are all mucking in with botanical window displays, exclusive products and spring collections,  bespoke cocktails and dishes made with herbs and ingredients from Covent Garden’s veggie garden. coventgarden.london

 

KIDS: New Children’s Garden, Kew Gardens, London 

As if it wasn’t already a prime spot for day tripping, the clever sausages at Kew Gardens have added a brand new Children’s Garden just in time for May half term. Two years in the making, the interactive garden (aimed at ages 2 – 12) has over 100 varieties of mature trees, bamboo tunnels, hammocks and in-ground trampolines all under the cover of a huge 200 year old oak tree. kew.org

 

HOME & INTERIORS 

Image by Varana

In need of some home inspo? Award winning event, Grand Designs Live, lands at London’s ExCeL (Sat May 4 – Sun 12) with loads of exhibitors, product launches and expert advice on how to pimp your pad whether you’re planning a self-build, renovation or are adding the finishing touches. Kevin McCloud will be on hand for a natter, too. Or, there’s Clerkenwell Design Week (I’ve been a few times, it’s well worth the trip)- home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet, this will be the 10th annual festival, which attracts some of the best of designers in the world, including a huge range of home-grown talent (Tue May 21 – Thurs 23). Finally, feeling crafty? London Craft Week (Wed May 8 – Sun 12) showcases exceptional craftsmanship in London with a programme of workshops by both unknown makers and celebrated masters held in famous studios, galleries and shops. This year London’s hippest new hangout Coal Drops Yard is getting involved for the first time with loads of cool workshops and installations.

 

EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London,  from Sat 6 Apr

This is going to be awesome! The iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant, gets her own exhibit at the V&A with over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.

Tickets here

 

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.

vam.ac.uk

 

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.

ashmolean.org

BEEN & GONE:

STRATFORD LIT FEST: Children’s Day, various venues across Stratford-upon-Avon, Sun May 5

Much-loved author Dame Jacqueline Wilson returns to discuss her writing career, new book My Mum Tracy Beaker and how she created some of her best-loved characters including the irrepressible Tracy Beaker for ages 9+. Former Children’s Laureate and author of more than 100 books, Dame Jacqueline Wilson is one of Britain’s best-selling authors.  Other authors/illustrator events include Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon, Nick Sharratt’s Right Royal DrawalongHow to DrawStar Wars with JAKe and David Lichfield, author of The Bear and the PianoTel: the Box Office on 0333 666 3366 or go online at ticketsource.co.uk/stratford-literary-festival

stratfordliteraryfestival

MUSIC: Kitty Macfarlane, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun May 26
Kitty’s folk-inspired music is relevant and captivating, with sharply observed narrative songs. Be sure not to miss this phenomenal rising star, 7.45pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

COMEDY: Shappi Khorsandi – Skittish Warrior… Confessions of a Club Comic, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun May 5

A brand new show packed full of sharp-tongued gags and cultural observation, this is Shappi’s warts-and-all journey through the 90s comedy scene, to breaking through on telly and then letting it all slip away,  7.45pm. Age 14+,   warwickartscentre.co.uk

MUSIC: The Great Escape, Brighton beach, May 9-11

The multi-venue weekender is the UK’s answer to South By Southwest and still one of the best places to talent-spot the new music stars of tomorrow, in a (rainy) seaside setting. More than 500 emerging artists from all over the world will be performing in 30+ walkable venues across the city plus, a festival site on Brighton Beach.

THEATRE: Urban Wolf’s Custody, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed May 1-4

Photo by Lidia-Crisafulli

 After a successful debut at London’s Ovalhouse in 2017, Urbain Hayo’s Custody heads out on a UK tour this Spring, kicking off at the Belgrade Theatre. Weaving tales of injustice from real-life families together with creator Urbain Hayo’s own experiences of the controversial Stop and Search policy. Inspired by Migrant Media’s banned cult documentary films Injustice and Who Polices the Police, Custody interrogates the impact of widespread prejudice and police brutality on BAME communities.  Casting for the show includes Muna Otaru as Mother, Rochelle James as Lover, Ewa Dina as Sister and Urban Wolf as Brother. #WhoIsBrian #CustodyPlay  

Tel the box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade 

FESTIVAL: Stratford Lit Fest, various venues across town, from Sun Apr 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.

For the full line-up go to: stratlitfest Tickets go on sale on Feb 4, ticketsource.co.uk/stratford-literary-festival

EVENT: Gin Club featuring Devonshire distillery Salcombe, Fizzy Moon Brewhouse, Leamington Spa, Thur May 23
Enjoy a cocktail on arrival, meet the brand ambassador, taste all 6 gins in the portfolio, enjoy a selection of tapas and live music, from 7pm. Plus there’s a luxurious gin hamper to be won on the night!
Email info@fizzymoonbrewhouse, Tel: 01926 888717, fizzymoonbrewhouse

THEATRE: On Golden Pond, The Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, Fri May 17 – Sat May 25 

A touching, funny and warmly perceptive comedy-drama about a spirited elderly couple facing their twilight years performed by a six-strong cast. Conciliatory wife Ethel (Pamela Hickson) and cantankerous retiree Norman Thayer (Philip Hickson) return to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 44th year. The 1981 film adaptation famously starred Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn.  Time: 7.30pm start with matinees on Sat May 18 & Sat May 25 at 2.30pm. In support of the British Heart FoundationFor more details and tickets see here.

UK FILM PREMIERE: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Thur May 23

If you haven’t seen it performed live, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake comes to cinemas and is ‘as bold and beautiful as ever’.  This thrilling production is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a male ensemble. Filmed live at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, it stars Will Bozier as The Swan/The Stranger, Liam Moweras The Prince and Nicole Kabera as The Queen.

Tickets £12.50 (£10), macreadytheatre

KIDS: ZOG by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 24 – Sun May 26


Another imaginative and colourful 60-minute stage adaptation for children of all ages based on a book by Julia Donaldson by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston (they currently have 4 on the go – ZogTabby McTatStick Man and Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales). Large in size, and keen in nature, Zog is so eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know! Timings: Fri – 4.30pm; Sat & Sun -11am, 2pm & 4pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

MUSIC: Jo Whiley’s 90s Anthems, The Assembly, Leamington Spa, Sat May 25

Bringing you all the best tracks from the decade that brought us Blur vs Oasis, Fatboy Slim, Primal Scream, The Verve, The Chemical Brothers, Faithless and The Prodigy, eventbrite

FAMILY: The Ultimate Medieval Day Out, Kenilworth Castle Sun May 5 & Mon May 6

English Heritage’s greatest medieval weekend will be at Kenilworth Castle this early May Bank Holiday weekend with more than 300 re-enactors from around the country descending on the castle to set up camp ready for battle. At the heart of the weekend will be an arena show featuring medieval combat.  Teams of knights and squires will compete in challenges of skill and strength in spectacular shows in this fast-paced sporting event. You can also expect medieval fashion, live music, hobby horse jousting and a bustling medieval marketplace.

english-heritage

FAMILY: The RSC’s Easter Holiday activities & Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, Stratford-upon-Avon, Apr 10 – Mon May 6

Children can take part in a fun introduction to As You Like It currently showing at the RSC on Wed Apri 17. Photo-by-Topher-McGrillis-_c_-RSC

A host of super-cool family-friendly activities ranging from vocal warm-ups, exciting open set changeovers (Tues Apr 23 & Thur Apr 25), BSL interpreted events including Kate’s Storytree (Apr 19), Blood Guts & Gore with former RSC Head of Wigs & Make-up Brenda Leedham, costume design workshops, mini set design, Easter trail and a Tulip Festival at Morton Hall (May 4, 5 & 6), raising money for the RSC’s Stitch In Time campaign to restore and redevelop of the company’s new Costume Workshop. See the full itinerary here: rsc, Tel: 01789 331111 to book.

ART: Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Fri Feb 1 – May 6

Leonardo da Vinci, The head of an old bearded man, c.1517-18 RCIN 912499

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

EASTER PANTO: Peter Pan, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Wed May 1 & Thur May 2
 This family Spring pantomime boasts an all-star cast including comedy legend, Bobby Davro and Danni Harmer star of CBBC’s popular Tracey Beaker and Strictly Come Dancing contestant as well as Disney Art Attack’s, Lloyd Warbey, albanytheatre, Tel: Box Office: 02476 99 89 64 (open 10.30am – 1.30pm Mon-Sat).

COMEDY: Russell Kane – The Fast and the Curious, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Thu May 2

He’s back. The keenly-awaited brand new show is here. Packing more energy than a Duracell factory, Russell’s RS Turbo laugh engine will motor through love, family and life – once again proving that the fast and the curious amongst us see more stuff, and get more done,  8pm. Age 14+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

THEATRE: Heart of Darkness, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed May 8 – Sat May 11

Joseph Conrad’s seminal novel about lies, greed and the lust for power gets a modern makeover at Dicot’s arts hub by digital theatre maker Imitating the Dog. Video, projections and graphic images are fused with live performance in this bold new production. Tel the box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade

COMEDY: Coventry Comedy Festival, Fri May 3 – 12

Award-winning comedian, writer and actor Catherine Bohart whose 2018 autobiographical debut solo show Immaculate was described by the Times as “the sort of perfectly structured Edinburgh debut you always hope for and rarely get to see.”

The city is playing host to a brand new 10-day festival across multiple city-centre venues welcoming internationally renowned comedians, improv comedy, musical comedy and family shows including headliner Tom Allen who is closing the festival on May 12. Highlights include award-winning Ahir Shah’s Dots, Catherine Bohart’s Work in Progress, Perrier Award-winning Christian Reilly’s Gig Economy, Robin Morgan, Laura Monmoth, Sophie Duker and Darren Harriott.

Check out the full line-up here.

FREE FESTIVAL: B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival, Birmingham Hippodrome,  Fri May 3 – Sun May 12

For the fourth year, this popular free music and dance festival will see the Hippodrome and surrounding areas filled with pop-up performances, striking graffiti and thrilling dance battles, check out what’s on here.

MUSICAL: Club Tropicana, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues May 7 – Sat May 11

A tongue-in-cheek musical based on the lyrics of a Wham song! It stars X Factor winner Joe McElderry as the entertainment manager of the Club Tropicana Hotel, where the drinks are free and set to an 80s soundtrack including Girls Just Wanna Have FunTake On MeRelax and Just Can’t Get Enough.  It also stars EastEnders actor Neil McDermott and former Sugababe Amelle Berrabah as hotel owners Robert and Serena alongside Emily Tierney (WickedThe Wizard of Oz) as scheming interloper Christine and Kate Robbins (Spitting ImageDinnerladies) as chambermaid Consuela.  

Tickets are available on 024 7655 3055, belgrade.co.uk 

DANCE: Amina Khayyam Dance Company: A Thousand Faces, Thu May 9  

A bold dance-theatre production that uses the imagery of Bollywood beauty and Hollywood glamour to explore violence against women, in particular, acid attacks, 7.45pm.  Running time: 1hr 10mins / Age 8+,  warwickartscentre.co.uk

COMEDY:  The Horne Section: That’s How I Like My Tour, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Thu May 9 

Five outstanding musicians, one non-musical stand up, there’ll be comedy, songs, enthusiastic dancing and a lot of mucking about, 8pm. Age 14+.

 warwickartscentre.co.uk Tel: 024 7652 4524

FOOD: Burger and Beer Pairing, Drapers’ Bar and Kitchen, Coventry, Thur May 9

This cool independent bar in Coventry’s student quarter, close to Coventry Cathedral, is teaming up with Purity Brewing to bring you a night of great food and great beer.
Head Chef Sarah has created a selection of burgers, while Purity have worked their magic to find the perfect beer accompaniment. It kicks off at 7pm and booking is essential so use this link to get your tickets now: https://billetto.co.uk/e/beer-burger-pairing-night-tickets-348614

DANCE: MOTIONHOUSE– ChargeWarwick Arts Centre, Wed May 8 & Thu 9 

This internationally-acclaimed Leamington-based dance company’s latest 1hr 15min show, Charge is inspired by the role of electricity in the human body. From the electrical charge that sparks human life, to the beating of our hearts and the memories we make, performers use dance and acrobatics to delve deep into the human body, 7.30pm. For ages 7+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

 COMEDY: Sofie Hagen: Bubblewrap, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Fri May 10

Bubblewrap won London-based Danish comedian Sofie the Edinburgh Fringe Best Newcomer Award in 2015, catapulting her onto the British comedy scene. It’s a show about how she learned to love her body interspersed with erotic Westlife fanfiction and stories about one-night-stands, a psych ward and car chases. Audiences will also have the chance to hear her read from her new book Happy Fat, published on May 2, a manifesto for happiness and fat liberation, followed by a Q&A with Sofie. One of the most talked-about comics, Sofie just completed filming for her own Comedy Central series, Sofie’s Sex Stories, looking at the sex lives of fellow comedians. She was one of the co-founders of The Guilty Feminist podcast,  warwickartscentre.co.uk Tel: 024 7652 4524

MUSIC: Sam Fender, O2 Institute Birmingham, Fri May 10
 
Shortlisted for the BBC Sound of 2018 award, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Tyneside won the 2019 Brits critics’ choice award, beating Mahalia and Lewis Capaldi. Sam Fender launched into 2019 with new single, ‘Play God’ but it’s last year’s Dead Boys EP that really struck a chord, mourning the suicides of young men. Tickets here.

MUSIC: Olly Murs, Resorts World Arena, Birmingham, Fri May 10

The Voice judge returns to his ‘day job’…His new album features a track with Snoop Dogg. Olly has five multi-platinum albums under his belt, 4 #1 UK albums, 4# UK singles and 6 #1 airplay tracks. The singer is the X Factor’s most successful male artist with more than 17.5m followers across his socials. Tickets still available on theticketfactory Tel: 0844 33 88 222 (*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).

COMEDY: Henning Wehn – Get On With It, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Fri May 10

You couldn’t make it up; surely the German Comedy Ambassador Henning Wehn hasn’t bosched out yet another new show? And what’s he still doing here anyway? Well, his lack of transferable skills is what keeps him here and his belief that practice makes perfect is what keeps him going,  8pm. Age 16+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

THEATRE: EGLANTYNE, The Other Place, Waterside, Stratford upon Avon, Sat May 11

The real Eglantyne Jebb

An inspiring solo one-woman show telling the story of Eglantyne Jebb – the visionary, passionate, social reformer, human rights pioneer and founder of Save the Children – performed by writer/actor, Anne Chamberlain. At the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe EGLANTYNE was longlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and has toured in New Zealand, Australia and the UK,

Tickets are £25 and include a post-performance Q&A, programme and light refreshments. Proceeds will go to Save The Children UK. Tel: 01789 331111 or buy online at www.rsc.org.uk/eglantine  

PIZZA & JAZZ: Lincoln Noel on piano, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Sat May 11
Listen to some live jazz and enjoy pizza during the interval. Pizza Express orders are taken when you book. Tickets £7 music only. Starts 7pm, macreadytheatre

COMEDY: Paul Merton’s Impro Chums, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sat May 11

Paul Merton, Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch, Suki Webster, Mike McShane and accompanist Kirsty Newton are back on the road in 2019 to visit Warwick Arts Centre with another evening of mind-blowing improvisation, 8pm. Age 14+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

COMEDY: Adam Riches – The Adam Riches Experience, Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sat May 11

Enjoy a unique show of off-the-wall, absurd and downright hilarious live comedy from this Edinburgh Comedy Award winner. From edge of your seat audience participation to masterful character creations, no two shows are alike, 7.45pm. Age 16+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

COMEDY: Julian Clary – Born to Mince, Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun May 12 

“Are you ready for some filth? I know I am. It’s been a while since I sallied forth to pleasure the provinces with my particular brand of saucy innuendo. Let me at them!”  7.30pm. Age 16+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

FOOD: Coventry Cathedral Dining Club, Sun May 12

Digbeth Dining Club and Coventry Cathedral are very excited to collaborate for the first time in 2019 bringing award-winning street food to Coventry’s most iconic venue including The English IndianGoody Gujarati; Platinum Pancakes; Greidys wings and stripsUrban Cheesecake
The Paneer Wrap Street Food CompanyStreet chefLeave it to EsmieThe Flying Cows. Entry £1 here.

TALK: An Audience with Harry Redknapp, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun May 12 

I’m a Celebrity Winner Harry Redknapp is coming to Coventry! One of the UK’s funniest celebrities, Harry will be discussing tales of the jungle whilst looking back on his long career in footie, 7.45pm. Tickets: £82 (VIP), £32, warwickartscentre.co.uk

MUSIC: Kamasi Washington, O2 Institute Birmingham, Sat May 18

The jazz saxophonist follows the release of his acclaimed second album, Heaven and Earth – viewed by critics as one of the best 50 albums of 2018 – with a run of headline shows. Kamasi began his career as a session musician for artists including Snoop Dogg, George Duke and Herbie Hancock but after a break-through appearance on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, in 2015, went solo. Heaven and Earth was recorded in a two-week session on a break from touring. Age 14+. Tickets here.

THEATRE: The Girl on the Train, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mon May 13 – 18

Samantha Womack stars as Rachel Watson in The Girl on the Train. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

 After a phenomenally successful West End stage debut last year, Paula Hawkins’ nail-biting thriller The Girl on the Train heads out on a UK tour this spring starring Samantha Womack (EastEndersKingsman: The Secret Service) as Rachel Watson. She’ll be joined by Oliver Farnworth, best known for his roles as Andy Carver in Coronation Street, Will Hackett in Hollyoaks and Florian Dupont in Mr Selfridge, playing Rachel’s neighbour Scott Hipwell. Tickets on belgrade or Tel the box office on 024 7655 3055.

MUSIC: Soak, Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham, Tue May 14

Soak, Grim Town (Rough Trade)

Soulful, acoustic indie Northern Irish singer Soak aka Bridie Monds-Watson is still only 22 and already had a Mercury-nominated album, Before we Forgot How to Dream. Her second critically-acclaimed album, Grim Town was released last month.

Tickets here.

TALK: Michael Morpurgo, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed May 15
Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo has written more than 130 books, including Private Peaceful and War Horse. But what about the real-life story of Michael Morpurgo? How did a boy supremely uninterested in books become a bestselling author and Children’s Laureate? 7.30pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

COMEDY: Scummy Mummies, Leamington Assembly, Wed May 15

Helen and Ellie are heading to Leam in the run-up to their first Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tickets here

COMPETITION: Win Afternoon Tea for two, Woodside Hotel, Kenilworth,  **ENDS Fri May 17**

Beautiful Edwardian mansion, Woodside Hotel in Kenilworth, will be serving afternoon tea daily from June 1 between 2pm and 5pm in the hotel’s conservatory or outside on the lawns. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches, homemade cakes, macarons & fruit tarts, scones with cream & jam, and of course, copious amounts of tea/coffee. To celebrate the launch, Woodside is giving you the chance to WIN afternoon tea for two. ENTER here before Fri May 17.

FESTIVAL: Museums at Night, various locations, Wed May 15 – Sat May 18

This biannual festival of Lates in museums and galleries is hitting Warwickshire, Coventry and beyond this month with a Roman adventure at Rugby Museum and Art Gallery (May 17); a very cheerful sounding Death Cafe and Tour with Newman Brothers at The Coffin Works, Birmingham (May 17); a Live Twilight Taxidermy Demo at Market Hall, Warwick (May 17) (spooky!) and Coventry Pride at Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (June 9). Check out what else is on in-and-around the region here.

THEATRE: The Tiger Lillies: Devil’s Fairground, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed May 15

The Grammy-nominated Godfathers of alternative cabaret return with a very special show celebrating their 30th anniversary. In this new show, they take you on a trip to the Devil’s Fairground – temptation and sin await. Aged 14+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

CLASSICAL: Sheku Kanneh-Mason in Recital, Town Hall, Birmingham, Thur May 16

The phenomenally talented 19-year-old cellist, who performed at Meghan and Harry’s Royal wedding, will be joined in concert with his sister Isata on piano. This year he became the best-selling British debut artist across all genres with the classical album, Inspiration. See him perform first-hand, there’s a pre-concert BSL signed conversation with Sheku at 6.15pm! Tickets here

TALK: Mary Portas In Conversation, Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 17 

Mary – retail guru, businesswoman and ‘Queen of Shops’ – discusses her life, her career, and her new book Work Like a Woman, 7.30pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

COMEDY: Ray Bradshaw – Deaf Comedy Fam, Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 17 

One in 6 people suffer from hearing loss. 2 of those people are Ray’s parents. Full of hilarious, revealing tales about growing up with deaf parents, Deaf Comedy Fam presents a first for comedy, as each show will be performed by Ray simultaneously in both spoken English and British Sign Language, 7.45pm. Age 14+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

MUSIC: Duke Special, Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat May 18

Prolific singer-songwriter and pianist Duke Special is known for his contemporary folk and vaudeville-influenced sound. With his trademark performance style, he has become a cult national favourite in his native Northern Ireland and chosen for commissions by the National Theatre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Sesame Street, 7.30pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

LITTLIES: intotheclouds, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sun May 19
A 40-minute playful, sensory and highly visual experience for very young children and babies aged 6 – 36 months. High in the sky, clouds sit above us, out of reach and all alone but Claud has an idea! Far away and high on a hill, Claud builds a cloud factory and, with a little help from you, fluffy dreams may come true. An incredible first-time theatre experience for all. Timings: 11.30am & 2pm (6 – 18 months) 12.45pm & 3.15pm (19 – 36 months), warwickartscentre.co.uk

MUSIC: Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sun May 19 
Jools will be joined by Gilson Lavis, with special guests Pauline Black & Gaps Hendrickson from Coventry Two-Tone band The Selecter, and guest vocalists Ruby Turner & Louise Marshall. As the UK’s most popular pianist and bandleader, Jools Holland OBE has performed and recorded with some of the most talented musicians and songwriters in the world. Jools continues to dazzle and impress audiences with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and their exuberant live performances, 7.30pm, warwickartscentre.co.uk

COMEDY: Funny Women Awards: Midlands Heats & Showcase, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat May 18 


Following the huge popularity of the art centre’s first Funny Women Showcase, they’ve joined forces with our friends at Funny Women to host the Midlands Heat of the 2019 Awards. Timings: 5pm (Heats) & 8pm (Showcase). Age 16+. Tickets: £21 (Heats & Showcase), £16 (Showcase), £11 (Heats), warwickartscentre.co.uk

THEATRE: Bells & Spells, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Tues May 21 & Wed May 22

© Lucie Jansch

Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, the daughter of actor/ filmmaker Charlie Chaplin directs her own daughter, Aurélia Thierree, in a surrealist piece of theatre, Bells & Spells, much raved about across Europe in a rare UK performance. Aurélia gets inside the skin of a kleptomaniac and finds herself manipulated by the objects she steals. A coat rack gets up and walks. Chairs and a table slide and slip away, while a wall opens, and a pair of dancers emerge. A dress suddenly takes on a life of its own. The show receives its UK premiere as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival (May 17 2019). For ages 11+, warwickartscentreTel: 024 7652 4524.

COMEDY: The Guilty Feminist Live, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 24 
Comedian Deborah Frances-White and her guests explore the noble goals of 21st-century feminists, whilst confessing the insecurities, hypocrisies and paradoxes which undermine those goals. Aged 16+, warwickartscentre.co.uk

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