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This Week


Edited by: Rhiannon Pursall

AUDIENCE WITH THE AUTHOR: David Nicholls, Levi Fox Hall, Stratford upon Avon, Fri 19 Jul (Part of Stratford Literary Festival)

Can you believe it is 10 years since the release of One Day starring Anne Hathaway?! Since then, multi-million selling author and screenwriter David Nicholls has melted our hearts with Us, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and now he’s back with brand new novel Sweet Sorrow. In this one-off event, David will discuss his new book about first-love set over one life-changing summer, against a backdrop of rehearsals for a production of Romeo and Juliet.  Nicholls, who was awarded a BAFTA this year for his screenplay of the brilliant TV drama Patrick Melrose, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, will be sharing the background to this much-anticipated new novel which brings teenage angst and the clumsiness of first romance beautifully to life. Starts at 7pm. Tickets are £10, or £25 including admission to the event and one discounted copy of the book. Student tickets are £8. Call 0333 666 3366 or book online.


THEATRE NEWS!  Tennant/Lowe join the creative team for My Beautiful Laundrette

The Pet Shop Boys

It’s just been announced that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys have joined the creative team behind The Belgrade’s forthcoming autumn/winter co-production of My Beautiful Laundrette, to create the musical score! Directed by Nikolai Foster, this new adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s groundbreaking 1985 screenplay shows in Coventry 29 Oct-2 Nov, as part of B2’s Season of Love and Belonging. Very exciting!  belgrade


**NEW EXHIBITION**: The Car. The Future. Me. British Motor Museum, opens Sat 13 Jul

I must admit to loving the roar of an engine and a cruise through the countryside in a cabriolet. But, given the current climate crisis, how can the cars of the future still bring pleasure and mobility, whilst not destroying the planet? The Car. The Future. Me investigates this very question, looking at how vehicles will change over the coming years and how our lifestyles will adapt. The exhibition encourages visitors to share their opinions…would you be sad to see classic cars disappear off the road? Are you concerned about the impact on the transport industry? How do you feel about the impending switch to driverless transport? The visions for the future are mind-blowing, including zipping around in autonomous pods and commuting through the sky. Wow. Head over to the British Motor Museum for a tech-tastic day of learning and contemplation. Adults £14.50, concession £12.50, children £9, under-5s free, family (2 adults + 3 children) £40. Full details here.


**NEW** THEATRE: Annie, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tue 23 Jul-Sun 11 Aug

Jodie Prenger in Annie. Photo by Matt Crockett

Flame-haired feisty fun explodes into the Hippodrome for 3 weeks only, so we’re hot-footing it over to Brum! Direct from London’s West End, the smash-hit production of Annie stars Jodie Prenger (winner of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything; Oliver!; Spamalot and Calamity Jane) as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan and was marvelled by The Times as a “glorious revival”. A Tony® award-winning book and score gets your feet tapping and heart singing.

Tickets on sale now.


COMMUNITY ART WORKSHOPSI see the future, Stratford Upon Avon, Tue 16 Jul & Thu 25 Jul

Artist’s impression of I see the Future © Anagram

How do you see Stratford in 100 years? Residents are invited to share their hopes, dreams and visions for the future of their historic town, over tea and cake at two workshops. Results of the workshops will be converted into vibrant animations, layered over real-time footage of Stratford, shown through two giant pairs of binoculars – all part of a playable art project by Anagram. The binoculars will appear on Henley Street and the Bancroft Gardens from Fri 6-Sun 8 Sep. How great would it be to see your creations up there?! The project is commissioned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company to explore the experiences and perspectives of local people. The project marks the 250thanniversary of David Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee of 1769. Drop into a free workshop on either Tue 16 Jul 11am-1.30pm at Tyler House or Thu 25 Jul 2pm-5pm at Foundation House. No booking required but see the website for full details.


OPEN AIR THEATRE: Romeo and JulietBrueton Park, Solihull, Wed July 17 

Heartbreak Productions invite you to an exclusive glittering red-carpet event that will be attended by notorious celebrity families, The Montagues and the Capulets. With the media reporting their every move and social media abuzz with their escapades tensions are running high. There’s only one question on everybody’s lips – will these two families behave, or will it be another fiery battle at dawn as the fabulous feud continues? A super glam outdoor adaptation of  Romeo and Juliet set in the here and now, and mixing in some modern language, music, and technology. So bring a chair and pack the picnic! Suitable for ages 8+. 7pm start.


THEATRE: Measure for Measure, RSC, Stratford-Upon-Avon, now until 29 Aug 

Lucy Phelps and Sandy Grierson as Isabella and Angelo. Photo by Helen Maybanks (c) RSC

No, it’s not The Sound of Music but Gregory Doran’s timely adaptation of Shakespeare’s dark comedy about a young novice nun compromised by a corrupt official. The Guardian has already declared it “the best RSC show of the summer -“a perfectly judged portrait of public hypocrisy and seething sexuality”.  An unmissable rarely performed 400-year-old tale set in early 1900 Vienna, it stars the excellent Worcester-born Lucy Phelps as Isabella, and Sandy Grierson as Angelo, (above) and remains astutely relevant today.  rsc 


DRINKS: Craft Beer Festival, Fizzy Moon, Leamington Spa, Thu 19-Sun 21 Jul

Trot on down to Muddy Award 2019 winners Fizzy Moon and treat your taste buds to some hoppy delights! They know their stuff here, as they brew their own beers onsite, so their selection for the craft ale festival is bound to be lip-smackingly spot-on. 12pm-12am Sun-Thu, 12pm-2am Fri-Sat. 


**NEW** THEATRE: The Colour Purple, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues July 16- Sat Jul 20

Photo by Manuel-Harlan

Tinuke Craig, winner of the 2014 Genesis Future Directors Award, directs a solid rendering of this inspiring musical, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film and the Tony® Award-winning production on Broadway. Told over the course of 40 years it follows the story of tormented heroine Celie and celebrates female empowerment with a profoundly evocative score drawing inspiration from jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. The 17-strong cast includes T’Shan Williams as Celie, Joanna Francis as Shug Avery, Ako Mitchell as Mister, Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Mister’s son Harpo, Karen Mavundukure as his wife Sophia, Danielle Fiamanya as Celie’s sister Nettie and Delroy Brown as Pa.


OPEN AIR THEATRE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coughton Court, Alcester, Fri 19 Jul

Shakespeare’s enchanting comedy told in the grounds of an imposing Tudor residence by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all-male theatre company, who celebrate their 15th year, 7.30pm-10pm.


PICNIC: Annual picnic at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Stratford upon Avon, Sat 20 Jul

While away a delightful afternoon in Anne Hathaway’s charming cottage gardens and tuck into good old barbeque food. A puppet theatre, games, face painting and magic tricks bolster the feelgood factor of a family day out. Cost included in the general admission fee, which you can book online. Entry is free for CV37 residents (proof of address required).


THEATRE: The Thrill of Love, The Loft Theatre, Victoria Colonnade, Leamington Spa, Wed 17 July 17 – Sat 27 July

Julia Findlay as Ruth Ellis. Photo by Richard Smith Photography

In 1955 Ruth Ellis was found guilty of murdering her lover, and became the last woman in Britain to be sent to the gallows. Now, 64 years after her execution, the Loft Theatre stages Amanda Whittington’s vivid dramatization of Ellis’ life and the events leading up to the murder of her lover David Blakely.

Tickets on, Tel: 01926 830680.


HISTORY: Lunt Roman Festival, Lunt Roman Fort, Baginton, Sat 20 Jul-Sun 21 Jul

Take a break from 21st Century pressures and throw yourself into a day of raucous Roman fun! This is the biggest event in the Lunt calendar – so a perfect chance to see, hear and breathe history in all its gory glory. Britannia – as seen on BBC’s Horrible Histories, Blackadder Back and Forth and Sky Atlantic’s Britannia – bring their glorious Gladiator display, along with their Late Roman soldier demo. There’s a Living History Village to experience the hardworking 1st Century life, complete with activities including festival mask making, mock Battle Drill for youngsters and an archery stand. The Coventry and District Archaeological Society are on hand to discuss your burning Time Team-inspired questions and chat about their latest project at the Broomfield Tavern. Open 10am-5pm each day. Adult £5, children £4, family (2+2) £15, under 4s free. Full details here.


OPEN AIR THEATRE: A Midsummer Night’s DreamMary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, Fri Jul 19 & Sat 20 July

Shakespeare’s tale of magic and mayhem is brought vividly to life by Oddsocks Productions in an energetic and musical, festival-themed production, 7.30-9.30pm.


THEATRE: Scenes from a Brummie Iliad, Birmingham REPFri 19 JulSat 20 Jul

This adaptation of Homer’s Iliad by Roderick Smith is epic poetry as you’ve never heard it before! The REP’s own Smith (previous performances include I Knew You and Tartuffe at the REP; Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost at the RSC) sweeps the Ancient Greek story of heroes and gods into the modern age with his distinctive Brummie accent. “They’re gonna mek somebody pay…”. Directed by Madeline Kludke and Philip Morris. Tickets from £10.


EXHIBITION: The Move and Play exhibition, Coventry Transport Museum, until Nov 10

A good one to visit with the kids during the summer holidays, this exhibition, created by Heureka Overseas Productions – a division of the Finnish Science Centre – has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors during stints in Bangkok and Hong Kong, as well as Germany and the Netherlands. It consists of 19 different physical challenges designed to put your senses to the test. From disco donuts to nostalgic tennis, thermal cameras to tightrope walking – activities encourage visitors to be active through collaborative, non-sporting activities – the majority of which are accessible to visitors of all abilities. Team up in activities such as Team Stomp, a game where the more enthusiastically you stomp your feet, the faster your virtual character will advance in the competition. There are also individual activities, such as ‘How Accurately Can You Kick?’ where you must kick a ball at electronic targets to score maximum points and see if you have what it takes to be the next football star!

If you are a Coventry resident make sure you sign up to a GoCV card for free entry,   


THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


Actor/Director/Writer Prasanna Puwanarajah, who recently appeared in Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose, directs a dark, dystopian production of this rarely-performed Restoration cross-class love story by Thomas Otway, playing in the intimate setting of the Swan Theatre. Tickets here.


LIVE MUSIC: Naughty Nineties Throwback, The Fat Pug, Leamington Spa, Sat 20 Jul

Whether you rocked high-tops and plaid shirts or scrunchies and mini-skirts back in the day, throw together a Nineties ensemble and head on down to neighbourhood favourite, The Fat Pug. Chris Johnson graces your ears with live music, for an evening to relive the brave, exciting, rapidly-developing decade. Begins 8pm, more info here.


LIVE MUSIC: International Busking Day, Coventry, Sat Jul 20

To bring the city’s mighty Music Month to a close, Coventry embraces International Busking Day. Specially selected locations host solo street performers covering the full spectrum of musical styles. If you fancy unleashing your inner rock star, apply for a stand – no experience required, just passion! A mic, mic stand and amp are provided for every performer.


THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


Comedians Rufus Hound and Les Dennis, are joining Alexandra Gilbreath (Lady Brute), Caroline Quentin (Lady Fancyfull) and Jonathan Slinger (Sir John Brute) in a riotous new production of the outspoken restoration romp that shocked 17th century society, directed by Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Merry Wives of Windsor), rsc


OPEN AIR THEATRE: free performances at The Dell, Stratford-Upon-Avon, every weekend until 1 Sep

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

Part of the 2019 summer series at The Dell, July offers a spectacular array of performances in this serene location on the banks of the River Avon.  Here’s what’s on this weekend:

All performances free – grab your sun hat and refreshments and you’re good to go.


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Mister Magnolia, St John’s House, Warwick, Sun 21 July

It’s hard not to pick up a Quentin Blake book without being swept away to a colourful, rhythmic, inspired place. Lucky for us, that enchanting feeling is reimagined with an outdoor performance of Mister Magnolia, performed by rural touring theatre company, Folksy Theatre with live music, puppetry and audience interaction. The fun takes place in the beautiful gardens of St. John’s House, a Jacobean mansion with a wonderful history spanning 900 years, having been the site of a 12th Century hospital, private residence, school and administrative office of the War Department. It’s now a museum with gorgeous gardens that just scream for a picnic.

Tickets: Show time 2pm-5pm. Part of a spectacular season of al fresco entertainment across the ‘shire…check out our full guides to outdoor cinema and theatre.


LIVE MUSIC: Bands in the Park, St. Nicholas Park, Warwick, Sun 21 Jul 

Treat yourself to an ice cream or scone, perch on a park bench or lie back on the grass and bask in a typically English afternoon. Bands in the Park organise free bass band concerts over the summer and this week the Shipston Town Band bring their stately, sonorous sounds to Warwick. St. Nicholas Park is a wonderful family-friendly destination in itself, complete with mini golf, boating, play area, café and tranquil riverside. Concert begins at 2.30pm and ends around 4.30pm. 


THEATRE:The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31

Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles has been largely very well received. National critics said:  a “landmark production” (Evening Standard ****);  “an interesting but underpowered exercise in gender-swapping” (Daily Telegraph ***) and “Getting their hands on the best and biggest parts for once, the female performers savour every syllable”, (The Times, ****), rsc


EXHIBITION: A Tea Journey – From the Mountains to the Table, Compton Verney, Sat 6 Jul – 22 Sep 

Kazuhiro Yajima, Umbrella Tea House, © Nacasa & Partners Inc

Ever wondered how the nation’s favourite brew goes from plant to pot? Or how this Chinese tradition became to be to treasured by British society? Learn all about the humble cup of tea, from history to ecology. Be absorbed by The Tea Sensorium – a multi-sensory experience incorporating olfactory and visual exploration, plus workshops, discussions and a modern Japanese bamboo Umbrella Tea House being shipped especially from Japan for the exhibition! Rare teaware from China, Japan and India is on display, with responses by contemporary artists including Robin Best, Adam Buick, Phoebe Cummings, Charlotte Hodes, Takahiro Kondo, Ian McIntyre, Bruce Nuske, Selina Nwulu, Bouke ve Vries, Hetain Patel, Paul Scott, Julian Stair and Edmund de Waal. To find out more see here.


THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31

Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It has fabulous critically-acclaimed performances by Worcester actor Lucy Phelps as Rosalind and David Ajao as Orlando, also look out for LAMDA-trained Leamington Spa actor Amelia Donkor as Silvia! Tel: 01789 403493.


EXHIBITION: The Aerodrome: An Exhibition Dedicated to the Memory of Michael Stanley, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, now until Sun 8 Sep


Michael Stanley was Curator of Ikon before becoming Director of Milton Keynes Gallery and then Modern Art Oxford. He died tragically in 2012 and this exhibition is a tribute to a much-adored man. Co-curated with David Austen and George Shaw, the exhibition is loosely based on a novel that had a strong impact on Michael – Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome, published in 1941.The novel painted the struggles faced by a young war hero and had great impact on writers including Orwell, Burgess and Ballard. Given that it explores modern dystopias, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments, it seems pertinent to revisit this novel in the current turbulent times we live in. Events guide & workshops here




FESTIVAL: Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick School, Thu 25 Jul-Sun 28 Jul

Photo by Murdo-McLeod

It’s the 40th year of this most friendly of festivals! International folk stars including Billy Bragg, Skerryvore, Karan Casey, Eddy Jay, Will Pound, Breabach and heaps more take to the stage to soothe your soul via your ears…and if you fancy getting jiggy, join in the dance workshops from Morris to Latin and absorb the joy from the rising English Ceilidh scene. Also check out the fringe, on the adorable streets of Warwick, for traditional folky fun. Full info and tickets here.


FESTIVAL: Solihull Summer Fest, Tudor Grange Park, Solihull, Sat 27-Sun 28 Jul

The Vamps, Scouting for Girls, The Proclaimers, Go West, The Human League and Trevor Nelson will be headlining alongside Heather Small and Ms Dynamite. A fab line-up for Summer Fest, returning for in its 4th year to Tudor Grange Park in Solihull.  A Hedkandi stage satisfies your inner raver, whilst outdoor cinema helps you unwind. Amazing street food ranges from fish ‘n’ chips and mac ‘n’ cheese to curries and noodles and there’s even a VIP area. Each day runs from 12pm to approximately 10.30pm. Tickets and full line-up info here.


FESTIVAL: The Libertines headline Coombe Weekender, Coombe Abbey, Coventry, Aug 3 – 4

The Libertines headline this new two-day festival with a rare set (ahead of their UK Christmas tour taking in the O2 Academy Birmingham, Dec 14) alongside Faithless, Kelis and Mark Kinchen. Also on the bill is singer-songwriter Tom Grennan, Circa Waves, Reverend & The Makers, The Futureheads, Good Cop, Bad Cop and local support by Athens, Candid and BLVFF while over in The Big Top Tent will be Crystal Waters. Day two sees Sigala, Toploader, The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show and The Big Top sees a performance from Crazy P Soundsystem and disco legend Joey Negro. Beyond the stage, there’ll be Raver Tots and the Food Village.

Book here


THEATRE: Season of Love and Belonging, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, new autumn/winter season

Forgive me for thinking of autumn already, but I’m eagerly awaiting a whole host of new shows to get my teeth into! The Belgrade Theatre has unveiled its full programme for the Season of Love and Belonging, which has a heart-warming theme of ‘family, friendship and finding love’ and bookings are now being taken. Perfect for those chilly nights! Hard-hitting drama Holding the Centre written by Brum writer Joan Carty kicks us off, followed by New Bollywood breath-taker Stardust from Phizzical. Next, we come over all gothic with Rona Munro’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. One of the highlights of the stonking season is Club 2B, a unique experience of live music, food, drink, and immersive drama, which is the explosive collaborative effort of Strictly Arts and the Belgrade. Check out the full programme with your diary at the ready!



EVENT: Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle, Wed 7 Aug – Mon 26 Aug

You can read our review of the castle’s inaugural digital projection installation, Dragon Slayer here. It was pretty spectacular and jaw-dropping in parts! It’s returning with even more projection breathing fire into late summer evenings this August in a family-friendly show of jousting, pyrotechnics, stunt riding and stunning fireworks. The show stars live actors and an epic light projection onto the grandiose walls of the magnificent Warwick Castle.  There’ll be a choice of catering vans Tickets start at £20 for the show only, or various packages are available to include food and drink. Gates open 7pm; show time 8.30pm-10pm.


SCIENCE SHOW: Professor Brian Cox – Universal: Adventures in Space and Time, Arena Birmingham, Sep 21

Champion of the lay explanation, Professor Cox, brings his brand new stellar show back to Birmingham Arena. He was here in February and achieved (yet another) Guinness World Records title for ‘Most tickets sold for a science show’ – so now, due to popular demand, he’s coming back to Brum in September!  Book up for a brainy, awe-inspiring out of this world experience here



FESTIVAL: LatitudeSuffolk, 18 – 21 July

The Radio 4 of festivals – refined, civilised and cultured, with its line-up of literary readings, theatre, comedy and Sadlers Wells ballet performances. They don’t skimp on the live music easier – this year Lana Del Rey, Underworld and Primal Scream are on the bill.


FESTIVAL: Pennfest, Penn, Bucks, Fri 19 – Sat 20 Jul

With an impressive line-up of rabel-rousers, Pennfest is big on ’90s indie favourites and this year sees Suede headlining, plus turns from Craig David, Happy Mondays (always hilariously shambolic live) and New Order’s Peter Hook.

OPEN AIR THEATRE: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon,  8 Jul – 7 Sept 

Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre pitches up for summer, with Blenheim being its second venue following a successful inaugural season in York last year. The 13-sided scaffolding theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’, will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows. Showing this summer is MacbethA Midsummer Night’s DreamRichard III and Romeo & Juliet (8 Jul – 7 Sept).


EXHIBITIONS including A new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection, London,  until Sun 1 Sept

Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection above, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives. Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.


FESTIVAL: Summer by the River, London (until 28 Aug).

If you’re heading for the Big Smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital, Summer by the River (until 28 Aug). Outdoor cinema as well as concerts, workshops and comedy.

Find more ideas here

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