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This weekend


Walkers’ Loyalty Card, Charlecote Park, Jan & Feb

Beautiful frosty views in the grounds of Charlecote Park. Photo: the National Trust

Looking for a great reason to work off all that Christmas food? Come for a walk around the deer park and ground during January and February while the house is closed for a big clean and get your card stamped each time you visit. Once you’ve filled it up the National Trust will treat you to a well-earned sausage or bacon bap (or veggie alternative). Ask at visitor reception for more information. You can download the parkland walk here. The house re-opens on February 15.


GROUP WALKS: Check out Warwickshire Ramblers

Those boots were made for walking…

If you’re looking for a new challenge in 2020 the Ramblers have 13 well run groups in Warwickshire offering a wide selection of walks which you are welcome to join. Two groups are 20s/30s groups and there is one for those aged 40+. If you prefer walking independently, try one of the Ramblers Routes.


DANCE: Learn to dance with Motionhouse, Spencer Yard, Leamington Spa, starting in January 2020

New Year sees the launch of three new dance fitness classes at this Warwickshire based leading UK dance-theatre company for 2-5’s, over 60’s and Surge a new male youth dance company for boys aged 11+. See our fitness feature for more details.




Puss in BootsThe Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, ends Sat Jan 11 

Joanna Thorne as Puss in Boots and Iain Lauchlan who plays Matilda-Pudding. Photo by Robert-Day

Written and directed by Iain Lauchlan, who stars as Dame Matilda Pudding, this year’s show marks the former children’s TV presenter’s 25th year in panto at the Coventry theatre. His long-term comedy partner-in-crime Craig Hollingsworth plays Matilda’s son, Simon aka Baggie B, who wants to be an ‘Instafamous’ rapper.


Peter Pan, Birmingham Rep, until January 19

Peter Pan at Birmingham Rep. Photo by Johan Persson

You can catch Liam Steele’s critically acclaimed gritty re-imagined 21st Century version of J M Barrie’s classic set in foster home on a Birmingham housing estate. Cora Tsang and Lawrence Walker, play Wendy and Peter with Nia Gwynne, as Captain Jess Hook.


Snow White and the Seven DwarfsBirmingham Hippodrome, until Feb 2

The all-star line up features Lesley Joseph, Matt Slack, Joe McElderry, Faye Brookes, Flawless, Doreen Tipton and Andrew Ryan. Tickets here.


Cinderella, Warwick Arts Centre, Thur 9 – Sun 12 Jan

Youth ensemble in rehearsal for Cinderella

Coventry’s Three Spires Guildhall are performing a new scripted version of rags-to-riches tale Cinderella with songs from stage, screen and the charts. Join Cinderella on her quest to break free from the mundane and find her Prince Charming, with a little help from her friends. With lavish sets, extravagant costumes and double the trouble with two Dames, throw on your ball gown, and polish your glass slippers and get ready to join the party in the palace.



The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until Sun 8 Mar

Toby Mocrei as Dennis in The Boy in the Dress. Photo by Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

This exuberant, beautifully directed and moving new musical, based on the best-selling children’s novel by David Walliams, features 16 original songs by pop star Robbie Williams and his long-term writing partner Guy Chambers. It’s directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran and adapted by former RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill. Tickets are half price for children – up to four can go with one adult.

Box Office: 01789 331111, RSC


King John, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon now until Fri 20 Mar

King John production photo by Steve Tanner with Rosie Sheehy

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”.


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

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? It’s written by Hannah Khalil, a playwright with Middle Eastern heritage.


GARDENS: Hill Close Gardens, weekdays from Fri 3 Jan

Re-opening on Fri 3 Jan, Warwick’s hidden haven has a flourishing programme of events for 2020. The programme kicks off properly in February, with Snowdrop Weekend on Sat 1-Sun 2 Feb, but in Jan you can still seek solace in the 16 different garden plots during winter opening hours (Mon-Fri 11am-4m). If you have pre-school children, pop along to the monthly Family Drop-In from 09.30-11.30am on the second Thursday of each month, for a wholesome morning of digging, planting and puddle-jumping!

Hill Close Gardens


COMEDY: New Studio Comedy Club launch, The Albany, Coventry, Fri 10 Jan

In association with Off The Kerb, The Albany launches a brand-new monthly comedy club with both established and up-and-coming comedians from across the touring circuit and television. Off The Kerb has established itself as one of the leading comedy agencies in the UK, discovering and managing some of the biggest and best names in comedy and entertainment. After the January premier, the next show dates will be Fri 14 Feb and Fri 20 March.

Introductory offer of £10 per ticket for the first show on Fri 10 Jan. Info and bookings here.


Sensory Stories and Rhymes, The Herbert, Tue 7 Jan-Tue 28 Apr

An opportunity for youngsters to engage with The Herbert’s collections in a way that is meaningful to them, is hands-on, appeals to their imaginations and above all else is fun. Children receive a goody bag to use throughout the session, filled with sensory play items which: help to keep them engaged; adds context by using a physical object to give words meaning; extends learning through play; and increases their opportunities to develop good listening and language skills. Also pop along to the Coffee and Cake Chinwag to mingle with other parents and carers in the cafe after the Sensory Stories and Rhymes sessions on: 7 Jan, 4 Feb, 3 Mar & 7 Apr.

Designed for children aged 0-4 years. £1 drop-in. Takes place every Tuesday during Coventry term-time. Two sessions per day: 10.30am-11am & 11.30am-12pm. Sessions take place in different galleries each week; ask at reception when you arrive.


B’Opera, Belgrade Theatre, Fri 10 Jan-Fri 3 Apr

This weekly installment creates beautiful music for tiny ears through interactive sessions and performances for littlies and their grown-ups.

Suitable for children aged 0-4 years. Every Fri from Fri 10 Jan, 10am. Full info here.



London International Mime Festival, various venues, Wed Jan 8 – Feb 2

Ockham’s Razor – ThisTime Portsmouth, Shoreditch Town Hall, 8 – 19 Jan

 Ten overseas companies join eight British groups presenting premieres in this 44th year festival, especially commissioned productions from Ockham’s RazorThick & TightTold by an Idiot and Vamos Theatre. Belgium’s Peeping Tom and Kiss & Cry Collective return with new shows, there’s exquisite puppetry from New York, France, and by London’s String Theatre on its unique Puppet Barge. There’s also a triple-bill of remarkable silent movie classics with live jazz accompaniment, and a real life Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel mystery at new festival venue, the iconic Wilton’s Music Hall. Workshops for 2020 include an exclusive course taught by faculty members from the École Jacques Lecoq, Paris, and a residential course celebrating 30 years of the David Glass Ensemble – a new partnership with The Point, Eastleigh.


Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery, London, is one of the biggest cultural events in the winter calendar, the exhibit features 150+ original artefacts found in the Pharaoh’s tomb that was unearthed in 1922 (until 3 May).

A brand new (and, quite frankly, must-see) exhibition is now open at The O2, London  – ABBA: Super Troupers, a journey through the Swedish band’s career and will feature personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (until 21 Aug 2020).

Other exhibitions worth a snoop are Bridget Riley, a momentous lifetime retrospective, at the Hayward Gallery, SE1, (until January 26); Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane collection of work at the V&A (until 8 March); William Blake at Tate Britain, with the visionary painter and poets work blown up to enormous scale using digital technology (until 2 Feb 2020); Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican  – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s (until 19 Jan).


Bowie: Oddity to Mars at the National Space Centre, Leicester, Fri 10 Jan & Sat 11 JanThis ultimate live immersive show will celebrate 1969 to 1972: a significant period of time that covered both Bowie’s experimental phase and the Apollo lunar landing window. David Live is a British, five-piece band that has performed musical tributes to the man himself. The visitor attraction has also partnered with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), Loughborough College and Leicester College to create a never before seen exhibition of fashion, textiles, art and photography inspired by Bowie. General admission from £15.


Teen Wave Rave, The Wave Coventry, Jan 17

The Wave

The city’s new waterpark is holding its first Teen Wave Rave for 13-16 year olds from 7.30-9.30pm. The tropical themed Wave Rave will feature music and mocktails for all attendees. Every teenager needs to be a competent swimmer and places must be pre-booked as they are limited.

To reserve your place, please email


THEATRE: The WhipSwan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat 1 Feb – Sat 21 March 2020

This provocative new play by award-winning playwright, journalist and University of Birmingham creative fellow, Juliet Gilkes Romero is set at the beginning of the 19th Century in London as politicians of all parties come together to abolish the slave trade. The price of freedom turns out to be a multi-billion pound bailout for slave owners rather than those enslaved. Two women navigate their way to the true seat of political influence, challenging members of parliament who dare deny them their say. Directed by the super-talented Kimberley Sykes (Dido, Queen of Carthage, 2017; As You Like It, 2019).


Packwood Breakfast Tours, starting Wed Feb 4

The Long Gallery, Packwood House. Photo: The National Trust

New for February 2020, book a delicious breakfast of Full English, Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine at 9am in the Packwood café followed by an exclusive tour of the restored Tudor house displayed just as Baron Graham Ash intended his guests to view the house. Come and hear the stories behind key pieces of the Packwood collection, finishing at 11.30am.

£18.50 per person, to book please click here or Tel: the box office on 0344 249 1895.


BALLET: The Red Shoes, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tue Feb 11 – Sat Feb 15

Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed stage adaptation of The Red Shoes, set to romantic music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann. The story follows a girl’s dream of becoming the greatest dancer in the world, and it’s Matthew Bourne, so there’s no doubt the moves will be excellent.


The Gift, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat 18 Jan-Sat 25 Jan

Dave Fishley and Donna Berlin in rehearsal for The Gift – photo credit Ellie Kurttz

A play about imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation…and tea. This is the third show to emerge from Eclipse’s groundbreaking Revolution Mix movement including Black Men Walking, which is spearheading the largest ever delivery of new Black British stories in theatre, film and radio. Janice Okoh’s The Gift, featuring a six-person cast, will premiere in Coventry before embarking on a UK tour.  It tells of two Sarahs; one African girl adopted by Queen Victoria in the 1860s and one present-day middle-class black woman. Both Sarahs’ meet Queen Victoria for tea – and this won’t be your regular tea party…

Book online

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