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Things to Do: Tues Aug 29-Sun Sept 3

Tues Aug 29-Sun Sept 3

What’s on in the last week of the summer holidays across Warwickshire & beyond?

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

Theatre director Helena Kaut-Howson

An ensemble of 13 actors will be performing a new stage adaptation based on Georgi Vladimov’s cult novel and marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.  Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Belgrade’s B2 auditorium it brings together a creative team of internationally renowned artists including director Helena Kaut-Howson and Movement Director Marcello Magni. The story looks at the real history events in Russia following the death of Joseph Stalin and the closure of the prison camps through the eyes of an innocent guard dog. Starring Isabelle Joss, whose credits include Icelandic thriller, Pale Star.

The innovative Leamington Spa based touring theatre company has five cracking touring summer productions – ranging from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden to a new adaptation of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy, to farcical romp Murder on the Terrace, Shakespeare comedy The Taming of The Shrew and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Coming up at Kingsbury Water Park on Fri Sept 1 at 6.30pm is Billionaire Boy. Next week at Warwick’s Bridge House Theatre is Northanger Abbey on Tue Sep 5 at 7:30pm; Murder on the Terrace on Wed Sept 6 at 7.30pm; The Secret Garden on Thurs Sept 7 at 6:30pm; Taming of the Shrew on Fri Sept 8 at 7.30pm  and two finale performances of Billionaire Boy on Sat Sept 9 at 3pm & 6.30pm.

Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception, Compton Verney until Sun Oct 1

Installation shot by Jamie Woodley

Don’t miss this excellent critically-acclaimed summer exhibition including the leading figures of 1960’s Op Art – Bridget RileyJesus Rafael Soto, and Victor Vasarely  -installations, and a stunning site-specific wall painting by German abstract artist Lothar Götz. “This show fizzes with the zinging colours and eye-popping patterns of Op Art, from the Impressionists to the mind-bending Sixties experiments of Bridget Riley … a trippy, wild ride” – The Daily Telegraph. Daily tours at 12noon & 2.30pm.

Tue – Sun & bank holidays until Sun Oct 1 2017, 11am –

Artspace: Optical Art, Compton Verney, weekdays only until Fri Sept 1

This drop-in summer holiday activity for the family includes fantastic activities such as make your own Kaleidoscope, design a Colourwheel mixer and create your own illusion and add to Compton Verney’s giant collaborative wall artwork and watch as it changes shape, 11am-4pm. This must-see exhibition traces how the Op art movement developed from the famous French post-impressionist Seurat via M C Escher to Bridget  Riley and her contemporaries, and demonstrates just how exhilarating, electrifying and (quite literally) eye-opening Op art can be (ends Oct 1).

Family Workshops: Creative Car Factory, Coventry Transport Museum, until Sat Sept 2

Fancy becoming a real life ‘Cartist’. Create your very own model, and help the museum build a full size ‘car’ inspired by our Cartists exhibition. Every week, our workshop will focus on a different stage of car manufacture from incredible ideas, all the way through to the fabulous finishes. Build your very own model car or make one car part to take home, 10.30am – 3.30pm, £2 per activity, under 2s free.

Viking Inspired Craft Workshops, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry

Visitors can also explore the summer exhibition, Fearsome Craftsmen: Discover the Artistry of the Viking World including a unique family friendly Viking settlement and real examples of Viking crafts. Younger children can enjoy the special Early Years play space A Very Viking Voyage. There’s craft workshops with a different activity every day –  from sparkly fish and seascapes to pretend campfires and cloud spinning, explore the Viking world of crafts, combat, mythology and much more. Discover why the Herbert has again been nominated for the prestigious Kids in Museums Award.

Show and Tell Sculpture Tour & Where’s the House Talk, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, daily

The Golden Garden, Shakespeare’s New Place © Megan Taylor & The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Discover more about the intriguing and captivating sculptures, and what inspired their creators, 11am, 1pm, 3pm. Also find out more about the fascinating history behind the home Shakespeare lived in for 19 years of his life, every 30 minutes from 11am-4pm.

Mega Maize Maze & Water Wars, Hatton Adventure World, nr Warwick

A new interactive maze made out of corn and built on a massive 3 acre site which spells out H-A-T-T-O-N challenges kids on their orientation skills. Also back by popular demand at this Muddy Award Winner for Best Family Attraction is Water Wars, a water-based interactive game where friends and family can catapult giant water balloons at each other. Tel: 01926 843411.

War of the Roses Live! Warwick Castle, twice daily until Sun Sept 3

This summer Warwick Castle is staging a thrilling live action War of the Roses horseback battle twice-a-day. Think Game of Thrones for kids. The real-life War of the Roses story has something of a GoT quality to it – a series of battles fought in medieval England from 1455 to 1485 between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. It’s somewhat diluted for dramatic effect but perfectly pitched for bringing history to life to kids of all ages…Medieval Glamping in the Knight’s Village is also now available over the summer. Read my review here.

The Play’s The Thing, Swan Theatre, Stratford,  daily 

A costume worn by Gone with the Wind actress Vivian Leigh at the RSC

Take a magical journey through 100 years of theatre-making in Stratford-upon-Avon at The Play’s The Thing. Discover rarely-seen treasures from our museum and archive, exquisite costumes, amazing model-boxes and weird and wonderful props. Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm, Sundays 10am-4pm.


Meet the Mini-Beast handling sessions, Stratford Butterfly Farm, daily until Sept 3

Get up close and personal with lots of lovely insects including the tailless whip Scorpion Damon diadema this summer! This scorpion was used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and had the unforgiveable killing curse used on it. It originates from Central Africa where it lives in caves and crevices. Relax –  these creatures are completely harmless and have no venomous tail! Children can hold a variety of stick insects, African land snails, giant millipedes, hermit crabs and even Madagascan cockroaches! NB the whip Scorpion can only be handled by the Education Team as they move very quickly! Also see around 2,000 free flying  stunning tropical butterflies within the Flight Area.

Forest School, Compton Verney, every Thurs during the school holidays

The Forest School is open 11am – 4pm every Thursday and it is drop-in. Kids will learn about nature, the outdoors, the secret world of bugs and minibeasts, as well as the seasonal changes that take place to Compton Verney’s plants and trees.. Included in collection and park admission. Last one – Thurs Aug 31.

Drawn from Life: People on Paper,  Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, until Sept 17

Sonia Boyce

This Arts Council Collection touring exhibition brings together work by some of the biggest names in 20th and 21st century British art, including David Hockney, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and LS Lowry. Early 20th century works include pieces by Gwen John and the exhibition is brought up to date with the imaginary figures of Charles Avery and Mimei Thompson. The exhibition also includes early works such as Mrs Ash Asleep by Howard Hodgkin from 1952 and Peter Blake’s Portrait of a Man from 1950.

Fearsome Craftsmen: Discover the Artistry of the Viking World, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry until Sept 24

Making the perilous journey through the crashing waves of the North Sea, the bloody and brutal Viking invasions of Britain are legendary – but what did they do while they were here? Step back in time and learn more about the people who settled in Britain from excavated skeletons, see real examples of Viking crafts including intricate metalwork, and a replica 15ft fishing boat, decorated with designs that reveal the true Viking creative spirit. Explore the Norse myths and legends in the gallery’s  unique family friendly Viking settlement, A Viking Voyage.


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, until Oct 22

Barkley L. Hendricks Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved any Black People – Bobby Seale) 1969 Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky © Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Superman S-Shield © & ™ DC Comics.

“An exhibition that uncovers an entire lost history of American art” is how Guardian critic Jonathan Jones describes this visual journey through the civil rights movement. Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting.  Unmissable era-defining artworks.

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!

Sidney Nolan, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, until Sept 3

An exhibition of spray painted portraits dating from the 1980s by inventive Australian-born artist Sidney Nolan, who was a close friend of Benjamin Britten, Francis Bacon and fellow Australian artist Brett Whiteley. Born in 1917 he was recognised as one of the foremost international modern artists,

Summer Nights, West Midlands Safari Park until Sept 3

Mrs Woof’s Diner, part of the new Giggly Park children’s play area at West Midland Safari Park

Experience the 4mile safari after hours every night in the summer.  Also discover the UK’s largest animatronic Dinosaur attraction ‘Land of the Living Dinosaurs and new for 2017 Giggly Park – a £850,000 interactive and multi-sensory play area, designed specifically for young children. It is all themed around popular CBeebies and S4C character ‘Boj’, a rare bilby from the Australian outback. It’s next to the African Village, just past the Adventure Theme Park. During the Park’s Summer Nights event Giggly Park will be open from 10.30am until 9pm.

Raphael, The Drawings, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until Sept 3

The Ashmolean’s captivating summer show, Raphael, brings together 120 stunning works from international collections spanning the brief but brilliant career of Raphael, only 37 when he died. The Ashmolean’s unrivalled Raphaels are joined by superb works from the Albertina and loans from other international collections including the Louvre, the Uffizi and Liz II.  Drawings include the exquisite Head of a Muse, which broke records when auctioned at Christies in 2009, as well as the sublime Heads and Hands of two Apostles, considered to be the finest drawing Raphael ever made.

Giacometti, Tate Modern, until Sept 10

Last few weeks to catch the UK’s first major retrospective of Alberto Giacometti for 20 years, at the Tate Modern. Celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, Giacometti’s distinctive elongated figures are some of the most instantly recognisable works of modern art in Tate Modern’s ambitious and wide-ranging exhibition of over 250 works. It includes rarely seen plasters and drawings and showcases the full evolution of Giacometti’s career across five decades, from early works such as Head of a Woman [Flora Mayo] 1926 to iconic bronze sculptures such as Walking Man I 1960.

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