Choke by Chris O’Connell, Shop Front Theatre, Coventry, Tues Feb 6 – Sat Feb 17
Pic credit: Andrew Moore
Check out the future City of Culture’s underground arts scene at the latest in Theatre Absolute’s innovative Are We Where We Are? two-year theatre project which has so far seen 6 new commissions, each exploring where we are now both personally and politically. Choke tells the story of lifelong friends Rob and Stu, each staring into the gap between who they thought they were, and who they are now. Choke is written and directed by Chris O’Connell, co-founder, writer and artistic director of Theatre Absolute with debut performances by Graeme Rose and Matthew Wait. A post-show discussion: Altruism in the Age of Neoliberalism chaired by David McKeegan takes place on Thurs Feb 8.
Matinee and evening performances. Tickets are £8 (full price) & £6 (concessions) via brownpapertickets
Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Birmingham Hippodrome Tue Feb 6 – Sat Feb 10
Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award.
Oily Cart’s Hush-A-Bye,Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Feb 7 – Sun Feb 11
Pic by Suzi Corker
I used to love taking my children to Oily Cart’s brilliant immersive theatre when they were little. Their latest show set in a woodland wonderland is presented in three different versions – one for babies and toddlers between six months and two years; one for children aged three to five years and a relaxed version for three to 8-year-olds which is a great idea. Based on character designs by children’s author and illustrator Nikki Pontin it has an original live score performed by musician Kadialy Kouyate on his kora. This inviting tree-top world is home to creatures you might expect, and one you definitely won’t – a tiny baby! Directed by award-winning children’s theatre director Anna Newell, it’s the perfect 35 – 40 minute theatrical experience for first timers.
Kendrick Lamar, The Genting Arena, Birmingham, Fri Feb 9
Hot on his Grammy-winning success, the 30-year-old rapper and musician from Compton, California, is in Brum on the European leg of The DAMN tour. His most recent album, Damn, received high critical acclaim and last week Kendrick went home with five Grammys – only being beaten by Bruno Mars who went home with six. Section.80, Good Kid M.A.A.D City and To Pimp a Butterfly are his other releases.
Black Men Walking, B2 stage, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Feb 7 – Sat Feb 10
Inspired by a real-life Black men’s walking group based in Sheffield, the piece has been conceived by Eclipse in collaboration with Leeds-based rapper, singer, producer and performer Testament. A rising star in the theatre landscape, Testament was most recently acclaimed for his one-man show about feminism, Woke, which fused powerful first-person narrative with his signature beat-boxing and rapping. This is the world premiere production, as part of a UK tour presented by Eclipse and the Royal Exchange. Directed by Dawn Walton, this new work mixes dramatic storytelling with original music written by Testament and performed by a a cast of four.
Penguins, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, Thurs Feb 1 – Sat Feb 10
A new heart-warming show for children telling the true story of two male Chinstrap penguins who decide to try and hatch a rock in place of an egg and they find themselves on an adventure that could mean raising a chick for real. A captivating mix of dance, music, and storytelling about friendship, fun, identity and the ever-changing meaning of family directed by award-winning children’s director Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney and choreographed by Carlos Pons Guerra. Penguins features 3 outstanding dancers – Corey Annand, Osian Meilir and Jack Webb.
Ends This Week! Imperium Part I: Conspirator & Imperium Part II: Dictator, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, now – Feb 10 2018
Imperium Part I: Conspirator production photos, 2017. L-R – Jade Croot as Tullia and Siobhan Redmond playing Terentia, Photo: Ikin Yum, (c) RSC
RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran directs Richard McCabe in the title role of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy along with Siobhan Redmond. It follows playwright Mike Poulton’s highly successful RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. A critically-acclaimed two-part, seven hour epic
Chasing Deer Live at Slate Art Gallery, Leamington Spa, Thur Feb 8
Up-and-coming Warwickshire band Chasing Deer who are now living, performing and writing music full-time in London – are back performing in Leamington. Limited tickets available: £8 in advance £10 on the door. The band will start at 7:30pm and play two sets.
Dane Baptiste: G.O.D (Gold, Oil, Drugs), Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Fri Feb 9
Fresh from hosting Live at the Apollo and another total sell out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Dane Baptiste brings his third smash hit show on national tour. Original, provocative and exceptionally crafted, G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs) explores our worldwide pursuit of wealth, power and pleasure. As seen on 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4), Mock the Week (BBC Two), Chris Ramseyfs Stand Up Central (Comedy Central) Tonight at the London Palladium (ITV1) and Live from the BBC (BBC Two).
The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia – Kara Tointon’s dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, who recreated Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park on stage for the RSC’s fabulous Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, it’s set in Victorian Britain. Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter, Birmingham Rep, Fri Feb 2 – Sat Feb 17
Directed by Emma Rice, former artistic director at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, this heart-pounding Kneehigh production returns to Birmingham after 10 years combining the romance of the cinema with all that live theatre can offer.
The Sound of Music, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, now – Sat Feb 10
Lucy O’Byrne, runner up of BBC One’s The Voice in 2015, returns to the iconic role of singing nun Maria after her West End run as Fantine in Les Misérables. She is joined by Neil McDermott, Captain Von Trapp who played Ryan Malloy in EastEnders, and Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical.
First of 4 Indoor Antiques Fairs, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warks, Sat Feb 10 & Sun Feb 11
After the success of last years 3 ‘Field Dog’ Antiques Fairs which saw the BBC Bargain Hunt film 4 episodes for the popular TV programme, the British Motor Museum has announced their return in 2018 on 4 weekends – Feb 10 & 11, then April 7 & 8 (with the BBC filming for Bargain Hunt on April 7), and the 7 & 8 July and a special festive antiques and gift fair on Nov 24 & 25.
‘Star Car’ Family Fun, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Feb10 – 25
Join Parker and Penelope on a family tour and explore the collection of Star Cars. Get creative with ‘Star Car’ crafts and Lego building, and have a go at the ‘Star Car’ family trail. All activities are suitable for 3+ years.
Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, until April 15
More than 80 modern and contemporary artworks by internationally renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas, Grayson Perry, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Steve McQueen, Derek Jarman, Sunil Gupta, Chila Kumari Burman and Gillian Wearing exploring themes of gender, sexuality and identity in art.
An exhibition celebrating the best contemporary craft and applied art from the Midlands including jeweller Dauvit Alexander Aimee Bollu, who creates beautiful minimal ceramic vessels, John Grayson the creator of whimsical, humorous and decorative metal objects like the ones above and Karina Thompson, who pushes the boundaries of digital embroidery. Free.
The Lights of Leamington, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, until April 15
During the ’50s an annual autumn festival known as The Lights of Leamington drew 300,000 visitors to the town. Thousands of coloured electric lights turned Jephson Gardens into a wonderland until the switch was turned off in 1961. This new exhibition curated by Birmingham-based artist Stuart Whipps illustrates the diverse ways light runs through the gallery collection. Lights used during the historic festival will be on display alongside light emitting objects linked to Leamington’s history, such as lights used in medical spa treatments, plus paintings and photographs depicting or utilising light. Free.
Clare Woods: Reality Dimmed, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, now – Sat March 10
Clare Woods, Creeping Eruptions, 200 cm x 150 cm, Oil on Aluminium, 2017
Mead Gallery’s Spring exhibition will see renowned Hereford based painter, Clare Woods, exhibit a solo show of never seen before paintings in Reality Dimmed. Her work is held in many international collections and this major exhibition will see her exhibit her raw and powerful painting, which are frequently vast in scale.
See Pogo Junior, the latest addition at Twycross Zoo, Atherstone
This super cute doe-eyed young female antelope, born in January, is the first ever baby of the Kirk’s Dik-Dik (Madoqua kirkii) to be born at Twycross Zoo, and is the first zoo baby of 2018. She joins 2,780 other individual animals (counted during the zoo’s annual stocktake earlier this month, not including the ant colony!) already living at zoo on the Warks/Leics border.
Visitors can now see Junior under the watchful eye of her family. Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10- 5pm daily. twycrosszoo Tel: 0844 474 1777.
Live Lambing every day @Cotswold Farm Park, from Sat Feb 10
Live lambing takes place every day in the state-of-the-art animal barn right up until Easter. Established in 1971 and the home of rare breed conservation, Cotswold Farm Park offers a fun day out for visitors of all ages.
Birds Behaving Badly Week, Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, Saturday, Feb 10 – Sun Feb 18
From blood-sucking songbirds and puking penguins to stinking storks and spitting swallows, keepers at this Cotswolds wildlife attraction will reveal revolting facts about some of the world’s baddest birds. Expect toxic talks and terrible trails highlighting the horrible aspects of natural history and visitors will also be able to meet some real feathered fiends during special meet the creatures sessions.
Birdland Park and Gardens, Rissington Rd, Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos, GL54 2BN. Open Daily From 10am. Tel: 01451 820480, birdland
Amadeus, the National Theatre, London, until Tue April 24
Following a critically lauded sell-out run in 2016, Michael Longhurst’s production of Peter Shaffer’s play returns with the brilliant Lucian Msamati – who played Iago in the RSC’s 2015 production of Othello – as composer Antonio Salieri, who strikes a deal with God and is overtaken by a jealous vendetta against his musical rival, Mozart.
Another Kind of Life – Photography on the Margins, The Barbican, London, Feb 27 – May 28
Paz Errázuriz:_From-the-series-La-Manzana-de-Adán-Adam’s-Apple-1983. Copyright: Paz Paz Errázuriz, courtesy of the artist
Touching on themes of countercultures, subcultures and minorities of all kinds, the show features the work of 20 photographers from the 1950s to the present day. Featuring communities of sexual experimenters, romantic rebels, outlaws, survivalists, the economically dispossessed and those who openly flout social convention, the works present the outsider as an agent of change. From street photography to portraiture, vernacular albums to documentary reportage, the show includes the includes the Casa Susanna Collection, Paz Errazuriz, Pieter Hugo, Mary Ellen Mark and Dayanita Singh.
Bonaparte Dethron’d April 1st 1814. Creamware jug, Cambrian Pottery, Swansea, Wales, transfer-printed in black and painted in enamels, 1814. On loan from a private collection.
In the Georgian age, satirical art really did include images on the inside of chamber pots. Pioneering transfer techniques allowed caricatures to be reproduced on jugs, bowls and other ceramics, piss pots included, taking contemporary art of the day to a popular audience in alehouses and inns. One reviewer described as “like Grayson Perry on snuff”.
Speakers, by Nicolas Party, Modern Art Oxford, until Sat Feb 18 2018
This exhibition at Modern Art Oxford has been running since late November but if you’re yet to catch it now’s your chance. The Swiss artist Nicolas Party (formerly a graffiti specialist) has produced Speakers, a theatrical selection of five five foot female heads, complete with two hour looped soundscape that seems to speak to you as you brush past. The work is a response to the masculine architecture and institutions of Oxford, particularly the Emperors’ Heads outside the Sheldonian Theatre. Weird, and kind of wonderful.
Modigliani, Tate Modern, now – April 2 2018
The Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is quite a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.
Imagining the Divine – Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, now to 18 Feb 2018
Could have had a catchier title truth be told! But anyhoo, this major exhibition is the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Blimey! Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed… ashmolean.org