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THEATRE: Tartuffe, Swan Theatre, Stratford, until Feb 23

Asif Khan as Tartuffe and Sasha Behar as Amira. Production photos by Topher McGrillis (c) RSC

BAFTA and Emmy-Award winning TV writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto – creators of The Kumars at No. 42, Goodness Gracious Me, Citizen Khan and The Office – have reimagined Moliere’s great French comedy in modern-day Birmingham. The result is a sharp, vigorously funny and topical comedy set within the home of a well-to-do Brummie Pakistani family. It cleverly blends themes of religious hypocrisy, #metoo “victim shaming”, Brexit jokes and music styles including a freestyle beatbox rap battle. Review here.



Kenilworth Arts Festival, Thurs Sept 20 – Sat Sept 29

Rising star Billie Marten

Newly-wed GBBO finalist Ruby Tandoh, MOBO award-winning pianist Zoe Rahman and Man Booker Prize nominated Irish author Donal Ryan have been among the guests lined up for the third Kenilworth Arts Festival. Joining them on the eclectic 10-day bill are more than 40 acclaimed writers, musicians and artists including US songwriter Bon Iver associate S Carey this Saturday night whose growing fan base includes Sufjan Stevens and Taylor Swift supported by one of the UK’s finest young singer-songwriters Billie Marten, and the very best writers from the region such as Kit de Waal and Mike Gayle. 

Tickets range from £7 (for one-off events) to £45 (for a Literary Weekend Pass). For the full line-up, see: kenilworthartsfestival


MUSICAL: Evita,  Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue Sept 25 – Sat Sept 29

Another West End colossus arrives later in the month with Bill Kenright’s production of Evita, starring Lucy O’Bryne (who has the Sound of Music and Les Mis on her CV). Both Swan Lake (below) and Evita are bound to be sell-outs so get booking.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


DANCE: Fagin’s Twist, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University campus, Coventry, Fri Sept 28 & Sat Sept 29

Pic credit Rachel Cherry

Fagin’s Twist is the critically-acclaimed untold story of Charles Dickens’ notorious and complex Victorian villain told in a new light by risk-taking London-based Avant Garde Dance in 1hr 40 mins for ages 8+.  The narrative tells the story of Fagin and Bill Sykes’ childhood, imagining how it may have resembled Oliver’s. Avant Garde Dance flips your expectations of five familiar characters, with their unmatched contemporary hip hop style.



Mischief Festival October, Studio Theatre@The Other Place, Stratford, Sept 27 – Oct 20

Older man in glasses, plaid shirt and jacket sitting at a table

David Edgar in rehearsal for A Christmas Carol, 2017, Photo by Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

A new version of David Edgar’s 1983 award-winning hit play, Maydays, directed by Owen Horsley and three performances of his one-person show Trying It On in which the 70-year-old actor/playwright confronts his 20-year-old self.



Jason Donovan & his Amazing Midlife Crisis, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Sept 27 & Thurs Oct 4, The Albany Theatre, Coventry

Especially for you, Jason Donovan is loitering with intent in our ‘hood. Celebrating his 50th birthday, the Australian cheesemeister we all secretly love is sharing a whole load of funny and insightful stories from his career spanning Neighbours, Joseph, I’m a Celebrity and Strictly , all interspersed with some musical faves. We’re told a certain Ms Minogue will get a mention or two as well. Can’t wait!

Albany Theatre Box Office: 02476 99 89 64 (open 10.30 – 13.30 Monday to Saturday),


The Cycle Show, NEC Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, Fri Sept 28 – Sun Sept 30

On yer bike! If you’re looking for something to keep kids and teens entertained this September, then how about the UK’s biggest national cycling showcase especially with Geraint Thomas winning the Tour de France this summer! It features more than 300 exhibitors, 500+ brands and the very latest in bikes and accessories – including the best kid’s bikes.  Take a lesson BMXing from the UK’s top ranked BMX pro and Flatland Champion Lee Musselwhite, test your skills on the two dedicated free-to-ride kids test tracks and meet some of the biggest names in cycling who’ll also be making guest appearances. If that’s not enough, why not watch some gravity-defying stunts at the Extreme Bike Battle show.

Full event schedule and further information available here,


THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until  Dec 1

Jude Owusu as the king of Persia, Tamburlaine Photo by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

Watch Jude Owusu’s chillingly charismatic portrait of Christopher Marlowe’s violent 14th century warlord, who started life as a shepherd, before conquering Asia. Directed by former RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd, who stepped down in 2012. A big critical hit.



COMEDY: Rachel Parris: It’s Fun to Pretend, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Sept 29

This is already sold out but check out for any returns if you fancy seeing The star of BBC 2’s surreal The Mash Report with Nish Kumar, present a comedy show packed with stand-up, song, sketch, and inevitably a sideways swipe at society. 8pm.



BALLET: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s First Steps, Birmingham Hippodrome, Fri Sept 28

Want to bring your child or grand-child to their first ballet? They can experience a 60-minute interactive show specially adapted for children aged 3 to 7, featuring ballet excerpts from La Fille mal gardee, performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s dancers and orchestra. Time: 1pm.



BALLET: La Fille Mal Gardee, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed Sept 26 – Sat Sept 29

La Fille mal gardée (The Wayward Daughter) mixes spectacular classical ballet with slick comedy, a clog-dancing dame and a super-cute pony. Frederick Ashton’s comic country production features some of his most brilliant choreography.



Journeys with The Waste Land, The Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, Opens: Sept 15 – Sun Nov 18

John Stezaker Mask CCV, 2016 © John Stezaker. Courtesy The Approach, London. Photo: FXP photography.

This exhibition explores the contemporary significance of TS Eliot’s seminal poem written in 1921 in the aftermath of the First World War and the way it has resonated with artists over the years. An extension of the exhibition continues in Coventry Cathedral with John Newling’s ‘Eliot’s Notebooks and Eliot’s soil’. It’s been led by independent curator, Michael Tooby, and organised in collaboration with Turner Contemporary in Margate, by the Mead Gallery and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in association with Coventry Cathedral.



THEATRE: New Nigerians,  The REP, Birmingham, Tues Sept 25 – Sat Sept 29

Rosamunde Hutt’s side-splitting production arrives in Birmingham for six performances only. A satire on the state of populism in our politics, New Nigerians is the hit new comedy from Oladipo Agboluaje (winner of the Alfred Fagon award for playwriting). It follows a sell-out run at London’s Arcola Theatre. As time runs out to build a coalition, can Greatness Ogholi win power without losing his integrity? Could this be the beginning of a new Nigeria?


TOP FILM CHOICE: BlacKkKlansman, out in cinemas now

John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth and Laura Harrier as Patrice in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, a Focus Features release. Credit: David Lee / Focus Features

Spike Lee returns with this humorous, nostalgic 70s period piece based on the memoir of black police officer Ron Stallworth’s memoir about his experiences infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan – and a damning portrait of the USA under Trump.


ART: ENDS THIS WEEK! The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, until Sun Sept 30


A rare opportunity to see an exhibition devoted to kinetic art and the history of automata. Almost 60 works, dating from 1625 to the present day, will – quite literally – come to life before your very eyes. The show includes loans from across the UK, including the smallest – a 4cm tall Fabergé elephant loaned from the Queen and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang designer Rowland Emett. You can also enter the magical world of mechanical toy model maker and children’s author/ illustrator Rodney Peppe.



ART: Conscious Perception by Susan Laughton & Richard Miller, The Stratford Gallery, launching Sat Sept 8 – Oct 4

New Work: Susan Laughton, Balancing act II, 2018

An exhibition of new work by two award-winning artists. Architectural technician turned painter Susan Laughton and accomplished potter Richard Miller, the on-screen technician in BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Birmingham Black History Month Launch, Town Hall, Tues Sept 25 

An impressive line-up of speakers, performers and artists including Musical Youth and Basil Gabbidon Band (former members of Steel Pulse). Tonia Daley-Campbell ‘s play Dr King The Aftermath, depicts the legacy of Martin Luther King Jnr and asks the question how far have we come in terms of equal rights and social justice? Free.



AFROBEATS MUSICAL:  Olivia Tweest, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Oct 4 – Sat Oct 6

Latisha Antoine playing the roles of Testimony and Joanna

Latisha Antoine playing the roles of Testimony and Joanna

The UK’s first ever Afrobeats musical  returns to the stage after sell-out runs in London in 2013-14 starring award-winning actor, comedian and media personality Eddie Kadi, Let It Shine star Clinton Elvis plus Latisha Antoine, who has performed with Leona Lewis at the Royal Albert Hall and as part of BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend Festival. Created, produced and directed by radio presenter and producer Yinka Ayinde (aka PureYinkz), Oliva Tweest tells the story of London hustler, club promoter and gyalis (ladies’ man) Tobi as he attempts to stage the ultimate concert in the hopes of attracting his hero, D’Banj.

Tel: 024 7655 3055,


Anna Calvi, Town Hall, Birmingham, Thurs Oct 4

The BRIT award and double Mercury Music Prize-nominated Twickenham-born singer has the most amazing voice. Hunter, her third album came out on August 312018 via Domino.



BALLET: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Birmingham Hippodrome, Feb 5 – 15 2019


Matthew Bourne’s menacing, witty and unique production of Swan Lakehas won tons of awards and rightly so. It’s best known for the all male corps-de-ballet – unheard of in the ballet world before – but it’s an all-round winner even if you’re not a ballet fan. Another West End colossus arrives later in the month with Bill Kenright’s production of Evita, starring Lucy O’Bryne (who has the Sound of Music and Les Mis on her CV).



GIG: Jack White, O2 Academy Birmingham, Wed Oct 17

After string of electrifying, but intimate live shows earlier this year, the super-cool former White Stripes front-man is back and he’s bringing his full band and hugely successful new album, Boarding House Reach along for the ride.



THEATRE: Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre, London, Tues 18 Sep – Wed 19 Jan 2019

Super thesps Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, star in Shakespeare’s tale of ill-fated lovers in war torn Ancient Rome and Egypt. With celebrated director Simon Goodwin in charge (who even took a trip to Egypt to consider how the country might differ in our imaginations from that of Shakespeare’s day) and award-winning designer Hildegard Bechtler, it’s shaping up to be a special theatrical event.


ART: Spellbound Exhibition, on now, and Baby Asmoles, Fri 14 Sep at The Ashmolean

Two metal shaped hearts

Human heart encased in lead

The spine-tingling exhibition Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft (see our review here) is on now and is a real must-see. It’s creepy, fascinating and surprisingly moving, especially the exhibits about witchcraft. Not really one for kids so if you have a little one, you could pop along to one of their Baby Ashmoles events. The next one’s this Friday where you can visit the galleries to learn all about 18th Century art with sensory play and singing for the babies. Let’s face it, it’s a heck of a lot more civilized than a the soft play centre.


An Evening with Grayson Perry, Jay Rayner, Gareth Malone and Rachel Tucker, New Theatre Oxford, Mon 24 Sep

grayson perry artist contemporary art ceramics cross-dressing man make-up

Never say Muddy doesn’t find you the unusual… Start your evening with restaurant critic Jay Rayner telling tales of dining hell and bad reviews, followed by West End leading lady Rachel Tucker singing songs with choir man Gareth Malone. Quick G&T in the interval before listening to artist and author Grayson Perry discussing cultural division in the world of Brexit and Trump. All proceeds go to charity.


THEATRE: Heathers, the Musical, Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, Mon 2 Sep – 24 Nov

Remember the 80s cult classic film Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater? Thank goodness social media wasn’t around then. Heathers The Musical, a comic rock extravaganza, has already enjoyed sell-out runs and is now hitting the West End. Carrie Hope Fletcher stars as Veronica Sawyers, who takes the quest for high school popularity to new extremes.


ART: Future Knowledge Exhibition, Modern Art Oxford, now until Sat 28 Oct

This exhibition explores climate change through creative presentations. It’s a truly international affair with an epic timeline stretching back 750 million years by American artist Rachel Susan, Eline McGeorge’s weaving works from Norway, and Brit Tania Kovats’ vast steel and salt sculptures, to name but a few. I’m liking the sound of Lucy Kimbell’s wallpaper that changes colour over time in response to air pollutants – might save a trip to Homebase.


FASHION: London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri 14 – Sun 23 Sep

If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festival with designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.

THEATRE: Sylvia the Musical, The Old Vic, London, now – Sat Sept 22

Nowadays it seems that any topic can be given the musical theatre treatment and this time, one hundred years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote, it’s Sylvia Pankhurst’s turn. This modern musical combines dance, hip hop, soul and funk to shed new light on her remarkable story and how her passion for equality tore her family apart. It’s even got Beverley Knight playing Sylivia’s mum, Emmeline Pankhurst, no less. Go sister!

DESIGN: London Design Festival, various London locations, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Sep

Celebrating London as a powerhouse of design, loads of events are on offer across the capital including workshops, demonstrations and launches. As always, the V&A will be at the forefront with show-stopping installations and across the city, there are 5 major trade shows, the commercial pillars of the festival, where you can meet designers, buyers, sellers and manufacturers and discover new products and design trends.

Flashdance the Musical, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sept 4 – 8

Flashdance, the musical. Kings Theatre, Glasgow. 5th August 2017

Based on the hit 1983 film of the same name, this 10th anniversary UK touring show stars Strictly Come Dancing winner Joanne Clifton as welder-cum-flashdancer Alex and A1 singer Ben Adams as love interest Nick Hurley.


Meet Me In The Ruins, Coventry Cathedral Ruins, Thurs Sept 6 – Sat Sept 8

A new, diverse and dynamic piece of open-air theatre celebrating one of Coventry’s major landmarks. It’s produced with the Belgrade Theatre and written by 5 writers from C4’s Skins to Radio 4 and the Royal Court; Ola Animashawun, Marcia Layne, Alan Pollock, Paven Virk and Nick Walker. Taking place on five fixed points in history, you are invited to witness moments where people are at a crossroads in their lives. From a young man suffering survivor guilt following a tube bombing to crucial decision making about pregnancy, a couple’s conflict after immigrating, tales from a Polish war veteran, and a florist who meets someone on the day her church becomes a cathedral. Daily at 6.30pm with Sat matinee at 2pm. Tickets from £8.

Leamington Food and  Drink Festival,  Royal Pump Gardens, Sat Sept 8 & Sun Sept 9

More than 130 exhibitors from the local independent food and drinks scene, live music, Kids Cookery School and cookery demos including the final of Home Cook of the Year will be adding to the flavour of this buzzy child-friendly free two-day autumn food festival. It attracts a crowd of around 25,000 annually. You’ll find us propping up Slurp Leamington’s first wine gin and fizz bar! Here’s the full line-up.


After Hours: Sex & the Tudors, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Sept 8

A rip-roaring lecture by Tutbury Castle Curator, Lesley Smith, through the sexual exploits of the Tudors. Contraception, conception, prostitution and gay sex feature in this engaging and highly entertaining lecture, 5.30pm – 7.30pm, £10. 

Bing Live! Bing Goes to the Theatre, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Sept 8 & Sun Sept 9

Bing-Live-Pando. Photo credit: Johan Persson

Parents of pre-schoolers be prepared –  the CBeebies favourite is on tour. Join Bing, Sula, Coco and Pando as they learn how to tell stories by pretending, dressing-up and singing songs. Flop and Amma are there to help, but in this magical world of make-believe things don’t always go according to plan…


Freeman by Stricty Arts, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sept 5 – 8

Ahead of performances at the Edinburgh Fringe, Strictly Arts became the first West Midlands company to receive the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund, and has been nominated for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

After experiencing sell-out shows and five star reviews at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Strictly Arts return to the Belgrade  this September with their award-winning show Freeman. Described by the Guardian as “a revelation”, Freeman takes inspiration from the true story of William Freeman – the first man in America to plead insanity as a legal defence – to explore the often unspoken link between systemic racism and mental health. Created in collaboration with writer Camilla Whitehill as part of the Belgrade Theatre’s Springboard talent development initiative, this deeply moving story combines drama with high-energy physical theatre, gospel singing, shadow puppetry and more, drawing on extensive research into deaths and mental illness among black prisoners.

Tel 024 7655 3055, belgrade


Heritage Open Day: Discover Chesterton Windmill, Sat Sept 8 & Sun Sept 9

A unique chance to look at Chesterton Windmill, a 17th-century cylindric stone tower built between 1632 and 1633. Subject to weather conditions.  First come, first-served basis. Small charge for parking. Free event from 10.30am – 4.30pm, last entry 3.30pm.


Heritage Open Day: The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sun Sept 9

Free pop-up exhibition, 10am – 4pm, featuring world-class archives, library and museum collections. Free entry 10am – 4pm.

MUSIC: Ezra Furman, O2 Academy Brixton, London, Tues Sept 4

The punk and Lou Reed inspired American songwriter, who released ‘Transangelic Exodus’ earlier this year,  plays his last UK tour date this week before returning to the US. We’ll miss him!

ART: Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy, Tate Modern, London, ends Sun Sep  9

Don’t miss this Pablo Picasso exhibition at the Tate Modern, focusing on 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, mixed with family photographs and rare glimpses into his personal life. Three of his extraordinary paintings featuring his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter are shown together for the first time since they were created over a period of just five days in March 1932.

Festival No 6, Portmeirion, North Wales, Sept 6 – 9

This is their seventh year and finale before taking a breather. Topping the bill alongside the already announced, The The, are indie-pop legends Franz Ferdinand and Friendly Fires. Also joining is singer-songwriter Jessie Ware, legendary band The Charlatans, art-rockers Everything Everything, Django Django, Ride, Anna Calvi, The Horrors, Gaz Coombes, a special performance from the UK’s most adventurous orchestra Manchester Camerata, performing Motown and Northern Soul hits and much more. A personal fave – you can see the stunning Snowdonian range, go paddle-boarding on the private peninsula, chill in the estuary spa and admire the creative talent of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who designed this eccentric Italianate village and beautiful Plâs Brondanw Gardens nearby. Criccieth and Harlech Castles are also worth checking if you’re up there.

DRINK: The Oxford Wine Festival, The Oxford Union, Fri 7 – Sat 8 Sept

Now, you’re talking! Who would like to hang out in the iconic Oxford Union and sample hundreds of award-winning and rare wines from over twenty countries? Er, me! With 40 leading wine merchants, regional specialists and English vineyards, you’ll get to learn all about vino with tutored tastings and the opportunity to buy bottles of your faves. With live music and food thrown into the mix, it’s a no-brainer for anyone who loves a tipple.

DAYS OUT: Oxford Open Doors, various Oxford locations, Sat 8 – Sun 9 Sep

rotting vintage wallpaper red curtain

Calling all nosey parkers! One of Muddy Bucks Oxon’s favourite events in Oxford, Open Doors has been running annually since 2008, literally opening doors behind some of Oxford’s most beautiful  – and private – buildings and projects. There’s an extraordinary range of buildings and spaces to choose from, but there are a couple of stand-outs including a visit to the Painted Room (above) in Cornmarket, visited by Shakespeare, no less, and a rare opportunity to see The Jesuit Hall of the University, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with its fine architectural features including the main Chapel and Library. You can see the 16th century wall paintings Medieval Merchant’s House in Abingdon, take guided tours of Magdalen College’s delicious 15th century Old Library or even cuter, demonstrations of Real Tennis on the second oldest court in the world at Merton College. You can also check out some of Oxford’s contemporary buildings like Saïd Business School or the new Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall at Oxford Brookes. Make sure you’re wearing flat shoes – it’s going to be a busy weekend.

Matilda The Musical, Birmingham Hippodrome, until Sat Sept 8

Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderfully witty RSC musical while it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it! Next up, Manchester…


Arctic Monkeys, Arena Birmingham, Sept 15 – 16

The Sheffield indie four-piece test out the tunes from their lounge music style new album Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino with The Lemon Twigs supporting. Saturday is sold out but there are tickets remaining for Sunday’s gig.


Save Our School Dinners…Jamie! B2 Stage, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Sept 12 – Sat Sept 15

A slice of fresh, home-cooked comedy drama by Coventry writer Paven Virk, whose playwriting career began early when she founded the Second Generation Theatre Company aged just 15. Since then she’s gone on to have work shown at Hampstead Theatre, the National Theatre, Tricycle Theatre and the Old Rep. She’s recently relocated back to Coventry since becoming a mum. This is a fun, feelgood multi-cultural story following a group of multi-cultural dinner ladies who are inspired by celebrity chef and champion of quality school meals Jamie Oliver to save their small community school. But is it a recipe for success?

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade

Bright Smoke: Bridget Minamore and Shruti Chauhan, The Other Place, Stratford, Thurs Sept 13

Internationally renowned writer, poet and journalist Bridget Minamore, shortlisted to be London’s first Young Poet Laureate in 2013, and part of the creative team behind Brainchild Festival in E. Sussex, will be joined by emerging poet and performer Shutri Chauhan, a British Indian poet and performer based in Leicester.
FREE, no booking required, 7.30 – 9.30pm.


Heritage Open Days: Warwickshire & Coventry,  Sept 6-9 and Sept 13-16

Astley Castle Living Room

See here where you can visit over the two consecutive weekends. Sneak a peak inside sites including National Trust’s Upton House and Packwood House, the world’s oldest real tennis club in Leamington Sp and, award-winning Landmark Trust conversion, Astley Castle, in Nuneaton – all for free! And in Coventry you can check out the venues open across the city here including ‘Medieval Coventry’s Women of Influence – Queen Isabella and Queen Margaret of Anjou’  at Drapers Hall – a joint project with the University of Oxford featuring a series of exhibition panels of the very latest research on two women who made such a significant impact on 14th and 15th century Coventry.

One Night Only tribute nights, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tues Sept 11 – Fri Sept 15

Rat Pack Live

This week sees singer Malcolm Pitt kicks off a week full of concerts with The Lionel Richie Songbook on Tue following recent appearances on The Graham Norton Show and Sunday Night at the Palladium, accompanied by the Jonny Miller Band in a tribute show endorsed by Lionel Richie himself. On Wed George Michael tribute show Fast Love heads to Coventry, direct from London’s West End. Prepare for a night of hand-clapping, foot-tapping in the company of one of the biggest names in Irish music Nathan Carter, a vocalist and expert accordion player performs live in Coventry on Thurs.  Finally, on Friday step back in time to the heyday of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr when the Rat Pack Live rolls into town.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade

Pasadena Roof Orchestra: Puttin’ on the Ritz, Main Stage, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Fri Sept 14

Suave singer and band leader Duncan Galloway presents a set of music from the 1920’s and 1930’s featuring features timeless classics from the great American song book such as Bing Crosby, Al Bowlly, and Fred Astaire. The musicians master the arrangements and sound of the fabled American orchestras such as Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, while also paying tribute to great British dance Bands like Ray Noble or Ambrose, from 7.30pm.


Heritage Open Day: Free guided tours, Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa, Thurs Sep 13 – Sun Sept 16

Go backstage on a 1hr tour of the Royal Pump Rooms celebrating the historic buildings heritage, community and history at 10.30am, 11.45am, 1pm & 2.15pm. Places are limited tel 01926 334418.

Coffee Festival, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat Sept 15 & Sun Sept 16

Yes please! FarGo’s first festival dedicated to lovers of the black stuff with Java Lounge, established by Birmingham-born Yemeni, Akram Almulad, who has four coffee houses in Colmore Row, Birmingham, Moseley, Solihull  and Coventry’s Middlemarch Business Park, plus FarGo’s own Backhaus & Co. 12noon – 6pm. £1 entry.


Falconry Photography Workshop – Owls, Squirrel at Wellsborough, Sat Sept 15 

Resident wildlife photographer Mark Green and falconry experts Hawkwise will guide and assist photographers to capture their very own images of three native British owls.The workshop will take place in the grounds of this converted grade II listed rural cottage, £47.50 per person. For more details see here: facebook


Women Leading the Way, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, Ec2Y 5HN, Thurs Sept 13

Three headshots of leading women in business

L-R) Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI; Ann Francke, CEO, Chartered Management Institute; Fiona Mactaggart, feminist campaigner and former Labour MP for Slough.

As part of The City of London’s Women: Work & Power festival Carolyn Fairbairn, The Director General of the CBI, Ann Francke, CEO of the CMI and feminist campaigner and former labour MP Fiona Mactaggart are to lead discussion panel on women in business. The number of women in work has never been higher but the issues of the gender pay gap and a lack of women in top executive roles continue to be problematic in British businesses. What is the reality of being a woman in the workplace in 2018? Join three high profile people from business and politics as they discuss the progress made and challenges ahead for women at work, £5.

The Stratford Town Centre Food Festival, Sat Sept 22 & Sun Sept 23

This bustling food festival in the historic streets of Shakespeare’s birthplace has a producers’ market organised by Cotswold Market featuring more than 100 stalls including some of the region’s finest food and drink producers, free cookery demos at the Waterside Cookery Theatre ranging from a cheese demo by Paxton & Whitfield to wine tasting with Vin Neuf. The ever-popular Food and Ale Trails also returns, giving visitors the chance to try out tasty treats from around 20 town centre restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. Loxleys restaurant in Sheep Street celebrates its fourth year as sponsor by hosting a champagne breakfast (£11.95 incl a glass of champagne booked in advance). On Sunday there’ll be an eclectic mix of stalls including craft, art and street food and In Bell Court, visitors will be able to enjoy free hands-on workshops. Enjoy live music on both days from 11am – 5pm.

THEATRE: Hymn for Robots. Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Sept 19 – Fri Sept 21

Photo credit-Arnim Friess

Following 4 and 5 star reviews for performances at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Noctium Theatre return to the Belgrade Theatre this September with their Delia Derbyshire-inspired Hymns for Robots. Described as the “mother of electronic music”, Coventry-born Delia Derbyshire is now best remembered for her work on the original Doctor Who theme tune. Raised in Coundon in the late 30s and 40s, Delia Derbyshire went on to earn a place at the then-girls’ grammar school, Barr’s Hill, before winning a scholarship to study at Cambridge. Later, she joined the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where she helped to create the iconic theme music for Doctor Who. This was only the beginning of her career: less widely recognised are her massive contributions to electronic music, cited as an influence on bands ranging from The Beatles to The Chemical Brothers and Pink Floyd to Orbital. Now Noctium are joining a growing chorus of voices calling for her work to receive the recognition it deserves. Go support!

Tel 024 7655 3055,

FAMILY: Apple Days, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford, Sat Sept 22 – Sun Sept 23 


Celebrate the end of harvest at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Michaelmas fair.  Experience the hustle and bustle of a 16th century market as you meet Tudor characters and try your hand at traditional crafts, apple pressing, puppet shows, face painting and more.

Festival of Imagineers, Coventry’s annual festival celebrating art, design and engineering, Mon Sept 17 – Sun Sept 22

Rear view of a customised bus as part of an outdoor city theatre installation

IOU-Rear-View-credit-JMA Photography

Highlights include NoFit State Circus and Motionhouse’s collaboration BLOCK – where 20 oversized blocks, fashioned to resemble giant concrete Jenga blocks, are deconstructed and reformed into an infinite variety of shapes for the performers to play on, move with and explore. (Runs on Sept 19 only at 8pm in the Cathedral Ruins). Rear View from IOU runs Thurs Sept 20 – Sat Sept 22 with performances throughout the dayBeginning in a life-drawing class, Rear View becomes a moving adventure about a woman’s life, led by performance poets Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot where the streets of Coventry become part of the performance with the audience on a custom-made conversion of a double decker bus. The Festival culminates on Sat Sept 22 in a celebration of Imagineer’s 20-year collaboration with outdoor arts company, Teatr Biuro Podrozy marking the WWI commemorations with Carmen Funebre, the company’s most iconic performance which has toured almost 50 countries world-wide. Based on the company’s research with refugees from the former Yugoslavia during the brutal Bosnian conflict in the 1990’s it’s a visceral and brutal expose of the horrors of war. Performed in the Cathedral Ruins expect stilts, fire, searchlights, spectacular sets and bone-chilling music combine with arresting visual imagery to evoke both fear and compassion.

The full programme is available at festivalofimagineers

Shakespeare Film Festival & Winners screening, Shakespeare’s New Place,  Fri Sept 21- Sat Sept 22   

Shakespeare’s work has not only changed the stage forever but has massively influenced film as well. On Sept 22 at 7pm you can watch short films made by some of the most talented new film makers around the world. The winner of the 2018 competition will all have responded to the theme of reconciliation in their films inspired by Shakespeare.

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert! Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Fri Sept 21

Starring Harrison Ford. © 1981 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Relive the magic on the silver screen with Spielberg’s great adventure… Raiders of the Lost Ark, with John Williams’ epic score performed live to picture by a full symphony orchestra!


AL FRESCO POP-UP FILM SCREENING: West Side Story, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford, Fri Sept 21 

See an open air screening of the classic musical West Side Story based on Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo & Juliet in the stunning grounds of Shakespeare’s New Place (Extra charges apply), 7pm.

AUTHOR TALKS: Amanda Reynolds, Thurs Sept 20, Warwick Books

A talk by Cotswolds creative writing teacher Amanda Reynolds on her book Lying To You –  a gripping drama perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, Anatomy of a Scandal, and Doctor Foster,  7pm. Tickets £5 including refreshments.

Book essential at Warwick Books 01926 499939 or

The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Aug 4 – Sept 22


Fiona Laird has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Craig to Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Lester (lucky lady!). She not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled production, which has a TOWIE feel to it! A glamorous suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over inflated egos starring a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison, Charlotte Josephine and RSC Associate Artist David Troughton. (In cinemas Sept 12).


SPOKEN WORD: An Audience with Simon Reeve, Town Hall, Birmingham, Sun Sept 23

The incredible popularly of this adventurous BBC globetrotter is evident by the fact that this Midlands date on his first UK tour is already sold out! Simon will be recounting tales from over 15 years of travelling to the most remote and extreme corners of the planet from being chased by pirates, hounded by the Mafia to being bombed by Colombian barons. The show includes a 20-min Q&A. You can check out other tour dates here including the Royal & Derngate, Northants (Fri Oct 19) and De Montfort Hall (Oct 22) here.

Macbeth, RST, Stratford, until September 18

Photo by Richard-Davenport-

This compelling contemporary version of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller with the fantastic Christopher Eccleston, brilliant in BBC 1’s The A Word, and revered Irish actor Niamh Cusack as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Directed by Polly Findlay has the eerie feel of a modern horror film. Super-handy for students studying Macbeth on their GCSE or A level syllabus!

Book here.

THEATRE: Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, until Sept 21

Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teen lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime in this present-day production.

FAMILY: Animation Workshops, The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford, Sat Sept 22

Let animation super star Drew Roper and his team guide you through surprisingly simple techniques to create your very own stop-motion animation. There’ll be one adults and one children’s session – equally fun for both, and both achieve amazing results!   Times: 10.30am & 2pm.    

Find more ideas here

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