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This Week


Words: Rhiannon Pursall

BONFIRE NIGHT: Leamington Rugby Club & Rugby’s Old Laurentian RFC’s annual Fireworks at Fenley Field,  Tue 5 Nov

  • While a lot of firework parties have been and gone, Leamington Rugby Club stick to tradition and hold theirs on Bonfire Night itself. Complete with a huge bonfire, children’s rides and a good choice of food and drink. £10 per car with up to 2 people; £15 per car with more than 3 people; £5 per person on foot. Gates open 6pm, bonfire lit at 7pm and fireworks at 7.30pm. 
  • Rugby’s Old Laurentian RFC’s annual Fireworks at Fenley Field is another great traditional family-friendly event with hot potato stall, burger van, kids bar, donuts and adults bar. The bonfire will be lit at 7pm with fireworks at 7.30pm. Families of 4: £10, under 16s £2 and adults £5.


NT Live: Fleabag (Encore Screening), Warwick Arts Centre, Wed 6 Nov & Thur 7 Nov 

See above for the look on my face when I didn’t bag West End Fleabag tickets earlier this year. No surprise there though as the tickets were hotter than Andrew Scott’s priest and sold out in minutes. So we’re thrilled to report there’s still chance to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s brilliant theatre production as the show is being beamed live courtesy of National Theatre Live. Hurray!   It’s 1 hour 20 minutes, for ages 15+.


**NEW** THEATRE: The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri 8 Nov-Sun 8 Mar

It’s here! The RSC‘s highly anticipated brand-new Christmas musical, The Boy in the Dress, finally kicks off this week with preview shows. Based on David Walliams’ children’s novel, it’s a celebration of smashing stereotypes following Dennis, who’s fanatic about both football and fashion. Nab your tickets for Christmas now as they’re selling like hotcakes, plus children go half price (up to four kids with one grown-up). Hurray!

Book online or call the box office on 01789 331 111


**NEW** THEATRE: Utopia, Shop Front Theatre, Coventry, Wed 6 Nov & Thur 7 Nov only
Written and to be performed by artist/writer Amahra Spence, Utopia is the very first piece of original new theatre to be commissioned as part of award-winning Theatre Absolute’s new three-year project #Humanistan, which will include eight new commissions. It’s an ambitious series taking inspiration from the musings ‘on nation and society’ from writers Benjamin Zephaniah, Francois Matarasso and Ben Okri. On for two days only at 7.30pm, plus a 2pm matinee on Wed Nov 6!

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

A Museum in Baghdad production photos 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?


OPERA: Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Hippdrome, from Tues Nov 5

Birmingham Hippodrome sees the arrival of the Welsh National Opera from Tues Nov 5. Three world class shows coming up this month for our delectation – Verdi’s Rigoletto, Bizet’s Carmen and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.


MUSIC: Totally Tina, The Belgrade, Wed 6 Nov

Totally Tina; photo courtesy of M P Promotions

Justine Riddoch, repeatedly voted the UK’s official No 1 Tina Turner tribute by the Agents Association of Great Britain, celebrate the 10th year of the show by blasting out the favourite hits of the Queen of Rock n Roll. Let your hair down for a night of sequins, stilettos, energy, humour and – of course – amazing legs!

Book here or call the box office on 02476 553 055


COMEDY: Josh Widdicombe: Bit Much, Warwick Arts Centre, Thu 7 Nov

Romesh Ranganathan: The Cynic’s Mixtape 3-night gig here in Coventry this month has already sold out and there’s very limited seating left for West Country wise-cracker Josh Widdicombe’s performance – be quick! Catch him tackle the hot topics of advent calendars, pesto and the closing time of his local park with characteristic grumpiness and disbelief at the ridiculousness of the modern world.

Book limited seating now


ART: Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, now until Sun 24 Nov

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

The highly anticipated second Coventry Biennial sees a citywide takeover of art pop-ups, exhibitions and experiences until 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. Check out what’s happening this week here including a supper club at The Pod and artist-led yoga.


ART TRAIL: Curator-led Sculpture walking tour, Creative Learning Space, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Nov 6 & Sat Nov 9

Fancy some fresh air and art? One of the Mead Gallery curators is leading free four hour-long walking introductions to a selection of the sculptures along the Art & History trail, including Jake and Dinos Chapmans’ The Good and The Bad.


THEATRE: Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thur Nov 7 – Sat Nov 9

Rock & roll musical Buddy celebrates its 30th anniversary on this UK tour with Tom Berkeley and AJ Jenks alternating in the main role of Buddy, supported by a multi-talented group of actor-instrumentalists. It features more than 20 of his greatest hits, including That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy and Rave On, plus numbers from his friends and contemporaries, like Ritchie Valens’ La Bamba

Tickets are available on 024 7655 3055, belgrade where prices are cheaper.  


MUSIC: From The Source, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri 8 Nov – Sun 10 Nov

Judi Jackson

Coventry’s jazz inspired new music festival includes performances from multi award-winning composer, musician and producer Nitin Sawhney (Fri Nov 8), plus A Change Is Gonna Come: Music For Human Rights, for which former Young Disciples vocalist Carleen Anderson and guests jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and London-based saxophone player Camilla George, along with rising UK rapper Lady Sanity from Birmingham (Sun Nov 10), explore the power of protest songs. Other artists performing will be emerging jazz vocalist Judi Jackson and  grime artist and poet Debris Stevenson ((Sat Nov 9); vocalist, violinist, songwriter/composer and improviser Alice Zawadzki (Sun Nov 10) and the ambient sounds of Stubbleman aka Pascal Gabriel (Sat Nov 9).

Carleen Anderson



BALLET: Freefalling with Friends, Birmingham Hippodrome Patrick Centre, Thu 7 Nov

Freefall Dance Company present Freefalling with Friends, a live performance alongside a screening of their film After Bach, directed by award-winning dance-film maker Ross MacGibbon and featuring choreography by David Bintley. Making an appearance are Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers past and present, including Iain Mackay, Jenna Roberts and Yvette Knight.

Tickets £12 adult; £8 concession


MUSIC: She Drew the Gun, O2 Academy 2, Birmingham, Thur Nov 7

Liverpool psych-pop built around the politically charged lyrics of singer-guitarist Louisa Roach. The band is touring with their second album, Revolution of the Mind. Tickets here.


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

Alessandra Sanguinetti, ‘We are altogether united for the best and for the worst. We, the French, are deeply wounded on behalf of France and her victims. Love, PEACE, Solidarity…’, Nice, France, 2016 © Alessandra Sanguinetti /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.


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

Rosie Sheehy in the RSC’s new gender fluid King John. Photo by Steve Tanner

Over in Stratford, catch one of Shakespeare’s rarely-performed works as director Eleanor Rhode makes a stylishly “engrossing” debut in the Swan TheatreStirring 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”.


MUSIC: Little Mix, Resorts World Arena, Birmingham, Thur 7 Nov – Sat 9 Nov

Pop superstars Little Mix will be jetting into Birmingham for their huge The LM5 Tour.


THEATRE: My Beautiful Launderette, Birmingham REP, Tues Nov 5 – Sat 9 Nov

My Beautiful Launderette with_Jonny Fines as Johnny & Omar Malik as Omar. Photo by Ellie Kurttz

If you missed this in Coventry last week you can now catch it in Brum. A cleverly re-imagined stage version of Hanif Kureishi’s 1985 film My Beautiful Launderette it has attracted rave reviews from national critics. With Cathy Tyson and music by The Pet Shop Boys, it tells the story of a love affair between Omar – the son of a Pakistani intellectual, played by Omar Malik – and Johnny, a rebel punk, who once took part in attacks on his lover’s family. It runs as part of the B2 Season of Love and Belonging.

Tickets here


COMEDY: Nick Helm: Phoenix from the Flames, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat 9 Nov

Nick Helm; photo courtesy of Tony Glynn

Nick Helm rolls into Leamington with a very honest and tongue-in-cheek retelling of the year he’s had tackling mental health issues and depression. Expect stand-up comedy peppered with poetry and scattered with songs. The two time Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee, starred in BBC Three’s Uncle and will soon appear in series two of Romesh Ranganathan’s sitcom The Reluctant Landlord; and his live shows have received a plethora of accolades including Best Breakthrough Artist at The British Comedy Awards, Best Music and Variety Artist from Chortle, Best Newcomer from the Loaded LAFTAs and Dave Joke Of The Fringe Award in Edinburgh in 2011. 

Tickets £15; book here. Box Office: 01926 334 418


AMATEUR THEATRE: Hangmen, Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Wed 30 Oct-Sat 9 Nov

Hangmen; photo courtesy of Loft Theatre

Embrace the spooky season with Martin McDonagh’s award-winning dark comedy set in 1960s North of England, performed for the first time at Leamington’s Loft Theatre.. In 2016, it won the Laurence Olivier Award for best new play, and after its U.S premiere in 2018 it won best foreign play at the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards. It tells of Harry the hangman, who becomes a local celebrity after the Abolition of the Death Penalty Act is passed, with everyone eager to hear his views. Among the journalists and locals he attracts are Harry’s old assistant, Syd, and a bold visitor from London named Mooney. These gentlemen have decidedly different motives for their visit and when Harry’s daughter goes missing, he suspects foul play.

Book online, call 01926 830860 or pop into the Box Office (open 7.00pm to 8.30pm on Monday and Tuesday 28th and 29th October and on each performance evening). 


TALK: Chai and Chat, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat Nov 9

Emerging playwright Lakshnie Hettihewa-Young is set to lead Coventry’s first ever Chai and Chat session at 3pm. This free afternoon event is an opportunity to network with like-minded creatives, while learning more about Lakshnie’s career so far and her experience of breaking into the theatre industry. After starting her creative journey as part of Kali Theatre’s Discovery Programme in 2018, the writer, podcaster and BACP registered psychotherapist went on to present her first play, Amma’s Girls, at Birmingham REP earlier this year. A second piece, The Long Way Home, was also recently selected for Tamasha Theatre’s Over To You, a scratch night showcasing bold new writing. Helping to shine a light on the work of British South Asian women working in the West Midlands, Sampad’s Chai and Chat events focus on informal yet inspiring conversation with creatives, all served up with a hot cup of chai. Previously held in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.


MUSIC: Loyle Carner, O2 Institute, Birmingham, Sat Nov 9 

You’re very lucky if you have tickets to see this gig as sadly nearly all of Mercury-Prize nominated Loyle Carner’s UK wide gigs have sold out. Excellent live, the 25-year-old Croydon rapper’s blend of disarming humour, honesty, hip hop and jazz is refreshing. His lyrics express everything from his love for his mum, Jean, to bereavement, his Guyanese heritage and living with ADHD. His mum features in many of videos including You Don’t Know in which he observes her on a series of dates including a cameo by Benjamin Zephaniah, one of his heroes. The tour marks his second album  Not Waving, But Drowning, which reached no 3 in the UK charts following its release in April. His debut Yesterday’s Gone was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2017.


THEATRE: MonologueSlam UK, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Sat Nov 9

Coventry’s best and brightest acting talent will go head-to-head before a panel of industry professionals, including casting directors, agents and directors. For audiences, it offers a fast-paced, fun night out and a chance to take a glimpse at the rising West Midlands talent. See if you can spot the next Clive Owen or Call the Midlife and The Inbetweeners star Tamla Kari (both Coventry-born) in the UK’s only acting showcase to be endorsed by both Equity and casting directory Spotlight.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


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, LondonHead 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 BúrcaAlso on display are objects from the gallery’s collections linked to the Courtaulds factory in Coventry.


THEATRE: Over Throne, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford, Sat 9 Nov

This light-hearted performance and discussion will take a look at the lives of the disgraced rulers who were overthrown in Shakespeare’s plays. Tickets Adults £10,  5.30pm-7pm


MUSIC: Burna Boy African Giant Tour, O2 Academy Birmingham, Sun 10 Nov


The 2019 BET International Act award-winner and Afro-fusion’s brightest star, Burna Boy, returns to the UK for his African Giant Tour. Promising a fiery live show, he’ll perform material from his new album.


MUSIC: Swing that Music: Down for the Count, Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Sun 10 Nov

Head to Leamington’s Loft Theatre for “one hellova celebration of vintage music” (Time Out), when Down for the Count Swing Orchestra sashay into town on Sun 10 Nov. Their new album, Swing That Music, breathes new life into Big Band sounds, promising an energising, entertaining night out.


SHOPPING: Book your space on the  Jimmy Choo Private Sample Sale, The Custard Factory, Birmingham, Thur 7 Nov – Sat 9 Nov

This Showcase event features luxury footwear by the celebrity’s favourite shoe designer with prices starting from £60, handbags and accessories. Stock will be replenished daily. The event is strictly by invitation only and please note that as this is a press sale so some shoes may be slightly worn. Sizes will be limited, mostly size Ladies EU 37 and Mens EU 43 as this the sample size. Card payments only. 


**Last chance** EXHIBITION: Move and Play, Coventry Transport Museum, ends Sun 10 Nov

Getting stuck into ‘Hit the Ball’ at the Move and Play exhibition! Image courtesy of Coventry Transport Museum

Just a couple of weeks left to get energised and jog on down to this exhilarating celebration of Coventry’s title of European City of Sport 2019, 19 different physical challenges are presented, mostly accessible to all ages and abilities. Activities are collaborative and non-sporting (hurrah no family spats) and range from disco donuts to nostalgic tennis, thermal cameras to tightrope walking.  You can also test yourself in individual pursuits such as ‘How Accurately Can You Kick?’ to discover if you have what it takes to be the next football star (maybe take off your heels for that one).


COMEDY: Ed Byrne – If I’m Honest, Bedworth Civic Hall, Sat Nov 9

Photo by Idil Sukan

Join the master of observational comedy and TV favourite as he takes a long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has ANY traits that are worth passing on to his kids.


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



THEATRE: Lungs, Old Vic theatre, London, 14 Oct – 9 Nov

The Crown alumni Claire Foy and Matt Smith (aka The Queen and Prince Philip, of course) are reunited in Lungs at the Old Vic (14 Oct–9 Nov), playing a couple wrestling with life’s big issues, such as whether to have children, against the backdrop of a world teetering on the edge of environmental and political disaster.


EXHIBITION: William Blake, Tate Britain, London, until Sun 2 Feb 2020 

This autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, below, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.

Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots. Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span.


EXHIBITION: Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, V&A Museum, London, until Sun 8 Mar 2020

 Curated in collaboration with the lauded avant garde Vogue portrait and fashion photographer, this will feature some of Walker’s seminal, fantastical images from his 25-year career, featuring major celebs including Kate Moss, Sir David Attenborough, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Björk and many more. You can also see 10 new photographic series created for the show, by Walker, influenced by the museum’s exhibits.


Find more ideas here

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