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This week


Summer Nights, Baddesley Clinton, Thurs July 26 – Sat July 28

Courtesy of Disney Movies

In the secluded parkland of this moated 15th Century National Trust Manor House you can see Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the family-friendly live action version of Beauty and the Beast (PG) on July 26 and Kevin Bacon’s toe-tapping teen in 1984 Footloose on July 28. Top Gun on July 27 has already sold out.

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse, Fri July 27

Check out the night sky for the longest blood red moon eclipse at 10pm. To read up on it go here.


FESTIVAL: Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick School & town centre, Thurs July 26 – Sun July 29

Jon Boden & Remnant Kings. Photo by Chris Saunders

Award-winning folk music and traditional English dance go hand-in-hand at this friendly town centre festival, now in its 39th year. Headliners include Jon Boden & Remnant Kings the lead singer from multi-award winning Bellowhead. Also on Thursday Will Pound brings his Through the Seasons show, as heard recently on Radio 2, 3 and 4, to the festival. On Friday, experience fiery sounds from Canada’s east coast Vishtèn and the best of Irish with Daoirí Farrell. Saturday sees the return of roots band Show of Hands with long term collaborator Miranda Sykes on double bass. Also on Saturday Basque superstars Korrontzi return to the festival by popular demand. Ace fiddle player Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys joins the festival on Sunday. See more than 100 other artists including rising folkstars Granny’s Attic, award winning songwriting duo Megson, comedian poet Les Barker, guests from Cork Folk Festival, and a full programme of lectures.

Book tickets online or Tel: Bridge House Theatre Box Office on 01926 776438, Full line-up here: warwickfolkfestival


FESTIVAL: Lunar, Umberslade Farm Park, Tanworth-in-Arden, Warks, Fri July 27 – Sun July 29

After skipping a year last year, the 5th anniversary line-up in 2018 is arguably their biggest line-up of artists yet. Headline acts includes Malian music legends Amadou & Mariam, electronic party pioneers Basement Jaxx, acclaimed cinematic pop duo Goldfrapp and legendary punk band The Stranglers. The jam-packed festival programme includes partnerships with the RSC, the National Space Centre and the Glee Club. Luxury camping includes bell tents, landpods & vintage tents.



THEATRE: Matilda, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues July 3 – 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!



PERFORMANCE: Cirque Berserk, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs July 26 – Sat July 28

Photo by Piet Hein Out,

Adrenaline-fuelled stunt action meets breath-taking cirque style artistry. Have you ever seen a bow-and-arrow shot like this before? I know I haven’t. Combining traditional acts with fresh, contemporary feats, Cirque Berserk pays tribute to the rich 250-year history of circus, while bringing it bang up-to-date. Expect anarchic thrills as you witness the world’s most hair-raising circus act – the legendary motorcycle Globe of Death – as well as displays of astonishing skill from a talented international group of performers, including more than 30 acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers, jugglers and daredevil stuntmen., Tel: 024 7655 3055


EVENT: Game Fair, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Fri July 27 – Sun July 29

Get your fix of country pursuits from Shooting on Europe’s longest clay line to Gun Dogs, Ferreting, Horses & Hounds, Fly Fishing and Falconry at the 60th anniversary of this British countryside festival at Ragley. On the Friday and Saturday night Ronnie Scott’s will be hosting an intimate soiree of live music, with a light supper menu created by celebrity chef James Martin. There’s plenty to do for kids too including 45-min Forest School workshops, a 9-metre climbing wall, 40-metre-high inflatable obstacle course, low ropes course and woodland creche.



The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Sat June 30 – Sun Sept 30

Rowland Emett’s A-Quiet-Afternoon-in-the-Cloud-Cuckoo-Valley-photographed-by-JamesBastablecouk-cloudcuckoovalleycom.jpg

Roll up, Roll up for two stunning new exhibitions at Compton Verney’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum! 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 and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley (above) 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.



Miss Littlewood, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri June 22 – Aug 4 

Photo by Topher McGrillis

Clare Burt makes her RSC debut as one of seven actors playing anarchic 1950s and 60s British theatre director Joan Littlewood at different stages of her life. She is joined by Aretha Ayeh, Sandy Foster, Amanda Hadingue, Dawn Hope, Emily Johnstone and Sophia Nomvete. With book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon and directed by the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director, Erica WhymanHer theatre workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage. Funny, insightful and hugely entertaining.



Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – from Jul 20 nationwide

I went to watch it at the cinema with my two daughters this week. It was brilliant fun but was trying to as was my 9-year-old. The 14-year-old kept it together…The original cast plus Cher as Sophie’s grandmother, let’s hope it’s as good as the first, full of sunshine-y joyful ABBA hits, a great story and plenty of laughs.


PERFORMANCE: The Dreamboys, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed July 25

Prepare yourself for two hours of music, muscle and mayhem, with slick choreography, high-energy routines and some of the most ripped hunks in the biz. You may have seen them on The X FactorBritain’s Got TalentCelebrity Big BrotherLoose WomenThis MorningGeordie Shore and The Only Way Is Essex., Tel: 024 7655 3055


FOOD: Spice up your life with Piro Gallico! Hall’s Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs July 26 

Explore Hall’s Croft’s Jacobean kitchen and discover the many foods and dishes consumed daily in Elizabethan times, as well as those created to impress at feasts and great occasions. Learn about the importance of spices and sugar, along with other ingredients and less familiar recipes.



OPEN-AIR THEATRE: Oddsocks Productions’  Romeo and Juliet, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford, Fri July 27 

Oddsocks have given Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet a quirky musical Mods and Rockers’twist.  Doors open 6.30pm, performances start 7.30pm.



EVENT: Game Fair, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Fri July 27 – Sun July 29

Get your fix of country pursuits from Shooting on Europe’s longest clay line to Gun Dogs, Ferreting, Horses & Hounds, Fly Fishing and Falconry at the 60th anniversary of this British countryside festival at Ragley. On the Friday and Saturday night Ronnie Scott’s will be hosting an intimate soiree of live music, with a light supper menu created by celebrity chef James Martin. There’s plenty to do for kids too including 45-min Forest School workshops, a 9-metre climbing wall, 40-metre-high inflatable obstacle course, low ropes course and woodland creche.



OPEN-AIR THEATRE: Oddsocks open-air performance of The Tempest, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, Sat July 28

Shakespeare’s tale of illusion and revenge is brought vividly to life in Oddsocks’s musical, sci-fi adaptation of The Tempest. Doors open 6.30pm, performances start 7.30pm.



EXHIBITION: An Exploration of Toys and Games, The Herbert Art gallery and Museum, Coventry, June 23 – Sept 23

An interactive exhibition for all the family exploring how different generations have played for the last 2000 years Find some treasured memories from your childhood and beyond from marbles to Meccano and dolls to dressing up with talks. There’s also a celebration of Rare, the award-winning and internationally renowned video games company based in Warwickshire – makers of iconic games such as Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye, Viva Piñata and most recently, Sea of Thieves.



The Fat Gay Vegan Beer Festival with Twisted Barrel Brewery and Tap House, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat July 28

Two popular vegan food traders will be travelling up from London. Food will be available only in the indoor ticketed areas, and bars will be set up inside the Twisted Barrel taproom as well as function space The Box, plus karoke. Accessible to ticket holders only, 11am – 8pm. Tickets from £4.



Real Bodies The Exhibition, Hall 4, The NEC, Birmingham, until Sun Aug 19

A powerful and thought-provoking exhibition of human anatomy taking visitors on a journey, exploring the human body through physiology, culture and emotion by displaying real, perfectly preserved human bodies and over 200 anatomical specimens.



ARTS: Threads of the Unsaid: a crowd-scripted immersive retelling of Romeo and Juliet, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, ShotteryJuly 21 – Sept 1

This summer explore and play your part in a curious experimental art installation based on Romeo and Juliet. Led by award-winning sound and visual artist Thor McIntyre, this immersive retelling of Shakespeare’s tale of love, loss and reconciliation will feature collective responses from visitors which will grow and unfurl into a tunnel of scarlet red threads woven into the orchards of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the place where the famous playwright wooed his bride-to-be. It will culminate in a crowd-scripted evocation of this famous love story debuting at a Meet the artist event on Sept 1. You can also contribute online, via the hashtag #GiveaScript.



KID’S ARTS: Escape Arts’ Summer events, Stratford-upon-Avon

The community arts organisation will be hosting FabFest taking their Art and Media bus to the Old Tramway from 12noon – 5pm. Then they’ll be heading to Escape at Art in the Park at Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa on Aug 5 & 6. Entry is free. They’ll also be running CSI Spy Camps  and Big Builds in the summer holidays for 6 – 13-year-olds every Tue and Wed.

For more details click here or email


KIDS SUMMER HOLIDAY WRITING CAMP: Sparks Summer School, University of Wolverhampton, July 30 – Aug 3

Are you – or do you know – a young person (school years 7 – 12, aged 12 – 17) who loves writing or wants to be a writer? At this five-day summer writing school, run by  Birmingham-born poet Liz Berry and poet and writer Paul McDonald, they can dabble in lots of different types of writing, from poetry to radio plays to flash fiction to wordplay, and finishing with a special performance for friends and family. A great way to practice writing, performing, playing with words, meeting other young (and not-so-young) writers and learn to be the writer they want to be, 9.30am – 3.30pm.

University of Wolverhampton


Incredibles 2 – from Jul 13 nationwide

They’re back and in a nod to modern life, Mrs Incredible (aka Elastigirl) is tasked with bringing back superheroes whilst dad stays at home and looks after the kids. Humorous, delightful and great fun for kids and adults, this is perfect for the hols.



FESTIVAL: Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, Thurs July 26 – Sun July 29

Bestival’s less wild little sister, the award-winning Camp Bestival is the Rolls-Royce of family festivals. There’s tonnes for kids to do and the music bookings are always high calibre – this year Simple Minds, Rick Astley and Clean Bandit have already been announced and there’s going to be an inflatable church and the world’s biggest bouncy castle and disco ball!


FESTIVAL: Milton Keynes International Festival, Fri July 20 – Sun Jul 29

This 10-day festival of international theatre, film, music, art installations and events is a whooper, there’s simply loads to see and do. Whilst we revel in balmy evenings, I rather fancy checking out For The Birds at Linford Manor Park. Wander through the woodlands in the evening transformed by light and sound installations that celebrate birdsong, movement and flight. Or pop along to The Stables Speigeltent for comedy, caberet and music at its best and most intimate. Or whilst shopping in the MK Centre, marvel at The NoFit Circus and Motionhouseperformers who combine circus and acrobatics on giant Jenga-like blocks. Hats off to Milton Keynes for hosting this cutting-edge event.


KIDS: The Maize Maze,  Cotswold Farm Park, opens July 21

Venture down the rabbit hole into this Wonderland themed maze over the summer holidays and find the White Rabbit. If you find your way to the middle there will be a Tea Party and you may spot The Mad Hatter. There’ll be various games and puzzles.



Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, (sponsored by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland), V&A, London, June 16 – Nov 14

Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine, 1939. Photograph Nickolas Muray. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

This summer, the V&A will explore how Frida Kahlo (b. 1907), one of the most recognised and significant artists and women of the 20th century, fashioned her identity. More than 200 previously unseen personal objects will be on show including her eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony,’ still within its original packaging, which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow, her favourite lipstick, Revlon’s ‘Everything’s Rosy’ and red nail varnish, outfits, medical corsets and even a painted prosthetic leg! They were discovered in 2004, 50 years after being sealed in the Blue House, Mexico, by her husband Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, following her death in 1954.

Find more ideas here

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