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Things to Do This week

Mon Sept 4-Sun Sept 10

There’s lots of fab food & drink things happening across Warwickshire this week, as well as cutting-edge theatre, new art openings and free Heritage Open Days…

Leamington Food & Drink Festival, Royal Pump Room Gardens, Sat Sept 9 & Sun Sept 10

Autumn may have crept up on us but The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, is a great time to indulge in Warwickshire’s very best local food & drink producers, including lots of brilliant Muddy Award winners and finalists. 2017 is also the 10th birthday of this hugely popular free food festival. Let’s hope it’ll be an Indian Summer weekend! Expect more than 150 exhibitors, a cookery theatre, kids’ cookery school, live music and the Great Leamington Bake Off.

The Luna Cinema, Warwick Castle, Tue Sept 5-Thurs Sept 7

More classic films under the stars in one of the country’s most incredible settings. In the dramatic Court Yard at Warwick Castle you can watch La La Land (12A , 128 mins) on Tuesday, 5 September. Dirty Dancing on Wed Sept 6 and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Thurs Sept 7 are already sold out. You’ll have a chocolate chip cookie welcome on arrival and can enjoy an Estrella Damm at the Luna Bar and a variety of food stalls.

Parkland Tour with Gary Webb, Compton Verney, Thurs Sept 7

Take a delightful and educational tour of Compton Verney’s Grade 2-listed ‘Capability’ Brown landscape with Gary Webb, Head of Landscape and Gardens. As you stroll among the historic trees, delightful plantations and all manner of flora and fauna, Gary will explain how the park has been used through the ages, and how he and his dedicated team manage this important local wildlife site, which is host to rare bats and a thriving badger community.

Beer vs Wine, Fred’s Bar, Hampton Manor, Hampton-in-Arden nr Solihull, Fri Sept 8 

A new wave of vinous events are coming your way: Wine Freedom at Hampton Manor. Every second Friday of the month, Sam Olive of Wine Freedom will be taking vino connoisseurs off the beaten track to explore all things wine. This Friday the jury’s out; who will win in beer vs wine?  To prove that beer is a real alternative to wine when it comes to pairing with food, he’s organising a taste battle. Pitting grape against grain with each beverage marriage to four tasting dishes courtesy of Peel’s Restaurant; four craft beers and four natural wines are going head to hear. Loic (beer master) and Sam (wine master) will be leading you through the merits of each drink. All you’ll need to do is sit back, enjoy the show and tell us which one is a superior match: beer or wine?

Sam’s pop up will be held in Fred’s Bar and around the Tasting Table in the brand new Manor Lobby. 7pm start. £45 per ticket to include four Peel’s tasting dishes. Available to book now on 01675 446 080,

Faithful Ruslan – The Story of a Guard Dog, B2, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat Sept 2- Sat Sept 16

Theatre director Helena Kaut-Howson in the B2 auditorium which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month

A master director of European drama Helena Kaut-Howson directs an ensemble of 13 actors in her her third production at The Belgrade, based on the cult novel by Georgi Vladimov and marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Telling its story through the eyes of an innocent dog this new stage adaptation is like a modern Animal Farm – an engrossing allegory for the disorientation of post-revolution Russia. Complicite co-founder Marcello Magni is Movement Director. It stars Isabelle Joss, who was in Icelandic thriller, Pale Star. See review here.

Heritage Open Days, across Warwickshire, Coventry & Birmingham, Thurs Sept 7-Sun Sept 10

Many churches, historic buildings and places of interest nationally will open their doors to the public, free of charge. In Warwickshire, they range from Astley Castle in Nuneaton – Winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture 2013 – to a pop-up exhibition, Travels Through Europe, at Shakespeare Birthplace, The RSC’s costume & props exhibition The Play’s the Thing to a tour of the UK’s largest cement plant in Rugby where you can admire the views from the pre-heater tower. You can watch bell ringers in action at St Nicholas Church, Kenilworth and go on free boat trips on Rose Narrowboats at Stretton under Fosse, nr Rugby. National Trust property Charlecote Park, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Alderson House, Warwick and Chedham’s Yard, Wellesbourne are also opening their doors.

Check out what’s on near you go here.

Heartbreak Productions’ Mini-Season Indoors Finale, Bridge House Theatre, Warwick

Billionaire Boy

As the summer draws to a close so does the end of this industrious Leamington theatre company’s open air summer tour which has seen five fantastic new productions in more 220 performances from Scotland to the furthest corners of Cornwall, the west of Wales to East Anglia. This week only you can catch the final performances of all 5 shows in a mini-season, indoors including David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy, a fresh and quirky interpretation of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and a unique perspective on Shakespeare’s unconventional love story The Taming of the Shrew, family-favourite, The Secret Garden and their original murder-mystery spoof, Murder on the Terrace.

 Northanger Abbey – Tue Sept 5, 7:30pm  Murder on the Terrace – Wed Sept 6, 7:30pm  The Secret Garden – Thursday September 7, 6:30pm  The Taming of the Shrew – Fri Sept 8, 7:30pm  Billionaire Boy – Sat Sept 9 3pm & 6:30pm.   Each show is on for one night only. Tickets are £14 (adults) and £12 (child) on 01926 776438 or via

NEW Robotics Saturday Kids Club, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warwickshire, from Sat Sept 9

Children can improve their knowledge of robotics and coding by building and programming working models. The topics will be tailored to each age group and this new autumn Club will run from 10.30am – 11.30am for 5 – 8 year olds and 11.45am to 12.45am for 9 – 11 year olds.  The Robotics Saturday Club, starting this Sat Sept 9 until Oct 21 is a six week block of one hour sessions. £45 for a 6 week block with free entry to the Museum for one accompanying adult who must stay onsite for the duration of the Club. All Saturday Club staff are CRB checked. An Engineering Saturday Club will run from Nov 4–Dec 9.  or call 01926 641188.

Reckless Sleepers: The Last Supper, All Saints Church, Leamington Spa, Sat Sept 9 & Sun Sept 10

Fancy joining Reckless Sleepers for an intimate pop-up dinner for 39 that’s part performance piece, part meal? Eat and drink with the actors while they speak and then eat the gripping last words of the famous, the infamous, the not so famous, criminals, victims, heroes, heroines and stars. With real scenarios, invented scenarios, scenarios in the future, scenarios from the past, The Last Supper is made up of half remembered words and the forgotten last requests of inmates on death row. Each audience member is given a table number, their case number, their incident number. Thirteen of these are last suppers. “There is something about the simplicity of this show that is unbearably moving.” The Guardian

Duration: 60 minutes + 30 minutes of post-show sharing of food. Recommended For Ages 16 +, £15,

Natasha Kumar, Private View: Essence of Kumar, The Stratford Gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Sept 9 

Pop-in for a glass of wine and the opportunity to meet artist Natasha and discuss the inspiration behind her remarkable work from 1pm. Art and India are in Natasha’s genes. On her mother’s English side she comes from a line of established artists: her father’s Indian heritage she traces back to Kashmir and Afghanistan via stories of partition and lost family gold. She has made her own name as an artist from the age of 17, when, earning a place by right in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition she found her etchings hanging on the same wall as paintings by her grandfather and uncle. Natasha achieved a first class degree in printmaking at Manchester, studied printmaking and anatomy in the Venice Accademia and completed her MA in printmaking in Camberwell in London in 2000, winning the London Printmaking Prize the same year.

Essence of Kumar runs at this stylish town centre gallery at 32 Sheep Street, Stratford, until Oct 4,

Vice Versa, The Swan, Stratford, ends Sat Sept 9

Phil Porter’s brilliantly bonkers new farce ‘lovingly ripped off ‘from the Roman comedies of Plutus is the perfect summer pick me up!  A clever servant and a pair of wronged young lovers team up to bamboozle Trump-like pompous general. Felix Hayes is fantastic as the bombastic General Braggadocio, playing his servant, Dexter, is the wonderfully charismatic Sophia Nomvetewhose credits include The Colour Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory) and As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe). ‘Allo ‘Allo star Kim Hartman makes her RSC debut as ‘a lady of the night’ called Climax. Read her My Favourite Places here and my review here.

RSC’s Rome Series: Julius Caesar, RST, Stratford, ends Sat Sept 9

Photo: Helen Maybanks

The well-received Julius Caesar runs in rep side-by-side with Antony and Cleopatra–the first double-bill in the RSC’s four-play Rome series. Titus Andronicus and Coriolanus will complete the quartet of Shakespeare’s most political and bloody thrillers in June and September. Season director Angus Jackson brought the brilliant atom bomb drama Oppenheimer, and Don Quixote, to the RSC stage.  He’s directing Julius Caesar, which has strong performances by Andrew Woodall as Caesar, Alex Waldmann as Brutus, James Corrigan’s Mark Antony and Martin Hutson’ as Cassius., 01789 403493

Antony and Cleopatra, the RST, Stratford, ends Thurs Sept 7

Shakespeare’s tragic love story between hot-headed Egyptian queen Cleopatra, played here by a luminous Josette Simon, and Antony Byrne’s Roman general Mark Antony. It’s directed by Iqbal Khan with music composed by award-winning Birmingham singer-songwriter Laura Mvula. My review is here., Tel:01789 403493

NT’s Jane Eyre, Birmingham Rep, Mon Sept 4-Sat Sept 16

The National Theatre’s striking and inventive new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, Jane Eyre, directed by Sally Cookson comes to the Midlands, as part of a major 21 city tour of the UK. Buck/Oxon editor Hero caught the play at at Aylesbury Waterside, you can check out her  review here; while Muddy Sussex ed Debbie saw it at Brighton’s Theatre Royal this summer and here is her review. Both were wowed!

Suburban English Magick, Art installation & Live painting, CCCA Shed, Fargo Village, Far Gosford Street, Coventry, until Sat Sept 16 (live painting w/e only)

London-based artist Marie-Louise Plum, who runs Mental Spaghetti promoting marginalised artists, is live painting to stories in Suburban English Magick commissioned in the run-up to the Scratch the Surface Festival 2017, which provokes conversation about mental health. Marie-Louise is painting the entire interior of the shed, improvising contemporary folkloric vignettes inspired by a spoken word and cut-up sound composition. Live painting and audio installation will only take place between 10am-6pm, Fridays and Saturdays, and, 10am – 4pm, Sundays. Art installation open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm.

Middle Earth Festival, Sarehole Mill, Hall Green, Birmingham, Sept 9 & 10

Still from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy

A free annual family-friendly weekend inspired by the world created by Lord of the Rings author J R R Tolkien at a 250-year-old working watermill famous for its association with the writer, who lived across the road. It’s now one of the 8 Birmingham Museums. They’ll be re-enactments, living history camps, a costume pageant, Elven Path Trail, a Two Towers pop-up brewery stand, kids crafts and you can see the Victorian mill in full working order. Meal flour is sold in the mill shop and there’s a tea room.

Meet & Eat: Network & Nosh @ Kitchenorium, Leamington Spa, Wed Sept 6

Mmmm…Cat’s Feta & Watermelon salad

A new event for networkers, open to anyone who enjoys networking with local business people. Muddy Warwickshire’s awards finalist Cat Dutton runs a very informal pop-up restaurant in her characterful century-old house. On the menu, there’ll be a mix of yummy veggie and fish dishes including red pepper & goat’s cheese tart, gougere & breaded brie, potato wedges & stuffed mushrooms, smoked mackerel pate, salad & dips etc Hazelnut Meringue for dessert. There’s just 16 places available. Bring your own alcohol & welcome drink included, 7.30pm. £15 pp.  Be great to see any Muddy winners or finalists! Alternatively, this month there’s a Vegetarian Banquet (Sat Sept 9), Thai Tuesday (Tue Sept 12) & Japanese Curry Club (Fri Sept 15), open to all.

Book here.


Boudica Festival with an all-female line-up, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat Sept 23 & Sun Sept 24

Yama Warashi

Coventry’s The Tin Music and Arts are launching the new Boudica Festival (named after the warrior queen thought to have been defeated in battle just north of Coventry), aiming to celebrating the talent of women in the music industry. Boom! A fab all-female line-up featuring live music from London band Hejira, whose latest EP ‘The Lima Limo Ceremony’ draws on a trip to Ethiopia last year; Bristol-based Yama Warashi formed by Japanese artist Yoshino Shigihara; “Writer of sad songs you can (sometimes) shake a leg to” – London-based solo artist Carmody;  Night Flowers; alt folk band Low Chimes and Grace Lightman, + DJs, Street Food, Stalls & networking opportunities. The long term aim is to form an all-female events crew.  Make sure to grab your tickets here.

Find more ideas here

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