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This Week


Meet Father Christmas, Hall’s Croft, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon, Dec 7 & 8; 14 & 15 Dec

Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas will be stopping by Hall’s Croft to meet with kids to hear about their Christmas wishes. Each child will receive a charming gift with their name on it. The festive experience continues in the cafe where children can decorate their very own Christmas biscuits to take home, or enjoy there and then. A BSL interpreter will accompany Father Christmas on Saturday, 11am – 4pm (BSL-interpreted sessions on 14 December, 11am – 2pm).  Tickets, £10 per child (timed entry, advance booking advisable) available here.


HERITAGE: Christmas at the Castle, Kenilworth Castle, Sat 7 Dec-Sun 8 Dec

Father Christmas is on hand to receive hand-delivered Christmas wish lists and there’ll be toy making, storytelling, festive falconry, jesters and more.

Check out the full timetable of events here.


HERITAGE: Victorian Christmas Evening, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Fri 6 Dec-Sun 8 Dec

It’s the third year for this hugely popular event, when the historic streets of Stratford are brought to life with traditional yuletide sights, sounds and smells underneath the beautiful Christmas lights. It makes for a full day out with friends or family, with more than 300 stalls, reindeer, performance stage in Henley Street, funfair, craft market in the Town Hall and all the festive food and drink you can shake a stick at.

Fri 6 Dec (11am-8pm), Sat 7 Dec (10am-8pm) & Sun 8 Dec (10am-5pm); more info here.


THEATRE: The Boy in the DressRoyal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wed Nov 27, until Mar 2020

David Walliams with Robbie Williams and wife Ayda Field at the opening night of The Boy In The Dress at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo by Andrew Fox

The RSC in Stratford was a-buzz with stars attending the glitzy opening night of The Boy in the Dress last week including its creator David Walliams, Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers who’ve composed the score;  RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran and former RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill who adapted the book. VIP guests on the green carpet included Natalie Imbruglia, Cerys Matthews, David Baddiel, David Bradley, Alan Carr, Taron Egerton, Ray Fearon, Robbie’s wife Ayda Field, and Dawn Harper.


THEATRE: Raymond Briggs’ Father ChristmasWarwick Arts Centre, until Sun Dec 29

Father Christmas production by London’s Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Pins and Needles

A blooming brilliant festive treat for children aged 3 to six-years-old and their families! This critically acclaimed production by London’s Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Pins and Needles follows Briggs’ grumpy but lovable Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year, Christmas Eve. First published in 1973, Father Christmas won Briggs the annual Kate Greenaway Medal for best children’s book illustration (his second win). The author went on to write and draw many other acclaimed books for children, including The Snowman, Fungus The Bogeyman, Ug: Boy Genius Of The Stone Age, and The Bear.

Book online at warwickartscentre or call 024 7652 4524


MUSIC: Adam Peter Smith, Play On, Susie’s Cafe Bar, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thur Dec 5

Live music at the RSC’s chilled out cafe/bar is played on the first Thursday of the month starting at 7.30pm. This week it’s the turn of one of the UK’s many travelling buskers. Adam Peter Smith  has travelled the world with his music from New Zealand to Yorkshire and has played many of the UK’s intimate cafe venues and house concerts. His music is reminiscent of folk singer songwriters such as James Taylor and John Martyn but he also offers a more modern twist with his baritone vocal style and his original take on covers. Free, no booking required.


CRAFT: Christmas Decoration Making, Upton House & Gardens, Thu 5 Dec

While many of the traditional Christmas wreath workshops are fully booked, there are still a few tickets left for the give-it-a-go Christmas decoration making at Upton House & Gardens with pottery artist Penny Varley on Thu 6 Dec. Your works of art will be taken away and professionally fired, ready for collection from Mon 16 Dec.

Workshops runs from 10am-1pm; tickets here at £58 per person.


FAMILY: St. Nicholas Night, Alcester, Thu 5 Dec

Featuring a parade of classic and rally vehicles, children’s rides, Santa’s grotto, shopping and more.

Info here.


BALLET: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Birmingham Hippodrome, until Sat 14 Dec

Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker

Just over two weeks to catch classic and captivating The Nutcracker, performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s elite dancers.

Book online


FAMILY: Christmas Wassail, Coughton Court, Sat 7 Dec & Sun 8 Dec & Give-it-a-go Christmas Decoration making, Upton House, Thu Dec 6

Birmingham Crescent Theatre bring Christmas stories and carols and there’s a roaring fire and mince pies to enhance the festive atmosphere in this beautiful Tudor house. The National Trust gift shop will be open for a bonus chance to tick a few off your list. While many of the traditional Christmas wreath workshops are fully booked, there are still a few tickets left for Christmas decoration making at Upton House & Gardens with pottery artist Penny Varley on Thu 6 Dec.

Booking essential – get tickets online. Two time slots are available each evening from 4.30pm-6pm and 7.30pm-9pm.


FAMILY: Enchanted Christmas Kingdom, Hatton Adventure World, every weekend until Sun 22 Dec (plus two extra days Mon 23 & Tue 24 Dec)

A Hatton Christmas Reindeer

Hatton Adventure World is a top destination for a full day out, where its popular Enchanted Christmas Kingdom is in full swing. This year, the twinkling grotto is bigger and better than ever, where children receive a Golden Key to unlock St. Nick’s magical workshop and choose a present of their choice. There are also several new activities including interactive singalong show Reindeer Flying School and the Christmas Magician Show, plus The Owl and the Orient King falconry show, festive Fun Fair Rides, Zoobee’s Festive Friends Puppet show, Reindeer Quest, gingerbread decorating with the elves, reindeer food making and Christmas letter writing. Elsewhere in the Adventure World, explore Christmas in the Farmyard & Guinea Pig Village, Festive Scales & Tails, the Indoor Soft Play and Adventure Play.

Tickets must be booked online in advance.


PANTO: Puss in Boots, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until Sat 11 Jan

Craig Hollingsworth as Baggy B and ensemble – credit Robert Day

Puss in Boots is a shining example of slapstick absurdity. Written and directed by Iain Lauchlan, who stars as Dame Matilda Pudding, this year’s show marks Lauchlan’s 25th year in panto at the Coventry theatre. Best known as the writer of the BAFTA-winning series The Tweenies, Lauchlan is joined by long-term comedy partner-in-crime Craig Hollingsworth as Matilda’s son, Simon aka Baggie B, who wants to be an ‘Instafamous’ rapper…It also stars Miriam Grace Edwards as Princess Sophia – who’s previously performed in a number of alternative B2 pantos – and David Gilbrook as her father, King Colin, supported by a Junior Chorus of local kids aged 9-16.


MUSIC: Bjorn Again, O2 Academy, Birmingham, Fri Dec 6

                                                                                       The internationally acclaimed ABBA tribute extravaganza, which has even been performed for the Queen, land in Birmingham for a pre-Christmas pop-fest. The concert follows the hugely popular act’s 30th anniversary tour last year and their Glastonbury debut in summer 2019. It’s widely regarded as the most successful show of its type; so, if it’s your bag, don your blue eyeshadow and your dancing shoes and you’re ready to roll!

Tickets here.


Christmas Makers Market, Fargo Village, Coventry Sat Dec 7& Sun Dec 8, plus Sat Dec 14

Looking for local independent, handcrafted gifts this Winter?  FarGo claims to have the best festive makers and designers around over the next two weekends, plus festive entertainment, performances,food and mulled wine on Saturday from 11am-5pm, and Sunday 11am-4pm.


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

A Museum in Baghdad production photo by Ellie Kurttz c RSC

An 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?


THEATRE: Peter PanBirmingham Rep Theatre, until Sun 19 Jan 

Liam Steel (director) and Lawrence Walker (Peter Pan) in rehearsal. Photo credit Johan Persson

Liam Steel returns to direct a new visually spectacular 21st century version of  J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan at Birmingham Rep. With the delightful twist of a Brummie setting, the show features lots of aerial flying, puppetry, a giant man-eating crocodile and sprinkle of fairy dust. The show follows Olivier Award-winning Steel’s modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz at Birmingham Rep Theatre last year, which proved to be a big hit with audiences.


THEATRE: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, The Alexandra, Birmingham, Tue Dec 3 – Sat Dec 7

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

A musical inspired by Dr. Seuss’s wacky story set in the whimsical world of Whoville. Max the Dog narrates the story of the scheming Grinch whose heart is ‘two sizes too small,’ as he decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos. This production is based on the Broadway show originally created by three-time Tony Award-winning director Jack O’Brien.

Tickets here.



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

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

Catch one of Shakespeare’s rarely-performed works as director Eleanor Rhode makes an “engrossing” debut in the Swan Theatre. Stirring 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”.


ENDING SOON: Magnum Manifesto, Compton Verney, now until Sun 15 Dec

Constantine Manos, DaufuskieIsland, South Caroline, USA,1952 © Constantine Manos/Magnum Photos

Only a couple of weeks left to catch this magnetic exhibition, with Compton Verney being its only UK venue. The phenomenal exhibition charts 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.


FAMILY: Marvel Universe Live!, Arena Birmingham, Thu 5 Dec-Sun 8 Dec

Comic fans assemble! Action-packed, fast-paced experience Marvel Universe Live! An action-packed arena show with favourite comic characters including Spider-Man, The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange as they unite to defend the universe from evil Loki. Featuring cutting-edge special effects galore and immersive video projection.

Book here


MUSIC: Yule Love Music, Coventry, Fri 6 Dec-Sun 8 Dec

Jane Claudio (Nightbirde). Photo courtesy of BID Coventry

Head to Coventry city centre this weekend to soak up the wintery festival atmosphere, with live performances from singers, bands, dancers and DJ sets. Special guest artist Jane Claudio (Nightbirde) is included in the line-up, all the way from musical capital of the world Nashville.


THEATRE: Merrily We Roll Along, Loft Theatre, Wed 4 Dec-Sat 14 Dec

Merrily We Roll Along. Photo credit: Richard Smith Photography.

The Loft Theatre presents Merrily We Roll Along from Wed 4 Dec-Sat 14 Dec – a Sondheim production that’s received both an Olivier Award and a cult following. Director James Suckling and Musical Director Liam Walker take us on a journey both heartbreaking and funny, telling the story of a film producer who pays the high price of Hollywood success. Richard Moore’s innovative set and Michael Wheeldon’s exciting lighting design make it a musical treat not to be missed. Performances each evening at 7.30pm (but no performance Mon 9 Dec) and 5pm on Sun 8 Dec. Book online.


THEATRE: Launch of Campaign to raise £20,000 for young people to access theatre goes live, Birmingham Hippodrome, Dec 3

Birmingham Hippodrome has just launched a seven day fundraising campaign on 3 Dec 2019 urging people to dig deep to help raise £20,000 to allow 3,000 young people to v isit shows, participate in workshops and develop career opportunities . To achieve this ambitious target, the theatre has joined The Big Give’s #ChristmasChallenge19, which will see all donations doubled for just seven days from Dec 3.



AM DRAM: The Sound of Music, Rugby Theatre, Fri 6 Dec-Sun 15 Dec

Libby Lowe as Maria, Philip Evan as Captain von Trapp and the von Trapp children in Rugby Theatre’s The Sound of Music. Image courtesy of Rugby Theatre.

To celebrate their 70th anniversary, the Rugby Theatre get us in the festive spirit with firm family fave The Sound of MusicGet spirited away to the mountains of Salzburg, dreaming of doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles, as Director Emma Bright presents singing nuns, yodling goatherds, stunning sets and fabulous costumes.

Catch one of the 9 performances, including Sunday matinees, by booking tickets here.


CHILDREN’S THEATRE: Santa and the Christmas Dragon, Macready Theatre, Rugby Sun 8 Dec-Fri 13 Dec

An interactive family show two children who receive a pet dragon for Christmas.

Tickets here.



ZeroWaste Christmas Market, 152 Brick Ln, London, E1 6RU, Sat Dec 7

A Christmas market bringing together the best of the UK’s independent, sustainable businesses  – 50 in total – under one roof for easier and greener gifting this festive season. Also expect hot mulled wine and delicious food from Shakey Shakey Vegan, Bardei Baci, Let’s Do Temaki and Tastopia. Entry from entry from £7.49/

Rufus and Martha Wainwright’s “A Not So Silent Night”Royal Festival Hall, London, Fri Dec 6

A star-studded family Christmas show in Dublin and London with many special guests from French and Saunders, to Guy Garvey, Boy George, Brian Eno, Linda Thompson and Peter Gabriel to family members. Proceeds are in aid of  sarcoma cancer research and a music therapy program for cancer patients.



CHRISTMAS: Carols at the Castle, Warwick Castle, Sat 21 Dec 

Warwick Castle looking festive this Christmas with its new ice rink.

A majestic evening held in the Courtyard, with hot food and drinks including mulled wine. Warble your heart out with carols led by the choir of St Mary’s and accompanied by the traditional tones of the fantastic Royal Spa Brass.

Buy tickets


MUSIC: Stormzy, Arena Birmingham, Sat 19 Sep 2020

Stormzy. Photo courtesy of NEC Group.

Stormzy has announced a gigantic 55-date globe-trotting tour next year, kicking off in Dubai and concluding in Africa. One of his stops is Arena Birmingham and tickets go on sale this week. New album Heavy in the Head was announced last week, so fans will be bursting with excitement at this latest news.

Tickets on sale from 9am Fri 6 Dec here.


MUSIC: Pussycat Dolls, Arena Birmingham, Wed 8 Apr 2020

Pussycat Dolls. Photo courtesy of NEC Group.

Don’t cha…? Era defying, chart-topping, button-pushing, multi-platinum Pussycat Dolls are reuniting for a U.K. Tour, performing together for the first time in over a decade. Sing and boogie your heart out to all the fierce favourite hits.

Tickets up for grabs now! See here.

Find more ideas here

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