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This month


There cool, quirky and unmissable in Warwickshire and beyond in June

Festival on the Close, Rugby School, Sat June 25-Thurs June 29

Laura Mvula

There’s an impressive line-up for this new arts and music festival celebrating the 450th Anniversary year of the founding of Rugby School. It includes Birmingham’s Mercury Music Award nominated singer-songwriter Laura Mvula, Leamington-based UK contemporary dance company Motionhouse, G4 & Lesley Garrett, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin author Louis De Bernieres performing with the Bookshop Band and poet John Agard.

Warwick Summer Open Studios, until Sun July 2

Art lovers can enjoy free admission to 114 venues across Warwickshire exhibiting more than 220 local artists and design makers. Visit colourful homes, off the beaten track studios, galleries, National Trust properties and gardens.

Salome, The Swan, Stratford, Fri June 2-Sept 6

Owen Horsley directs Oscar Wilde’s controversial one act play, Salome, originally banned in the UK, marking 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality. This contemporary 1hr 40 min poetic masterpiece will place sexual ambiguity at the core with male actor Matthew Tennyson playing Salome.With music from Seattle-born song-writer Perfume Genius’ 2014 critically acclaimed album Too Bright which addresses the homophobia he has faced because of his sexuality (features nudity and ‘scenes of a sexual nature’, just so you know!)., Tel: 01789 403493 

Also Festival, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, June 30-July 2

Also is a small festival with big ideas. One of the UK’s best boutique festivals it has a theatrical Truth and Dare Banquet, Shipwrecked Midnight Feast, Sunday Balearic Brunch and Caribbean Rum Shack on the shores of Compton Pools.  And it’s right on our doorstep in the idyllic Warwickshire countryside – so no long commute and a fab family day out if you’re not staying for the three days. The brilliant 2017 line-up includes top speakers, music, cabaret, a sunrise nature swim, Scented Yoga and lots more to tempt foodies here.  Workshops include a Flowers in Your Hair session on the Saturday by in-festival florist, Petal to the Metal£9 and there’s the world’s first Glow in the Dark Croquet session.

Giffords Circus, Any Port in a Storm, touring now until 24 Sept

This year the inimitable Giffords Circus is recreating a 17th-century Spanish court and putting on a candle-lit international gymnastic show with dancing horses, a live band and everyone’s favourite clown Tweedy. It’s moved from its Gloucestershire home into Oxfordshire for the next month – currently nestled in Oxford, it heads into London next and then back to Stonor Park.

Vice Versa, The Swan, Stratford, until Sept 9

Phil Porter’s brilliantly bonkers entertaining new farce ‘lovingly ripped off ‘from the Roman comedies of Plutus.  A clever servant and a pair of wronged young lovers team up to bamboozle Trump-like pompous general. Felix Hayes is fantastic as the bombastic General Braggadocio, playing his servant, Dexter, is the wonderfully charismatic Sophia Nomvetewhose credits include The Colour Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory) and As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe). ‘Allo ‘Allo star Kim Hartman makes her RSC debut as ‘a lady of the night’ called Climax. Read her My Favourite Places here.

Antony and Cleopatra, the RST, Stratford, until Sept 7

Shakespeare’s tragic love story between hot-headed Egyptian queen Cleopatra, played here by a luminous Josette Simon, and Antony Byrne’s Roman general Mark Antony. It’s directed by Iqbal Khan with music composed by award-winning Birmingham singer-songwriter Laura Mvula., Tel:01789 403493

Offbeat Festival, Oxford, until Sun 2 July

Loving the look of this. Offbeat started last year and is a showcase of 71 different pieces of brand new theatrical work, from comedy, drama, dance, spoken word. 25 per cent of the shows are from Oxfordshire based artists and it’s a collaboration between Oxford Playhouse and The Old Fire Station so it’s extremely professional. Best of all , the tickets are a tenner or less, so you can see the likes of Mark Thomas, Viv Groskop and Richard Marsh without breaking the bank. Look out for Dr Zeiffal and the Hippo Can Never Be Caught(pictured, 24 June); This Flipping Rescue Dog has Ruined My Life (Sat 1 July); Todd and God (Sun 2 July); Swan (Sun 2 July) and the brilliant Everything Wrong With You Is Beautiful (Tues 27 June).

Ricky Gervais Live V: Humanity World Tour, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, Tue June 27 & Wed June 28

The Office and Extra’s star is touring with his fifth UK stand-up tour, preceded by ‘Science’, ‘Fame’, ‘Politics’ and ‘Animals’.

RSC’s Rome Series: Julius Caesar, RST, Stratford, until Sept 9

Photo: Helen Maybanks

The well-received Julius Caesar runs in rep side-by-side with Antony and Cleopatra–the first double-bill in the RSC’s four-play Rome series. Titus Andronicus and Coriolanus will complete the quartet of Shakespeare’s most political and bloody thrillers in June and September. Season director Angus Jackson brought the brilliant atom bomb drama Oppenheimer, and Don Quixote, to the RSC stage.  He’s directing Julius Caesar, which has strong performances by Andrew Woodall as Caesar, Alex Waldmann as Brutus, James Corrigan’s Mark Antony and Martin Hutson’ as Cassius., 01789 403493

Leicester’s Bier Fest, Jubilee Square, 29 June – 2 July 

Grab your Lederhosen because a new bierfest is coming to Leicester this summer. Tuck into a bratwurst at the German Village Festival washed down There will be a choice of three beers, including the famous Weißbier, specially brewed in a 200-year-old brewery in Bavaria. A highlight to the festival will be the 300-seater bier tent with table service and a spectacular DJ show which opens later in the evening. Entrance into the Beer Garden and German Village is free and  promises to be ‘the biggest beer garden ever’ with 1,200 seats.

Bier Fest Leicester LE1 7RY

Un-silencing the Library, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, nr Kineton, opens Wed June 28

In the mansion itself the Victorian Women’s Library is being reimagined.  Georgiana Verney, wife of the reclusive 17th Lord Willoughby de Broke, was an enthusiastic champion of women’s reading and women’s suffrage. This reinterpretation of her 1860s library – a groundbreaking collaboration with Oxford University  – invites you to sit and find out about Georgiana, the history of the room, and what women read in the late Victorian era. You can also pick up and read books chosen by our six guest curators – ranging from actor and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson to students from nearby Kineton High School., 11am-5pm

Sidney Nolan, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, until Sept 3

An exhibition of spray painted portraits dating from the 1980s by inventive Australian-born artist Sidney Nolan, who was a close friend of Benjamin Britten, Francis Bacon and fellow Australian artist Brett Whiteley. Born in 1917 he was recognised as one of the foremost international modern artists,

Titus Andronicus, RST, Stratford, runs until Sept 2

Are you easily shocked? The next installment in the RSC’s Rome series is this chillingly contemporary version of Shakespeare’s most gory tragedy, starring David Troughton in the title role and directed by Blanche McIntyre. There have already been “fainters”.

Raphael, The Drawings, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until Sept 3

The Ashmolean’s captivating summer show, Raphael, brings together 120 stunning works from international collections spanning the brief but brilliant career of Raphael, only 37 when he died. The Ashmolean’s unrivalled Raphaels are joined by superb works from the Albertina and loans from other international collections including the Louvre, the Uffizi and Liz II.  Drawings include the exquisite Head of a Muse, which broke records when auctioned at Christies in 2009, as well as the sublime Heads and Hands of two Apostles, considered to be the finest drawing Raphael ever made.

Giacometti, Tate Modern, London, until Sept 10

Here comes a biggie. Tate Modern presents the UK’s first major retrospective of Alberto Giacometti for 20 years. Celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, Giacometti’s distinctive elongated figures are some of the most instantly recognisable works of modern art in Tate Modern’s ambitious and wide-ranging exhibition of over 250 works. It includes rarely seen plasters and drawings and showcases the full evolution of Giacometti’s career across five decades, from early works such as Head of a Woman [Flora Mayo] 1926 to iconic bronze sculptures such as Walking Man I 1960.

Grayson Perry Exhibition, Serpentine Gallery, London

This summer Grayson Perry, one of the most astute commentators on contemporary society and culture, will present a major exhibition of new work. The works will touch on many themes including popularity and art, masculinity and the current cultural landscape.


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