Etsy Made Local, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat Dec 2 & Sun Dec 3
Things to Do This Weekend
FRI DEC 1 - SUN DEC 3
Looking for some more individual one-off Christmas prezzies? Come and see the amazing talent of Etsy sellers from foodies to designers, furniture restorers to jewellers from around the county at the creative and buzzing Fargo Village! The perfect event to start (and maybe even finish) your Christmas shopping.
For more information see here, 10am – 6pm.
Shipston Rotary Victorian Evening, Shipston-on-Stour, Fri Dec 1
Enjoy dozens of festive stalls, the Tree of Life, music, singing, food and the arrival of Father Christmas to his town centre grotto. More than people attended last year’s event, 6 – 8pm.
Meet The Lost Words Artist Jackie Morris, Compton Verney, Sun Dec 3
The Lost Words is one of two brilliant and thought-provoking family-friendly exhibitions on until Dec 17 celebrating the best of British illustration and literature with The Lost Words based on the best-selling beautifully illustrated spell book by Robert Macfarlane, and Jackie Morris just named the Hay Festival Book of the Year 2017; alongside Quentin Blake’s Inside Stories – a very personal and insightful look at Britain’s best-loved illustrator. Artist Jackie will be talking about the exhibition and signing books (a stunning Christmas gift), 11.30am-4.45pm. Visitors can also can venture out on Spell Walks in via two specifically commissioned digital trails that can be downloaded straight to your smart phone.
This Friday the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will be showcasing Coventry on social media before the big announcement later his month. With all eyes on Coventry, this is the biggest opportunity in the competition yet to show the DCMS all the wonderful things the city has to offer and why the time is right for Coventry. Starting at 9.30am post as much content as you can about Coventry – making sure to use #ThisisCoventry with @Coventry2021 and where appropriate @DCMS and #UKCityofCulture2021
Omid Djalili: Schmuck for a Night, Stratford Artshouse, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri Dec 1
The comic actor and stand-up is back on the road after his critically-acclaimed turn as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester Festival theatre this summer.
BBC 3’s People Just Do Nothing: Kurupt FM, Kasbah, Coventry, Fri Dec 1
As seen on the BBC 3 comedy ‘documentary’ following MC Sniper, DJ Beats and the rest of the chamunity as they struggle to make a name for themselves with their pirate radio station, Kurupt FM.
A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Mon Nov 27 – Feb 4 2018
The RSC’s new eagerly-awaited stage adaptation by David Edgar of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic starring the excellent Poldark, Sherlock and Quadrophenia actor Phil Davis as Scrooge. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, who brought The Wind in the Willows to the London Palladium earlier this year, starring Rufus Hound as Toad.
Leamington Lantern Parade, Leamington Spa, Sun Dec 3
Leamington’s Lantern Parade is the perfect family-friendly start to December. Bring along your own handmade lantern. Starting at The Royal Pump Rooms Gardens Bandstand at 4.30pm accompanied by a local band it will end with Christmas carols around the Tree of Lights at the Town Hall at 6pm.
Join GoT actor David Bradley Help Plant 1000 Trees in a Day, Forest of Hearts, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri Dec 1
The Warwickshire-based GoT, Harry Potter and Dr Who actor is supporting a new £8,000 funded project to help over 100 local, isolated people including young parents, elderly and people with learning and physical disabilities be more active by hosting an eco-friendly challenge to plant 1000 trees in just one day. The Forest of Hearts funded by a Heart Research UK and Subway® Healthy Heart Grant, aims to promote physical exercise and heart-health through nature-inspired, psychical activities including growing trees and edible crops, learning how to cook nutritious meals and garden walks. Go along anytime between 11am – 3pm, to help create “Honey Bee Wood“.
Christmas Vegan Festival, Fargo Village, Coventry, Fri Dec 1 & Sat Dec 2
The first ever Etsy Made Local Vegan Fair with more than 20 totally Vegan stallholders plus Fargo’s vegan shop The Green Unicorn Vegan Store, vegan Brewery Twisted Barrel Ale Brewery and Tap House & vegan Cafe Totally Vegan. The festival runs 5pm – 10pm on Fri and 11am – 6pm on Sat.
Winter, The Stratford Gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon
This lovely little gallery celebrates its first birthday with a Christmas exhibition welcoming back new work from artists who have helped make their first year “so wonderful” and introducing several new artists. Enjoy a glass of wine and some festive cheer on this opening day. Runs until Jan 31 2018.
The Stratford Gallery, 32 Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, WarwickshireCV37 6EE, thestratfordgallery
Snowmouse, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Fri Dec 1 – Sun Dec 31
This enchanting winter’s tale for the very young about two new friends’ adventures in a magical forest wonderland is the perfect first theatre experience, full of play, puppetry and music. Recommended for ages 3 months – four years.
Imperium Part I: Conspirator, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, runs until Feb 10 2018
RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran directs Richard McCabe in the epic 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.
David Bowie 1977 Iggy Pop exhibition, Snap Galleries, 50 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, Until Sun Dec 10
This former London gallery moved to a spanking new 1,500 sq. ft. gallery space in Leamington Spa on Nov 18 and launched with Masayoshi Sukita’s exhibition of David Bowie and Iggy Pop photographs from his sessions in 1977 including the Heroes album cover image.
Love Cov Music Show, The Empire, Coventry, Fri Dec 1
This Friday come join a special evening to celebrate some of the finest Coventry music in aid of the Lord Mayor’s charity appeal, Teenage Cancer Trust and Zoë’s Place Coventry. The Love Cov Music Show is the final of our advanced events programmes, and features an evening of live music from the Neville Staple Band, a DJ set from Jerry Dammers, plus Barbdwire and AutoPilot.
Let’s Animate’s Animated Christmas Messages workshop, Fargo Village, Coventry Fri Dec 1
Create your very own animated Christmas card to send to your family and friends, one hour slots available 5pm – 10pm. Also on Fri Dec 8 & Fri Dec 15.
The Lost Words, Compton Verney, until Dec 17
One of two brilliantly family-friendly exhibitions celebrating the best of British illustration and literature with The Lost Words based on the new modern spell book by writer Robert Macfarlane, and Birmingham-born artist Jackie Morris (The White Fox, Tell Me a Dragon); alongside Quentin Blake’s Inside Stories – a very personal and insightful ‘behind the page’ look at Britain’s best-loved illustrator. In The Lost Words Macfarlane has created a series of 20 spell-poems – one for each lost word – while Morris, inspired by her lifelong passion for Britain’s landscapes and wildlife, has painted more than 50 beautiful watercolours – using gold leaf. Families can venture out on Spell Walks in the grounds of this stunning country mansion via two specifically commissioned digital trails that can be downloaded straight to your smart phone.
Cinderella, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Weds Nov 22 – Sat Jan 13 2018
‘Loch’ up your men – Cinderella’s raucous Scottish step-sisters Dyspepsia and Listeria, played by the brilliant panto legends Iain Lauchlan (who has the best laugh!) and Greg Powrie are looking for no strings attached festive fling! Iain worked on BBC’s Playschool; Fingermouse, BBC Playdays, Storytime and Fun Song Factory but is perhaps best known as writer of the BAFTA award-winning children’s TV series, The Tweenies. Fellow Scottish actor Greg Powrie’s TV and film credits include Outlander, Taggart, River City, Still Game and Dr. Finlay. Craig Hollingsworth returns for his 6th Belgrade panto, and Alice Rose Fletcher will be putting on her glass slippers as Cinderella!
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Sisters, B2 stage, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat Dec 2 – Sat Dec 30
Cinderella meets Spaghetti Western in writer/director Nick Walker’s all-female spoof adult panto. Giddy up to this rootin’ tootin’ one-hour comedy farce packed full of groan-worthy puns and starring the super-talented RSC Associate Artist Katy Stephens heading back to the ranch to appear in her third B2 Christmas Show. Here the glass slippers have spurs and the bells chime for high noon. Yee-ha!
belgrade, Tel: 024 7655 3055
Warwickshire Christmas markets
Christmas markets are held in Stratford-upon-Avon on the last five Thursdays running up to Christmas – Nov 30 & Dec 7, 14, 21 the Shipston on-Stour Rotary Victorian evening will take place on Fri Dec 1 where visitors can enjoy dozens of festive stalls, the Tree of Life, music, singing, food and the arrival of Father Christmas to his grotto in the town centre. A new traditional Victorian Christmas Market opens in Stratford-upon-Avon from Dec 8 – 10 with 150 stalls selling gifts, local produce, homemade crafts, handmade cakes, decorations plus traditional roast chestnuts, mulled wine, ciders, gin and Bailey’s chocolate. Visit Yuletide Fayres in Leamington every Sunday from Nov 19.
Twelfth Night, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Nov 2- Feb 24 2018
Adrian Edmondson is very funny as Malvolio, and Kara Tointon elegant as Olivia in Shakespeare’s delightful comedy with a luminous performance by Birmingham actor Dinita Gohil as Viola.
The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Birmingham Rep, Thurs Nov 30 – Sat Jan 18
West End Star Gloria Onitiri is foxy as villainous Cruella de Vil in furs. The Birmingham uni graduate, who played Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard (The Adelphi), and Nala in The Lion King (The Lyceum) returns to the city making her REP debut. This Dodie Smith stage adaptation by writer and director of the Nativity films, Debbie Isitt is sure to get tails wagging with its clever puppy puppetry! Running time: 90 mins. For ages 5+
birmingham-rep.co.uk, Tel: 0121 236 4455
This week’s the big Christmas Lights switch on in Kenilworth High Street on Friday Dec 1 and in Warwick Road on Sun Dec 3. Visit Yuletide Fayres in Leamington every Sunday from Nov 19.
Christmas activities at Shakespeare’s Family Homes, every day Sat Dec 2 – Jan 2
Meet Dickens as he walks around Shakespeare’s Birthplace garden and tells the tale of acquiring the Birthplace to continue spreading the word of Shakespeare. Discover Shakespeare’s family Christmas at Shakespeare’s New Place. What would they have eaten, worn & how would they have celebrated? Step back in time to the 1600s at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and fast forward to the 1930’s at Hall’s Croft and find out how the people celebrated Christmas in the time between two wars.
See what’s on here
Paddington 2, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, all week until Sun Dec 3; Fri Dec 22- Sun Dec 24; Wed Dec 27 – Thurs Dec 28
Follow the adventures of the nation’s favourite bear in a new film as enchanting as the first with a scene-stealing Hugh Grant on top form as a cravat-wearing villain. A special run at WAC on assorted dates throughout Nov and Dec. On general release in cinemas across the UK.
Sleeping Beauty, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Sat Dec 2 – Sun Dec 31
Well hello! JP McCue returns for his 6th panto season as the Panto Dame reunited with Sean Dodds in this fairy-tale story of a princess who falls into an enchanted sleep.
Christmas carols with Jasmine and the Community Harps, Stratford Buttery Farm, Stratford, Sun Dec 3
Join Jasmine and the Community Harps for Christmas Carols in the Education Area on Sun Dec 3 at 1.30pm. Plus there will be a craft session at 11am where children can make percussion instruments and accompany the Harp. The latest new inhabitant in Minibeast Metropolis is a rather scary-looking Mexican Black Kingsnake!
butterflyfarm or Tel: 01789 299288
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, Wed Nov 29 – Sun Jan 7 2018
An intrepid family and their musical dog will take you on an incredible quest through the swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud filled with catchy songs and interactive scenes. The stage adaptation of Michael Rosen’s award-winning book is brought vividly and noisily to the stage by Sally Cookson and accompanied by Benji Bower’s versatile lively score. For ages 3+
Book now: Ragley Hall Christmas Candle-lit Tours, Alcester, Fri Dec 1, Sun Dec 3, Sat Dec 9 & Sun Dec 10
See the stunning Warwickshire stately home in a new light with candle lit tours on Dec 1, 3, 9 & 10. Pre booking is essential. Tickets cost from £14. Alternatively enjoy 3-course Christmas Dinners which are available on selected dates in December.
Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, Compton Verney, until Dec 17
A rare insight into some of Quentin Blake’s best known and popular creations. Blake himself introduces illustrations for his own books and collaborations with other writers, bringing together rough drawings and finished artwork to demonstrate how his ideas evolved into unforgettable illustrations and bestselling books. Featuring a huge range of his witty illustrated characters, including Roald Dahl’s The Twits, The BFG and Matilda to The Boy in the Dress and Michael Rosen’s Sad Book. This is one of two family-friendly exhibitions this autumn at Compton Verney and includes more than 140 original works, many never seen before outside Blake’s studio, as well as some of his artist tools. Blake’s candid personal commentary and extensive selection of works make this his most intimate and revealing exhibition to date.
The Nutcracker 2017, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome, Fri Nov 24 – Wed Dec 13
Sir Peter Wright’s lavish festive production of The Nutcracker has been part of the City’s Christmas tradition for more 26 years – and is a stunning watch. Gigantic sets, gorg costumes, 60 dancers and a full orchestra combine to make it a perfect family Christmas treat. I took my 7-year-old last winter and she didn’t budge in her seat!
Birmingham’s Frankfurt German Market, Thurs Nov 16 – Dec 24
The largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria – now one of the world’s biggest Christmas fairs – offering a range of traditional gifts, Pretzels, schnitzels and strudels washed down with Gluhwein, Weissbeer or a hot chocolate. Huge concrete security barriers have been put in place to protect visitors from terror attacks.
Christmas Markets, Hatton Country World, nr Warwick, every weekend Nov 25 – Dec 17; every day Dec 18 – 22
Warwickshire’s Hatton Shopping Village is to host its popular Christmas markets every weekend starting this Saturday and every day from Dec 18 – 22. Expect a diverse range of stalls from local suppliers selling a multitude of fabulous festive gifts, festive singing, mulled punch, mince pies and a great festive atmosphere. Late night shopping on Dec 8 until 8.30pm when shoppers can enjoy discounts in selected shops from 5pm, an appearance from Father Christmas, entertainment and carol singing.
The Frostmakers Guild takes over Stratford’s magical attraction, Magic Alley, Thurs Nov 23 – Dec 24
Write a letter and post it in his special Reindeer Post Box to receive a personalised reply by post! Discover the tale of the legendary Frost Phoenix and get their own Frostmakers Passport before meeting Father Christmas and solving the mystery of the missing Frost Phoenix. As part of Stratford’s Victorian Christmas weekend, the Magic Alley Players will be performing traditional street theatre as they recreate a Victorian Nativity with the help of the audience who are then rewarded by a visit from a very special guest!
Tickets for Magic Alley and a visit to Father Christmas must be pre-booked to avoid disappointment, seekthemagic
One of the UK’s best winter light festivals returns after a hugely successful launch last year illuminating the park – turning it into a spectacular fusion of dual culture, vibrant colours and artistic sculptures. This year there’s life-sized and large-than-life lanterns in all shapes and forms, from a Gingerbread House to a magnificent giant lantern recreation of the iconic Birmingham Central Library. This family event – also held in London (Chiswick House), Leeds (Roundhay Park) and Manchester (Philips Park) – has a Santa’s grotto, fairground rides and refreshments.
The British Collective, Bicester Village, runs until January 2018
A multi-brand Christmas gifting boutique designed by British interior designer and illustrator Luke Edward Hall. Discover a collection of the finest pieces, including cashmere hats and gloves by Johnstons of Elgin, leather accessories by Trevor Pickett and Czech & Speake homewares, providing a one-stop shop for gifts for friends and family for the festive season. The luxury shopping destination; currently home to more than 130 boutiques has just increased its fashion offering with many new and exciting brands, new dining experience, more parking and a host of additional entertaining and shopping services to boot.
‘Self-guided tour’ & Pop-up Art Space, The CET Building, 157 Corporation Street, Coventry
See inside this original 1950s former Coventry Evening Telegraph Offices & Print-works until the end of 2018 it’s due to transformed into a boutique’ 50s styled hotel and cinema – The Telegraph. Open every day 12-4, with free parking for CET Building visitors on site in the rear service yard on Chapel Street. An entrance charge applies for the tour (suggested donation, £3).
New ceramics by James Hake, Peter Wills, Stephan Parry & Rhian Malin @Stratford Gallery, Sheep Street, Stratford
Looking for some original art as a Christmas present? I really like James Hake’s collection of rectangular stoneware vases who takes his inspiration from Oriental ceramics – they’ll set you back £360 a piece! But I’m torn as Peter Wills porcelain bowls are really gorgeous too, as are Stephan Parry and Rhian Malin’s quirky jars and vases.
A rare opportunity to view these stunning works from the V&A’s South Asian Collection outside London. Discover the skilful art of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculpture, Amritsar’s delicately carved ivories, Hoshiarpur’s elaborate musical instruments and Sialkot’s gold-inlaid steel artefacts. One of the most extraordinary pieces on show will be the Golden Throne made by a Muslim craftsman in Lahore for Ranjit Singh, the first Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab.
Kaleidoscope: Colour & Sequence in 1960s British Art, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, ends Dec 9
I popped along to the private view last and this touring Arts Council Collection is definitely worth a visit. It features lots of fun brightly-coloured abstract New Generation sculpture, Op Art including paintings by Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley and Pop art. Among the 20 artists there’s also work by David Annesley, Anthony Carol, Robyn Denny, Tess Jaray, Philip King, Kim Lim, Mary Martin, Eduardo Polozzi, Tim Scott, Richard Smith, William Tucker and William Turnbull. Free.
Picasso: Linocuts from the British Museum, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry until Dec 3
Showcasing works created in the late 1950s and early 1960s, this exhibition explores the artist’s expressive and experimental works with linocut techniques and ceramics. Produced when Picasso was over eighty years old, Still Life under the Lamp, Jacqueline Reading and Nude Woman at the Spring highlight his skilful yet risky approach.
Christmas at Blenheim Palace, Fri Nov 24-Jan 1
Back by popular demand after an unforgettable launch last year, the grounds of Blenheim palace will be lit up after dark with a festival trail through Capability Brown’s landscaped gardens, with twinkling festival lights, larger-than-life snowflakes and baubles, set against the backdrop of glittering ancient woodland, glowing Christmas trees and a swaying lawn of fibre-optics.
North – Fashioning Identity, Somerset House, London, Wed Nov 8 – Feb 4 2018
Forget the north/south divide, London doffs its hat to Manchester, Newcastle et al in this new exhibition. Social documentary film and photography detailing life in the north of England in the mid-20th century sits alongside works by photographers, designers and artists inspired by the parts of our green and pleasant land beyond the Watford Gap. Contributors include Nottingham’s finest Paul Smith and Manchester’s Factory Records designer Peter Saville. If you visit after Nov 15, you can also take a twirl on Somerset House’s gorgeous outdoor ice rink.
Codebreaker and Groundbreakers, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until Feb 4
A pioneering exhibition to feed your mind celebrating the genius of Second World War codebreakers like Alan Turing at Bletchley Park with Michael Ventris who in the same year deciphered Linear B, the ancient Greek language. It includes an Enigma machine, a rare loan from GCHQ, and unique archival documents held at the University of Cambridge, as well as encouraging visitors to explore ‘codebreaking’ in all its forms.
Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Sat Nov 18 – Feb 4
Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas! The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, wbstudiotour.co.uk
Two new public artworks by David Cotterrell and Bedwyr Williams, Chester Waterways & Storyhouse, Chester, on now
If you’re heading up north there’s two new digital artworks in Chester – Bedwyr Williams’ Hypercaust which brings back to life Chester’s Roman Fortress Bathhouse recreated through historically accurate 3D renderings; and Maelstrom by installation artist David Cotterell, acknowledging Chester’s relationship with water as a whirlpool appears and disappears in the Shropshire Canal. War artist David Cotterell went to Afghanistan in 2007, spending time with British forces and documenting the medical treatment of casualties and their journey away from the frontline to medical treatment back in the UK. His work, Gateway II, is on display at London’s Imperial War Museum as part of Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 until May 28 2018.
Finnish Rooftop Sauna, Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace, South Bank, Fri Nov 10 – Sat Dec 30