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October: what’s on guide

On the roster this month we have lit fests galore, live outdoor theatre, castles, Halloween antics and a string of excellent exhibitions. You ready? Let's go!

OUTDOOR THEATRE: Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Fri Oct 23 & Sat Oct 24

Do you dare to join Dr Blood? An outdoor production combined with video projection is the first theatre show to be staged live at the Belgrade Theatre since lockdown began in March. A deliciously dark new pre-Halloween tale inspired by classic horror movies and the long traditions of carnival and medicine shows, has been specially created by imitating the dog and Leeds Playhouse in response to Covid restrictions and so each performance will have a limited capacity. It follows the success of their critically acclaimed Night of the Living Dead ™- Remix, a stage adaptation of George A. Romero’s classic zombie movie. Book online.

BOOKS: Warwick Words Digital History Festival, Mon Oct 5-11

This year’s Warwick Words History Festival has gone digital for the first time. Speakers range from top philosophers to authors including Michael Wood, A C Grayling, Kathy O’Shaughnessy, Stephen Tomkins, Annie Gray, Paul Lay, Ben Kane, Diana Souhami, Nicholas Milton, Graham Sutherland, Anne Langley, Aaron Manning, Paula Fletcher, Trevor Langley and Adam Busiakiewics. Starting at 10 am on Mon Oct 5 talks will be broadcast free online but if you’d like to make a donation go to Go Fund Me Warwick Words History Festival. See the full line-up here: warwickwords.

CASTING CALL: Want to be part of an online TV show breaking new ground in the West Midlands? Self-tapes to be submitted by Fri Oct 9

TV pilot of Seaview, inspired by a true story

In the lead-up to Coventry’s year as City of Culture, Belgrade Film and Digital Ltd is looking to shoot a six-part, supernatural drama set among the region’s urban communities in March 2021. Actors are invited to audition via self-tape for one of the 13 roles by 1pm on Fri Oct 9. Read about each of the characters and download a detailed character breakdown here

FAMILY: Family-friendly tennis taster day, University of Warwick Tennis Centre, Coventry, open to all ages and abilities, Sat Oct 10

The tennis centre coaching team are hoping to encourage young and old alike to pick up a racket and inspire the next generation of British players from 9am-1pm. Excitingly one of the centre’s junior players 18-year-old Felix Gill has qualified to the Boys’ Singles event at the French Open! He is currently coached by the University’s Performance Academy Head Coach, Gary Naughton.

The day kick offs with an hour-long mini tennis taster session aimed at 5-10 year-olds, followed by a cardio-based tennis drill session for adults of all level. From 11am, the professional coaching team will be on hand to offer tips and personalised advice to those looking to develop their game, while the last hour of the event will be dedicated to a family cardio tennis session. Places are limited to the event. Book here

FAMILY: Apple Day and Country Fair, Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, Oct 11

Every year Hill Close Gardens in Warwick celebrates the produce grown in its ancient apple orchard. This year’s event will be a socially distanced affair. There’ll be craft stalls, fresh produce and plants for sale, refreshments and music at this very popular long-running event, 11am-5pm. Entry £4.50 for adults, £1 for children (5-17).

FESTIVAL: Picnic at the Castle, Warwick Castle, Oct 1-Oct 4

Comedians Phil Wang, Scouting for Girl’s Roy Stride, and folk and blues duo Ferris & Sylvester are among the headline entertainment line-up for Warwick Castle new socially-distanced outdoor lifestyle festival. As well as top tunes, big laughs and delicious locally-sourced picnic hampers including a medieval-style hog roast, there’s yoga. Groups of up to six can book their own Covid-compliant pergolas while couples can sit out under a personal parasol located in the beautiful Castle grounds. Festival Sessions includes:

  • Yoga Session (8am-10am) followed by a healthy breakfast – Namaste! 
  • Graze session (12:15-2:15pm) – sit back and enjoy two musical performances sampling a graze box and sipping on scrumptious cocktails. 
  • Gorge session (3:15- 5:15pm) – similar to the ‘Graze’ session above, get together to listen to two musicians whilst enjoying tasty treats and tipples in the grounds of Warwick Castle
  • Banquet session: (7-10pm) – on Thurs and Sund evenings enjoy stand up comedy shows, with Friday and Saturdays boasting headline music acts. Munch on a delicious ‘hog roast’ and make use of the caravan bar.

OUTDOOR EXHIBITION: WOW (Work on the Windows) The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Oct 31

If you happen to be walking past The Herbert look up and you’ll see and exhibition of artwork displayed on the gallery’s external windows – viewable without having to enter the building. Five artists were commissioned including Midlands graffiti artist kid30 (smallkid), who’s recent work focuses on mash- ups of favourite cartoon characters from his childhood, Tarla Patel who explores memories and place, belong and migration; Claire Scully, a multi-disciplinary Illustrator, author and educator, 15-year-old digital artist Evie Kendrick from Coventry and Thomas Cardiff , an illustrator and tattooist.

EXHIBITION: Cranach: artist and innovator, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until Jan 21

Venus and Cupid. Oil on beechwood, about 1525 © Compton Verney 

You can see the latest critically-acclaimed exhibition celebrating the portraits of Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, one of the most successful German artists of all time. Pre-bookable timed tickets available. The gift shop is open and refreshments available in The Garden Shed at Compton Verney horsebox (open Tue-Sun, 10am -4pm).

POP-UP EXHIBITION: ART ON THE LAWN, Leamington Lawn Tennis and Squash Club (LLTSC), Sat Oct 10

A pop-up exhibition of nine artists! Opportunities for artists to exhibit their work have been few a far between over the past few months and so nine local artists are displaying their work, displayed under a marquee on the lawn of the world’s first lawn tennis club from 10am to 4pm (some are also members of the club). Artworks will include paintings, photography, printworks, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and feltwork. There will also be something a little different in the flower beds – Eric Klein Velderman’s sculptures using augmented reality interacted via iPhone…

EXHIBITION: Lindsay Seers’ Extramission 2 (The Trilogy), Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, until Nov 14

To celebrate the gallery’s 20th anniversary year this intriguing artwork investigates the loss of a memory that London-based artist Lindsay Seers, a MA Fine Art lecturer at Goldsmiths University, could not personally retrieve, of a house where she lived in Mauritius. Seemingly autobiographical, it tells the story of Seers’ upbringing and addresses the artist’s early speechlessness; development of a photographic memory and eventual loss of this ability when she began to talk.

Alongside Seers’ work Rugby Art Gallery invited artists to submit works in response to the theme of ‘False Memory’. Pitching imagined experience against lived experience, and considering nostalgia and other memory-based phenomena, the selection of local, national and international artworks explore the factors involved with the creation of false memory. Co-curated by Lindsay Seers and the gallery. Booking essential

EXHIBITION: When Jaguar Bought Daimler, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Sat Oct 10 – end of Jan 2021

A 1996 Daimler Corsica

A new exhibition launches this month by the  Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT), telling the story of when Jaguar bought the Daimler Company from BSA in 1960. It covers 100 years from the Daimler Company’s beginnings in 1896, its Royal patronage, efforts supporting both World Wars and ‘post Jaguar’ life with nine historic Daimlers on display, including the 1897 Grafton Phaeton – the oldest surviving Coventry-built Daimler.

HEALTH: Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign’s live virtual self-check event with Elizabeth Hurley, Dr Zoe Williams and breast cancer survivors, Wed Oct 21

In light of new research revealing a quarter of women in the West Midlands have deprioritised their breast health during the Covid pandemic, the charity is launching its first ever Time to Unite live virtual event at 7pm. The event aims to connect, unite and empower, featuring special guests and campaign supporters including campaign ambassador Elizabeth Hurley, Dr Zoe Williams and breast cancer survivors Leanne Pero and Lauren Mahone. It will feature inspirational stories and advice and hopes to be the largest ever live self-check (cameras off!).

CREATIVE WORKSHOPS: Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park – Creative Collage, Wed Oct 14 & Experimental Drawing, Wed Oct 21

Compton Verney. Photo by John Kippin

Experiment with paper materials to make your own collage or expand your variety of mark making with this outdoor experimental drawing class inspired by landscape.

OCT HALF-TERM: Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search & spooky Rocket Science, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Fri Oct 23-Mon Nov 2 

This October half-term the British Motor Museum is joining in the national Where’s Wally? Spooky Museum Search to celebrate the release of the new Where’s Wally? book, Spooky Spotlight Search. Families can also enjoy a 25-minute live scientific spectacular – Rocket Science with ‘Professor Pickle and Doctor Pumpkin’ daily and on Wed Oct 28 there’s an outdoor Rocket Workshop delivered by the STEM ambassadors from MOD Kineton (11am – 3pm). Children can design and build their own Rocket and see how far it flies from the pneumatic rocket launcher. Suitable for ages 5+ with adult supervision. Sounds cool! All visits must be pre-booked & Covid rules followed. See what’s on here and to book tickets go here.

HALLOWEEN: The Haunted Castle, Warwick Castle, Oct 24 – Nov 1

Search the spooky mansion, navigate the Haunted Hollows and discover even more quirky characters in spellbinding shows live on the Dead Centre Stage! Due to limited availability and high demand pre-booked tickets only.

HALLOWEEN: Spooky Kenilworth Castle, Castle Green, Off Castle Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1NG, Sat Oct 24 – Sun Nov 1

Gather your little monsters for a ghoulishly good day out at Kenilworth Castle. Follow the trail to solve creepy clues and gather round to listen to spooky stories. There’s a frighteningly fun fancy dress competition every day – just come in your scariest outfits to be in with a chance of winning, 10am – 5pm. Book here.

Ghost Tours at Kenilworth Castle (16+), Wed Oct 28 – Sat Oct 31

Do you dare explore Kenilworth Castle in the dark this Halloween?  Join storytellers as they guide you on a bone-chilling journey through the past. With tales of ghosts, supernatural sightings and horrors from history, this is not a night for the faint-hearted. Don’t forget to bring a torch – things are going to get dark. Times: 7pm, 7.30pm, 8pm & 8.30pm. Book here:

HALLOWEEN: Becketts Farm, Pumpkin Season, Wythall, nr Sutton Coldfield

Treat yourself to a seasonal Pumpkin Spiced Latte this month in the cafe or a pumpkin from the Greengrocers! Other delicious Halloween ‘trick or treats’ will be popping up on the Bakery counter.

HALLOWEEN: Pumpkins R Us, Leamington Road, Kenilworth, open from Oct 10-31

Summer has barely backed out of the door but time and tide waits for no (wo)man and we are now steaming into pumpkin season. Opening in time for Halloween season, this hugely popular family-run farm has thousands of pumpkins to choose from, in all shapes, sizes and colours across 50 different varieties, spooky interactive displays, Halloween shop and on-site café. Like many business, Covid-19 has had a considerable impact and for the first time, visitors will need a ticket to enter. Tickets are £5 per car. Book online. Open 10am-8pm.

HALLOWEEN: Freddo’s Haunted Mansion, Cadbury’s World, Bournville, Birmingham, Sat Oct 17 – Sun Nov 1

In the Cadbury World Marquee, enter the famous frog’s Haunted Mansion and help him uncover the mystery ghost with plenty of spooky fun and games. Kids are encouraged to don their creepiest costume as they walk round Cadbury World’s self-guided tour, catching the talented chocolatiers in action and take a delicious taster for themselves in the Chocolate Making zone, before practising their piping skills by drawing their name in chocolate in the Have A Go zone. Seasonal treats in the world’s biggest chocolate shop, include hand-crafted chocolate pumpkins. Additional hygiene and safety measures in all areas. Pre-booking essential.

ART: The Open Arms, Compton Verney Art Gallery, until Fri Oct 23

A brand new open air art commission by Birmingham based street artist Foka Wolf, who has created eight signs across the Parkland, exploring humour and its connection to kindness, inspired by the gallery’s Folk Art Collection.

MUSIC: Little Mix Confetti 2021 Tour, Birmingham Resorts World Arena, May 2021, tickets available

Been watching Little Mix:The Search on BBC 1? The girls will be joined on next year’s tour by the winners, performing songs from their new upcoming album ‘Confetti’, out on Nov 6, hit smashes including Woman Like Me and Shout Out To My Ex at these live concert dates next year at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham from Thursday May 20 – Saturday May 22. Tickets now available here.

MUSIC: The Specials, homecoming gig at Ricoh Arena, Coventry, Sat Oct 11 September 2021 & O2 Academy Birmingham, Thurs Sept 16

Photo by saffiyah-khan

The Coventry ska-punk legends have announced a homecoming gig at Ricoh Arena next year as Coventry celebrates its year as UK City of Culture. Comprising of Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter. They’ll be performing tunes from their acclaimed new 2019 studio album, Encore, alongside greatest hits. Book now for both venues.

BOOK NOW: Stratford Literary Festival’s Flexible Winter Weekend, Stratford Playhouse Nov 20-22

Tickets go on sale for this from Oct 5 for a ‘flexible’ long weekend of events featuring major headliners including twice-Booker prize winner, Dame Hilary Mantel, broadcast journalist Andrew Marr and historian Charles Spencer who will talk about a shipwreck that changed history. Flexible in that it can be live or digital – or both – depending on guidelines!

On a lighter note! There’s impressionist Rory Bremner, poets, Roger McGough, and Lemn Sissay, who shares his best-selling memoir and Victoria Wood ‘s biographer, Jasper Rees, together with the actor Duncan Preston, who acted with her in so much of her TV work including Acorn Antiques and Dinnerladies.  

Family fun includes Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown, a crocodile collaboration between poet Roger McGough and Stratford-based BAFTA wining illustrator Greg McLeod, plus craft and storytelling workshops with artist Ros Ingrams and Kate Coleman, Stratford’s leading storyteller.  

Tickets available from, on 0333 666 3366 or from the Stratford Play House Box Office. 


ART: Refugees: Forced to Flee & History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, until May 24 2021

A major new national exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM) and newly commissioned artwork by Indrė Šerpytytė (above) have been informed by cutting-edge research undertaken by Warwick University professor Vicki Squire and her team. It’s part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North in 2020 and 2021. You’ll also get to see History of Bombs, a new site-specific art commission at IWM London from world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: National Museums Liverpool, October

Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum unveils new artwork Contributions by Shane D’Allessandrois (above) – an ode to the Windrush generation – as part of National Museums Liverpool’s vibrant Black History Month programme. Highlights include digital features on the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s Black Salt exhibition, looking at the lives of Black seafarers and the First World War Black Families exhibition previously on display at the Museum of Liverpool. There will also be a fresh look at Canning Graving Docks – the oldest part of the dock system, which would have been used to clean and repair slave ships.

Although the event will be mostly online due to Covid, there will also be some new on-gallery activity, including a new display in the Museum of Liverpool featuring placards donated to NML following the city’s Black Lives Matter protests and a brand-new audio tour devised by Root-ed e-zine for Walker Art Gallery (also hosting this major retrospective of Linda McCartney’s photography). The museums’ BLM resources page is here.

KIDS: Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, 15 Oct – 8 Nov

I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Lots of spooky(ish) additions to the park, plus new for 2020, there’s a brand new dance extravaganza The Haunted Lighthouse Halloween Show and a new scary character, Scarecrow.

ART: START Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, 21-25 Oct

Hey Queenie, nice nose ring! This cool, contemporary art fair, which takes pieces from London’s top galleries, will go ahead this year with social distancing measures and an exceptional line up of artists including  Lincoln Townley,  Erika Navas and Nat Bowen. In addition to START Art Fair, Korean Eye’s 2020 exhibition Creativity and Daydream will be on show having travelled from The State Hermitage in St Petersburg after a six-month stay, featuring a wealth of emerging and established talent from South Korea. 

EXHIBITION: Among The Trees, The Hayward Gallery, Southbank, until 31 Oct

From Colombian rainforests and remote Japanese islands to olive orchards in Israel and a 9,550-year-old spruce in Sweden, this mixed media exhibition explores trees relationship to humans, featuring work from 37 international artists. You’re right on the Southbank so plenty of foodie options to head to after your culture fix.

EXHIBITION: Mariana Castillo Deball: Between making and knowing something, Modern Art Oxford, Oct 2 – Jan 2 2020 

Rejoice! Oxford’s coolest gallery is reopening its doors and with a brand new exhibition to explore. Through a collage-like installation featuring pottery, photography and textiles, Mexican-born artist Mariana Castillo Deball works to uncover stories and individuals often hidden in traditional museum displays. The exhibition particularly explores objects and archives held in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Smithsonian Museum National Collections in Washington D.C. Booking essential. 

EXHIBITION: Cecily Brown, Blenheim Palace, until 3 Jan

Part of the Blenheim’s Art Foundation programme, this exhibition by celebrated Brit artist Cecily Brown, is the first to be shown at the Palace to be composed of entirely new work. The series references masterpieces by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Anthony Van Dyck on view at the Palace, as well as family heraldry, armorial banners and the martial scenes of the Blenheim Tapestries that line the State Rooms.

EXHIBITION: Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until Feb 14

From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages. 

EXHIBITION: Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, until May 24 2021

Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.  

EXHIBITION: Young Rembrandt, Ashmolean museum, Oxford, until 1 Nov 

The National Gallery, London

The Ashmolean has opened it’s doors once again to show it’s major exhibition Young Rembrandt, a chronological journey through the artist’s early career beginning in his native Leiden with paintings, prints and drawings and ending in Amsterdam when his career rocketed to stardom. You’ll get to see 34 paintings by Rembrandt, along with a further 90 drawings and prints including the newly discovered Let the Little Children Come to Me, which is making its public debut at the exhibition.

EXHIBITION: Never Alone, Bletchley Park until Feb 2 2021

Image credit: Bletchley Park Trust

Did you know there are now more devices connected to the internet than there are people on the planet? This exhibition in Hut 12 investigates the stories behind the rapidly expanding ‘Internet of Things’ and invites visitors to think about the choices they make while connected to the internet.

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