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This Weekend


Edited by Rhiannon Pursall


HERITAGE:  Elizabethan Pageant – Kenilworth Castle’s Garden of Love £70k re-launch, Sat 13 Jul-Sun 14 Jul 

As part of its 10th birthday celebrations, the Elizabethan Gardens at Kenilworth Castle have been rejuvenated by a £70k project in time to mark the anniversary of the famous 19-day visit to the castle by Queen Elizabeth 1 in July 1575. This one-acre walled garden was created by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester as a love letter to Queen Elizabeth 1 and no expense was spared! This weekend put on the pomp and pull out all the stops – it’s a party fit for a Queen! 444 years since Elizabeth I visited Kenilworth Castle, the fanfare is recreated – and this time, you’re invited. Join the excited throngs as the Queen makes her monumental entrance, then look out for her as she tours the Castle and its ground for the rest of the day. Plus, flamboyant horse displays, Raphael Historic Falconry and discover how the other half lived at the bustling Tudor camp which offers plenty of children’s activities. Suitable for all ages.  Book online before Fri 12 Jul and save 10%! Open 10am-5pm.


CARNIVAL: Leamington Spa Carnival, Sat 13 Jul

Celebrate local diversity and culture under the summer sun! The annual parade begins at 12pm, brightening up the streets of Leamington with floats, drummers, dancers, colourful costumes, live bands and more. The Pump Room Gardens hosts both fun fair and festival, for thrills, food, and live entertainment. Join the fiesta from 11am-6pm.


LEARNING:  Wildlife Photography Masterclass, Warwick Arts CentreSat 13 Jul 

Looking to jazz up your Insta feed with something more interesting than the cliche shot of your painted toes on a sun lounger? How about some funky wildlife photos from wherever your travels are taking you this summer? Head to Warwick Arts Centre for a masterclass to learn the basics including camera settings, composition and elements of field craft. The Wildlife Photography one-day course is taken by Talvinder Chohan, experienced in snapping local nature along with more exotic creatures during his time in the jungles of central India. If the weather holds up, you’ll have the chance to practice your new skills – so best wear something appropriate for getting up close and personal to wildlife! You’ll need a camera with a telephoto lens (not a smartphone camera) and the class is suitable for beginner-intermediate level. The class takes place between 10am-5pm and costs £65 per person. Book here.


CHILDREN’S THEATRE: Bureau of Untold Stories, Macready Theatre, Rugby, Sat 13 Jul 

Hilarious, interactive, family-friendly detective drama for ages 4+! As part of Macready Theatre’s buzzy events programme and Rugby Festival of Culture this interactive improvised detective drama is an Edinburgh Festival preview show.  Filled with outrageous accents, live sound effects, and unbelievable antics, The Bureau Of Untold Stories combines the silly, sleuthing adventures of ‘The Pink Panther’ with the unpredictable hilarity of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway? Showtime: 2.30pm-3.30pm; café and free craft from 1.30pm. Adults £10, concessions £10. Plus cafe and crafts for children from 1.30pm. Book online.


FETE: Summer Fete, Coughton Court National Trust, Sat 13 Jul 

Courtesy of Coughton Court/The National Trust

The simple things are often the best: a gleeful gala with old-fashioned favourites including face painting, lucky dip, and handmade crafts. There’s also be a woodturning demo and sports day activities along with gentle entertainment including Jacaranda Recorders, Ex Urbe Chamber Choir, Evesham Concert Band and Dynamix Harmony Group. The barbeque, local cider, cakes and other produce keep your stomach happy, whilst the glorious garden setting of the Tudor estate provides a breeze of nostalgic warmth. 12-4pm; admission to gardens free of charge. Information and tickets here. Profits go towards local causes.


FAMILY: Alcester Duck Race, Recreation Ground, Alcester, Sat 13 Jul

Spend a day in quintessential Alcester, for traditional fun and frolics in Shakespeare’s rolling countryside. The annual duck race raises money for the town’s Christmas lights and bunting…very worthy causes to compliment the beautiful architecture of the place! Ducks are on sale in High Street and Morris Mica in Swan Street until 3.50pm on race day. Race begins at 4pm from the Old Recreation Ground on Gas House Lane and ends by Overslay Bridge. First prize £100, second prize £50, third prize £25. More info and maps here. 


THEATRE: Measure for Measure, RSC, Stratford-Upon-Avon, now until 29 Aug

Lucy Phelps and Sandy Grierson as Isabella and Angelo. Photo by Helen Maybanks (c) RSC

No, it’s not The Sound of Music but Gregory Doran’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s dark comedy about a young novice nun compromised by a corrupt official! The Guardian has already declared it “the best RSC show of the summer..”a perfectly judged portrait of public hypocrisy and seething sexuality”.  An unmissable rarely performed 400-year-old tale set in early 1900 Vienna, it stars the excellent Worcester-born Lucy Phelps as Isabella, and Sandy Grierson as Angelo, (above) and remains astutely relevant today.  rsc 


EXHIBITION: A Tea Journey – From the Mountains to the Table, Compton Verney, Sat 6 Jul – 22 Sep 

Kazuhiro Yajima, Umbrella Tea House, © Nacasa & Partners Inc

Ever wondered how the nation’s favourite brew goes from plant to pot? Or how this Chinese tradition became to be to treasured by British society? Learn all about the humble cup of tea, from history to ecology. Be absorbed by The Tea Sensorium – a multi-sensory experience incorporating olfactory and visual exploration, plus workshops, discussions and a modern Japanese bamboo Umbrella Tea House being shipped especially from Japan for the exhibition! Rare teaware from China, Japan and India is on display, with responses by contemporary artists including Robin Best, Adam Buick, Phoebe Cummings, Charlotte Hodes, Takahiro Kondo, Ian McIntyre, Bruce Nuske, Selina Nwulu, Bouke ve Vries, Hetain Patel, Paul Scott, Julian Stair and Edmund de Waal. To find out more see here.


**LAST CHANCE TO SEE**THEATRE: Crooked Dances, RSC, Stratford-Upon-Avon, ends  Sat 13 Jul 


A compelling, modern play that addresses time and attention in our rapidly evolving, ever-frantic digital age by award-winning playwright and screen-writer Robin French, co-writer of BBC3 sitcom Cuckoo. Joining Crooked Dances is Beware the Cat, a one-hour performance inspired by the first ever English novel by William Baldwin on Sat July 6 at 5pm. It’s a tale of witchcraft, religious controversy and talking cats. Tickets here.


ALE: After Hours: All Hail the Ale! Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon,  Sat 13 Jul 

We all associate ale with the Tudors, right? Discover just why it played such an important part of 17th Century life during this informative and tasty evening. The evening kicks off with a tour around the Swan and Maidenhead Inn, then retire to the quaint garden of Shakespeare’s Birthplace for an ale sampling session. Hosted by Bob Yates from Tunnel Brewery, there’s a range of drinks to enjoy including hand-crafted ale, traditional beers and mulberry ale. Tickets: £15 (adult); £12 (concession); £10 (Friends of the Trust) – purchase from any of the Shakespeare’s family homes, online, or by calling 01789201806. From 5.30pm-7.30pm. Part of a glorious season of events from the Shakespeare family homes.


PUB GAMES: Boozy Bingo, The Fat Pug, Leamington Spa, Sat 13 Jul

Dabbers poised, glasses filled…we’re ready for an evening of merriment and prizes! £2 entry, more info here.


THEATRE: Venice Preserved, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


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


SCULPTURE GARDEN: The Imagination Statues, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Jul-Sep 

Be inspired by the Greg Wyatt statues in the Great Garden at Shakespeare’s New Place and act out your own versions of the plays that they represent using props, costumes and scripts provided. Opening times: 12pm-4pm.


THEATRE: The Provoked Wife, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sept 7


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), rsc


OUTDOOR THEATRE: Various Performances at The Dell, Stratford-Upon-Avon, now until 1 Sep

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

Part of the 2019 summer series at The Dell, July offers a spectacular array of performances in this serene location on the banks of the River Avon. To kick us off, the first weekend in July includes Julius Caeser (6 Jul 12pm) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (6 Jul 3pm), both performed by The Brit School. The following day, if you’re still in the mood for another day of lounging on a blanket grazing a picnic (who wouldn’t be?), your appetite for all things theatrical is be stated by Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) (7 Jul 12pm) and Troilus and Cressida (7 Jul 3pm). All performances free – grab your sun hat and refreshments and you’re good to go.


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

Justin Audibert’s gender-switched adaptation in which sexes are presented in reversed roles has been largely very well received. 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


CALL-OUT: Applications for a three-year talent development scheme are now open at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, ends July 13

Springboard artist Maokwo-Laura-Nyahuye. Photo by Nicola-Young

Calling all emerging artists! The Belgrade Theatre is seeking another round of newly established performance companies and emerging artists to join the latest intake for its Springboard talent development programme. Successful applicants will receive tailored support over a three-year period, including advice and guidance from Belgrade staff, marketing support and space to create and rehearse their work. Richard & RishardUnderground Lights and Maokwo are the Belgrade’s current Springboard artists and two additional companies benefit from the scheme, beginning in Autumn 2019.

The deadline to apply for the Belgrade Theatre’s Springboard scheme is Monday 15 July. For more information and to download the application pack, visit belgrade 


THEATRE: As You Like It, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Aug 31


Kimberley Sykes’ beguiling As You Like It has 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! Tel: 01789 403493.


EXHIBITION: Living with History, Hall’s Croft cafe, Stratford upon Avon, now until Sept 29

Photo © William Mulryne

Fourteen photographs by William Mulryne offer a fresh perspective of Stratford-upon-Avon – after the tourists have gone home! They include this lovely portrait of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s honorary president, Professor Stanley Wells in his office. Professor Wells is a Shakespearean scholar, writer, editor and professor emeritus at the University of Birmingham. Stratford-born William, who has Asperger Syndrome studied photography at Stratford-upon-Avon College and documents everyday life in the town. He said: “Stratford-upon-Avon is an amazing place with a special feeling. Asperger Syndrome made growing up a series of experiences, everything was 100% interesting. I experienced cars, music, elevators: the sounds and the way they moved, working out how they worked and being mesmerised by the visual movement.” Living with History at Hall’s Croft café is free,


EXHIBITION: The Aerodrome: An Exhibition Dedicated to the Memory of Michael Stanley, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, now until Sun 8 Sep 


Michael Stanley was Curator of Ikon before becoming Director of Milton Keynes Gallery and then Modern Art Oxford. He died tragically in 2012 and this exhibition is a tribute to a much-adored man. Co-curated with David Austen and George Shaw, the exhibition is loosely based on a novel that had a strong impact on Michael – Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome, published in 1941.The novel painted the struggles faced by a young war hero and had great impact on writers including Orwell, Burgess and Ballard. Given that it explores modern dystopias, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments, it seems pertinent to revisit this novel in the current turbulent times we live in. Events guide & workshops here



EXHIBITION: Be Inspired, Shakespeare and Me, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Runs until 31 December

This exhibition helps tell the story of leading 18th century actor David Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee held in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1769, in this 250th anniversary year, with rarely seen museum items relating to the Jubilee from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s internationally recognised Collections, also find out through first-hand testimonies how William Shakespeare has inspired other actors, artists, literary figures and Shakespearians all over the world.



AUDIENCE WITH THE AUTHOR: David Nicholls, Levi Fox Hall, Stratford upon Avon, Fri 19 Jul (Part of Stratford Literary Festival)

Can you believe it is 10 years since the release of One Day starring Anne Hathaway?! Since then, multi-million selling author and screenwriter David Nicholls has melted our hearts with Us, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and now he’s back with brand new novel Sweet Sorrow. In this one-off event, David will discuss his new book about first-love set over one life-changing summer, against a backdrop of rehearsals for a production of Romeo and Juliet.  Nicholls, who was awarded a BAFTA this year for his screenplay of the brilliant TV drama Patrick Melrose, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, will be sharing the background to this much-anticipated new novel which brings teenage angst and the clumsiness of first romance beautifully to life. Starts at 7pm. Tickets are £10, or £25 including admission to the event and one discounted copy of the book. Student tickets are £8. Call 0333 666 3366 or book online.


FESTIVAL: Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick School, Thu 25 Jul-Sun 28 Jul

Photo by Murdo-McLeod

It’s the 40th year of this most friendly of festivals! International folk stars including Billy Bragg, Skerryvore, Karan Casey, Eddy Jay, Will Pound, Breabach and heaps more take to the stage to soothe your soul via your ears…and if you fancy getting jiggy, join in the dance workshops from Morris to Latin and absorb the joy from the rising English Ceilidh scene. Also check out the fringe, on the adorable streets of Warwick, for traditional folky fun. Full info and tickets here.


FESTIVAL: Solihull Summer Fest, Tudor Grange Park, Solihull, Sat 27-Sun 28 Jul

The Vamps, Scouting for Girls, The Proclaimers, Go West, The Human League and Trevor Nelson will be headlining alongside Heather Small and Ms Dynamite. A fab line-up for Summer Fest, returning for in its 4th year to Tudor Grange Park in Solihull.  A Hedkandi stage satisfies your inner raver, whilst outdoor cinema helps you unwind. Amazing street food ranges from fish ‘n’ chips and mac ‘n’ cheese to curries and noodles and there’s even a VIP area. Each day runs from 12pm to approximately 10.30pm. Tickets and full line-up info here.


EVENT: Dragon Slayer, Warwick Castle, Wed 7 Aug – Mon 26 Aug

You can read our review of the castle’s inaugural digital projection installation, Dragon Slayer here. It was pretty spectacular and jaw-dropping in parts! It’s returning with even more projection breathing fire into late summer evenings this August in a family-friendly show of jousting, pyrotechnics, stunt riding and stunning fireworks. The show stars live actors and an epic light projection onto the grandiose walls of the magnificent Warwick Castle.  There’ll be a choice of catering vans Tickets start at £20 for the show only, or various packages are available to include food and drink. Gates open 7pm; show time 8.30pm-10pm.


SCIENCE SHOW: Professor Brian Cox – Universal: Adventures in Space and Time, Arena Birmingham, Sep 21

Champion of the lay explanation, Professor Cox, brings his brand new stellar show back to Birmingham Arena. He was here in February and achieved (yet another) Guinness World Records title for ‘Most tickets sold for a science show’ – so now, due to popular demand, he’s coming back to Brum in September!  Book up for a brainy, awe-inspiring out of this world experience here



FESTIVAL: Henley Festival, Oxon, Wed 10 – Sun 14 Jul 

Henley Festival is for people who’re too posh for festivals! The genteel shebang is a black tie event which takes place over five days with some mega headline acts this year including Boy George, Jessie J and Tom Odell. There’s also a line up of comedy, arts and loads of food stalls to soak up the Champers.


FESTIVAL: The Cotswold Show and Food Festival, Glos, Sat 13 – Sun 14 Jul

For a red trousers and champers-type affair there’s the 30th anniversary of The Cotswold Show and Food Festival, just over the Glos border, with stalls, trade stands, falconry, dog show and Bathurst Arena with equestrian antics.


ARTPaula Rego: Obedience and DefianceMK Gallery, Milton Keynes, until Sept 22

Over at Milton Keynes’ mega new MK Gallery you can see the largest retrospective of the political artist’s work in England for 20 years with pieces focusing on gender discrimination, violence, slavery, abortion and political tyranny.


OPERA: Garsington Opera Season, Wormsley Estate, Great Milton, Oxford, (OX44 7NP), until 26 Jul

More opera this month from Garsington Opera– lovely setting, sunny weather (hopefully) and warbling of the highest form. There are loads of the performances on the bill this week including Fantasio (8, 11 Jul), Don Giovanni (12, 14 Jul) and The Turn of the Screw (13 Jul).


EXHIBITIONS including A new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection, London,  until Sun 1 Sept

Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection above, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives. Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.


FESTIVAL: Summer by the River, London (until 28 Aug).

If you’re heading for the Big Smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital, Summer by the River (until 28 Aug). Outdoor cinema as well as concerts, workshops and comedy.

Find more ideas here

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