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This Week



MUSIC: Soak, Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham, Tue May 14

Soak, Grim Town (Rough Trade)

Soulful, acoustic indie Northern Irish singer Soak aka Bridie Monds-Watson is still only 22 and already had a Mercury-nominated album, Before we Forgot How to Dream. Her second critically-acclaimed album, Grim Town was released last month.

Tickets here.


TALK: Michael Morpurgo, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed May 15

Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo has written more than 130 books, including Private Peaceful and War Horse. But what about the real-life story of Michael Morpurgo? How did a boy supremely uninterested in books become a bestselling author and Children’s Laureate? 7.30pm,


THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thur May 2 – Sept 7

Caroline Quentin in The-Provoked-Wife. Photo-by-Pete-Le-May

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), 


COMPETITION: Win Afternoon Tea for 2, Woodside Hotel, Kenilworth, **ENDS Fri May 17**

Woodside Hotel in Kenilworth will be serving afternoon tea daily from June 1 between 2pm and 5pm in the hotel’s conservatory or outside on the lawns. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches, homemade cakes, macarons & fruit tarts, scones with cream & jam, and of course, copious amounts of tea/coffee. To celebrate the launch, Woodside is giving you the chance to WIN afternoon tea for two. Enter here before Fri May 17.


THEATRE: The Girl on the Train, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mon May 13 – 18

Samantha Womack stars as Rachel Watson in The Girl on the Train. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

 After a phenomenally successful West End stage debut last year, Paula Hawkins’ nail-biting thriller The Girl on the Train heads out on a UK tour this spring starring Samantha Womack (EastEndersKingsman: The Secret Service) as Rachel Watson. She’ll be joined by Oliver Farnworth, best known for his roles as Andy Carver in Coronation Street, Will Hackett in Hollyoaks and Florian Dupont in Mr Selfridge, playing Rachel’s neighbour Scott Hipwell. Tickets on belgrade or Tel the box office on 024 7655 3055.


FESTIVAL: Museums at Night, various locations, Wed May 15 – Sat May 18

This biannual festival of Lates in museums and galleries is hitting Warwickshire, Coventry and beyond this month with a Roman adventure at Rugby Museum and Art Gallery (May 17); a very cheerful sounding Death Cafe and Tour with Newman Brothers at The Coffin Works, Birmingham (May 17); a Live Twilight Taxidermy Demo at Market Hall, Warwick (May 17) and Coventry Pride at Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (June 9). Check out what else is on in-and-around the region here.



GIN CRUISE! Shakespeare Distillery & Avon Boating launch their first Gin Cruise, Stratford-upon-Avon, from Sat May 18

All-aboard for a 40-minute gin cruise! Sail down the beautiful Avon through Stratford-upon-Avon with a glass of Stratford Gin in your hand. See all the riverside sights including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare’s burial place, while enjoying a tutored tasting of the craft gins produced by the award-winning Shakespeare Distillery, finishing with a glass of Gin & Tonic to toast your captain & crew! £20pp. Book here.


THEATRE: The Attic Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Tues May 14 – 18

Actor Katherine Parker-Jones

New Midlands theatre company, Aspect Theatre, has chosen English playwright Tom Kempinski’s 1980 play about concert violinist Stephanie Abrahams who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as their debut production. It launches this week with Katherine Parker-Jones as Stephanie and Martin Bourne as Dr Feldmann. As part of her research into playing Stephanie, Katherine Parker-Jones researched the condition by spending time with a woman living with multiple sclerosis. She says: “I needed to display the effects of MS but did not want to do so in a tacky or insulting way, so I talked to her a lot about how the disease presented itself physically in her, but also about the mental health journey that she went through and is still going through.”

Duet for One starts at 7.30pm, and runs for 5 nights. Running time: 2 hours. Tickets: £12 (£10 concession), theattictheatre


COMEDY: Scummy Mummies, Leamington Assembly, Wed May 15

Helen and Ellie are heading to Leam in the run-up to their first Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tickets here

THEATRE: The Tiger Lillies: Devil’s Fairground, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed May 15

The Grammy-nominated Godfathers of alternative cabaret return with a very special show celebrating their 30th anniversary. In this new show, they take you on a trip to the Devil’s Fairground – temptation and sin await. Aged 14+,


CLASSICAL: Sheku Kanneh-Mason in Recital, Town Hall, Birmingham, Thur May 16

The phenomenally talented 19-year-old cellist, who performed at Meghan and Harry’s Royal wedding, will be joined in concert with his sister Isata on piano. This year he became the best-selling British debut artist across all genres with the classical album, Inspiration. See him perform first-hand, there’s a pre-concert BSL signed conversation with Sheku at 6.15pm! Tickets here


TALK: Mary Portas In Conversation, Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 17 

Mary – retail guru, businesswoman and ‘Queen of Shops’ – discusses her life, her career, and her new book Work Like a Woman, 7.30pm,


THEATRE: On Golden Pond, The Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, Fri May 17 – Sat May 25 
A touching, funny and warmly perceptive comedy-drama about a spirited elderly couple facing their twilight years performed by a six-strong cast. Conciliatory wife Ethel (Pamela Hickson) and cantankerous retiree Norman Thayer (Philip Hickson) return to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 44th year. The 1981 film adaptation famously starred Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn.  Time: 7.30pm start with matinees on Sat May 18 & Sat May 25 at 2.30pm. In support of the British Heart FoundationFor more details and tickets see here


COMEDY: Ray Bradshaw – Deaf Comedy Fam, Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri May 17 

One in 6 people suffer from hearing loss. 2 of those people are Ray’s parents. Full of hilarious, revealing tales about growing up with deaf parents, Deaf Comedy Fam presents a first for comedy, as each show will be performed by Ray simultaneously in both spoken English and British Sign Language, 7.45pm. Age 14+,

COMEDY: Funny Women Awards: Midlands Heats & Showcase, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat May 18 

Following the huge popularity of the art centre’s first Funny Women Showcase, they’ve joined forces with our friends at Funny Women to host the Midlands Heat of the 2019 Awards. Timings: 5pm (Heats) & 8pm (Showcase). Age 16+. Tickets: £21 (Heats & Showcase), £16 (Showcase), £11 (Heats),


MUSIC: Kamasi Washington, O2 Institute Birmingham, Sat May 18

The jazz saxophonist follows the release of his acclaimed second album, Heaven and Earth – viewed by critics as one of the best 50 albums of 2018 – with a run of headline shows. Kamasi began his career as a session musician for artists including Snoop Dogg, George Duke and Herbie Hancock but after a break-through appearance on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, in 2015, went solo. Heaven and Earth was recorded in a two-week session on a break from touring. Age 14+, tickets here.


LITTLIES: intotheclouds, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sun May 19

A 40-minute playful, sensory and highly visual experience for very young children and babies aged 6 – 36 months. High in the sky, clouds sit above us, out of reach and all alone but Claud has an idea! Far away and high on a hill, Claud builds a cloud factory and, with a little help from you, fluffy dreams may come true. An incredible first-time theatre experience for all. Timings: 11.30am & 2pm (6 – 18 months) 12.45pm & 3.15pm (19 – 36 months),


MUSIC: Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sun May 19 
Jools will be joined by Gilson Lavis, with special guests Pauline Black & Gaps Hendrickson from Coventry Two-Tone band The Selecter, and guest vocalists Ruby Turner & Louise Marshall. As the UK’s most popular pianist and bandleader, Jools Holland OBE has performed and recorded with some of the most talented musicians and songwriters in the world. Jools continues to dazzle and impress audiences with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and their exuberant live performances, 7.30pm,


ART: Painting Childhood & Childhood Now, Compton Verney, until June 16


Compton Verney’s new spring exhibition takes a fresh and moving look at childhood over the last 500 years boasting masterpieces such as Van Dyck’s The Five Eldest Children of Charles I (1637) from the Royal Collection, Hogarth’s The Graham Children (1742) from the National Gallery, and Millais’ Bubbles (1886) from National Museums Liverpool together with some of Queen Victoria’s sketches of her own children. This is the first time these iconic paintings will be paired with the preparatory sketches that informed them. Alongside ‘Painting Childhood’ is the expressive, idiosyncratic sister exhibition ‘Childhood Now’ with three contemporary artists – Chantal Joffe, Mark Fairnington and Matthew Krishanu – who have used their own children or childhood to depict modern youth.  comptonverney


THEATRE: The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31

The reviews are now in after last week’s press night for Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles. It’s set in the 1590s and England is a matriarchy. 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

MUSIC: Duke Special, Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat May 18

Prolific singer-songwriter and pianist Duke Special is known for his contemporary folk and vaudeville-influenced sound. With his trademark performance style, he has become a cult national favourite in his native Northern Ireland and chosen for commissions by the National Theatre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Sesame Street, 7.30pm,

THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Feb 14 – Aug 31


 What can you look forward to this season? Well, three Shakespeare gems, two Restoration classics and a stunning new two-hander! The new 2019 season opened with Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It with 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.



LITERATURE: Book Club LIVE! Also Festival, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Thurs July 4

Calling all Warwickshire book clubs – fancy having your July meet-up in the ground of one of the UK’s top boutique festivals, immersed in nature? BookClub.LIVE is TheAlso Festival‘s event to celebrate the positive social role the Book Club plays in people’s lives and this year will be held on the evening before the festival opens on Thursday, July  4 at Park Farm, Compton Verney. From 6pm the gates to this glorious 50-acre lakeside parkland will be thrown wide open for you and your gang to make it the location for your summer book group. This year Also Festival is working with writer and broadcaster Natalie Haynes who will be at Book Club LIVE to talk about her novel A Thousand Ships (published early May.) Natalie, the author of three novels including The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, also presents the BBC Radio 4 Show Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics.  She was awarded the 2015 Classical Prize and in 2018 took on Boris Johnson and won. Ten years as a stand-up comedian mean you can expect a highly entertaining performer.

Book Club LIVE is held in a beautiful canvas marquee with a bar with wines and beers, bar snacks and, tasty wines and non-alcoholic drinks. Booking has just opened this week here! Warwickshire’s Also festival runs Fri July 5 – 7.


Laugh it up ‘lite – Live Stand-up, Inside the 22, Rugby, June 14

Comedians Jenny Collier, who has written for BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, Huffington Post and Glamour Magazine, Jack Campbell (Winner of English Comedian of the Year 2014) and Northamptonshire’s Andrew Bird will be performing their latest material, plus MC James Cook, at this cool emerging social hub, bar and venue opposite Rugby School. A brand new quarterly comedy night, organised by Enterlude Events and Custard Comedy, that would not be out of place at Glee or the Comedy Store. Get your hands on the last few tickets!

Tickets here.


FAMILY:  Woolly Week, Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, May 25 – June 2

Check out the revamped children’s play area, rare breed Ryeland sheep, and a new peasants’ hovel at the 23-acre Tudor working farm this spring. Ryeland sheep are one of the oldest English breeds – and see their first lambs! The popular Woolly Week takes place from May 25 – June 2, and on June 23 celebrate the longest day, Midsummer Day where you might even meet the farm’s own magical unicorn! Two new events have been added to the Tudor calendar this year: on Aug 1 to make your own mini lammas loaf out of salt dough reviving the tradition of Lammas Day, with storytelling and music. And at Harvest Home on Sept 15, try your hand at traditional crafts, like candle-making, willow weaving and wool crafts, while enjoying puppet shows and Tudor music. Open daily until Sun Nov 3, check out Book online.


THEATRE: Bells & Spells, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Tues May 21 & Wed May 22

© Lucie Jansch

Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, the daughter of actor/ filmmaker Charlie Chaplin directs her own daughter, Aurélia Thierree, in a surrealist piece of theatre, Bells & Spells, much raved about across Europe in a rare UK performance. Aurélia gets inside the skin of a kleptomaniac and finds herself manipulated by the objects she steals. A coat rack gets up and walks. Chairs and a table slide and slip away, while a wall opens, and a pair of dancers emerge. A dress suddenly takes on a life of its own. The show receives its UK premiere as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival (May 17 2019). For ages 11+, warwickartscentreTel: 024 7652 4524.


FESTIVAL: Pub in the Park, St Nicholas Park, Warwick, Fri July 5 – Sun  7

Get yer glitter and denim hotpants out as festival season is upon us! Tom Kerridge’s popular gourmet scran meets live music fandango, Pub in the Park, comes to Warwick for the very first time with Tom Odell, Razorlight, Stereo MCs, Toploader and Will Young in tow, as well as cookery demos and talks from winner of The Great British Bake Off 2016 Candice Brown, Jodie Kidd, Fred Sireix the French Maître d’hôtel best known for Channel 4’s First Dates and Adam Bennet from Michelin-starred The Cross in Kenilworth  and Nick Deverell-Smith, owner and head chef of The Churchill Arms, in the Cotswolds (Fri July 5 – Sun  7).


THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon, May 24 – Sept 7

Prasanna Puwanarajah in rehearsal. Photo-by-Helen-Maybanks-_c_-rsc

Actor/Director/Writer Prasanna Puwanarajah, who recently appeared in Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose, directs a dark, dystopian production of this rarely-performed Restoration thriller by Thomas Otway, playing in the intimate setting of the Swan Theatre. Tickets here.


MUSIC: Coombe Weekender, Coombe Abbey, Coventry, Aug 3&4

A rare performance by The Libertines

Have you booked tickets for this new 2-day music festival coming to one of Coventry’s most historic venues? See a rare performance The Libertines (lead singer Pete Doherty went to school in Warwickshire!), Circa Waves, Tom Grennan, Sigala, Crazy P Soundsystem, Joey Negro and more than 30 acts will be playing Indie, Funk & Soul, House and more across the weekend! Tickets available here



UPCOMING ART: MUDSKIPPER – the grand unveiling and live demo of British artist James Capper’s walking boat, Battersea Park, London, Thur May 30 until June 21

©James Capper

British artist James Capper is set to unveil his new large-scale mobile sculpture MUDSKIPPER – a fully-mobile sculpture (9.2 metres in length and 12 tons in weight) which has the ability to move across water and land on-shore through the use of two step-type propulsion legs on Thurs May 30. The launch and live demo will take place at The Thames Path by Chelsea Bridge car park from 6.30pm – 9pm followed by drinks and talk by James Capper at Battersea Village Hall. The Times carries a great article about MUDSKIPPER and you can find a short film about the making of the work hereThe walking ship will take up residency at Battersea Power Station Pier directly in front of the iconic riverside building and is making special public performances:

  • Sunday June 9, 12noon, Thames Path near The Riverside, Hamilton House, 5 St George Wharf, SW8 2LE
  • Monday June 10, 1pm, Thames Path near Nine Elms Pavilion (opposite US Embassy), Riverside Walk (off Nine Elms Lane), SW8 5DF

See here for map and further details. 


CIRCUS: Gifford’s Circus, Sudley Castle, Thurs May 16 – 28 May

Roll up, roll up! Gifford’s Circus pitches up its Big Top with the stunning backdrop of Sudley Castle- this year’s theme is midsummer 1973 so expect hippies, hipsters, rockstars, and flower power. Groovy baby.


FLOWERS: Covent Garden In Bloom, Covent Garden, London, Wed May 15 – Sat Jun 15

Miller Harris window display

Following their London debut in Covent Garden’s iconic Central Avenue last year, floral artists Fleurs de Villes will return to showcase the best floral designs in the Big Smoke and return Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. Covent Garden retailers and restaurants are all mucking in with botanical window displays, exclusive products and spring collections,  bespoke cocktails and dishes made with herbs and ingredients from Covent Garden’s veggie garden.


EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, V&A, until Sun Feb 16 2020

Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include the V&A‘s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of  miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.

Find more ideas here

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