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This weekend


Leamington Food and Drink Festival,  Royal Pump Gardens, Sat Sept 8 & Sun Sept 9

Crowds at a food festival

More than 130 exhibitors from the local independent food and drinks scene, live music, Kids Cookery School and cookery demos including the final of Home Cook of the Year will be attending the 11th year of this buzzy child-friendly free two-day autumn food extravaganza, organised by BID Leamington. First-time exhibitors include new vegan deli Fred & Virginia, The Steam House, Ryton’s Stockpot Café, Slurp and Libertine Burgers. They’ll be joined by BBC Apprentice winner Alana Spencer with her Ridiculously Rich luxury traybakes. The event attracts some 25,000 visitors. You’ll find us propping up Slurp Leamington’s first wine gin and fizz bar! Here’s the full line-up.

Tartuffe, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in rep Fri Sept 7–February 23 2019


A new version of Molière’s  provocative French classic comedy created by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto (The Office, Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No.42, Boomers) is set in a modern Birmingham Pakistani Muslim community. Directed by Iqbal Khan it tells the story of charismatic chameleon, Tahir Taufiq Arsuf, a Rasputin for the 21st Century armed with a Twitter handle and the gift of the gab, played by actor Asif Khan

To book tickets Tel: 01789 403493, rsc

Bing Live! Bing Goes to the Theatre, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Sept 8 & Sun Sept 9

Bing-Live-Pando. Photo credit: Johan Persson

Parents of pre-schoolers be prepared –  the CBeebies favourite is on tour. Join Bing, Sula, Coco and Pando as they learn how to tell stories by pretending, dressing-up and singing songs. Flop and Amma are there to help, but in this magical world of make-believe things don’t always go according to plan…


THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until  Dec 1


Watch Jude Owusu’s chillingly charismatic portrait of Christopher Marlowe’s violent 14th century warlord, who started life as a shepherd, before conquering Asia. Directed by former RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd, who stepped down in 2012. A massive critical hit.


Flashdance the Musical, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sept 4 – 8

Flashdance, the musical. Kings Theatre, Glasgow. 5th August 2017

Based on the hit 1983 film of the same name, this 10th anniversary UK touring show stars Strictly Come Dancing winner Joanne Clifton as welder-cum-flashdancer Alex and A1 singer Ben Adams as love interest Nick Hurley. Dig those 80s leg-warmers!


Meet Me In The Ruins, Coventry Cathedral Ruins, Thurs Sept 6 – Sat Sept 8

A new, diverse and dynamic piece of open-air theatre celebrating one of Coventry’s major landmarks. It’s produced with the Belgrade Theatre and written by 5 writers from C4’s Skins to Radio 4 and the Royal Court; Ola Animashawun, Marcia Layne, Alan Pollock, Paven Virk and Nick Walker. Taking place on five fixed points in history, you are invited to witness moments where people are at a crossroads in their lives. From a young man suffering survivor guilt following a tube bombing to crucial decision making about pregnancy, a couple’s conflict after immigrating, tales from a Polish war veteran, and a florist who meets someone on the day her church becomes a cathedral. Daily at 6.30pm with Sat matinee at 2pm. Tickets from £8.

After Hours: Sex & the Tudors, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Sept 8

A rip-roaring lecture by Tutbury Castle Curator, Lesley Smith, through the sexual exploits of the Tudors. Contraception, conception, prostitution and gay sex feature in this engaging and highly entertaining lecture, 5.30pm – 7.30pm, £10. 

TWO AUTHOR TALKS: Sarah Ward & Amanda Reynolds, Thurs Sept 6 & Thurs Sept 20, Warwick Books

First up is Derbyshire-based novelist and online crime book reviewer Sarah Ward on her latest 2014 set detective novel, The Shrouded Path, featuring DC Connie Childs whose latest case is linked to the disappearance of a teenage girl out with five friends in the Derbyshire mists one autumn day in 1957. It’s followed by a talk by Cotswolds creative writing teacher Amanda Reynolds on her book Lying To You –  a gripping drama perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, Anatomy of a Scandal, and Doctor Foster. Both events start at 7pm. Tickets £5 including refreshments.

Book essential at Warwick Books 01926 499939 or

ART: Conscious Perception by Susan Laughton & Richard Miller, The Stratford Gallery, launching Sat Sept 8 – Oct 4

New Work: Susan Laughton, Balancing act II, 2018

An exhibition of new work by two award-winning artists. Architectural technician turned painter Susan Laughton and accomplished potter Richard Miller, the on-screen technician in BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down. The artists will attend the 2pm wine reception on Sat Sept 8.

Freeman by Stricty Arts, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sept 5 – 8

Ahead of performances at the Edinburgh Fringe, Strictly Arts became the first West Midlands company to receive the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund, and has been nominated for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

After experiencing sell-out shows and five star reviews at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Strictly Arts return to the Belgrade  this September with their award-winning show Freeman. Described by the Guardian as “a revelation”, Freeman takes inspiration from the true story of William Freeman – the first man in America to plead insanity as a legal defence – to explore the often unspoken link between systemic racism and mental health. Created in collaboration with writer Camilla Whitehill as part of the Belgrade Theatre’s Springboard talent development initiative, this deeply moving story combines drama with high-energy physical theatre, gospel singing, shadow puppetry and more, drawing on extensive research into deaths and mental illness among black prisoners.

Tel 024 7655 3055, belgrade

Heritage Open Days: Warwickshire & Coventry,  Sept 6-9 and Sept 13-16

Astley Castle Living Room

See here where you can visit over the two consecutive weekends. Sneak a peak inside sites including National Trust’s Upton House and Packwood House, the world’s oldest real tennis club in Leamington Sp and, award-winning Landmark Trust conversion, Astley Castle, in Nuneaton – all for free! And in Coventry you can check out the venues open across the city here including ‘Medieval Coventry’s Women of Influence – Queen Isabella and Queen Margaret of Anjou’  at Drapers Hall – a joint project with the University of Oxford featuring a series of exhibition panels of the very latest research on two women who made such a significant impact on 14th and 15th century Coventry.

Heritage Open Day: The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sun Sept 9

Free pop-up exhibition, 10am – 4pm, featuring world-class archives, library and museum collections. Free entry 10am – 4pm.

Heritage Open Day: Discover Chesterton Windmill, Sat Sept 8 & Sun Sept 9

A unique chance to look at Chesterton Windmill, a 17th-century cylindric stone tower built between 1632 and 1633. Subject to weather conditions.  First come, first-served basis. Small charge for parking. Free event from 10.30am – 4.30pm, last entry 3.30pm.

Heritage Open Day: Free guided tours, Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa, Thurs Sept 6 – Sun Sept 9 & Thurs Sep 13 – Sun Sept 16

Go backstage on a 1hr tour of the Royal Pump Rooms celebrating the historic buildings heritage, community and history at 10.30am, 11.45am, 1pm & 2.15pm. Places are limited tel 01926 334418.

The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sept 22


Fiona Laird has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Craig to Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Lester (lucky lady!). She not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it! A glamorous suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over inflated egos starring a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison, Charlotte Josephine and RSC Associate Artist David Troughton. (In cinemas Sept 12).


WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: BOOK NOW Falconry Photography Workshop – Owls, Squirrel at Wellsborough, Sat Sept 15 

Resident wildlife photographer Mark Green and falconry experts Hawkwise will guide and assist photographers to capture their very own images of three native British owls.The workshop will take place in the grounds of this converted grade II listed rural cottage, £47.50 per person. For more details see here: facebook


TOP FILM CHOICE: BlacKkKlansman, out in cinemas now

John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth and Laura Harrier as Patrice in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, a Focus Features release. Credit: David Lee / Focus Features

Spike Lee returns with this humorous, nostalgic 70s period piece based on the memoir of black police officer Ron Stallworth’s memoir about his experiences infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan – and a damning portrait of the USA under Trump.

Matilda The Musical, Birmingham Hippodrome, until Sat Sept 8

Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderfully witty RSC musical while it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it! Next up, Manchester…


The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, ends Sun Sept 30


A rare opportunity to see an exhibition devoted to kinetic art and the history of automata. Almost 60 works, dating from 1625 to the present day, will – quite literally – come to life before your very eyes. The show includes loans from across the UK, including the smallest – a 4cm tall Fabergé elephant loaned from the Queen and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang designer Rowland Emett. You can also enter the magical world of mechanical toy model maker and children’s author/ illustrator Rodney Peppe.


THEATRE: Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, until Sept 21

Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teen lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime in this present-day production.


ART: Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy, Tate Modern, London, ends Sun Sep  9

Don’t miss this Pablo Picasso exhibition at the Tate Modern, focusing on 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, mixed with family photographs and rare glimpses into his personal life. Three of his extraordinary paintings featuring his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter are shown together for the first time since they were created over a period of just five days in March 1932.

 Festival No 6, Portmeirion, North Wales, Sept 6 – 9

This is their seventh year and finale before taking a breather. Topping the bill alongside the already announced, The The, are indie-pop legends Franz Ferdinand and Friendly Fires. Also joining is singer-songwriter Jessie Ware, legendary band The Charlatans, art-rockers Everything Everything, Django Django, Ride, Anna Calvi, The Horrors, Gaz Coombes, a special performance from the UK’s most adventurous orchestra Manchester Camerata, performing Motown and Northern Soul hits and much more. A personal fave – you can see the stunning Snowdonian range, go paddle-boarding on the private peninsula, chill in the estuary spa and admire the creative talent of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who designed this eccentric Italianate village and beautiful Plâs Brondanw Gardens nearby. Criccieth and Harlech Castles are also worth checking if you’re up there.

DRINK: The Oxford Wine Festival, The Oxford Union, Fri 7 – Sat 8 Sept

Now, you’re talking! Who would like to hang out in the iconic Oxford Union and sample hundreds of award-winning and rare wines from over twenty countries? Er, me! With 40 leading wine merchants, regional specialists and English vineyards, you’ll get to learn all about vino with tutored tastings and the opportunity to buy bottles of your faves. With live music and food thrown into the mix, it’s a no-brainer for anyone who loves a tipple.

THEATRE: Heathers, the Musical, Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, Mon 2 Sep – 24 Nov

Remember the 80s cult classic film Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater? Thank goodness social media wasn’t around then. Heathers The Musical, a comic rock extravaganza, has already enjoyed sell-out runs and is now hitting the West End. Carrie Hope Fletcher stars as Veronica Sawyers, who takes the quest for high school popularity to new extremes.

DAYS OUT: Oxford Open Doors, various Oxford locations, Sat 8 – Sun 9 Sep

rotting vintage wallpaper red curtain

Calling all nosey parkers! One of Muddy Bucks Oxon’s favourite events in Oxford, Open Doors has been running annually since 2008, literally opening doors behind some of Oxford’s most beautiful  – and private – buildings and projects. There’s an extraordinary range of buildings and spaces to choose from, but there are a couple of stand-outs including a visit to the Painted Room (above) in Cornmarket, visited by Shakespeare, no less, and a rare opportunity to see The Jesuit Hall of the University, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with its fine architectural features including the main Chapel and Library. You can see the 16th century wall paintings Medieval Merchant’s House in Abingdon, take guided tours of Magdalen College’s delicious 15th century Old Library or even cuter, demonstrations of Real Tennis on the second oldest court in the world at Merton College. Check out some of Oxford’s contemporary buildings like Saïd Business School or the new Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall at Oxford Brookes. Make sure you’re wearing flat shoes – it’s going to be a busy weekend.

Find more ideas here

Things to DoThis Weekend

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