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This week


FESTIVAL: The Big Feastival, Kingham, Oxfordshire, Fri Aug 23 – Sun Aug 25

Jess Glynne


For foodie families The Big Feastival, based on the farm of cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James in neighbouring KinghamOxon, is a goodie. Top-notch chefs for the grown-ups (including Raymond Blanc, Jodie Kidd and Pru Leith), heaps for kids (circus top, playground, fair and activities) and a stellar pop line-up of Jess Glynne, Lewis Capaldi, Jade Bird and Rudimental.


ANIMALS: Shakes-paw’s Day, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon,  Sat 24 Aug

A doggie day out – Shakes-Paw Day!

If you have a four-legged friend don’t forget , 10am-4pm – Bring your dog, a picnic and join in the fun with plenty of activities and competitions on National Dog Day. See all the family events at Shakespeare family homes.


TALK: Cloud Femme Drinks with from Muddy Award-winners 2019  Zero & Reyousable, Hart & Co, 27 Augusta Place, Leamington Spa


At the third Cloud Femme community event they will be talking all things eco with Charlie & Nicola from Zero & Reyousable. They’ll be hearing the inspiration behind their ideas and how they came to set up these fabulous local businesses changing the way we think about waste. Doors open 7pm – come along from then to enjoy a welcome drink. You can order some food if you’re peckish. Hart+Co will be putting on a small specials board of nibbles to keep you well fed – including their famous dirty fries!  hartrestaurants


THEATRE: New Season at The Albany Theatre, Coventry, open for booking from Mon 19 Aug

Come Dance with Me

A sparkling autumn/winter programme of dance, music, drama and comedy at the beautiful art deco Albany Theatre includes the UK premier of Come Dance with Me, a poignant and darkly funny family saga with all the glory of ballroom and the golden age of Hollywood era dance. Based on a true story, this new play tells the compelling tale of two young girls’ hopes and dreams and their extraordinary survival through the challenges of the tumultuous years between WWII to 1951. The spectacular, heart-warming show stars Sam Archer, fresh from his lead in Emma Rice’s highly acclaimed Wise Children and is choreographed by award-winning Richard Marcel, who trained Madonna, Britney and the Strictly  couples. Further drama comes from Beyond Therapy, a funny and touching rom-com looking at love in the modern world, starring Tracy Shaw (Coronation Street) and Matt Lapinskas (EastEnders). If music and spoken word poetry is more your thing there’s a series of stripped-back acoustic sessions including the Birmingham poet, activist and Peaky Blinders star Benjamin Zephaniah’s  The Life And Rhymes Of Benjamin Zephaniah, based on his autobiography. Plenty for the youngsters too, including such treats as The Very Hungry Caterpillar ShowDear Zoo Live and a stage adaptation of award-winning author Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns . The year is brought to a magical close with the funny, fantastical Snow Queen – but not before you’ve enjoyed the huge range of other delights in the full autumn/winter programme! 


FESTIVAL: Party in the Park, St. Nicholas Park, Warwick, Mon 26 Aug

All the ingredients for an idyllic bank holiday bash; bouncy castles, entertainment, traditional stalls, food and drink. If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a boat to sail up the river for the best view of Warwick Castle, or stroll into the town to cool off in a cafe.


FAMILY: Miniature Railway and family-friendly events, Hillers Farm Shop, Alcester,  Sat Aug 24 & Sun Aug 25

The 4-acre Maize Maze is due to open daily from early August (date to be confirmed), £3 per child, and the miniature railway will be in action on Aug 24 & 25. Over the summer holidays also be on the lookout for birds of prey displays and ponies, on the farm’s social media platforms. Always open is the sandpit and secluded bird hide where over 40 species of birds have been spotted to date such as woodpeckers and nuthatches, hillers


FREE OUTDOOR THEATRE: The Dell, Avonbank Gardens, Stratford upon Avon 

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

On weekends during the summer the Royal Shakespeare Company’s outdoor theatre, The Dell, plays host to a range of lively student, community and semi-professional productions. All of the productions in this quaint riverside setting in Avonbank Gardens, near Holy Trinity Church, are free. New for this year is an ingenious app allowing audiences to receive captions on their phones – perfect if you’re hard-of-hearing or at the back!

Check-out the 2019 programme.


Outdoor Theatre

Wuthering Heights

This week you can see Leamington’s excellent travelling theatre company Heartbreak Productions back in our ‘hood:

Warley Woods The Pavilion, 101 Lightwoods Hill, Smethwick, 

  • Wed Aug 21 Private LivesWarley Woods The Pavilion, 101 Lightwoods Hill, Smethwick 3pm

Kingsbury Water Park, Sutton Coldfield

  • Sat Aug 31 Gangsta GrannyKingsbury Water Park, Sutton Coldfield, 5pm

Plus, catch Romeo & Juliet at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon, from Tues Aug 20 – Thur Sept 5, as Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre pitches up for summer 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.


CRAFT: Bookbinding Course, Bonds Lifestyle, Dodwell, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, Sun 25 Aug

We couldn’t ask for a more inspiring, aesthetically irresistible place to indulge in some creative pursuits than Bonds. Marie-Jeanne from Syllabubble teaches us how to craft a 32-page hard-backed notebook, arming us with the skills to reproduce more at home. Who can feel a homemade Christmas coming on? Spending a Sunday surrounded by unique, quirky, design-led interior goodies sounds an idyllic respite to life…and the promise of their revamped café, with its seasonal, locally-sourced menu and beautiful glass frontage, has sealed the deal.

Workshops run at either 10.30am-12.30pm or 2pm-4pm. £30pp; for more info and to book email Visit Bonds.


ART: Wonder by Davy and Kristin McGuire, Herbet Art Gallery & Museum, until Sun 15 Sep

Following their contribution to Hull’s successful year as UK City of Culture, artistic duo Davy and Kristin are exhibiting their work in Coventry ahead of its turn wearing the cultural crown in 2021. Their work is inspired by the shady underworld of Film Noir and concepts of femme fatale and the fallen heroine. A series of intricate, animated, wall-mounted dollhouses and bell jars with silent digital projections tell stories that juxtapose adulthood and childhood. Don’t miss this intense exhibition, along with the rest of the enchanting Wonder project which has received rave reviews since opening in June and has seen over 13,000 visitors immersing themselves in art through the medium of modern technology.

Wonder closes at 4pm on Sun 15 Sep.


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. 


POP-UP: The Modist, Bicester Village, Bicester, 12 Aug – 24 Sept 

Dubai-based luxury online brand The Modest pops up in Bicester Village this summer with its first European boutique (I need that pink dress, like, immediately). The brand will have pieces from contemporary labels as well as from its own brand LAYEUR.


The Dell, Avonbank Gardens, Stratford upon Avon 

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

On weekends during the summer the Royal Shakespeare Company’s outdoor theatre, The Dell, plays host to a range of lively student, community and semi-professional productions. All of the productions in this quaint riverside setting in Avonbank Gardens, near Holy Trinity Church, are free. New for this year is an ingenious app allowing audiences to receive captions on their phones – perfect if you’re hard-of-hearing or at the back!

Check-out the 2019 programme.


EXHIBITION: 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 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.


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,   



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 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

Caroline Quentin Photo-by-Pete-Le-May-_c_-RSC_

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),


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


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! Read our review here,, Tel: 01789 403493.



CULTURE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, ends Aug 26

Edinburgh’s cultural fandango kicks off this month and is well worth the trip way (way, way) up north with the whole city buzzing with creativity, comedy, theatre, arts, crafts and street performances. Far too many shows to list in detail (over 1,200 groups perform across the city each day!) but highlights include Ian Stirling (of Love Island voiceover fame), Russell Howard, Frank Skinner, plus loads more familiar faces. Full programme here. Check out the Muddy best of guide here.


WILDLIFE: Rhino Month, Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, throughout Aug

Cotswold Wildlife Park, nr Burford, is a guaranteed hit with kids who love all things furry, creepy and crawly. It has the little fellas – penguins, lemurs and reptiles – as well as the big guns, including lions, rhinos (FYI Aug is Rhino month with daily talks) and giraffes (try out the Giraffe Walkway where you can stroll up to eye-level with the animals). There’s also a cute railway, adventure playground and children’s farmyard.



Summer Screens, Rugby School 

We’re leaping at the chance to glam up our seating options to a bean bag or deckchair in the majestic setting of Rugby School

Luna Cinema Warwick Castle 

Warwick Castle’s inherent magic is sure to enhance your cinematic thrills!


Moonlit Cinema, Mill Gardens, Leamington Spa

A new outdoor cinema in Leamington town centre with Warwickshire Gin Company pouring G&T’s, plus food vendors and bar.

Find more ideas here

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