Mon Jul 22 - Sun Jul 28
Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick School, Thu 25 Jul-Sun 28 Jul
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. Good news for local residents is that you can once again get a 20% discount on Friday, Saturday & Sunday day & evening tickets. Residents must have a CV34 postcode and will need proof of their address when collecting their tickets. Full info and tickets here.
COMMUNITY: Smith Street Party, Warwick, Sat 27 Jul
Head over to Warwick’s Independent District for a street party hosted by the Smith Street Traders Association to celebrate Warwick Folk Festival. There’s usually a great vibe and it’s free. The eclectic boutiques, quirky cafes and exquisite bars spill out onto the road in a bunting-strewn fiesta, 10am – 10pm. More info here.
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 retro line-up for Summer Fest, returning for in its 4th year to Tudor Grange Park in Solihull. A Hedkandi stage satisfies your inner raver, while outdoor cinema will help you unwind. Amazing street food ranges from fish ‘n’ chips and mac ‘n’ cheese to curries and noodles and a VIP area. Each day runs from 12pm to approximately 10.30pm. Tickets and full line-up info here.
DRINKS: Burleighs@The Gin Club, Fizzy Moon Brewhouse, Leamington Spa, Thu 25 Jul
Step into the quirky, Muddy Award-Winning Fizzy Moon, accept your complimentary G&T or exclusive cocktail…and feel your stresses drain away. With live music from Sugar Sweet Duo and tapas enhancing the chilled vibe of this wonderful neighbourhood pub, the weekend has come early. Try a whole host of artisan flavours from the Burleigh’s glorious portfolio – including new ones like the Marilyn Monroe Pink Gin with cherry blossom, hibiscus and rose – and pick up top tips from the brand ambassador. Oh – and the luxury gin hamper, which you’re in with a chance of winning, would make a stonking start to the summer don’t you think? Tickets £20, arrive from 7pm. email@example.com
CHILDREN: Make and Play Engineers – Marble Runs, Coventry Transport Museum, Thu 24 Jul
All the fun of marbles, none of the stress of gathering them up afterwards to avoid near-certain domestic accidents! Children help to build the biggest marble run the Coventry Transport Museum has ever seen. They also create smaller runs to test with balls, marbles and anything else to hand that rolls, 10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm. Suitable for children aged 2-8. Drop-in sessions cost £2 per child. More info here.
FAMILY: The Big Victorian Picnic, Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa, Sat 27 Jul
Perfect weather for it! Bring a picnic and a blanket and take a step back in time to the Pump Room Gardens in its Victorian heyday! There’s going to be
- Music from the newly-restored bandstand
- Victorian-style ‘summer fete’ activities
- Face painting
- ‘Have-a-go’ pottering in the Pump Rooms Art Gallery & Museum
FAMILY: Duck race, Coughton Court, Tue 23 Jul-Tue 27 Aug
Revel in nostalgic staycation vibes with a duck race and other traditional games during a day out to National Trust Coughton Court. Sponsor a duck as a family (or split into teams!) and race them down the River Arrow. Booking not required, though normal admission fees apply. Visit the website for more info. Duck races take place between 2pm-3pm every Tue from 23 Jul to 27 Aug.
OUTDOOR CINEMA: Summer Nights, Baddesley Clinton, Knowle, Thur July 25 – Sat Jul 27
Venture into the heart of the Forest of Arden for an enchanted evening on this intimate estate.
One of a spectacular series of pop-up cinemas this summer – check our full guide for more!
COMMUNITY ART WORKSHOPS: I see the future, Stratford Upon Avon, Thu 25 Jul
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.
ART: Stained-Glass Applique Masterclass, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun 25 Jul
Shake yourself off the sofa and put your Sunday to creative use! It’ll be worth the smug glow afterwards, plus the escapism achieved by applying your hands and brain to grappling a new skill. Artist Wendy Foxon of Foxglass Designs teaches this beginner’s course in stained glass window making. Learn the simple but effective applique mosaic method to make your own masterpiece, either selecting from one of the standard templates or bringing your own. Establish the basics of manual glass cutting and how to assemble your work, then create a gorgeous glasswork mosaic to take away. You’re given a finishing kit and instructions to add the grout to your panel at home, 10am-5pm.
Class costs £90; book online here.
RSC: Measure for Measure, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, now until 29 Aug
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
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.
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
The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until 31 Aug
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
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, rsc
Annie, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tue 23 Jul-Sun 11 Aug
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.
The Thrill of Love, The Loft Theatre, Victoria Colonnade, Leamington Spa, Wed 17 July 17 – Sat 27 July
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 www.lofttheatrecompany.com firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 01926 830680.
OPEN AIR THEATRE:
Private Lives, Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, Tue 23 Jul
Spread your picnic blanket, pop your Prosecco and settle yourself amongst botanical beauty. This intimate garden setting hosts the brilliant, homespun Heartbreak Productions for a balmy evening of culture. Begins at 6.30pm, though you can picnic from 5.30pm; more info and tickets here. Also see our guide to the best alfresco theatre going down this summer!
Free performances at The Dell, Stratford-Upon-Avon, every weekend until 1 Sep
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.
Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean Theatre, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until 7 Sept
Tis the season to dodge the rain and enjoy some outdoor thespian action so grab your rug, brolly and, of course, a sneaky hipflask as Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre is pitching up at Blenheim Palace with Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet– 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 (8 Jul – 7 Sept).
A Tea Journey – From the Mountains to the Table, Compton Verney, Sat 6 Jul – 22 Sep
Ever wondered how the nation’s favourite brew goes from plant to pot? Or how this Chinese tradition came 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 tea ware 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.
The Car. The Future. Me. British Motor Museum, on now
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.
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, www.go-cv.co.uk
FURTHER AFIELD NEW EXHIBITION: Sweet Harmony: Rave exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, West London, 12 July – 14 Sept
Rave on! This new photo exhibition explores the new world that emerged from the acid house movement in the ’80s and ’90s and the beginnings of rave culture. Photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and Dave Swindells will be on hand at the Saatchi Gallery to explain the stories behind their iconic shots
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.
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.
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!
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. here
FESTIVAL: Truck Festival, Steventon, Oxon, 26 – 28 Jul
Full marks to Truck Festival, Steventon, Oxon, for nabbing indie favourites and local lads Foals, above, for their first Oxon show in five years. They’ll be joined by Wolf Alice, the marvellous Manchunian Johnny Marr and Kate Nash (side note: have you seen her acting chops brilliant in Netflix series Glow?). This veteran South Oxon festival in a farmer’s field hits all the right notes too with its family-friendly feel and decent food.
COMEDY: The Official Comedy Club, Wicksteed Park, Kettering, Northants, Fri 26 Jul
Pop over to Wicksteed’s candlelit ‘Posh Pavilion’ for a classic night of chortle. The Official Comedy Club are renowned for bagging some of the best talents around – almost all of their acts have appeared on TV and are highly regarded. July’s show features Karen Bayley, Mike Cox and Richard Morton. A basket meal can be added to your ticket for a fun je ne sais quoi.
Doors opens 7pm, show begins 9pm. Tickets are £12 or add a basket meal for £20. Book online.
CIRCUS: Giffords Circus, Stonor, Henley, Thurs 25 – Mon 29 Jul
Giffords Circus moves onto Stonor, Henley, this week with its ’70s Summer of Love themed show- expect hippies, hipsters and rockstars alongside Nell Gifford’s brilliantly curated acts.
The Mary Quant retrospective (until 16 Feb 2020) at the V&A is definitely worth checking out- more than 200 items from the iconic ’60s designer’s career, from miniskirts to her make up range, accompanying images and a strong feminist undertone (girl power!) Also at the V&A is 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). There’s a bew collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement curated by Blahnik himself (until Sun 1 Sept). 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.