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What’s On This Week?


DANCE: Fagin’s Twist, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University campus, Coventry, Wed Mar 13 & Thu Mar 14 

Photo by Rachel Cherry

Avant Garde Dance mix contemporary hip hop, music and story to re-tell this much-loved classic. Presenting Dickens’ Oliver Twist in a new light, Tony Adigun’s choreography flips your expectations of five familiar characters, in a world that’s not so far from our own, for ages 8+. The production has received a raft of 4-star reviews.  Choreographer Tony has previously worked with Cirque du Soleil, Sky One’s Got to Dance, Whitney Houston, Usher, Ashanti, Janet Jackson, and Cheryl Cole, 7.30pm, warwickartscentre


SCULPTURE: See The Knife Angel, Coventry Cathedral, Thur Mar 14

A striking 27ft sculpture designed by sculptor Alfie Bradley formerly of the British Ironworks Centre (BIC) in Oswestry, fashioned from 100,000 knives, surrendered and collected during national amnesties in 2015/16, is going on display outside Coventry Cathedral this week. It is touring the UK to raise awareness of the impact of knife crime and is due to remain in the city until Easter, coventrycathedral


ART: Painting Childhood & Childhood Now, Compton Verney, opens Sat March 16 – June 16

Chantal Joffe, Self-portrait combing Esme’s hair, 2009 ⓒ Chantal Joffe, Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, LondonVenice.

Compton Verney opens its doors this week with Painting Childhood boasting a wealth of masterpieces. Key loans include 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. This is the first time these iconic paintings will be paired with the preparatory sketches that informed them. Alongside ‘Painting Childhood’ is the sister exhibition ‘Childhood Now’ with 3 contemporary artists who have used their own children or childhood to depict modern youth – Chantal Joffe, Mark Fairnington and Matthew Krishanu. comptonverney


THEATRE: The RSC’s As You Like It, Feb 14 – Aug 31 & The Taming of the Shrew, March 8 – Aug 31, at RST, Stratford, 

 What can you look forward to this summer? Well, three Shakespeare gems, two Restoration classics and a stunning new two-hander! The season has just opened with Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It on until Aug 31 followed by Justin Audibert’s bold gender-swapping The Taming of the Shrew from Mar 8 – Aug 31. March also sees the premiere of Kunene and the King, a moving and funny new play by the South African actor, activist and playwright John Kani (The Island, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, Black Panther) marking 25 years since the first post-apartheid democratic elections. Fellow South Africans Janice Honeyman and Antony Sher direct and perform respectively, opposite John Kani,, Tel: 01789 403493.

THEATRE FOR LITTLIES: Twirlywoos Live! The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Mon Mar 11

Inventive puppetry and a cast full of characters from this Cbeebies fave for babies and young children, 1.30pm & 4.30pm,  Tickets Tel: 02476 99 89 64 (open 10.30 – 13.30 Monday to Saturday) albanytheatre


THEATRE: Truth, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Mar 13 & Thur Mar 13

Photo by Toby Farrow

Singer songwriter Helen Chadwick joins forces with Olivier award-winning and Tony nominated Steven Hoggett to create this beautiful and thought-provoking show which explores the once-simple notion of Truth in our messy modern age of fake news, warwickartscentre.


ART PREVIEW: OPEN 2019, Leamington Spa Art Gallery, Fri Mar 15 – May 27

The gallery’s biennial OPEN exhibition has been incredibly popular since the 1930s and is an opportunity to view and buy a wide range of locally-produced art work from across the West Midlands. The exhibition will run from Fri Mar 15 – May 27.

GUIDED WALK: 8.5m Walk from Edge Hill, Shenington (Tysoe village church) to Upton House and Gardens, including soup, Mon Mar 11 & June 10

Put your walking boots on and discover some of the history of the stunning countryside, huge vistas and big skies surrounding Upton House and Gardens on this strenuous round walk. There will be a pause for lunch at Upton House before walking a different route back to Tysoe. A bowl of hot soup along with a cup of house tea or coffee is included. Run in association with the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens. Arrive from 9.30am for a 10am departure ends 3pm, £6.50, nationaltrust


THEATRE: Under the Umbrella, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mar 2 – Sat Mar 16

Mei-Mac as Wei in Under-the-Umbrella. Photo by Tara Rutledge

Telling the story of a young Chinese woman studying for a PhD in Coventry, Under the Umbrella explores the pressures around marriage, dating and family faced by women in both Britain and China today, in partnership with Yellow Earth Theatre as part of Tamasha’s IGNITE programme. Tickets on 024 7655 3055, belgrade


MUSIC: Nicki Minaj, Arena Birmingham, Thur Mar 14
Amid waves of controversy, public spats with Cardi B and cancelled shows, the hip-hop icon gives her adoring fans a fully immersive superstar Queen experience on her UK tour. According to reviews the majority of the show focuses on Nicki’s rap roots and outfits include a gold leotard and crown. But after a difficult year critics have been asking is she losing grip on her throne? arenabham
THEATRE: Rock of Ages, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Mon Mar 11 – Sat Mar 16

Rock on baby! Strictly winner Kevin Clifton dons distressed denim, leather and some very questionable wigs in this smash hit musical about an LA love story, featuring over 25 classic rock songs on the musical’s mega tour. Tickets belgrade Tel: 024 7655 3055.


DESIGN: See two hand-crafted pieces of bespoke furniture designed by Lee Lapthorne Hall’s Croft and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon, from Mar 11 – Sept 15

Go and see The Bard’s Rest a pop-up sofa designed with bespoke textiles; and The Love Settle, a  weather-proof outdoor garden lounger bearing digital, screen-printed and embroidered fabric designed by“Fashion’s Wild Child” by Lee Lapthorne, one of the UK’s top textiles artists. He’s the new Artist-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust doncha know!  These two pieces are currently on display at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Hall’s Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon.


HOME-WORKING?  **New Co-worker Hub and Cafe launch** The Kitchen Farnborough, Mon to Fri

Some fab news! This friendly and vibrant rural Warwickshire gastro pub restaurant is this week embarking on a pioneering new mid-week venture which could be seen as a blue print for other rural pubs. It’s opening its doors to the home-working community, inviting people to come and enjoy meeting other like-minded individuals at their new co-working hub and café. A brilliant idea! So, if you fancy taking your laptop and enjoying a delicious deli style grazing lunch do pop along – think Ottolenghi meeting the best sausage roll you will ever taste! It will be open to visitors and members Mon to Fri, 9-5 ongoing, with pancakes and coffee and their customary welcoming smile. Located between Banbury and Warwick in a National Trust village near Farnborough Hall it’s a lovely, peaceful spot yet easily accessible.

Where? Main Street, Farnborough, nr. Banbury , OX17 1DZ, Tel: 01295 690615, thekitchenfarnborough/


TV: Fleabag, series two, BBC1 & BBC 3, now available

Photo credit: BBC/Two Brothers/Luke Varley

Yay! Phoebe Waller-Bridge, fresh from writing mega-hit Killing Eve, is back with a new, darker season of Fleabag, one of the best things on TV in 2016It starts at 10.35pm on BBC 1 on Mon March 4 – and is available on BBC 3.


AFTERNOON TEA TALK: An Intimate Look at Upton’s Art Treasures, Upton House & Gardens, nr Edgehill, Thur Mar 14

Courtesy of the National Trust

The Shell oil fortune enabled Walter Samuel to assemble one of the finest private art collections in England. Join house guide Barbara for a close look at four of Upton’s treasures: the 17th-century Brussels tapestries; the desk with ties to Napoleon and to Shell; El Greco’s El Espolio painting, and the stolen Sèvres porcelain that returned to Upton. The talk will be followed by a traditional cream tea in Iris’ tea room, Upton’s converted old kitchen, 2.30 – 4pm, £10, nationaltrust


MUSIC: The Coral, Leamington Assembly, Fri Mar 15

This Mercury-nominated Wirral indie band with their catchy tunes and melodies like Dreaming of You, Jacqueline and In the Morning are on the line-up at BBC 6 Music’s Festival in Liverpool, along with former guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones – and already completely sold out. Although it seems like they’ve been around for years they’re still only in their 30s! Their ninth album, Move Through the Dawn, has been getting great national press reviews.

Tickets here

COMEDY: Andrew Maxwell, Showtime, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Fri Mar 15

A memorable cocktail of personal stories, astute political observations and the odd surprise foray into character cameos from the devilish voice of MTV’s Ex On The Beach if you’re under the age of 25, 7.45pm, Age 14+ , warwickartscentre

THEATRE FOR TEENS: Blankface, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Fri Mar 15

Innovative London-based youth led creative platform, My Runway Group, uses choreographed drama, movement and artistic language to explore the racial and political themes surrounding youth culture and knife crime and issues that are increasingly in the headlines. Tickets: £11 adult & £8 concession, suitable for ages 13+,

KIDS: Make It Saturdays! Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, Sat Mar 16

A chance to try traditional crafts led by our creative team and experiment with science, art and construction (STEAM) activities including Willow Weaved Dreamcatchers on Mar 16, Decorate a Birdbox on April 20 and every kid’s favourite, Make Slime! on May 26, £3.50 per person.  Pay on the day but book in advance at the Gallery Desk or ring 01788 533217.


KIDS: Lydia Monks – The Girl, The Bear and The Magic Shoes, Birmingham Town Hall, Sat Mar 16

Long-time Julia Donaldson collaborator, multi award-winning illustrator Lydia Monks takes part in this amazing live draw-along show!

Tickets here


MUSIC: Georgie Fame in Concert, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Sat Mar 16

A rare performance by a genuinely cool, dapper musician. Blending jazz and rhythm & blues, Georgie Fame’s impressive career includes more than 20 albums, 14 hit singles and collaborations with some of music’s most famous names including Muddy Waters, Gene Vincent, Bill Wyman, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. For this performance, audiences will be treated to Georgie’s hits, music from artists that have influenced him and personal stories and anecdotes, 8pm


ART: Spring 2019 sees the launch of Compton Verney’s second ‘eyecatcher’ art installation in the grounds, open from Sat March 16

Eyecatcher – artists impression

Green Dwelling has been imagined by Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, and will consist of a collection of differently-sized green blocks ranged across the Old Town Meadow. The blocks highlight the history of the land: once the site of the medieval village of Compton Murdak, the meadow was planted with elm trees in the 18th century, lost due to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. Like a modern Stonehenge, the blocks playfully reference these lost histories. Paths and picnic benches are integral to the design, transforming the meadow into a destination to explore and enjoy. An exciting opportunity to re-frame familiar views of the Grade-I listed mansion house.


EVENT: Discover Your Irish Family History, Birmingham Back to Basics, Sat Mar 16

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day by tracing your Irish Family History with expert Maggie Loughran at this National Trust restored 19th-century courtyard of 4 back-to-back houses. This beginners talk will guide you through sources to help determine your ancestor’s place of birth and also look at some of the more easily accessible records. The advanced session will guide you through how to locate what pre-1865 information has survived and where to access it. This workshop is aimed at those who are already familiar with the basics of genealogical research. 10.30am – 12noon 1pm – 3pm, £12 (adult). Tel: 0344 2491895.

DESIGN EXHIBITION: The Ideas behind Design: Vintage Heal’s Posters Exhibition, Upton House, Warwickshire, on now

Coinciding with the final year of Upton’s Made-To-Measure story, the exhibition will illustrate the inter-war vogue for modern living and furnishing. London’s 200-year-old Tottenham Court Road furniture store Heal’s employed the talent of British modern artists to promote the store’s designs. You will be able to see an exclusive collection of their original advertising posters and ephemera, which showcase the range of commercial art created for the store from the early 1920s to the 1980s, 11am – 4.45pm, nationaltrust


EXHIBITION: Rossetti Pre the Pre-Raphelities, Wightwick Manor and Gardens, Wolverhampton, on now

Celebrating the acquisition of early Rossetti sketches see a new exhibition featuring 52 of the artists’ early work at this home where Victorian art and design were passions of the former owners, the Mander family. All of the drawings are from between 1844-48 during a time when Rossetti was receiving his art education, when still a teenager, 12noon – 4pm, nationaltrust


GIN SCHOOL EXPERIENCE LAUNCH: Hatton Shopping Village, Hatton, near Warwick, now open

Fancy tasting a new local speciality gin distilled in Warwick or having a go at making your own? Martin and Lorraine Moore, the couple behind Moores of Warwick, will be moving into their new premises at Hatton Shopping Village this weekend. After receiving his cancer diagnosis former accountant Martin thought “Bugger it! I want to have some fun” so booked himself on a distillers’ course in order to follow his dream of making his own gin. It’s a hand-crafted gin using a selection of 12 botanicals including Honeysuckle, the flower emblem of Warwickshire and for citrus notes a scented pelargonium called “Lemon Fancy” sourced from a local nursery which holds the national collection and is by Royal appointment to HR The Prince of Wales.




THEATRE: Wise Children, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, April 2 – 6

Exciting new ahoy for Cov! Wise Children Artistic Director Emma Rice will take on a starring role in her critically-acclaimed production of the same name when it arrives in Coventry next month. Together with Richmond Theatre, the Belgrade Theatre is one of just TWO tour venues to see her step into the shoes of showgirl Nora Chance, taking over the role from Etta Murfitt. Based on the classic novel by Angela Carter, Wise Children is the first production by Emma Rice’s new company, formed following her departure from Shakespeare’s Globe.  Tickets on 024 7655 3055, belgrade


In Bloom Mother’s Day Hand-Tied Bouquet Workshop, Farnborough, Warks, Thur Mar 28 

Want to surprise your mum with a hand-tied bouquet? Mum-and-daughter team Alex and Diane are running a workshop in their stunning farmhouse surrounded by fields of new Spring lambs, in a fun, friendly and relaxed environment! What could be lovelier? While enjoying fizz & nibbles, learn to make your very own beautiful hand-tied bouquet. The workshop is £55, or £100 for two people! If the date doesn’t suit, feel free to get in touch, they may be able to offer other dates. To book, email:


FILM:  If Beale Street Could Talk, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Fri Mar 22 – 28 

KiKi Layne and Stephan James in If Beale Street Could Talk. Photo: Tatum Mangus / Annapurna Picture/Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

An adaptation of James Baldwin’s beautiful novel set in early 1970s Harlem, about a young black couple, pregnant Tish and her boyfriend Fonny (KiKi Layne and Stephan James), whose love story is interrupted when Fonny’s jailed on a false rape charge. Regina King has won the Oscar for best supporting actress. Book and check times here.


THEATRE: Kunene and the King, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Thur Mar 21 – Apr 23

Photo credit: RSC

.The world premiere of a moving two-hander about a renowned but ailing actor taking on the role of King Lear. His new nurse is not what he expected. Can he overcome his prejudices and accept the help that’s offered? Written and performed by renowned South African actor, John Kani, opposite Antony Sher, the play marks 25 years since the first democratic elections in South Africa. A co-production with Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre, it’s directed by the ‘doyenne’ of South African theatre Janice Honeyman.

Tickets here.


GINFEST: Fargo’s Independent Mini Gin Festival, The Box, Fargo Village, Coventry, Fri Mar 22 & Sat Mar 23

Fancy tasting some new indie gins? Fargo is inviting several independent gin distilleries to showcase their gins, so you get to try them out and learn about them from the distillers themselves. There will also be live music, entertainment and street food. Advance tickets, £7.50 here


MUSIC: Martin Kemp – The ultimate back to the 80’s DJ set, Leamington Assembly, Fri Mar 22

The former Spandau Ballet pop idol and actor will be taking to the decks and spinning his fave hits from the 80’s. Spandau Ballet sold millions of records worldwide in their 80’s hey-day and Martin is still a huge TV personality starring in The Krays & Eastenders. If you were a fan back in the day, be still your beating heart…and remember the mullet!

Tickets here


MOTHER’S DAY, Sun March 31

Enjoy a rural Mother’s Day lunch taking in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside at Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, a Sparkling Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea at Upton House including a glass of bubbles in a vintage 1930s kitchen, a Mothering Sunday Afternoon Tea and a walk at Coughton Court, Alcester. Like Vintage tearooms?  Orangemabel, Alcester, Vinteas, Leamington, The Fourteas, Stratford (winner Best Cafe/Bistro – The Food Awards England 2018) or Fargo Village’s Little Vintage Cake Company in Coventry. Children can make Mother’s Day Posies for their mum at Canons Ashby near Daventry. Or how about a relaxing mother and daughter simultaneous 30-minute massage at Hampton Clinic in Hampton-in-Arden?


MUSIC: Sharon Van Etten, The Mill, 29 Lower Trinity St, Digbeth, Birmingham, Thur Mar 21

Photo by Ryan Pfluger

Catch the American singer-songwriter and actress from New Jersey who starred in Netflix series The OA while she’s visiting our shores. A torchbearer of American folk, she is known for writing complex songs about the dark side of love. Her latest fifth album, Remind Me Tomorrow, written during her recent pregnancy and the birth of her first child, and deals with the impact of parenting.

Tickets here


MUSIC: The Sleaford Mods, O2Institute, Birmingham, Sat Mar 23

I really like Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods – their songs on new fifth album Eton Alive are so sarky and full of absurdist political humour. They’re one of the most politically charged and thought-provoking post-punk bands around. Tickets here.


MUSIC: Dido, Arena Birmingham, Thur Nov 28

Following the release of new album Still On My Mind, on March 8, Dido has announced her 2019 Nov/Dec tour opening at Arena Birmingham on Thursday November 28. The announcement marks Dido’s first return to touring in 15 years, and will see her performing material from the new album, as well as classic tracks such as Thank You, Here With Me, White Flag and Life For Rent,

Tickets go on general sale from Fri Mar 15 at 9.30am via or Tel: 0844 33 88 222 (*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge). 



LONDON DESIGN WEEK: Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, until Fri Mar 15

There’s a couple of interior shows popping up in London this month if you’re thinking of sprucing up your gaff. First up is London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, until Fri 15 Mar, with 120  showrooms and over of 600 luxury brands- the biggest of its kind in Europe. Later in the month the whopper Ideal Home Show rocks up at Olympia London, Fri 22 Mar – Sun 7 April, with hundreds of free talks, 600 companies and the latest tech. This year the theme is Best of British so expect loads of UK companies. Does anyone else feel a splurge coming on?


ART: Jeff Koons at The Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 9 Jun 

Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean

King of Kitsch, Jeff Koons is curating his own exhibition in collaboration with Norman Rosenthal. Spanning Koons’ entire career and showcasing seventeen works, most of which have never been shown in the UK before, the show will include his popular series Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings.


EXHIBITION: Abstract Allies, Zuleika Gallery, London, until Fri Mar 29

Curated by former BBC Radio News journo and hardcore art collector, Tim Sayer MBE, and the gallery’s director Lizzie Collins, this colourful exhibits showcases art, sculptures and ceramics from abstract artists including Liz West (you can also check out her installation over the border in Herts at St Albans Museum & Gallery until Tues 19 Mar), Lucie Rie and Howard Hodgkin. On Tues 12 Mar, there’ll also be a gallery talk with Tim and reception, booking essential (


THEATRE: Betrayal, Pinter at the Pinter, London, on now

Golden Globe and Olivier Award winner Tom HiddlestonFresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox star in Jamie Lloyd Company’s revival. Betrayal charts a compelling seven-year romance, thrillingly captured in reverse chronological order. Described as “the greatest, and the most moving, of all Pinter’s plays” (Daily Telegraph), this production marks the culmination of the Jamie Lloyd Company’s ground-breaking Pinter at the Pinter season. Tickets here.


MUSIC: BBC 6 Music Festival, Liverpool, Fri March 29 – Sun March 31

Rising London rapper Miss Simz aka Simbi Ajikawo

If you listen to 6 Music you’ll have heard that their brilliant annual music festival line-up has been announced at this year’s chosen city, Liverpool. Artists include The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bodega, Little Simz, Julia Jacklin and Idles to name but a few. There’s also poetry from Roger McGough, Jess Green and Amina Atiq.

Tickets online here  or 08444 77 1000.


EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until  Sun July 14

Tickets are selling like hotcakes for this! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.

Find more ideas here

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