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This Week


Play On Live Music Night: Jessica Rhodes, Susie’s Cafe Bar, The Other Place, Stratford, Thurs Aug 2

Pic courtesy of Jessica Rhodes

Emerging Stratford-upon-Avon artist and pianist writes and performs her own style of acoustic, soul-pop inspired by Tracy Chapman, Fleetwood Mac and Joss Stone. She’s toured across the UK playing ahead of Simply Red, Paul Carrack and Florence and the Machine and released her debut EP in 2015. Gig starts at 7.30pm.


Nature Days, Upton House and Gardens, nr Banbury, Thurs Aug 2 & Aug 16

Meet Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Warwickshire Hedgehog Rescue, Give It A Grow and Warwickshire Badger Group who will be helping to keep children entertained with pop-up stands filled with fun activities including making a mini-composter and clay hedgehogs. They can also enjoy fresh air on Upton’s outdoor nature trails.


Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle, starts Fri Aug 3

Looking for something exciting to entertain kids aged 8+? This is Warwick Castle’s first night-time experience telling the tale of 10th century warrior Guy as he battles monsters and dragons in a bid to gain a knighthood and win the heart of his one true love – Princess Felice, daughter of the Earl of Warwick. It’s an explosive epic tale depicted over the course of an evening using live action, animation, equestrian acrobatics, fire and pyrotechnics. Boom!  There’s also War of the Roses, the regular birds of prey demos, the Mighty Trebuchet, Horrible Histories Maze, dungeons, archery and ramparts to rampage for day time fun.

Tickets start from £15 for show only with immersive dining packages also available,


Rum & Reggae, FarGo Village, Coventry, Fri Aug 3

One of FarGo’s most popular events! There’ll be Caribbean street food from Leave it to EsmieDookie’s GrillCornograph and West Jerk Centre, speciality Rum and cocktails, as well as performances from Phase One Steel Orchestra and DJ sets from Dave Marshall Barrett.  Advance tickets will be £3.


Family Fun Day, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, Thurs Aug 2 – 23

Jewellery making demo

Every Thursday between 1 and 3pm join the Learning officer for a family-friendly guided tour of the Smith and Pepper jewellery factory and craft activity, £8 adults & £4 children. Adults can also take part in a workshop creating Floral Crowns, under the guidance of Designer Maker Gilly Page, on Aug 4.


Heartbreak Productions’ The Railway Children, Ryton Pools Country Park, Fri Aug 3

All aboard! Full steam ahead as sunny intervals are predicted for this Friday. Bring along your own seats and a picnic for this energetic Leamington Spa based national touring theatre company’s 6pm open-air adaptation of Edith Nesbit’s classic children’s story.

Book tickets here.


GIG: Steve Harley & The Cockney Rebel, Leamington Assembly, Fri Aug 3

Photo of Steve Harley, man with grey beard

Photo by Mike Callow

Legendary rock icon and the original Cockney Rebel, Steve Harley is one of Britain’s most charismatic live performers. He’s written and recorded 12 albums over four decades, and continues to tour to sell-out audiences in countries world-wide. On his track list will be hits including Judy Teen, Mr Raffles, Here Comes The Sun, Mr Soft, the classic Sebastian, as well as the UK Number One, Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – one of the most-played singles in British Radio history. £25 in adv. Doors – 7pm, on-stage – 7.30pm.

Box Office Tel: 01926 311311, eventbrite


Art in the ParkJephson Gardens, Leamington Spa, Sat Aug 4 & Sun Aug 5

Set to be a summer highlight. Watch artists making and creating, buy an original piece of art from more than 150 designers and makers, dabble in a creative workshop from Escape Arts, Furzie Animals or The Art of Okse, take part in Leamington Studio Artists 20th artistic celebrations, check out the pop up suitcase stalls and follow the community crafted knitted bird tail. You’ll be able to see a very special free open-air performance of Pride and Prejudice by Heartbreak Productions, listen to music from The Pease and Ellipsis, eat mouth-watering artisan food and locally-brewed drinks. What more could you possibly want? More? Ok, there’s also dance performances by Motionhouse, pottery for children, fun theatre from Highly Sprung, Fabularium and Wet Picnic and by live mural art creations by BRINK Events.


The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Aug 4 – Sept 22

Photo by Paul-Stuart – design-by-RSC-Visual-Communications.

Fiona Laird has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Lester (lucky lady!). She not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it! A glamorous suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over inflated egos starring a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison, Charlotte Josephine and RSC Associate Artist David Troughton. (In cinemas Sept 12).



The Baddesley Book Fair 2018, Baddesley Clinton, Sat Aug 4 – 12

A large selection of new and second hand books for sale within the gardens, 11am-5pm.



RE-ENACTMENT: Battle of Evesham, Sat Aug 4 & Sun Aug 5

Step back in time to the 13th Century for this free event, takes place in the heart of Evesham, featuring a medieval festival and camp with life-demonstrations of cookery, weapons and medicine, plus the main battle re-enactment. On Evesham’s Crown Meadow, thousands of visitors can watch medieval musicians and dancing along with craftsmen demonstrations and medieval cookery in the 13th Century Living History camp. Next to the camp, there will be falconry and archery displays, treasure trails and children’s activities including face painting and arts and crafts. Medieval traders will be selling authentic food, drink and goods.



LAST WEEK: Miss Littlewood, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sat Aug 4 

Photo by Topher McGrillis

Clare Burt makes her RSC debut as one of seven actors playing anarchic 1950s and 60s British theatre director Joan Littlewood at different stages of her life. She is joined by Aretha Ayeh, Sandy Foster, Amanda Hadingue, Dawn Hope, Emily Johnstone and Sophia Nomvete. With book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon and directed by the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director, Erica WhymanHer theatre workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage. Funny, insightful and hugely entertaining.



BOOK NOW: Make It Reel – Summer Film School 2018, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon Aug 6 – Fri Aug 10

At this year’s 5-day film-making summer school for 13-18-year-olds, young creatives can choose a specialism in either Acting, Music, or Film-Making offering an opportunity more akin to how industry works. They also get the red-carpet treatment with a film premiere in the cinema, 10am – 4pm. Cost: £150.


THEATRE: Matilda, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues July 3 – Sat Sept 8

Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderfully witty RSC musical while it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it!



Belgrade Theatre Summer Camp 2018 for 8-11-year-olds 11-16-year-olds, Coventry, Mon July 30 – Fri Aug 3

Five fun-filled days for young thespians. The theme this year is Australia Mythology bringing stories to life using a range of theatre and performance skills such as mask, sound-scaping and physical theatre. There’s a family performance at the end of the week. Cost: £126


The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Sat June 30 – Sun Sept 30

Rowland Emett’s A-Quiet-Afternoon-in-the-Cloud-Cuckoo-Valley-photographed-by-JamesBastablecouk-cloudcuckoovalleycom.jpg

Roll up, Roll up for two stunning new exhibitions at Compton Verney’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum! A rare opportunity to see an exhibition devoted to kinetic art and the history of automata. Almost 60 works, dating from 1625 to the present day, will – quite literally – come to life before your very eyes. The show includes loans from across the UK, including the smallest – a 4cm tall Fabergé elephant and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley (above) by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang designer Rowland Emett. You can also enter the magical world of mechanical toy model maker and children’s author/ illustrator Rodney Peppe.



Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens, until Mon Aug 27

The Hands on History Crew will be bringing history to life, also look forward to an open-air production of The Tempest on Fri Aug 10 and Siege! on the Bank Holiday weekend of Sun Aug 26 & Mon Aug 27.

Land Zorbing, Hatton Adventure World, until Sept 2

New this summer is Land Zorbing. Step into a large inflatable Zorb bubble and propel yourself around. Back by popular demand is ‘Water Wars’, a water-based interactive game – a massive hit in previous summers. Other attractions on this 50-acre site include up to 30 daily shows and activities, a 4-acre laser combat field, one of the largest indoor play areas in the Midlands and 100 creatures great and small, plus food in 5 outlets, a shopping village and free parking.  The summer sees the arrival of two new baby wallabies, lizards in Scales and Tails known as ‘Rankin’s Dragons’ and a new kid goat called Bruce.


Royal Shakespeare Company Summer Holiday Family activities, Stratford-upon-Avon , Tue July 31, Wed Aug 1 & Fri Aug 3

This week there’s Theatre Games for ages 4 – 8 (11am – 11.45am) and 8 – 12 (2 – 2.30pm) in the Upper Circle Bar with an RSC actor on Tuesday July 31 from (£2.50 – £3.50)  and Directing for ages 13 – 17-years (2pm – 4pm) in the Clore Learning Centre (£9). Kids can get creative in a free The Play’s The Thing drop-in activity on Thurs Aug 2, Aug 16 & Aug 30 (11am-4pm) and under 5s cam listen to Kate’s Storytree on Fri Aug 3 at The Other Place. Other highlights include the RSC’s new new Swirl outdoor theatre, with puppet theatre productions on Saturdays  (11am, 12.30pm & 2pm) and Give it a Swirl – family-friendly shows inspired by Shakespeare plays – every Sunday (11am, 12.30pm & 2pm), free but book in advance.


The Taming of the Shrew & King Lear, The Dell, Avonbank Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon. Sat Aug 4 & Sun Aug 5

Two free open-air productions on the riverbank outside the RSC. This Saturday the Oratory Foundation from Trinidad and Tobago are presenting two 1hr performances of a 1960’s Taming of the Shrew with robust energy, calypso and Caribbean imagery (12noon & 3.30pm) and Everyman Youth Theatre will be performing an abridged version of King Lear (12noon & 3pm).




MUSIC: Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, Thurs 2 – Sun 5 Aug

Possibly the coolest local festival of them all, here there’s a heady mix of right-on hippiness (think yoga, skinny-dipping and hot tubs) combined with great music from the likes of Bastille, Nile Rodgers and Chic and Groove Armada. Plus The Flying Seagulls, Mortimer Nannies and The Artful Badgers Breakfast Boogie to keep the kids happy. A few years back, my daughter ended up in tears after clocking a ‘real’ mermaid flicking her tail on a rowing boat – she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to ditch the family and go live with her magical new friend. That’s Wilderness for you! Pricing: Child 0 – 5 years £5, Junior 6 – 12 years £35, Teen 13 – 17 years £115, Adults from £179 upwards, with all sorts of camping options to be had.


THEATRE: Cliveden Open Air theatre, Thurs 2 and Sat 4 Aug

cliveden statue house

The beautiful oriental-inspired garden with its six-sided Chinese pagoda is the setting for this year’s theatrical offerings. Bring your own picnic or purchase nibbles from The Doll’s House cafe and enjoy The Midnight Gang by David Walliams, performed by Heartbreak Productions on Thurs 2 Aug. A gang of kids meet at midnight to get up to mischief, magic and adventures. Or Old Herbaceous on Sat 4 Aug is a one-man show based on the classic novel by Reginald Arkell. A humorous story of a charming old head gardener and his passion for plants (not suitable for children).


FESTIVAL: Countryfile Live, Blenheim Palace, Thurs 2 – Sun 5 Aug 

Can’t get enough of Adam Henson and the Countryfile gang? Roll up, roll up, catch the show while you can at Blenheim Palace as the team showcase the best of the British countryside. Expect live arena shows where Matt Baker does a semi-naked trapeze act while John Craven tames the Friesian cows in top hat and fishnets. Apparently (and this bit is true) there’s also a National Trust theatre, waterside activities, off-road experiences, animal displays and 700 exhibitors. This year they are also throwing a BBC Countryfile Live Summer Party on the Saturday 6-9pm, headlined by country duo The Shires (a BBC Radio 2 favourite) and supported by Newton Faulkner and Ferris & Sylvester.


THEATRE: Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August

This August, children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.


THEATRE: Little Shop of Horrors, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Fri Aug 3 – Sept 15

This off-beat musical about florist shop assistant Seymour who pines for his work colleague Audrey but doesn’t know how to win her heart or what to do to sate the appetite of a human-eating plant looks great fun. Matt Willis from Busted fame, drag queen Vicky Fox from the USA support Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin star in an OTT show that seems perfect for summer in the lovely setting of Regent’s Park (bonus fact – the theatre boasts the longest bar in the West End!).


FAMILY FUN: Circus Sampler, Somerset House, London, now until Tues Aug 7

With 2018 being the 250th anniversary of the birth of circus, you can celebrate with a free exhibition Circus Originals opening on 25 Jul plus live circus events at Somerset House. Dance artists Far From The Norm perform Union Black that combines humour, hip hop and circus using Chinese poles and tight-wire. Between performances, you can watch international record-breaking hula hooper extraordinaire, Marawa. She’s joined by her team of hoop performers, The Majorettes, and they’ll teach you to hula hoop after the show.


Find more ideas here

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