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This month

Jan 2020


Learn to dance with Motionhouse, Spencer Yard, Leamington Spa, starting in January 2020

New Year sees the launch of three new dance fitness classes at this Warwickshire based leading UK dance-theatre company for 2-5’s, over 60’s and Surge a new male youth dance company for boys aged 11+. See our fitness feature for more details.



Fitness Yoga, The Farm, Stratford, every Wed from 8 Jan 


Reset yourself after the busy Christmas & New Year period with fitness yoga…then, for the best bit, enjoy coffee & protein balls in The Farm’s glorious café Nourish.

Book online: Wed 8 JanWed 15 JanWed 22 Jan & Wed 29 JanPeruse the fab selection of other masterclasses and cookery courses going on at The Farm throughout the year here.



Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery, London, is one of the biggest cultural events in the winter calendar, the exhibit features 150+ original artefacts found in the Pharaoh’s tomb that was unearthed in 1922 (until 3 May).

A brand new (and, quite frankly, must-see) exhibition is now open at The O2, London  – ABBA: Super Troupers, a journey through the Swedish band’s career and will feature personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (until 21 Aug 2020).

Other exhibitions worth a snoop are Bridget Riley, a momentous lifetime retrospective, at the Hayward Gallery, SE1, (until January 26); Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane collection of work at the V&A (until 8 March); William Blake at Tate Britain, with the visionary painter and poets work blown up to enormous scale using digital technology (until 2 Feb 2020); Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican  – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s (until 19 Jan).


*NEW* Sensing the City: An Urban Room, The Herbert, Coventry, Mon 13 Jan-Sat 18 Jan

Another newbie is this interesting and unusual exhibition which will give people access to visit the underpass system at Junction 5 of the Coventry ringroad and surrounding areas daily between 3.30pm – 5.30pm (Monday 13 & Friday 17 January) and short audience experiences for up to eight people daily as well as daily film screenings of Coventry Radiant City by Michael Lightborne.  It is the result of a collaborative research group of artists and academics who have spent three years exploring the impact and manifestations of their specialist subjects in and around Coventry, including the application of experimental methodologies in dance and choreography, creative writing, performance, film, photography and sound technologies.

See here for details of special activities taking place during the exhibition.


*NEW* EXHIBITION: Taking Flight, Coventry Transport Museum, Sat 25 Jan-Sun 14 Jun

Depart on a journey of invention and explore the evolution of flight in this immersive exhibition. Discover how flying machines have developed and put your design skills to the test as you take to the skies with your own creation. Full info here.

Also check out Coventry Transport Museum’s events diary for the learning events taking place throughout the month, including Mini Museum Engineers childrens’ workshops.


WEDDINGS: Mallory Court Wedding Open Day, Sat 18 Jan

Got a special sparkly something for Christmas? If you or anyone you know is planning a wedding, you’ll not want to miss the chance to visit the beautiful, serene country manor house that is Mallory Court. Event suites will be set up for your inspiration and the award-winning events team will be on hand to answer all your questions. Make sure you take time to explore the beautiful landscaped gardens, too!

Register and find out more here.



Conservation in Action, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, 6 January-20 February

Credit: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Meet the conservation team at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in their pop-up workshop and hear about the history of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, and the work they do to care for the building and the museum items inside.


Hidden Revealed, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, every Tuesday throughout January
Take a 45-minute guided tour of Anne Hathaway’s to see hidden fossils and witches’ marks that are normally hidden from view, and even objects visitors have left behind. Places limited to 8 per tour, book at reception, 11am.



The Gift, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat 18 Jan-Sat 25 Jan

Dave Fishley and Donna Berlin in rehearsal for The Gift – photo credit Ellie Kurttz

A play about imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation…and tea. This is the third show to emerge from Eclipse’s groundbreaking Revolution Mix movement including Black Men Walking, which is spearheading the largest ever delivery of new Black British stories in theatre, film and radio. Janice Okoh’s The Gift, featuring a six-person cast, will premiere in Coventry before embarking on a UK tour.  It tells of two Sarahs; one African girl adopted by Queen Victoria in the 1860s and one present-day middle-class black woman. Both Sarahs’ meet Queen Victoria for tea – and this won’t be your regular tea party…

Book online


Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue 28 Jan-Sat 1 Feb

Credit: Pamela-Raith-Photography

Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical is brought to life in an explosion of joy, with additional new choreography from Gary Lloyd (Thriller LiveHeathers). Britain’s Got Talent 2019 finalist, Mark McMullan, dons Joseph’s coveted Dreamcoat to star in the colourful classic.

Tickets here


 The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sun 8 Mar

Toby Mocrei as Dennis in The Boy in the Dress. Photo by Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

This exuberant, beautifully directed and moving new musical, based on the best-selling children’s novel by David Walliams, features 16 original songs by pop star Robbie Williams and his long-term writing partner Guy Chambers. It’s directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran and adapted by former RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill. Tickets are half price for children – up to four can go with one adult.

Box Office: 01789 331111, RSC


King John, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon now until Fri 20 Mar

King John production photo by Steve Tanner with Rosie Sheehy

Catch one of Shakespeare’s rarely-performed works as director Eleanor Rhode makes an “engrossing” debut in the Swan Theatre. Stirring an uneasy semblance to the present day, King John tells of a nation in turmoil and a preening king, played by Rosie Sheehy, who will stop at nothing to keep the crown. The Guardian says the production “tingles with a tangible sense of spontaneity”.


 A Museum in Baghdad, The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sat 25 Jan

Photo by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

An original compelling tale of two women, living decades apart; Gertrude Bell is founding a museum in Iraq’s capital in 1926 and Ghalia Hussein is attempting to reopen the establishment following looting during the war. They share a goal: to create a fresh sense of unity and nationhood. But in such unstable times, questions remain. Who is the museum for? Whose culture are we preserving? And why does it matter when people are dying? It’s written by Hannah Khalil, a playwright with Middle Eastern heritage.


Small Island, Leamington Spa Vue, NT Live, Thur Jan 30

Returning due to popular demand, Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel comes to life in an epic theatre adaptation, filmed live on stage as part of NT Live’s 10th birthday. Small Island embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain and follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.



THEATRE: Jane Eyre, The Albany Theatre, Wed 22 Jan-Thu 23 Jan

Charlotte Brontë’s moving, gothic masterpiece tells of falling in love, uncovering a hidden past and a terrible secret that forces the heroine to make a heart-wrenching choice. It’s a portrayal of one woman’s quest for equality and freedom, as an orphan girl journeys from a childhood of loneliness and cruelty to an unlikely relationship with the mysterious Mr Rochester.

Tickets available here


RSC NEW YEAR CALL OUT: Want to perform at The Dell, Stratford-upon-Avon, on weekends this summer?

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is offering amateur and semi-professional theatre groups, schools and colleges the opportunity to put on a play written or inspired by Shakespeare at The Dell, the Company’s open-air performance space on the banks of the River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon, on Saturdays and Sundays throughout next summer 2020. The Dell provides a space for groups to perform an established piece of work, or to create a new one inspired by Shakespeare, and it has already seen more than 300 groups perform on its stage since it launched 12 years ago.  Two performance slots are available on Saturdays and Sundays at The Dell throughout July and August 2020.

If you’re interested in mounting a production download The Dell 2020 Guidance Notes and Application Form, here: Closing date: Mon 24 Feb 2020.



Christmas madness made you miss the panto? No fear, there are loads rolling over into Jan for you to get your fix of stripy tights and double entendres.

Credit: Robert Day

The Belgrade’s Puss in Boots runs until January 11. Written and directed by Iain Lauchlan, who stars as Dame Matilda Pudding, this year’s show marks the former children’s TV presenter’s 25th year in panto at the Coventry theatre. His long-term comedy partner-in-crime Craig Hollingsworth plays Matilda’s son, Simon aka Baggie B, who wants to be an ‘Instafamous’ rapper.

There will be a special relaxed panto performance at 10.30am on Thursday 9 January for anyone who may enjoy or benefit from a more laid-back performance style, including those with Autism Spectrum Conditions, sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities or dementia with £3,000 of new equipment donated by staff at the nearby Town Wall Tavern – following a sponsored 26-mile walk, raffle and auction.

Members of the cast with some of the new equipment which includes three sensory dens, which can be blacked out to help combat the effects of sensory overload, as well as a number of bean bags, lap pads, weighted blankets and shoulder wraps.

Snow White at Leamington’s Royal Spa Centre ends on January 5. You can catch Liam Steele’s critically acclaimed reimagined 21st Century version of  Peter Pan at Birmingham Rep until January 19, while Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Birmingham Hippodrome runs on until Feb 2.

The all-star line up features Lesley Joseph, Matt Slack, Joe McElderry, Faye Brookes, Flawless, Doreen Tipton and Andrew Ryan. Tickets here.



Beverley Knight, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri Jan 31

The Wolverhampton-born singer and songwriter is celebrating 25 years in the music industry with the release of a new album, BK25, which she brings to life in this special concert with a live band. She’ll perform a range of hits including the Top 10 smash Shoulda Woulda CouldaKeep This Fire BurningCome As You AreMade It Back and Greatest Day.

Tickets here.



MUSIC: Winter Warmers – seven live tribute acts, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thur 16 Jan –  Fri 24 Jan

Navi as Michael Jackson

Thu 16 Jan sees the return of another Belgrade favourite, with Legend: The Music of Bob Marley paying tribute to reggae music’s greatest icon in a two-hour extravaganza. Then on Fri 17 Jan, internationally renowned Michael Jackson tribute Navi is also back with a spectacular and heartfelt tribute to The King of Pop. Hired as Michael’s official body double/decoy due to his incredible resemblance to the tar, Navi is the only tribute artist to have been chosen by the singer himself.  On Sat 18 Jan, a family friendly double-bill sees We Love Little Mix’s Ultimate Little Mix Party at 1pm, followed by The Take That Experience’s Greatest Hits Tour (below) at 7.30pm.

Praised as “fantastic” by Elaine Paige on her popular BBC Radio 2 programme, Sam O’Hanlon and Charles Blyth star in The Simon and Garfunkel Story on Wed 22 Jan, heading to Coventry hot on the heels of their West End run and sold-out international tour. On Thu 23 Jan, Freddie Mercury fans can look forward to the return of The Bohemians with The Best of Queen and on Fri 24 Jan, audiences can experience Europe’s number one tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in Bye Bye Baby, charting the band’s incredible journey from the early days through to the disco era.

Tel the box office on 024 7655 3055, belgrade


TRAVEL: New Flights to Vienna from Birmingham Airport, starting January

Tom Screen, Birmingham Airport’s Aviation Director and Jonathan Ford, Aviation Development Manager, Birmingham Airport are pictured with the Austrian Airlines crew serving the new Birmingham-Vienna route.

Austrian Airlines has become Birmingham Airport’s newest airline, with direct scheduled services to the Austrian capital of Vienna and onward connections across Asia and Europe.The new service improves the choice of connections for passengers travelling to Asia, particularly those looking for services to Beijing and Tokyo. Closer to home, Austrian Airlines now provide greater onward connectivity to many capital cities such as Budapest, Sofia and Zagreb, as well as popular destinations in Central and eastern Europe, plus regional connections to Graz, Innsbruck and Klagenfurt. The winter schedule operates four-weekly service on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun. From the summer, this will increase to a daily schedule. Vienna is known for its imperial architecture, a vast range of museums and coffee shop culture, and often referred to the ‘City of Music’.


GARDENS: Hill Close Gardens, weekdays from Fri 3 Jan

Re-opening on Fri 3 Jan, Warwick’s hidden haven has a flourishing programme of events for 2020. The programme kicks off properly in February, with Snowdrop Weekend on Sat 1-Sun 2 Feb, but in Jan you can still seek solace in the 16 different garden plots during winter opening hours (Mon-Fri 11am-4m). If you have pre-school children, pop along to the monthly Family Drop-In from 09.30-11.30am on the second Thursday of each month, for a wholesome morning of digging, planting and puddle-jumping!

Hill Close Gardens


COMEDY: Josie Long: Tender, Warwick Arts Centre, Thu 23 Jan

An incredibly edgy take on the mind-bending intensity of new motherhood; plus kindness, gentleness and joy. She aims for you to leave feeling optimistic about the future (a big ask, right?!). The comedian won her first BBC Comedy Award aged 17 and has been doing the comedy rounds ever since (Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, Dara O’Briain’s Go 8 Bit) while writing for The Guardian.

Showtime 7.30pm; tickets £17.


New Studio Comedy Club launch, The Albany, Fri 10 Jan

In association with Off The Kerb, The Albany launches a brand-new monthly comedy club with both established and up-and-coming comedians from across the touring circuit and television. Off The Kerb has established itself as one of the leading comedy agencies in the UK, discovering and managing some of the biggest and best names in comedy and entertainment. After the January premier, the next show dates will be Fri 14 Feb and Fri 20 March.

Introductory offer of £10 per ticket for the first show on Fri 10 Jan. Info and bookings here.


DINING: Sunday Lunch with Live Music, Arden Hotel, Sun 19 Jan

Enjoy the wintery riverside scenery from the cosy comfort of Arden Hotel’s No. 44 Brasserie over a delicious, lazy lunch. A mouth-watering roast is served to the backdrop of great live music.

Two courses £25.95 per person; three courses £31.95 per person. Book here.


FESTIVAL: Bite Size, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat 18 Jan

Theatre lovers: cancel everything else in your diary for 18 Jan and head on over to the Warwick campus. This day-long festival serves up an eclectic, jam packed taster menu of theatre from the Midlands – excerpts of brand-new work, full-length shows and pieces still in development. Presented by home-grown artists – from critically acclaimed, award-winning companies to fresh faced, emerging theatre-makers. Featuring Lewis Doherty’s action-packed Game of Thrones style adventure comedy BOAR, and the West Midlands premier of the multi award-winning, 5 star show All of MeCaroline Horton’s unapologetically dark exploration of wanting to live and wanting to die. You can also see exclusive extracts of work commissioned through sister festival, First Bite 2019Georgie Jones’s ish… and B Team’s Slow Violence.

Tickets (including festival passes and offers) and full programme available here.



Sensory Stories and Rhymes, The Herbert, Tue 7 Jan-Tue 28 Apr

An opportunity for youngsters to engage with The Herbert’s collections in a way that is meaningful to them, is hands-on, appeals to their imaginations and above all else is fun. Children receive a goody bag to use throughout the session, filled with sensory play items which: help to keep them engaged; adds context by using a physical object to give words meaning; extends learning through play; and increases their opportunities to develop good listening and language skills. Also pop along to the Coffee and Cake Chinwag to mingle with other parents and carers in the cafe after the Sensory Stories and Rhymes sessions on: 7 Jan, 4 Feb, 3 Mar & 7 Apr.

Designed for children aged 0-4 years. £1 drop-in. Takes place every Tuesday during Coventry term-time. Two sessions per day: 10.30am-11am & 11.30am-12pm. Sessions take place in different galleries each week; ask at reception when you arrive.


Little Star – Moon On A Stick, Albany Theatre, Mon 27 Jan

One for the really tiny ones: this star-lit show for babies is based on the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and delights young audiences with puppetry, music and captivating visuals. Join Little Star as she swings from shooting stars, slides down crescent moons and bounces on fluffy clouds. A perfect first theatre experience!

Suitable for ages 6-18 months. Showtimes: 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm & 3.30pm. Details here.


B’Opera, Belgrade Theatre, Fri 10 Jan-Fri 3 Apr

This weekly installment creates beautiful music for tiny ears through interactive sessions and performances for littlies and their grown-ups.

Suitable for children aged 0-4 years. Every Fri from Fri 10 Jan, 10am. Full info here.


Teen Wave Rave, The Wave Coventry, Jan 17

The Wave

The city’s new waterpark is holding its first Teen Wave Rave for 13-16 year olds from 7.30-9.30pm. The tropical themed Wave Rave will feature music and mocktails for all attendees. Every teenager needs to be a competent swimmer and places must be pre-booked as they are limited.

To reserve your place, please email



MUSIC: Madonna – Madame X tour, London Palladium, 27 Jan – Sun 16 Feb

Madonna kicks off the new year with 15 nights at the London Palladium, one in a series of rare, intimate performances celebrating the release of Madame X. Having played arenas and stadiums since her ground-breaking 1985 Virgin TourThis time she’s chosen smaller more intimate theatre venues, so you’ll be able to see Her Madgesty up close and personal. You never know when she’ll retire her corseted bodice. In November she was forced to cancelled three tour dates in Boston on doctors’ orders, due to injuries. The album has been influenced by living in Lisbon, Portugal over the past several years, and features 15 new songs celebrating Madonna’s career-long love affair with Latin music and culture.


EXHIBITION: Thinking 3D: Leonardo to the presentthe Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 9 Feb

Timed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the exhibition shows how Leonardo and his contemporaries made great strides in the realistic depiction of 3D forms. Thinking 3D explores technological advances up to the present day including 3D modelling, photography and stereoscopy; and also highlights the works of modern practitioners and researchers in Oxford.


ART: London Art Fair, Islington, London, 21-26 Jan

London Art fair image of woman in pink floral dress and tulle headress

Calling modern art lovers! Get ye over to Islington for this massive art fair offering everything from prints and editions through to major works by internationally renowned artists. There are talks, tours, screenings and curated spaces, plus Photo50, the annual exhibition of contemporary photography and Art Projects, featuring large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays.


Bowie: Oddity to Mars at the National Space Centre, Leicester, 10 -11 Jan

This ultimate live immersive show will celebrate 1969 to 1972: a significant period of time that covered both Bowie’s experimental phase and the Apollo lunar landing window. David Live is a British, five-piece band that has performed musical tributes to the man himself. The visitor attraction has also partnered with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), Loughborough College and Leicester College to create a never before seen exhibition of fashion, textiles, art and photography inspired by Bowie. General admission from £15.

Tate Late, Tate Modern, London, 31 Jan

More art, you cultured lot, in this monthly open evening at Tate Modern that includes music, workshops, talks and more as you wander the galleries after hours. This month Shirley May reads from her poetry collection, She Wrote Her Own Eulogy which discusses her family’s Jamaican heritage and the Black-British experience, which explores love, loss and the struggles we all face in relationships.



CLASSICAL: Rise up! National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain winter tour, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat Jan 4

From protests to revolutions, the 20th Century saw momentous social change driven by passionate young people. So, come and join a movement; a mass action by a community of teenage musicians – the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers – brought together by their passion for music conducted by Spanish conductor Jaime Martín. It features Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, left-wing Berlin 1920s composer Hans Eisler and ends with Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony, written about the failed Russian revolution of 1905.

Warwick Arts Centre

OUTDOOR ICE RINK: Warwick Castle, until Jan 5 2020

Step into Christmas at the Castle, complete with super exciting new addition of an ice rink. Put your skates on for a 45-minute session against a stunning backdrop in front of the castle’s iconic East Front, and there’s hot food and drink vendors for afterwards too.

Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Bucks, until 5 Jan 

The decorations at the house this year are influenced by the National Trust site’s connection to music, from traditional carols to Christmas hits. There’s also a stunning light trail (see the Muddy review here) around the Aviary and light shows on the facade of the manor house. Head to the stables to snap a picture inside one of the two huge LED baubles.

Meet the Mini-Beast handling sessions, Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm, until 5 Jan

Christmas Butterfly

Fancying hanging out somewhere tropical to escape the cold and rain? With constant temperatures of over 25°C, this popular attraction is a good place  to take family or friends with small children during the festive holidays. Discover the stunningly beautiful Christmas Butterfly, also known as Papilio Demodocus and take part in twice daily Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions – where intrepid kids can hold creatures such as a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach, giant African Millipede, African Land Snail and a variety of stick insects.

Find more ideas here

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