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This week

BALLET: BRB’s The NutcrackerBirmingham Hippodrome, Fri 22 Nov-Sat 14 Dec

As we speed towards Christmas, there are more opportunities to escape the frenzy and indulge in the spellbinding spectacle, as Birmingham Royal Ballet’s elite dancers perform The Nutcracker.

book online.


DANCE: Richard Alston Dance Company: The Final Edition, Warwick Arts Centre, Thu 22 Nov & Fri 23 Nov 

Richard Alston Dance Company- The Final Edition

The Richard Alston Dance Company, which has been running since 1994, will go out with flying colours on the Final Edition Tour, before closing next spring. With two brand new works by Alston and Martin Lawrance and key works revived from the company’s history, this richly diverse mix of dance and music celebrates the company’s phenomenal, enduring creativity.
There’s a free pre-show talk with Sir Richard Alston CBE on Thu 21 Nov at 6.30pm (tickets here) and tickets for the main show can be purchased here.


TALK: Simon Yates – Touching the Void, Albany Theatre, Coventry, Mon 18 Nov

As one of the most accomplished exploratory mountaineers of all time, Simon Yates is best known for his role in the harrowing expedition to the Andes documented in Touching The Void where he found himself in a desperate and unenviable position – slowly being pulled off the mountain face by his injured partner dangling on the rope 50 metres below. His decision to cut the rope saved both their lives. Full of wit and dry humour, Simon’s engaging, entertaining and inspiring talk features spectacular images and film of the most remote and rarely explored mountain ranges throughout the world, 7.30pm. Tickets: £ 15. Suitable ages 12+

Box office: 02476 998 964, albanytheatre


TALK: How to Dress Like an Elizabethan, Kenilworth Castle, Wed 20 Nov

Kenilworth Castle

Jo Badger, historic costume expert and maker, teaches you how to tell queen from commoner and discover how fabrics and styles helped to determine social status in the 16th century. Find out what construction techniques gave garments their shape and see the finished article.

10am-12pm; info here.


HISTORY: Ancient Worlds Study Day, University of Warwick, Coventry, Thur Nov 21

Professor Michael Scott, presenter of the BBC Two’s Ancient Invisible Cities and Warwick University classics professor is co-organiser and host of this free study day all about ancient Greek and Roman civilisations featuring nine top speakers. His talk is titled: Heracles – he does get around.

Professor Michael Scott

In another fun illustrated talk, million-selling author Caroline Lawrence will be asking: What do Paddington and Greek Trojan hero Aeneas have in common? More than you might imagine!  She will be demonstrating how today’s movie makers draw upon Greek and Roman cultures when composing their epics. There’ll also be talks from author and comedian Natalie Hayes discussing Troy to Professor Alison Cooley on Pompeii, and best-selling writer Emily Hauser on remaking Greek myths for a modern audience. Plus, London YA author Alexandra Sheppard on 21st Century Gods. Hundreds of pupils and residents from across Coventry, Warwickshire, and beyond will be attending.

Fancy going along? Please email to reserve your place, and find out more about the event click here.


FILM: NT Live: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Encore Screening), Warwick Arts Centre, Mon 18 Nov

Photo credit: NT Live

 Shakespeare’s ageless romantic comedy, set in a dreamy fairy-filled forest, is captured from the Bridge Theatre in London. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Oliver Chris (Green Wing, NT Live: Young Marx), David Moorst (NT Live: Allelujah!) and Hammed Animashaun (The Barber Shop Chronicles) lead the cast as Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, this production builds on the success of his immersive staging of Julius Caesar (NT Live 2018).

Tickets here.


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Stratford-Upon-Avon Lights Switch-On, Thu 21 Nov

The Christmas lights above the Victorian market which returns for a third year on on Dec 6, 7 and 8.

Stratford-Upon-Avon’s lights are flicked on Thu 21 Nov at 5pm, with carols from 4pm and a market centred around the Town Hall.


THEATRE: The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Company, Fri 8 Nov – Sun 8 Mar

Robbie Williams visits rehearsals for The Boy in the Dress.

The RSC’s highly anticipated brand-new Christmas musical kicks off in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST). Based on David Walliams’ children’s novel, it’s a celebration of smashing stereotypes following 12-year-old Dennis, who’s fanatic about both football and fashion since his mum left the family home. With new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.


MUSIC: Bats for Lashes, Birmingham Town Hall, Thu 21 Nov

Bat for Lashes

Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes, will be performing tracks from her fifth album, the dazzling cinematic masterpiece Lost Girls.


THEATRE: A Museum in Baghdad, the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sat 25 Jan

A Museum in Baghdad production photo by Ellie Kurttz c RSC

A new original compelling tale of two women, living decades apart; Gertrude Bell is founding a museum in Iraq’s capital in 1926 and Ghalia Hussein is attempting to reopen the establishment following looting during the war. They share a goal: to create a fresh sense of unity and nationhood. But in such unstable times, questions remain. Who is the museum for? Whose culture are we preserving? And why does it matter when people are dying?


POETRY: Benjamin Zephaniah, Albany Theatre, Fri 22 Nov

Witty Birmingham-born dub poet, actor and vegan Benjamin Zephaniah brings his Life and Rhymes to Coventry explaining how he fought injustice and discrimination to lead a remarkable life while sharing a selection of favourite stories and poems, hopefully including the seasonal Talking Turkeys.



POETRY: Dr John Cooper Clark: The Luckiest Guy Alive, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat 23 Nov

Performance punk poet Dr. John Cooper Clarke is back with a much anticipated and critically acclaimed new poetry collection, The Luckiest Guy Alive. His breath-taking riffing, gagging, deadpan style is legendary and it promises to be a awe-inspiring night out.

 Showtime 7.30pm; book here.


CHRISTMAS MARKET: Hatton Shopping Village, Nov 23-Nov 24

The quintessentially English Victorian shopping village just outside Warwick and home to a host of independent retailers, host their popular Christmas Markets on 23, 24 & 30 Nov and 1, 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 21 & 22 Dec from 10am – 5pm.

Full info on the Hatton Shopping Village website.


BALLET: Vienna Festival Ballet: The Nutcracker, Royal Spa Centre, Thu 21 Nov

Credit: Vienna Festival Ballet

Be spirited away to the Land of Snow, joining Clara and her magical nutcracker doll on their timeless adventure set to Tchaikovsky’s sparkling score. The Vienna Festival Ballet return due to popular demand with their production in Leamington. Showtime 7.30pm; tickets here.


HERITAGE: Christmas at the Castle, Warwick Castle, from Sat 23 Nov

Credit: Warwick Castle

Step into Christmas at the Castle, complete with super exciting new addition of an ice rink. Book ahead for special events such as Stories with Santa and Santa’s Stately Breakfast (beginning 30 Nov).


NATIONAL TRUST: National Lottery open day, various venues, Sun Nov 23 – 29 

Charlecote Park. Credit: National Trust

We’re spoilt for choice in Warwickshire and the Midlands for gorgeous National Trust sites. If you’re not a member of the NT, this is the month you can blow raspberries at everyone who’s bought an annual pass – to celebrate the National Lottery’s 25th birthday, you can enter some of the venues for free if you bring along a National Lottery ticket (plus, if you actually win the lottery you’ll be able to buy one, so it’s kind of like house hunting). Participating venues include Baddesley Clinton, Charlecote Park near Warwick, Packwood House Birmingham Back-to-Basics, Calke Abbey in Derbyshire and Canons Ashby in Northants.


MUSEUMS: This Makes that with These Family Saturday, Coventry Transport Museum, Sat 23 Nov

Inspired by one of Coventry’s traditional industries, weaving, this family fun day explores how different fabrics are used in vehicles and how fabrics were made in the past and present. Practice tool skills and create something to take home.

Drop-in sessions run 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm; £3 per child. Full info here.


COMEDY: Lou Sanders: Say Hello to You New Step-Mummy, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun 24 Nov & Fri 13 Dec

Photo credit: Megan Gisborne Photography

Lou Sanders, as seen/heard on Taskmaster, QI, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Travel Man, The Russell Howard Hour and more. This is the follow up to her eyebrow raising 2018 show Shame Pig for Edinburgh fringe hour exploring female shame, voted best show by her fellow comedians. It maybe not quite in the same league but has some funny gags about her self-imposed “man ban” – something suggested by her healer Jill in the Pyrenees, who does her healing via Skype…

 Book online.


HERITAGE: Stir Up Sunday, Upton House & Gardens, Sun 24 Nov

Help make the Christmas pudding on Stir up Sunday on Sun 24 Nov, taking home a piece of the giant pud.


THEATRE: King John, RSC, now until Fri 20 Mar

Photo by Steve Tanner ©RSC

Catch one of Shakespeare’s rarely-performed works as director Eleanor Rhode makes an “engrossing” debut in the Swan Theatre. Stirring an uneasy semblance to the present day, King John tells of a nation in turmoil and a preening king, played by Rosie Sheehy, who will stop at nothing to keep the crown. The Guardian says the production “tingles with a tangible sense of spontaneity”.


EXHIBITION: Magnum Manifesto, Compton Verney, now until Sun 15 Dec

Martin Parr, Havanna, Cuba, 2000 © Martin Parr /Magnum Photos

Compton Verney is the only UK destination for this magnetic exhibition, charting the world through the lens of some of the most iconic and influential photographers of the past 50 years. The Magnum Photo Agency captures the influence of events and emotions on human rights and the experience of life. Rarely seen emotive images dating from 1947 through to the 21st century document the rise of the Taliban and the impact politics, war and terrorism has had on people and relationships with work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Olivia Arthur and Robert Capa.


*LAST CHANCE!* Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, now until Sun 24 Nov

2 Masks – Pollux – Castor Sculpture-Artwork by Lorsen Camps 2018 Photo by John-Bodkin

Only a week left to catch the Coventry Biennial before it departs on Sun 24 Nov.  The title this year is The Twin, exploring relationships. Coventry has 26 twin cities around the world and is known as an international city welcoming migrants and refugees. Embedded in the wider Coventry Biennial 2019 programme are opportunities to speak to or eat with the artists, to learn a new skill, to warm yourself by a fire, to dance through the night or to ease yourself into the day with a yoga session, marking this as ‘the UK’s social biennial’. An exhibition remains at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum until Sun 26 Jan featuring the work of 25 artists.


FOOD MARKET: Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham, until 23 Dec

For the best chance you’ll get to land Gluwein and bratwurst outside of Germany, head over to Brum’s annual city-centre festive fayre, running all up New Street.


MUSIC: Scouting for Girls, O2 Academy, Sat 23 Nov

The indie band present their brand-new album The Trouble with Boys, featuring singles Count On Me and Grown Up (co-written by James Blunt).


 TALK: Shakepeare’s Sunday School, Shakespeare’s New Place, every Sun from Nov 3-February 2020

Discover more about Shakespeare‘s work, life and times in our 15 minute talks about the archaeological dig, films inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, guided tours of the 3D house model, the surrounding buildings known to Shakespeare, a fun examination of Shakespeare’s poems, and his influence on the sci-fi genre, 3pm


EXHIBITION: Radical Drawing: Works from Coventry and the Courtauld, The Herbert, until Sun 19 Jan

Three Witches from ‘Macbeth’, Johann Heinrich Fuseli (1741 – 1825), Image:  © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

Head to the Herbert this week for the unveiling of remarkable drawings by artists who have pushed the boundaries of what it means to draw. The exhibition includes art from the collections of The Courtauld Gallery in London, the University of Warwick and the Herbert’s own collection. Expect works by George Romney, Camille Pissarro, Pablo Picasso, Barbara Walker and Miriam de Búrca. Also on display are objects from the gallery’s collections linked to the Courtaulds factory in Coventry.


*LAST CHANCE!* Barry Flanagan, Ikon Gallery, until Sun 24 Nov

Barry Flanagan, installation Ikon (2019). Courtesy The Estate of Barry Flanagan and Ikon. Photo: Stuart Whipps.

Two floors of gallery space are entirely filled with Flanagan’s most inventive sculptures; including his iconic bronze pieces from the 80s and 90s to earlier works. The exhibition represents his fascination with ontology, movement and the physicality of the various materials with which he worked. Flanagan studied at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts and one of his bronze hares, Large Troubador (2004), lives permanently outside Ikon’s premises in Brindley Place.

Full info here.



CHRISTMAS: Illuminated Light Trail, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sat 22 Nov – 1 Jan

Blenheim is kicking off festivities this week with its annual Illuminated Light Trail – over 100,000 for the Tunnel of Light, a Laser Garden, scented Fire Garden and light finale on the Water Terrace and front of the Palace set to music. For kids there’ll be a Victorian-style fairground and Santa.

Find more ideas here

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