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Alcester Food Festival, Sat Oct 20

Feeling peckish? The pretty streets of Alcester will be filled with more than 120 stalls from across Warwickshire and the Cotswolds including lots of Muddy Award 2018 finalists and winners, plus local shops, cafes and pubs. Come along for a fabulous foodie day out! Free entry and free park and ride.

See who’s exhibiting herealcesterfoodfestival


BOOK NOW: Queans Wine Dinner with Slurp Leamington Spa,  15 Dormer Pl, Leamington Spa, Fri Nov 9

You’ll be needing your elasticated pants for this evening of outstanding wine and food at Queans Restaurant in Royal Leamington Spa. The evening will be hosted by the Slurp Leamington team with a fab 5-course Dinner menu created by Queans’ chef, proprietor and maker of 16 exquisite home-made ice creams, Laura Hamilton, with wines to match as well as a canapé and glass of fizz on arrival, £79pp.

Advanced booking (in store or by phone 01926 315609), queans-restaurant


VEGAN TASTING MENU: Live life on the Veg – a vegan feast with Daniel Acevedo from London’s Mildreds, High Field Studio, Edgbaston, Birmingham, Tues Oct 23

If you’re vegetarian, a vegan or just love food, don’t miss this! Executive chef and author Daniel Acevedo from London’s Mildreds will be teaming up with The High Field’s head chef Ian Meek to create a fabulous vegan tasting menu that will blow your taste buds away. Mildreds is now a three-strong family of international vegetarian restaurants across London – King’s Cross, Camden and Dalston. The pair are creating a tasting menu of free-from dishes on an evening of Asian-inspired cuisine. Dishes will include Tempura Vegetables, Mango & Black Rice Noodle Salad, Bao Buns, Mock Chicken Katsu Curry and Black Coconut Ice Cream, as well as a few surprises on the night.  The evening starts at 7pm.

Tickets £40. Tel: 0121 227 7068, highfieldedgbaston


BOOK NOW! An Evening with Nigella Lawson, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Thurs Nov 8

Chatting about her life in food, saucy Nigella Lawson is on tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of her first cook book, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. Nigella manages to make everyday cooking seem sexy and easy and here she talks about her love of food and what it means to be an author, cook and TV personality. Don’t miss the book signing after the performance too.




TOP PICKS: Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick Campus, Coventry, Oct

This month some of the top comedians dropping into WAC on the UK tour circuit include BAFTA award-winner Dylan Moran’s appealingly caustic takes on life in Dr Cosmos, Sara Pascoe’s LadsLadsLads (returns only, now sold out),  Jason Manford’s Muddle Class, Sarah Millican: Control Enthusiastic and Ross Noble’s El Hablador.





TOP PICKS: Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, Oct

Viral sensation Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox

Liverpudlian band Echo & The Bunnymen were massive when I was in secondary school, so when I heard they’d reinterpreted 13 songs from their back catalogue including my favourites The Cutter, Seven Seas and The Killing Moon with ‘strings and things’  I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. Ian McCulloch & co will be performing songs from their new album, The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon at Warwick Arts Centre, on Sun Oct 21.Other highlights include South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (Oct 18),  Dublin-based acoustic trio Slow Moving Clouse (Tues Oct 23), The Robert Cray Band (Wed Oct 24),  award-winning Norwegian pianist and composer Tord Gustavsen (Wed Oct 31 ), Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox  (Nov 22), Afro Celt Sound System (Sat Nov 24) and Barb Jungr singing Bob Dylan (Sat Nov 17).

Cape Town’s Abdullah Ibrahim

Afro Celt Sound System



Jack White, O2 Academy Birmingham, Wed Oct 17

 Did your mum ever tell you off as a child for doing ‘the Boarding House Reach’? Mine did. The always stylish and super talented former White Stripes frontman must’ve been too – anyway, he’s named his latest album after it.


Jon Spencer (of the Blues Explosion), Birmingham O2 Academy 2, Tues Oct 23

Jon Spencer (left) with the rest of the Blues Explosion back in the day

If you’ve seen Edgar Wright’s superlative heist movie Babydriver you’ll recognise the opening track as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s belter tune Bellbottoms. The man himself will be touring solo with The Melvins.


Sons of Kemet, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, Fri Oct 26

The brilliant MOBO award-winning jazz act come to Brum. Their Mercury Music Award 2018 nominated third studio album Your Queen is a Reptile celebrates the restless exploration of identity within the Caribbean diaspora within the UK. It was recorded in London with a host of guests spanning the breadth of the UK scene including jungle legend Congo Natty and poet Joshua Idehen. You’ll need to check out returns as their whole UK tour is sold out.



David Byrne supported by 2015 Mercury Prize-winner Benjamin Clementine, Genting Arena, Fri Oct 26

Photo by Jody-Rogac

David Byrne begins each night on the highly unorthodox tour for his most recent album, America Utopia seated at a table stroking a brain in what he has called “The most ambitious show I’ve done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense.” On stage with an animated 12-piece band in grey Kenzo suits and barefoot he will be performing classics from his solo career and his days with post-punk band Talking Heads.



Gigs@ The Assembly, Leamington Spa

UK singer-songwriter Graham Parker’s career was reinvigorated when acclaimed US film producer and director Judd Apatow cast him in hit film, This Is 40. The first song from new album, Dreamin’ is featured in Netflix series, Love Again also directed by Apatow.

Charlie Sloth, the Radio 1xtra & Radio 1 DJ, Trevor Nelson (Soul Nation), Soul II Soul’s (30th anniversary tour), Graham Parker & The Goldtops, Scott Matthews, folk girlband Wildwood Kin, Reef, Raver Tots, Seth Lakeman, Turin Brakes and Somerset veterans, The Wurzels (remember The Combine Harvester song, anyone?), are some of the artists appearing at this art-deco venue in the run-up to Christmas.




BOOK NOW! Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers: Tribe, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Nov 13

Europe’s leading Japanese Taiko drumming group are approaching their 25th anniversary with their 6th album Way of the Drum. They perform at large-scale events, festivals and have performed on TV shows ranging from the Brit Awards to the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. You’ll be in for a beautifully choreographed, thrilling treat.




Winter season 2018 @the RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon, October

Over at Stratford the RSC’s winter 2018 season includes Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (Oct 12 – Nov 17) directed by Gregory Doran in the RST, gender-balanced production of the Bard’s “most testosterone-fuelled” play starring rising stars Amber James and Gavin Fowler (above) as the young lovers. Set in the siege of Troy, it will have a 50/50 split of male and female actors and collaboration with virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie. In the Swan Theatre you can catch Michael Boyd’s critically-acclaimed Tamburlaine starring the excellent Jude Owusu (below, until Dec 1),

Jude Owusu as Tamberlaine. Photo by Photo-by-Ellie-Kurttz c RSC.

And Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto’s brilliantly funny new version of Moliere’s comedy Tartuffe (until Feb 23) is re-imagined in modern-day Birmingham.

Asif Khan as religious hypocrite Tartuffe. Photo-by-Topher-McGrillis-_c_-RSC


Autumn season highlights, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry

Top (L-R clockwise) Othello. Kneehigh’s Fup: A Modern Tale, Wilde Creatures – one of Tall Stories’ two shows celebrating the magical world of Oscar Wilde – and Rifco’s new play Dishoom!

Warwick Art Centre’s theatre opens this Autumn and they’re welcoming back Cornish family favourite Kneehigh for the quirky tale of a 100-year-old man, his giant grandson, and a mischievous duck named FUPRifco return with a brand new quirky play, Dishoom! and balletLORENT are set to stun audiences with a spectacular dance performance of Rumpelstiltskin. Often considered one of Shakespeare’s most contemporary shows, Othello remains blisteringly relevant today and English Touring Company’s “riveting production” (The Guardian) of Shakespeare’s Othello is not to be missed. Which brings us to the C-word. Tall Stories, the Olivier-nominated producers of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, return with two shows, celebrating the works of Oscar Wilde: Wilde Creatures a new musical adventure for 5 – 105-year-olds, and The Canterville Ghost for ages 12+.



 We’ll Live and Die in these Cities, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat Oct 29 – Oct 20

l-r Geoff Thompson, The Enemy’s former frontman Tom Clarke and Hamish Glen. Photo by Joe Bailey

A new home-produced musical about a young musician inspired and sound-tracked by the 2007  debut album of Coventry indie band, The Enemy – with lead singer Tom Clarke acting as musical director. Written by acclaimed local playwright Geoff Thompson (Fragile, 2012), directed by Artistic Director Hamish Glen and designed by Patrick Connellan, We’ll Live and Die in These Towns forms part of a series of productions bearing witness to local stories as Coventry moves towards its year as City of Culture in 2021.


Black History Month, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

The UK’s first ever Afrobeats musical, Oliva Tweest runs Oct 4 – 6

Black History Month events throughout October range from UK’s first ever Afrobeats musical, Oliva Tweest following sell-out West End performances (Oct 4 – 6) to Joan Armatrading in concert on Oct 12, a free screening of Britain’s first black feature film Pressure set in 1970s London to a free insightful conversation about black activism, Black, Radical and Proud, on Mon Oct 22 Oct with sociology professor Dr Kehinde Andrews and Pan-African Reparationist Esther Stanford-Xosei. Other events include a Diversity Women’s Networking Lunch on Oct 11. During half-term there will be a lively free family storytelling session featuring puppetry, mime and live music from African drummer and musician Jahman Aggrey on Sat Oct 27.  Finally on Mon Oct 29 hugely popular comedy club Desi Central return with the Comedy Of Black Origin Shutdown.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade



War Horse, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed Oct 10 – Sat Nov 3

Soooo excited that the outstanding National Theatre production of War Horse is coming to Birmingham in October. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and featuring those incredible, life-size puppets of the horses, it’s likely to sell-out, so please don’t leave it too late to book.






SCIENCE FESTIVAL: IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, various Oxford locations, Fri Oct 12 – Mon Oct 22

8 Minutes

There’s all sorts of science-y stuff going on in Oxford which includes some interesting events for kids. As part of this festival, you can learn how to discover stars, build circuits, get hands-on with superconductivity or watch dance and theatre performances with scientific themes. Check out The Bodleians’ Frankenstein exhibition or head to the Oxford Playhouse for 8 Minutes, where you’ll be taken on a journey through the universe with dance, film and music. Adults boffins to baby Einsteins and everyone in between are catered for with a jam-packed programme of events to blow your mind.



NATIONAL TOUR: First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, incl Swan Theatre, Stratford, opens Fri Oct 19

Designed by RSC Visual Communications (c) RSC

Wondering what’s the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for 7 – 13-year-olds? The RSC’s fab First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errorsa 90-minute abridged version just for kids, is touring several partner schools and theatres across the UK including Leamington, Warwick, Nuneaton, Birmingham, Northampton, Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Kent, York, Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent.



Debbie Isitt’s Nativity! The Musical, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues Oct 23 – 28

The children pictured are Amyah Stevens (Solihull), Rex Murphy Hogg (Solihull), Olivia Rose Brown (Birmingham), Erin Jones (Birmingham), Niamh Crowley (Birmingham), Daisy Egerton (Birmingham, Hudson Mansour Webb (Coventry) and Daisy Fitzpatrick (Staffordshire). Photo by Joe Bailey

Yesssss I know it’s only just October! Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre the second UK tour of Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Nativity! The Musical kicks off in Coventry this October starring local schoolchildren, Simon Lipkin as Mr Poppy, Scott Garnham as Mr Maddens and Wicked star Ashleigh Gray.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


Harry Hill’s Kidz Show: How To Be Funny – For Kids! Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Oct 23

Share the laughs with the whole family as award-winning comedian Harry Hill imparts his tips and tricks on how to be a world class joker in his new show.


DANCE: Rumpelstiltskin, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Oct 26 – Sat Oct 27

Spectacular dance theatre for ages 7+ from award-winning balletLORENT with an updated script of this Grimm fairy tale by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a score by Murray Gold (Dr Who), costumes by Michele Clapton (GoT) and narrated by GoT actor Ben Crompton.



OCT HALF-TERM: Dinosaur World Live, Warwick Arts Centre, Tues Oct 30, Wed Oct 31 & Thurs Nov 1

Families can discover a pre-historic world of remarkable dinosaurs in this raucous 50-minute interactive show for ages 3+. Come face-to-face with a Tyrannosaurus, a Triceratops and Stegosaurus if you dare.



HALLOWEEN: various dates, various locations 

Book now for Warwick’s The Haunted Castle, Legoland’s Brick or Treat   and The Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios Great Hall which is currently decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, as seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Arts from now until Nov 10. This year for the first time Hatton Adventure World’s half-term Pumpkin Spooktacular (Oct 25 Nov 4), has an evening programme too. During the day you can pick and carve your own free pumpkin, visit the Haunted House, ride the Bewitching Trailer Ride, listen to Terrifying Tales of Agnes The Witch, watch Halloween Magic and Puppet Shows, take part in Zombie Run and Death Match Laser Combat Battles and see Snakes Alive and Tame the Dragon. Children are also encouraged to come dressed in Halloween themed costumes. But additionally this year on 26, 27, 30 and 31 October, Hatton Adventure World is also open after dark. Dragons, scarecrows and ghosts will become illuminated on the Bewitching Trailer Ride, see also amazing Illusion Shows  and Fire-Eaters mingle with Jugglers.




Whistler and Nature, Compton Verney, Sat Oct 20 – Dec 16


Warwickshire’s Compton Verney is casting a new light on the work of the great late-Victorian master, James McNeill Whistler, in Whistler and Nature (Sat Oct 20 – Dec 16), curated in partnership with The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow. The exhibition, which includes 90 oil paintings, explores the artist’s revolutionary attitude towards the natural world.


The 2018 Big Draw Festival, nationwide, Oct 1 – 31

The Big Draw Festival encourages people of all ages to roll up their sleeves and practise their artistic skills. The 2018 festival takes place across the country throughout October.  There’ll be free Drawing Experiments (11am – 3pm) at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum on Sat Oct 13 including animation, scribble machines and pendulum drawing and over in Sutton Coldfield Library  join comic creator, writer and illustrator, Richy K. Chandler (Lucy the Octopus, What the Hell Just Happened?!) in a Creating Comics and Manga Workshop for Teens (Mon Oct 29, 10.30am – 3.30pm). Ever tried remote control car painting? Electrical tape drawing or painting in the dark? No! Well head over to Tamworth Castle on Sat Oct 6 for Art Attack (10am – 4pm) – free art workshops by professional artists. See here for more details.

To see what else is on look here


SPOKEN WORD: Grayson Perry: Them & Us, Symphony Hall, Sun Oct 28

The award-winning artist; Bafta-winning TV presenter and Reith Lecturer discusses “cultural divisions” in the topsy turvy world of Brexit, Trump and whatever else is thrown at us before this gig!



Turner Prize Exhibition, Tate Britain, London,  now until January 6

Works by the four shortlisted artists  the 34th Turner Prize are now on show . They are Luke Willis Thompson, Charlotte Prodger, Naeem Mohaiemen and a collective of filmmakers  called Forensic Architecture, founded by architect Eyal Weizman, a professor at Goldsmiths, University of London.



BOOK NOW! Stratford Literary Festival, Nov 9 – 17

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman

The impressive winter festival line-up features internationally best-selling author, Jodi Picoult, historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley OBE, who will be talking about her latest book The Many Faces of Queen Victoria, Sir Michael Parkinson, sharing his admiration for the legendary footballer, George Best; and Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman whose new book, Bloody Brilliant Women, highlights forgotten but ground-breaking women from history. Two leading BBC journalists, John Simpson CB, and Economics Editor Kamal Ahmed, will be talking about their new books – Simpson’s debut novel, Moscow, Midnight, and Ahmed, an acclaimed and moving account of growing up in 1970’s Britain.

Jodi Picoult, by Nina Subin

Former Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, will be considering why news reporting and analysis in a world of fake news and post truth is more important than ever, and the broadcaster and former stand-up comedian, Viv Groskop, will be offering advice on how women can be more effective public speakers. Other talkers will be Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch discussing his biography of Thomas Cromwell, and former Ford car worker, James Anthony, who has re-written all Shakespeare’s sonnets for the modern audience – a feat described by Stephen Fry as a “dazzling success”.  Three events for children on Sat Nov 10 includes a talk by the ridiculously funny Andy Stanton, creator of the Mr Gum books, a celebration of the 80th anniversary of The Beano with a drawing workshop led by artist Nigel Auchtertounie, and a unicorn Christmas decoration workshop with theatre designer, Judy Reaves.



BOOK NOW! Rob Lowe: Stories I Only Tell My Friends, The Royal Albert Hall, Sat Dec 1

Tickets for the former Brat Pack star’s live show are bound to sell out fast (as they have in the States). Inspired by his memoirs of the same name and his previous book Love Life, Mr Lowe will spill the beans on a career from the Brat Pack to The West Wing to Parks and Rec and beyond. Apparently, he’s quite the raconteur with loads of witty anecdotes that touch on his career, fame, Hollywood, fatherhood and marriage.


MOVIES: October’s Best New Releases

A Star is Born, nationwide from Wed Oct 3

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut starring himself and Lady Gaga is highly anticipated and the Muddy office can’t wait to see it. The remake tells the story of hard drinking musician (Cooper, orginally played by Kris Kristofferson) who falls in love with a young hopeful singer-songwriter (Gaga, originally Barbra Streisand). The movie has been very well recieved and it sounds like a fabulous musical romantic indulgent treat.


The Wife (out now)

Glenn Close plays one not to be messed with in – wait for it – in The Wife. A career-best performance no less, according to one reviewer, Close is the supportive spouse of a Jonathan Pryce playing a pompous writer in this black comedy (out 28 Sep). He becomes even more unbearable when he wins the Nobel prize… but is she quite as supportive as she seems?



Halloween, nationwide from Fri Oct 19

Although the film is the eleventh instalment, it takes the story back to where the first one finished with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the role of Laurie Strode. Expect real visceral horror with the film returning to its roots plus some funny moments to release the tension. Fans of the original are raving about it.


Althorp Literary Festival, The Althorp Estate, Northants, Fri Oct 5 – 7

The Althorp Estate is opening its gates once more for the 15th Annual Althorp Literary Festival and the full line-up can be found here. Highlights include  Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes  on Writing for TV, Dan Snow, Paula Byrne, Paddy Ashdown and Prue Leith, as well as Charles Spencer himself on his life as a writer. Find out more about buying tickets here, they’re on sale now and Author Sessions are individually priced if you just want to pop along the see your favourites.

Anna Meredith & the Southbank Sinfonia orchestra present Varmints, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Fri Oct 5

Anna Meredith presents her award-winning debut album with her band and the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra. Described as “one of the most innovative voices in British music”, Anna Meredith is a genre-crossing composer and producer. Her work encompasses the worlds of contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock. Anna’s work has seen her create soundtracks for Prada fashion campaigns, compose music for an MRI scanner, write symphonies for nursery children and melodies for sleep-pods in Singapore.


ART: Frieze Art Fair, Regents Park, London, Fri 5 – Sun 7 Oct

Considered the world leading platform for contemporary and modern art, the Frieze Art Fair unites 160 of the world’s leading galleries. You can view and / or buy art from over 1000 contemporary artists, some emerging talent, others more established. Daily events include talks and performances plus there’s Frieze Sculpture and Frieze Masters (showcasing work from the ancient era and Old Masters) in Regent’s Park. If all this culture makes you hungry, there are loads of delish food pop-ups whilst you contemplate the art and what it’s all trying to say.

Leamington Spa Comedy Festival 2018, Royal Spa Centre & Town Hall, Fat Pug and Procaffeinate, Leamington Spa, Sun Oct 7 – Sat Oct 13

Reginald D Hunter

Be prepared to get your laughing gear around this year’s line-up of top comedians including finale headliner Reginald D Hunter, Henning Wehn, Juliette Burton, Evelyn Mok, Have I Got News For You star Hal Cruttenden, Sarah Johnson’s Mum’s going to Ibiza and Gary Delaney. For younger audiences there’s award-winning musical comedian and Edinburgh Festival Fringe fave Jay Foreman with his Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children and Comedy Club 4 Kids on Sat Oct 13.

Award-winning Juliette Burton embarks on her first UK tour with Butterfly Effect, a docu-comedy investigating the power of kindness.

Check out the full line-up here: leamingtoncomedy


Birmingham Comedy Festival 2018. Fri Oct 5 – Sun Oct 14

Highlights of this award-winning annual festival include Ab-Fab’s Joanna Lumley (9 Oct, Symphony Hall), James Acaster (12 Oct, Sutton Town Hall), The Infinite Monkey Cage’s Robin Ince (12 Oct, Comedy Junction, Sutton Coldfield), and the brain behind BBC One’s Hospital PeopleTom Binns (12 Oct, The Glee Club). Adding an international flavour are American legend Rich Hall (11 Oct, Bham Town Hall), Aussie-based comic Jimeoin (12 Oct, B’ham Town Hall) and Canadians Bobby Mair and Dana Alexander (12-13 Oct, The Glee Club). Podcasters are well represented including the return of The Scummy Mummies (10 Oct, Sutton Town Hall).

James Acaster – the 33-year-old is one of the country’s must-see stand-ups with 5 nominations for best show at the Edinburgh Fringe

Guz Khan

All you need is LSD

The very best comedians from across the West Midlands are also out in force, from Barbara Nice (13 Oct, Hippodrome) and Man Like Mobeen star Guz Khan (5-6 Oct, The Glee), and the multi-award nominated The Elvis Dead creator Rob Kemp (14 Oct, The Victoria, Bham). Also watch out for ISIS tragi-comedy Bismillah! (4-6 Oct, Old Joint Stock), the premiere of writer Leo Butler’s All You Need Is LSD (4-13 Oct, The REP), and The Gilded Merkin (14 Oct, The Glee Club), who bring some of the very best cabaret and burlesque acts to the city.


Birmingham Literature Festival, Oct 4 – 10

Co-curated by Wolverhampton-born Times journalist Sathnam Sanghera, author of The Boy with a Top Knot (recently adapted into a BBC 2 drama), this 10-day festival has a brilliant line-up including Caitlin Moran, whose gig is already sold out. TV cook Nigel Slater is chatting to fellow chef Ravinder Bhogal, former Slits front-woman Viv Albertine will be discussing her memoir and Lauren Laverne is interviewing beauty journalist Sali Hughes about her new book Pretty Iconic.

Other highlights include Jonathan Dimbleby hosting a live broadcast of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? ‘Godfather of Alternative Comedy’ Alexei Sayle, Professor A C Grayling, a preview of novelist Jonathan Coe’s new book, Middle England, a performance by disabled poet and theatre maker Jackie Hagen, an outdoor tour by ‘the urban birder’ David Lindo and a National Poetry Day special with Liz Berry, Roy McFarlane and Jane Commane.  Professor Sarah Moss, who teaches on the English and Creative Writing programme at Warwick University, and author of new short story Ghost Wall, (interviewed on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour last month) is joined by Megan Hunter and Jen Campbell to discuss their latest books.

There’ll also be readings from top poets who contributed to new collection Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After the First World War including Malika Brooker and winner of the 2018 Ted Hughes prize for new poetry, Jay Bernard, women’s rights activist Helen Pankhurst, exciting up-and-coming writers such as Irenosen Okojie and more established ones like Irish author John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas). Watch out for one-to-one fiction surgeries, writing workshops and performances include Coat by Yomi Sode, A Night at the Cabaret Voltaire and Mixtape with dub poetry stars Roger Robinson and Nick Makoha.

For tickets and full details see here: birminghamliteraturefestival

BOOK LAUNCH: Chris Riddell launches the Illustrated edition of J K Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Oct 11

One of only 5 events nationally, bestselling author, artist and former Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell will be talking about what is was like to illustrate J.K. Rowling’s words. Includes a reading of The Wizard and the Hopping Pot by a local actor; while Chris Riddell creates some illustrations live on stage. Chris will be signing copies afterwards.

Tickets: £15, Family (2 + 2) £40, Family (1 + 2): £30 including a £5 voucher off book purchases redeemed from local, independent bookseller, Kenilworth Books. All tickets and vouchers can be booked online at albanytheatre or via the box office on 02476 99 89 64.

The Music of Harry Potter, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Fri Oct 12

Wall carvings in Hogwarts Great Hall at the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio, London

Grab your wand and your owl, and join Harry, Ron and Hermione at Platform 9¾ to board the Hogwarts Express for a musical adventure beyond the imagination! Maestro Michael Seal and the full CBSO work their magic tonight, in this concert devoted to the music of all eight of the Harry Potter films.



The Things We Tell Ourselves & Don’t Cry for Me, Theatre Absolute, Coventry, Thurs Oct 11

L-R Writer-performers Cristina Catalina and Stephanie Ridings

This multi award-winning indie theatre company, who have turned a one-time fish and chip shop into a 55-seat theatre, return with two new pieces as part of their Are We Where We Are series. The Things We Tell Ourselves, written and performed by actor and writer Cristina Catalina, looks at the stories we choose to be imprisoned or freed by; while Don’t Cry for Me by Stephanie Ridings takes a personal look at Asperger’s in the 1970’s

Tickets 8 (full price) and £6 (concessions): https://www.brownpapertickets. Find out more about the project here: theatreabsolute

DANCE: Flawless – Chase the Dream: The Reboot, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Oct 10

Best known for their appearances in the smash-hit Street Dance 3D films and for their success in Britain’s Got Talent, the internationally acclaimed Flawless now return to Britain with a high energy, acrobatic-infused stage show, promising even bigger and more jaw-dropping routines than ever before. Two-time World Dance Champions Flawless will be joined on stage by West Midlands-based Marshon Dance Company who won a national Instagram competition.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade

FAMILY FUN: World Conker Championships, Southwick, Northants, Sun 13 Oct

Watch the experts as they battle it out to see who is the best at playing conkers in the world! It’s a big event with a kids’ conker competition, stalls, guide dog displays, bumper cars, climbing wall, food offerings, a tea and cake tent, Morris dancers, juggling workshops, a ukuleke band and praise be, a bar.

Find more ideas here

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