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This Weekend


Shakespeare’s Birthday Weekender, Sun April 22 & Mon April 23

Shakespeare birthday celebrations in Stratford upon Avon, photo credit: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

This year’s birthday commemorations include a new community carnival as well as the traditional procession led by the Head Boy of Shakespeare’s old school, King Edward VI Grammar, the unfurling of flags and birthday banner and parade to Holy Trinity Church. Throughout the day events will be held by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company, including a Shakespeare’s Birthday Knights & Nymphs Garden dressing-up party for children in Hall’s Croft with sweet bites & fizz for grown-ups (12 – 4pm) and the RSC’s 50p Sonnet Ferry across the River Avon. See Spotlight for weekend highlights.



Join John Hegley, Aoife Mannix and Xanthe Gresham in family-friendly SPIN, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Apr 21

John Helgey – a regular sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival Photo by by Jackie di Stefano

An interactive poetry and story-telling session for 7-11 year olds as part of Shakesepare Birthday Celebrations. The always funny festival and Radio 4 comic poet John Hegley is a frequent performer of words, both sung and spoken, and is noted for his exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs, and the misery of human existence.  Xanthe Gresham’s storytelling style is highly energetic and captivating.  She summons goddesses and heroes to take centre stage.  Aoife Mannix will delight you with her poems, humour and interactive style.  The event will be compered by Kenny Baraka, the energetic and charismatic lyricist and poet in a fun session is presented by Apples and Snakes, the UK’s leading promoters of performance poetry and the spoken word, 5-6pm. 

Box Office: rsc, 01789 403493 


Stratford Literary Festival 2018, venues in-and-around Stratford-upon-Avon

Wow what an amazing line-up! Speakers range from RSC actress Harriet Walter on Brutus and Other Heroines to actor Greg Wise with palliative care expert Dr Kathryn Mannix and Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones on her first novel. Then there’s Alistair Sawday, the founder of Sawdays Travel Guides, writer Jon McGregor (winner of the Costa Novel Award 2017) and Amanda Craig, Diana Evans with Libby Purves. Other highlights include top UK poet Wendy Cope, Jeremy Vine, Harriet Harman and Jess Phillips with Jane Garvey, Simon Mayo and BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin. Loads of brilliant festival workshops and wonderful children’s events including Harry Hill and Aardman Model Workshops to look forward to. Tix are sure to get booked up pretty quickly – make haste!



12th annual FlatPack Film Festival 2018, Birmingham, Fri Apr 13 – Sun Apr 22

A festival held in venues across Birmingham every spring. Drawing people from far and wide with a mixture of films, performances, talks, kids events and surprises, it’s been described as “magnificently eclectic” (Time Out), “joyously inventive” (the Guardian) and “the UK’s most creatively curated film festival” (the Independent). Special events include the Warwickshire-based Teletubbies, In The Night Garden and Twirlywoos creator Anne Wood in Conversation and 1925 film Variety with live trapeze, acrobatics and physical theatre. There’s also the UK premiere of Hungarian animator Reka Busci’s Solar Walk with a live score by a 17-piece jazz big band from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Colour Box events for kids, a workshop with BAFTA-winning and Oscar nominated Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Wilder and a 10-hour installation of quirky YouTube shorts by American indie filmmakers, The Eyeslicer. 



Private Lives, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs April 19 – Sat April 21

Olivia-Beardsley-as-Sibyl-Photography © Sheila Burnett

Relive the glitz and glamour of the jazz age in London Classic Theatre’s new production of Noël Coward’s sparkling comedy about an unexpected encounter between two honeymooning couples with a tangled romantic history. It’s remained Coward’s most popular and enduring stage play since opening to packed houses in August 1930.

Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade


Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, April 21 – Sept 21/ Live in Cinemas Jul 18

Check out Shakespeare’s epic story of teen love and loss starring Coventry’s Bally Gill as Romeo and Glasgwegian actress Karen Fishwick as Juliet in the RSC’s contemporary Summer production directed by Erica Whyman.



Fancy owning Josette Simon’s breastplate from Antony & Cleopatra or David Tennant’s trousers from Hamlet ? Check out the RSC’s Stitch in Time eBay auction, Tues Apr 17 – 27

54 costume items will be auctioned to raise money for the RSC’s Stitch In Time campaign, to support the restoration and redevelopment of its Costume Workshop.  The online auction will take place over Shakespeare’s Birthday for a 10-day period between Tuesday 17 and Friday 27 April. The auction will go live at 8pm on Tues April 17 and end at 8pm on Friday 27.



The Carnival of Light, Empire Coventry, Far Gosford St, Fri April 20 – Sat April 21

An 18+ club concept playing garage, techno & bass night from 10pm – 4am with giant lantern installations, a Neon balloon drop, Chinese dragon performances, psychedelic body paint dips, professional glitter painters and acrobats. Guests encouraged to come in light inspired costumes.



Know a star-in-the-making? Nativity! The Musicial auditions, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry from May 28

Do you have a child aged 9-11 who’d like to audition for a part in Nativity! The Musical? Lead roles as the children of St. Bernadette’s are up for grabs at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. All kids auditioning must be confident singers, dancers and performers due to the demands of the role. They need to live in the Midlands, be naturally confident, upload a 1-minute YouTube clip and available for all rehearsal and performance dates across the whole UK tour, Mon Sept 17 – Dec 31. Auditions start 28 May (half-term week), with rehearsals taking place in Coventry.



The Fantastic Follies of Mrs RichSwan Theatre, Stratford, until June 14

Aretha Ayeh and Sophie Stanton as Lucinda and Mrs Rich. Photo by Helen Maybanks

A critical hit, this comedy of distinctly female wit has been described as like ‘a Restoration Ab-Fab’. Unlike Aphra Behn, a fellow female playwright from the late 1600’s, Mary Pix has been almost lost to history. But like Behn’s The Rover, an RSC hit early last year, Pix’s comedy of manners combines mind-bending plot twists and mischief.  Sophie’s also been in Ink (Almeida and West End), Made in Dagenham (West End), ITV’s The Halcyon, E4’s My Mad Fat Diary and the BBC’s New Tricks.

Book here.


Fancy owning Josette Simon’s breastplate from Antony & Cleopatra or David Tennant’s trousers from Hamlet ? Check out the RSC’s Stitch in Time eBay auction, Tues Apr 17 – 27

54 costume items will be auctioned to raise money for the RSC’s Stitch In Time campaign, to support the restoration and redevelopment of its Costume Workshop.  The online auction will take place over Shakespeare’s Birthday for a 10-day period between Tuesday 17 and Friday 27 April. The auction will go live at 8pm on Tues April 17 and end at 8pm on Friday 27.



Macbeth, RST, Stratford, March 13 – September 18

Photo by Richard-Davenport-

This compelling contemporary version of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller with the fantastic Christopher Eccleston, brilliant in BBC 1’s The A Word, and revered Irish actor Niamh Cusack as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and directed by Polly Findlay has the eerie feel of a modern horror film. Brilliant for students studying Macbeth on their GCSE or A level syllabus!

Book here.


Wicked, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed April 4 – 29

This witty West-End musical re-imagining of the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz casts its spell in Birmingham. Titanic the musical, the RSC’s Matilda the musical and War Horse to follow.



The Duchess of Malfi, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 3

Pic credit: Helen Maybanks

After her inventive and critically-acclaimed production of Doctor Faustus in 2016, Maria Aberg returns to the RSC to direct a critically-acclaimed modern dress, blood-soaked version of The Duchess of Malfi in her own distinct style. Topically it’s all about gender politics and toxic masculinity.  Joan Iyiola stars as The Duchess, her twin brother Ferdinand is played by Alexander Cobb – Indian Summers (Channel 4) and Ripper Street (BBC) – and The Cardinal is Chris New, who was Glen in 2011 film, Weekend. Read Muddy’s Q & A with Joan here.

Tel: 01789 403493, rsc




Tracey Emin, St Pancras International Station, London

See the newly unveiled I Want My Time With You’ by Margate’s finest.


CADA Antique Fair, Blenheim Palace, April 19-22 

World-class art and antiques by over 30 dealers come together at at the seventh annual Blenheim Palace CADA Fair, featuring everything from furniture to clocks, textiles to garden ornaments. Prices go from a passable £100 to a choke-on-your-breakfast £100,000+. Still, it’s free to look.


Taste of Science, National Space Centre, Leicester, Sat April 21

A food festival with a science twist. Enjoy a night out surrounded by the very best food available to try and buy. An evening dedicated to eating, drinking, learning and discovering something new and exciting around every corner. The Centre will be filled with a market of food stalls, workshops, talks, demonstrations, experiments, music and an outdoor food court. GBBO finalist Andrew Smyth, will bring together baking, engineering and space in his ‘bakineering’ shows and will show crowds ‘how to use honeycomb in space’ and create a ‘heat shielding spacecraft with meringue’. Fascinating! Tickets are £10.

National Space Centre, Exploration Dr, Leicester LE4 5NS


The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 17 – Sat April 21

Awards aplenty for Daniel Jamieson’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk after selling out at London’s Globe Theatre and the Traverse in Edinburgh, where it won the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award. Presented by Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic, the play follows partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall, through some of the most devastating times in history, navigating the Pogroms, the Russian Revolution, and each other. It looks awesome.

Aged 10 plus and 90 minutes with no interval. Book tickets £10- £30

Find more ideas here

Things to DoThis Weekend

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