Why not…go champing in All Saints, Billesley, Warwickshire?
The cool, quirky and unmissable in Warwickshire and beyond in May.
Creating the Countryside, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Museum, until sun June 18
You’ve only got a month left to enjoy this superb critically-acclaimed exhibition which features depictions of country life from Old Masters including Thomas Gainsborough to some intriguing sculptures, an interactive computer game and this stunning Grayson Perry vase.
War of the Roses Live, Warwick Castle, Sat May 27–Sun June 4
A new heart pumping, fist thumping live action show recreating the War of the Roses. Pledge your allegiance in an an epic battle for the English Throne! It’s 1455 and the House of Lancaster holds the English throne. King Henry VI’s crown is challenged by the House of York. The rival houses clash in battle and the bloody war that ensues was to last over 30 years.
Spring Mischief Festival, The Other Place, Stratford, Wed May 24–Sat June 17
A playful and provocative month-long festival of new work, including a double-bill of two new plays including The Earthworks by the super talented playwright Tom Morton- Smith, who had a huge hit with his debut play Oppenheimer about the father of the atom bomb, in 2015 at the RSC and Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End. It will be directed by the RSC’s Deputy Associate Director Erica Wyman. There’s also Myth, a terrific collaborative work by innovative playwright Matt Hartley and award-winning director and Complicite Associate Kirsty Housley about a wine-fuelled dinner party that descends into chaos. I’m sure we’ve all had a few of those…!
rsc.org.uk, Tel: 01789 403493
Vice Versa, The Swan, Stratford, until Sept 9
An entertaining completely bonkers new farce ‘lovingly ripped off ‘from the Roman comedies of Plutus by playwright Phil Porter (2014’s WWW1 drama The Christmas Truce & 2013’s very funny A Mad World My Masters). A clever servant and a pair of wronged young lovers team up to bamboozle Trump-like pompous general. Felix Hayes returns to play General Braggadocio, playing his servant, Dexter, is the wonderfully charismatic Sophia Nomvete, whose credits include The Colour Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory) and As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe). They are joined by former ‘Allo ‘Allo star Kim Hartman who makes her RSC debut playing ‘a lady of the night’ called Climax. Read her My Favourite Places here.
Room, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, until Sat June 24
A new exhibition of installations, sculptures and photographs by 13 international women artists exploring ideas around architecture and the domestic environment from the 1970s to present day. Artworks include Nan Goldin’s photographic series, Empty Rooms, Berlin/Hamburg (1983-96), taken in brothels, hotels and gay bars, and Brit artist Sarah Lucas’s installation Chuffing Away to Oblivion (1996) – a flimsy cabin made from a timber frame and brown paper, lined on the inside with tabloid newspapers. She has constructed a nicotine-stained smoking den papered with tabloid soft porn – a masculine environment made by a woman artist. It’s been curated by Laura Lord from Sadie Coles HQ, London. Free.
David Starkey, Germaine Greer & Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards, Spoken Word Summer, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington, Wed May 31-Tue June 6
Three talks this summer by three fascinating speakers. Listen to historian David Starkey on Henry VIII: The 1st Bexiteer, Wed May 31; feminist writer, academic and commentator Germaine Greer discussing Women for Life on Earth about female eco-warriors on Thurs June 1 and Eddie ‘the Eage’ talking through his life-journey in Try Hard on Tue June 6. Ages 16+.
RSC’s Rome Series: Julius Caesar, RST, Stratford, until Sept 9
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.
rsc.org.uk, 01789 403493
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.
rsc.org.uk, Tel:01789 403493
Giacometti, Tate Modern, Wed May 10-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.
What? You’ve never heard of champing? Put simply it’s camping in ancient churches, and the opportunity to have an overnight adventure. There are lots of historic sites now being opened up by the Churches Conservation Trust, and these beautiful buildings, with all their local and social history offer a real break from the norm. All Saints Billesley is a small but perfectly-formed church now on the edge of the grounds of a 4-star hotel. The pretty church is alleged to be the church where William Shakespeare pledged his troth to Anne Hathaway (no, not the Hollywood film star) in 1582. A romantic spot for two just 3 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, shall I compare this church to a summer’s day? It is more lovely and more temperate – and the 16th century manor house hotel a mere stone’s throw away isn’t bad either…
11 Million Reasons to Dance Photography Exhibition, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until Sat June 17
A free photography exhibition 11 Million Reasons to Dance is now on display at the Belgrade Theatre. This exhibition, commissioned by People Dancing and photographed by Sean Goldthorpe, uses Deaf and disabled artists to recreate great cinematic set-pieces, like Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain, Billy Elliot dancing his heart out before his dad and Moira Shearer playing a young ballerina in The Red Shoes. The title of the exhibition reflects the fact there are more than 11 million disabled people currently living in the UK. On Sat June 17 there will also be a performance in B2 with the same title (£6.50), including local children and a duet by Kate Marsh and Welly O’Brien – dancers with missing limbs, who are both interested in the specificity of their own physicality and how this informs and enriches their work.